By Cycling News,
MTN-Qhubeka scored its first-ever jersey in a World Tour race Sunday at the Criterium du Dauphine when Daniel Teklehaimanot infiltrated the early breakaway and climbed into the polka-dot jersey of the best climber.
Teklehaimanot and four others jumped clear of the bunch after about 10km of racing. The Eritrean slipped away from the rest of the escapees over the early climbs to take the mountain classification points, locking up the jersey with two KOMs remaining.
“It was a really good day in front for me and the team,” Teklehaimanot said. “My legs were feeling strong all day on the climbs so I was able to go for the KOM points. Our group of four worked well together so we could stay away for all the climbs.
“It was only on the last two laps that I started to get tired but already I had enough points to get the jersey. I am really happy for the team and also personally to have this jersey.”
With the sprinters’ teams targeting a stage win, however, the breakaway was ultimately brought back into the fold. Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) snuck away from the bunch and managed to hold off the field for the stage win, while MTN’s Edvald Boasson Hagen benefited from a strong leadout to finish second in the bunch sprint for third on the day.
“The team did great to set me up for the sprint with a strong leadout,” he said. “I was feeling good and I was happy with the sprint I was able to do but Pete just managed to stay away. Overall it was a good day for our team and we are happy with our performance. I am looking forward to the coming days now.
Daniel Teklehaimanot – Rider
It was a really good day in front for me and the team. My legs were feeling strong all day on the climbs so I was able to go for the KOM points. Our group of 4 worked well together so we could stay away for all the climbs. It was only on the last two laps that I started to get tired but already I had enough points to get the jersey. I am really happy for the team and also personally to have this jersey. Having the jersey is a great opportunity to show off our team before the Tour de France and puts some light on our campaign to raise 5000 bicycles this year.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
This is our first jersey in a World Tour race and to wear our first World Tour jersey with one of our African riders is just incredible. What an opening 130km it was, we wanted Daniel in the breakaway and we got him in the break. He was the strongest on the climbs so he won most of the climbing points. He was on the podium today and he will wear the jersey tomorrow. In the final we wanted to ride for Edvald as the stage suited him with a pretty hard final, and we didn’t expect too many in the finish. Reinie did a really nice leadout for Edvald and he came 3rd after Kennaugh survived. It was a superb result for us and it builds up some good confidence ahead of the Tour de France.
— Team MTN-Qhubeka (@TeamMTNQhubeka) June 7, 2015