Max Schachmann nabs First Pro Win at Volta a Catalunya

Max Schachmann nabs First Pro Win at Volta a Catalunya
Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team (Spain) – The German survived from a day-long break on a rainy stage to bring victory number 19 for Quick-Step Floors this season.

August 2nd, 2017. Maximilian Schachmann is part of a small breakaway group which took off at the start of a short stage marred by grim weather, between Olimp Nagawczyna and Rzeszow, but both his race and season came to a premature conclusion after sliding into a corner on the wet roads and suffering multiple fractures in his right calcaneus, which led to a long recovery and an even longer absence, with the German making his return to competition only in February.

March 24th, 2018. More than seven months from that setback, the 24-year-old went into a two-man breakaway which nobody gave too many chances of going all the way. After all, the original stage 6 of Volta a Catalunya had been shortened and the profile, despite including a second-category climb, was to the liking of the sprinters. But the escapees somehow survived until the finish and Max Schachmann sprinted to his maiden pro victory and the first of a German rider in the race since 2010, punching the air as he roared over the line.

"I am so happy, you can't believe it! I have felt good for a long period, but today being able to take my first victory is amazing. I will always remember this day. I had good sensations from the morning, actually already since yesterday. I tried a few times yesterday, but it didn't work out. Today it was different and worked out perfectly. I was ready from the morning, even opting for my aero bike despite that climb, because I wanted to be in the break to try and get a result. This win is also for Petr Vakoč, my teammate who is out with an injury. Last year it was me, but today I proved it's possible to come back stronger, and if I can do it, he can too!", Max said after the stage.



Schachmann and Diego Rubio (Burgos BH) were the only riders who believed in the chances of a breakaway, attacking after the start, ignoring the pouring rain and establishing a four-minute lead which was reduced to just two inside the final 30 kilometers, when the echelons wreaked havoc and split the bunch into four groups. In the closing ten kilometers, the gap hovered around the 50-second mark and the peloton looked poised to take the stage, but the leading duo rode admirably and fended off the efforts of the chasers.

Under the flamme rouge, Max and Rubio were more than 15 seconds clear, making it obvious that the stage will be played between the two of them. Schachmann perfectly judged the final, jumping from the wheel of his Spanish opponent with around 200 meters to go and claiming Quick-Step Floors 19th victory of the year and his first since turning pro, which made him the ninth different rider of the team to taste success this season.

"On the profile, it might have looked like a sprinters' stage, but in the end it turned out to be a tough one. It was shorter than planned, but the weather made it really tough. Despite that, I went into the breakaway, and even though it was just me and Rubio there, we worked hard and gave everything on the roads to Torrefarrera. When the peloton began the chase, our gap went down and with 20 kilometers to go we had under two minutes, but we continued to do our job and pull hard", the German said after visiting the podium.



"I am so happy, you can't believe it! I have felt good for a long period, but today being able to take my first victory is amazing. I will always remember this day. I had good sensations from the morning, actually already since yesterday. I tried a few times yesterday, but it didn't work out. Today it was different and worked out perfectly. I was ready from the morning, even opting for my aero bike despite that climb, because I wanted to be in the break to try and get a result. This win is also for Petr Vakoč, my teammate who is out with an injury. Last year it was me, but today I proved it's possible to come back stronger, and if I can do it, he can too!"

Max, who is the sixth German in history to win a Volta a Catalunya stage, continued: "I felt good and fast today on my Specialized Venge, despite shivering at one point on the descent and suffering from cramps. The two roundabouts in the final five kilometers played into our favour, we took the best line there and didn't lose any time. Then, after the last corner, I was in the better position and opened the sprint with 150 meters to go. This victory came as a result of a great team spirit, which brings confidence, confidence that we are turning into a lot of victories. So a big thanks to my team for believing in me and giving me the environment and opportunities to grow as a rider."

Photo credit: ©Bryn Lennon/ Getty Images.

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