Team RadioShack's Manuel Cardoso Wins Stage 4 of 2011 Tour of Catalunya

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03/24/2011| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen

Team RadioShack's Manuel Cardoso Wins Stage 4 of 2011 Tour of Catalunya

Portuguese Team RadioShack rider Manuel Cardoso won the fourth stage of the Tour of Catalunya 2011 (Volta a Catalunya 2011) earlier today as embattled Spanish Team Saxo Bank-SunGard rider Alberto Contador retained his overall race lead.

Portuguese Team RadioShack rider Manuel Cardoso won the fourth stage of the Tour of Catalunya 2011 (Volta a Catalunya 2011) earlier today as embattled Spanish Team Saxo Bank-SunGard rider Alberto Contador retained his overall race lead.

Cardoso won a bunch sprint at the end of a 195-km stage from La Seu d'Urgell. Cardoso successfully sprinted to the stage win in a close stage finish, besting Giacomo Nizzolo and José Joaquin Rojas.

"I am so happy," Cardoso commented after being celebrated on the podium.

Cardoso added "The team worked hard for me. Even guys like Chris Horner who had his own good GC position to protect. The last 15k they protected me and brought me to the front. At 1k from the end HTC-Highroad set up a train, but with 500 meters to go, Movistar with Rojas went to the front and I managed to take the wheel of Rojas. At 300 meters I took the lead, gave everything I had and nobody else was able to pass me, but it was close. I am so delighted."

Team RadioShack sports directors Viatcheslav Ekimov and José Azevedo have plenty to be happy about, too. Beyond Cardoso's win, teammate Levi Leipheimer is second overall behind race leader Alberto Contador and Team RadioShack lead in the teams competition with three stages remaining to race.

"We were helped a lot during the race by Movistar and Cofidis. They believed in Rojas and Dumoulin and didn't see Cardoso as a danger. After Manuel's third-place finish two days ago, we saw he finally had confidence in himself. We told him he didn't need to be nervous just because he didn't have a victory yet. We told him it would come. And look, it's only March and already the win is here," Azevedo told Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi after the stage.

A new signee this year to Team RadioShack, Cardoso turned professional in 2005. In 2010 he scored his first ProTour victory over the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans in an uphill sprint in the Santos Tour Down Under. His early success quickly turned south, however, with a crash the following month that broke his collarbone. Later in the season at the Tour de France he fractured his jawbone and his right shoulderblade, keeping him out of competition for much of the season.

But Cardoso is no stranger to the winner's circle, taking 33 - and now 34 - races as a professional rider including the 2009 national road championship.

"This is my 34th professional victory," Cardoso commented and concluded "It is true I was too nervous the first weeks of the season but isn't that normal? When the team of Lance Armstrong signs you, that gives some pressure. But now I've proved their faith in me was right. I promise some other victories will follow."

Former World Champion Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) crashed in the first 35 kilometers of today's stage. "It happened right in front of me but I didn't go down, so it was no problem," Evans told Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi after the finish.

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