Bruyneel Directs Sergio Paulinho to Tour de France Stage Victory

Bruyneel Directs Sergio Paulinho to Tour de France Stage Victory

Chambéry, July 14th 2010 - Patience and experience earned Team RadioShack’s Portuguese rider Sérgio Paulinho his first individual stage victory in Wednesday’s Tour de France stage from Chambéry to Gap.  Part of a day-long break of six riders that included two Frenchmen, Paulinho celebrated Bastille Day in his own way by taking the win by half a wheel  length over Vasili Kiryienka of Caisse d’Epargne.  Riding in his third Tour de France, 30-year old Paulinho was part of the 2009 Team Time Trial victory and also won the silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics as well as a stage in the Tour of Spain in 2006.

With 15k to go Paulinho and Kiryienka pulled away from their breakaway companions to go for the stage win.  The duo shared the work load on the road, but coming under the red kite with 1k to go, Paulinho positioned himself in the perfect spot on Kiryienka’s wheel.  Watching and waiting, he dug deep for an explosive sprint that put him across the line just in front of the rider from Belarus.

“It was very close,” commented Sérgio Paulinho, “but it doesn’t matter if you win with half a wheel or with a 30 second difference. When Team Director Dirk Demol told me that Kyryienka and I had a one- minute advantage, I felt confident, even if I suffered a lot. I stayed in the wheel for 300 meters and then I gave everything in the last 50 meters. Mario Aerts was strong too but he attacked too early and lost his chances on a win.“

“Sérgio rode great,” said Team leader Lance Armstrong in Gap. “He rode smart and beat him in the sprint. This is a great result for the Team.”

It was a big morale booster for Team RadioShack after a tough eleven days of racing that saw plenty of bad luck for The Shack, including the end of Lance Armstrong’s efforts to secure an unprecedented eighth Tour win after losing time on Sunday’s stage seven.

“I am convinced we can win more stages,” said Sports Team Manager Johan Bruyneel. “ For now I am so happy for Sérgio. He was strong today and deserves this victory. He’s a guy that always sacrifices himself for the Team. He’s a very strong rider and never thinks about himself. To see him shine and win a stage in the Tour de France I’m very happy for him and Team RadioShack.”

“I hope indeed to help others win a stage too,” continued stage winner Paulinho. “Our main goal however remains to get Levi Leipheimer on the final podium in Paris and to win the Teams Classification. Caisse d’Epargne is a big competitor for that classification. We could not let Kyryienka go in a successful breakaway without a Team RadioShack rider present too.”

Twenty-one years after Acacio Da Silva, a Portuguese rider wins a stage in the Tour de France. “I hope there will be more Portuguese riders in the coming years. For me, this is my biggest performance in my career. Even nicer than my silver medal at the Olympic Games in Athens. The Tour de France is the biggest bike race on earth. Winning a stage here is the maximum you can achieve as a rider.”

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