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By Shane Stokes
Deposed yesterday by one slender second, Rein Taaramae has pledged to try to take back the leader’s jersey in the Presidential Tour of Turkey, but said that whatever happens, his race has already been a success.
The Estonian rider had a superb early career, with his wins including victory on stage fourteen of the 2011 Vuelta a España plus the youth classification in both Paris-Nice and Critérium International. However the past two seasons were quieter, with breathing difficulties complicating things.
He has now got those sorted out and remained upbeat on Friday, even though Adam Yates had attacked on the final climb up to the finish at Selcuk and grabbed the lead.
“I decided to sit all the time on the back of Yates and even if he attacked, I would be back [behind] of him,” he told Cycling Tips in a video interview. “I had good legs but he was just incredible. Just better than me today. I never quit the chasing, I kept him at a small distance and I hoped that maybe in 500 metres I could make a very good sprint and even catch him. But no, he was just too strong.”
Two stages remain in the race and while they are both likely to finish in bunch sprints, he will look for opportunity. He believes it’s still possible to win. “Two days is a long way to go. We never know what is going to happen. One crash, maybe something with hills, some crosswind days, you never know. But if everything goes well [for him], he will win.
“I will stay in the peloton and try to defend my place. And why not try to do something. I can’t tell for the moment.”
Still, whatever happens, this race has been a big boost for him. “Already after my victory I was never thinking of the general. I was living in every moment. I said to myself even if I lose the lead, I am still very happy because I know I am back. For this reason I smile, even now.”
In the video above Taaramae gives his reaction to stage six, speaks about how his health problems were resolved and also talks about the programme he hopes to do for the remainder of the season.