But the stage was decided in a bunch sprint where Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) took his second stage win. The 41-year-old Chris Horner finished the race in the bunch and is the oldest winner of a Grand Tour ever. Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Nicolas Roche completed the stage with the rest of the pack and finished fifth overall.
It has been a successful Vuelta a Espana for the team. Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Nicolas Roche won the mountain stage to Alto do Monte da Groba and Roche also got to wear in the leader’s jersey, mountain jersey, points jersey and the jersey in the combined competition. Furthermore, Michael Mørkøv won the bunch sprint on stage six in front of big names such as Fabian Cancellara, Tyler Farrar and Gianni Meersman. Nicolas Roche finishes the race in fifth position overall and the great achievements inspire sports director, Fabrizio Guidi:
“We picked out a really strong line-up for the Vuelta and we believed from the beginning of the race that we could be right at the top of the standings and maybe pull a stage win along the way. We took two while Chris (Anker Sorensen) came close to taking the third on the eighteenth stage. Nico’s got quite a few jerseys in his luggage and he showed great stamina throughout the entire race. There was only one day in the cold weather where he lost time with Rafal (Majka) and that specific stage probably cost Rafal a place in the overall top-10. Besides the physical strength, there has been a phenomenally inspiring team spirit from start to finish and I think that has certainly contributed to Nico’s motivation as he was able to keep up his spirits during the tough days in the mountains. All in all, I’m quite pleased with our effort and our results and we have been close to getting the maximum of our capacity on the team, “said Saxo-Tinkoff’s sporting director, Fabrizio Guidi.
Saxo-Tinkoff captain, Nicolas Roche was tired, relieved and content after the grand finale in Madrid:
“I feel happy and satisfied. I went for a top-5 result and here I am. I knew my ambitions were high and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but with a team like Saxo-Tinkoff including both staff and riders backing me up 100% all the way, paying back 100% becomes natural. I’m honoured and thankful for the massive support from the entire team but also the fans for the active support via Twitter and Facebook, states Nicolas Roche and adds:
“A very special thanks to Bjarne (Riis) for his very important advice regarding the general tactics and not least to make me believe that I could perform everyday throughout the race.”