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"I would have loved to be able to go deep today but it was not possible and that was frustrating. If I pushed 300 watts it was okay, but when I went to 400-500 watts I was blocked. I need some manipulation."

Photo: Sirotti








11.06.2015 @ 20:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Critérium du Dauphiné's first taste of the high hills resulted in some big changes in the general classification, leaving some struggling and others smiling.


The 161-kilometer fifth stage from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup was the exact replica of stage 17 in the upcoming Tour de France. 


Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) won the small ‘Tour test’ with a daring descent off the penultimate category one climb with 22 kilometers remaining. He built up nearly 90 seconds lead and held off the chase to take the win by 36 seconds. 


Tejay van Garderen (BMC) crossed the line in second, the best of the chasers, and assumed the new lead of the eight-day race.


Trek Factory Racing had high ambitions in the first major climbing day at the Dauphiné but when Team Sky upped the pace on the second to last ascent the legs – and in the case of Bauke Mollema his back - did not cooperate.


While Mollema was unable to follow the stiff pace, Haimar Zubeldia stayed in contact with the leading peloton until he came slightly unglued near the top. He regained contact on the tight, technical descent and remained with the leaders until four kilometers to go.  He was the highest finisher for the team in 28th place (+2’22’).


“I managed to get back to the group with my experience,” Zubeldia explained. “Sky made a hard tempo, but I knew how to come back. I didn’t take any risks in the downhill and in the beginning of the downhill I was in the group again. I did my best in the last climb, I didn’t feel super good, but I know that I am on target for the Tour [de France]. The beginning of the Tour is still one month away and I am content where I am – of course I would have liked to be better today, but I am on schedule.”


Where Zubeldia felt content, Bauke Mollema struggled with frustration. Mollema battled back pain, a residue from his crash in the Tour of the Basque Country, and uncharacteristically was unable to follow the leaders on the long category one climb. 


He described the painful and vexing hindrance:


“I simply didn’t have the power. I have had back problems and it’s not improving and today on the long climb the heart rate was okay, but when they went fast I just couldn’t go. So then I just took it easy to the finish and made sure to not force anything.


“I need to visit an osteopath and have some good treatments. I think the condition is good otherwise my heart rate would be really high.  My back is blocked and I cannot produce the power needed. I would have loved to be able to go deep today but it was not possible and that was frustrating. If I pushed 300 watts it was okay, but when I went to 400-500 watts I was blocked. I need some manipulation – the muscles are really tight – but no worries at all for the Tour.”


Tomorrow’s stage six ends with another uphill finish, although a shorter 2-kilometer kick that should suit the punchers more than the GC contenders.



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