23rd March 2012 | Source: Endura Team Release | Photos by Etienne Garnier () and Joolze Dymond ()
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Erick Rowsell recorded his first win as a professional cyclist with an impressive solo victory in the fifth stage at the Tour de Normandie, to take Endura Racing's tally to two stage wins in two days.
The peloton were straight into racing as they left Elbeuf-sur-Seine with 190km ahead of them. Most of the difficulties were at the back end of the course and the finishing circuit featured a tough uphill finish in Flers. With 7km to go, the 22 year old Rowsell, in his first year with Endura Racing, launched a solo attack and held off the massing peloton to take the stage by eight seconds.
The win moved Rowsell into 8th place on General Classification, 2 minutes 25 seconds behind leader Jérôme Cousin of Europcar with three stages of racing in Northern France to go.
After his epic first win, Rowsell enthused: “It was a hard day from the start, with really aggressive racing for the first 2 hours. It settled down for a bit but then it all kicked off again for the finish. We had good numbers in the front group, so had lots of options for the finish. I wanted to have a go at getting away in the last lap and spoke with Alex Blaine and he told me just to wait and not go too early, so that's what I did. I just followed on the climb and then made my move a bit later and it worked.
“I think I got away with about 7km to go. The team was great with everyone getting involved in the race from the start and having numbers at the finish. It been a good race for us all so far and the whole team is riding well together as the results are showing.
“It is great for me to get a win, as it's been a while since I've won a race myself. I have been a part of many wins through team work and I love it when a teammate wins but it’s a great feeling to be the one standing on the top step of the podium!”
At the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Italy, Iker Camaño and Paul Voß finished in the lead group in the same time as stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD). Defending champion, Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli) was part of a long break away with Frapporti (Idea) and Fofonov (Astana) but the trio were swept up on the demanding finishing circuit with Ulissi taking the uphill sprint to the line.
Camaño and Paul Voß now sit 4th and 5th on General Classification with two stages remaining - a mountainous day tomorrow followed by an individual time trial on Saturday.
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