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Rider of the week

Rein Taaramäe never had an easy road since turning pro. After an excellent 2008 – during which he won the Tour de l’Ain, the mountains classification at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and finished 3rd at the Tour de Romandie – he was being tipped as a future Grand Tour champion. But nothing materialized in the following years, his best result coming in the 2011 Tour de France, where he was 11th and missed the white jersey for 46 seconds. What were the reasons because of which the Estonian rider didn’t fulfill the huge expectations people had?

First of all, the pressure was too big for Taaramäe, who seemed to lack the mental strength that usually makes the difference at a top level. Another cause were the health problems he endured before finding a solution last Spring, when he underwent a larynx operation to remove an obstruction that was inhibiting his breathing. But besides that, there was another thing that hammered Taaramäe’s GC hopes: he always had a bad day during a three-week race, which lead to him losing a handful of minutes and thus getting out of contention for a top 10 in the GC.

At one point, Rein Taaramäe considered quitting cycling, but eventually shrugged off the disappointments he has had in 2012 and 2013, and decided to give the sport another shot. Last April, he came back stronger, won the queen-stage of the Tour of Turkey and finished 2nd in the overall classification. Then, in the final weeks of the season, the Estonian landed another victory, this time in the Tour du Doubs, followed by a move to Astana, his first World Tour team.

In 2015, Taaramäe opened his campaign in February, with the Vuelta a Murcia being his debut race for the Kazakh outfit. So last Saturday, Rein Taaramäe rode into a large break which got shape after a mid-race attack and then soloed in the last 40 kilometers, putting aside the huge pain he was feeling in his legs after that big effort and holding off the peloton on the last climb, the Alto Fortaleza del Sol (1600 meters, 6% average gradient).

After his first victory in the Astana kit (which was also the team’s first win of the season), it will be interesting to see what does Rein Taaramäe holds in his sleeve for the rest of the year. A couple of months ago, he said he came to the Kazakh team because he wanted to ride pressure-free, which is exactly what happened in the Vuelta a Murcia. Very likely, he will mix this role with the one of lieutenant for the team’s GC riders. Logical, this means Taaramäe – who looks to have found the perfect environment in Astana – has to put aside his Grand Tour ambitions, at least for 2015. On the other hand, it’s almost certain he won’t mind this, as it will allow him to find a new niche, which could see the Eastern European rider focus on one-day races and week-long stage races from now on and getting more wins under his belt.

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8 thoughts on “Rider of the week

  1. what? ce? cum? sper sa fie din seria „nu particip in vuelta 2014”
    Alex, crezi in ce zice Alberto?

    • Avand in vedere ce a facut anul trecut cu participarea in Vuelta, trebuie privite cu anumite indoieli declaratiile sale (desi aceasta a fost confirmata si de ofiterul lui de presa). Totusi, in cazul de fata, nu m-ar surprinde sa se retraga, deoarece daca ar continua, ar avea 34 de ani la startul lui 2017 (Horner, Rebellin sau Voigt sunt exceptii). Pe de alta parte, cred ca hotararea finala va depinde si de ce va face anul acesta in Marile Tururi. Daca nu ii ies planurile, atunci va avea motivatia necesara pentru a continua.

      • In mod normal anul asta castiga macar Giro dar marea provocare pentru el este sa faca dubla Giro – Le Tour . Eu cred ca ar putea sa lupte pentru victorie in Giro si Vuelta chiar si la 34 de ani cu adversari care sa nu ii includa pe Froome si mai ales pe Quintana ca pe Nibali chiar daca a castigat Le Tour anul trecut cred ca il bate chiar si in 2017 daca prinde o forma buna.

        • Sunt de acord, la 34-35 de ani inca poate castiga Giro sau Vuelta, in functie de traseu si de adversari. Daca face dubla sezonul acesta, cred ca se retrage. Tocmai de aceea, vom afla mai multe lucruri in august, dupa Turul Frantei.

  2. Dubla ? va incerca tripla, sa puna ` capac ` tuturor si sa-si incheie cariera ca nimeni altcineva.
    Giro sa spunem ca l-ar castiga dar TdF va fi al naibii de greu, Froome si echipa sa arata mult mai bine fata de 2013 si obiectivul echipei va fi TdF 2015.
    Sansa fanilor de a-l revedea e sa rateze TdF 2015 ca sa-l mai vada pe sosele si-n 2016. 😉 altfel asa cum ai spus si tu, se va retrage la finalul lui 2015. Poate doar la insistentele fanilor sa ruleze si-n 2016 si sa-si incheie cariera in glorie si lumea sa fie multumita, sa ruleze in toate cele 3 mari tururi ca de adio, fara obiectiv 😉
    Se pot face multe planuri in functie de cum vor decurge lucrurile, pe mine m-a luat prin surprindere aceasta stire.
    Hm, cel putin Andy Schleck va avea un partener si bun prieten la partidele de pescuit. 😀

    • Cred ca m-ai inteles gresit :)Sunt sigur ca va continua si in 2016, indiferent de ce va face anul acesta. Fie va cauta un nou triumf intr-un Mare Tur, fie va participa in curse (si) de placere.

  3. ” caferoubaix on 16 februarie 2015 la 19:56 said: Daca face dubla sezonul acesta, cred ca se retrage. „. La asta ma refeream. Oricum, e prematur sa ne dam cu parerea ce va fi la finalul lui Giro sau TdF, intai sa-l vedem sanatos si intr-o forma cel putin la fel de buna ca cea din 2014.

    • El a spus ca isi incheie cariera dupa 2016 nu dupa anul asta , indiferent ce castiga sau ce nu castiga sezonul asta. Daca castiga Giro si TDF si dupa se duce si in Vuelta va ajunge la aproape 100 zile de cursa daca nu chiar peste 100 si va fi greu sa fie proaspat pentru a castiga si Vuelta . Ar putea totusi sa castige daca nu ar veni Froome , Nairo si Nibali.

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