Draped in the Brazlian flag, Saunier Duval-Prodir rider Luciano Pagliarini could not stop smiling as he received the trophy and bouquet of flowers for his stage five win in the Eneco Tour.
Recently a dad, there was no need to ask to which two people the 29-year-old sprinter had dedicated the biggest victory of his career – his baby daughter Aurora and wife.
?They?re the ones who gave me the strength to do so well here today.? Pagliarini said afterwards – and his win was certainly the kind which has no questionmarks about it.
Pagliarini darted out of the pack with 200 yards to go in the fast finale at Nieuwegein to take his first ProTour victory – and first in three years – more than a bike length ahead of Britain?s Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) and Australia?s Graeme Brown (Rabobank).
?I?d studied the finale and knew that if I didn?t win today, with only Tuesday?s hilly stage and Wednesday?s time trial, effectively I?d had it.? Pagliarini added.
?So I put on a bigger gear than usual, and gave it everything I had.?
Pagliarini said he had been able to see his baby daughter for just an hour before heading off to race first in Germany and then straight afterwards in the Eneco Tour.
?That was very tough to do, so I want to dedicate this win to them.?
Following Eneco?s fourth bunch sprint in a row, the general classification riders finally get a look-in again on Tuesday?s hilly 177.4 kilometre run between Beek and Landgraaf in Holland.
Constantly compared to a ?mini-Amstel Gold? by local tv commentators and riders, for race leader Nick Nuyens (Cofidis), the stage is his ?one big opportunity to attack before Wednesday?s time trial.?
?if I want to put more time between myself and the time trial specialists.? – which include Pagliarini?s Saunier Duval team-mate David Millar, currently just 16 seconds behind – ?I?ll have to do it on Tuesday.? the former Tour of Britain winner warned.
ENECO Tour 2007: Stage five: Terneuzen – Nieuwegein
1 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Saunier Duval-Prodir 4-01-10
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Unibet.com
5 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
6 Alexei Markov (Rus) Caisse d’Epargne
7 David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner
8 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quickstep
9 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC
10 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas
48 David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
58 Roger Hammond (T-Mobile)
129 Steve Cummings (Discovery) all st
Overall after five stages
1 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis 21-12-57
2 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank at 10 sec
3 José Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 14sec
4 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval – Prodir at 16 sec
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Predictor – Lotto at 25 sec
6 Leif Hoste (Bel) Predictor – Lotto at 37sec
7 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank at 41sec
8 Bram Tankink (Ned) Quickstep – Innergetic at 48sec
9 Paul Martens (Ger) Skil – Shimano at 49sec
10 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil – Shimano at 50sec
79 Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) at 11-38
99 Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) at 13-59
105 Steve Cummings (Discovery) at 14-47