Happy birthday to Rein Taaramae

Cofidis' Rein Taaramae (image courtesy of Rein Taaramae)

Cofidis's Rein Taaramae (image courtesy of Rein Taaramae)

Rein Taaramae is 25 years old today. Palju õnne 25. sünnipäeva

Rein’s another rider I see regularly training on the Cote d’Azur roads. Sadly, having broken his left elbow in a fall at last weekend’s Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, he’s confined to the home trainer and won’t be back on those roads for a couple of weeks.

This latest injury will be a bitter blow following close on the heels of his mononucleosis infection (glandular fever), the first symptoms of which appeared a few days before Paris-Nice, a race in which he finished fourth and won the best young rider jersey last year. But this year the young Estonian was nowhere to be seen, even though he had finished second behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the Ruta del Sol just a few days earlier.

He initially went back home to his mum in Estonia to rest and recover, before returning and resuming training ahead of last weekend’s Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.

Rein’s made steady progress in his career since turning pro with Cofidis in 2008: winning the Tour de l’Ain in 2009 and finishing third overall in the 2010 Volta a Catalunya. Last season he was fourth in Paris-Nice, 12th overall at last year’s Tour de France – finishing second in the best young rider category to Pierre Rolland (Europcar) – and topped it all off with a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana.

This latest setback may well put paid to his plans to build on those excellent 2011 results, which confirmed his all-round talent on the bike.  He was targeting the white jersey of best young rider at this year’s Tour de France, his last possible tilt at it.

Rein in his local bike shop (image courtesy of Rein Taaramae)

Rein in his local bike shop (image courtesy of Rein Taaramae)

The tall Estonian with the baby face is renowned for his attacking style on the bike but has been criticised in the past for being too impulsive and squandering his efforts. However on stage 14 of last year’s Vuelta he proved that persistence pays dividends when he battled all the way to the finish line, shedding David de la Fuente (Geox-TMC) in the last few kilometres, to solo home for the biggest win of his young career. After the stage Rein said:

I have been close before, but this is the first time I have won in a Grand Your. This means the world to me. Some say I attack without thinking, but I attack because I want to win. This confirms what kind of rider I am.

This was the second time he’d gone on the offensive in the race, but on the undulating stage eight he’d been overhauled by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). All credit to him for not giving up when he was suffering from a high fever to bounce back and win six stages later. Here’s how he did it:

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