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"Because Lars is 15 kilograms heavier, I could hardly keep up with him, but I’m very happy that I was able to bridge to the group of favourites and come back. Lars will get a big hug from me because I’m so pleased with him....

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BAUKE MOLLEMA

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LAURENS TEN DAM

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STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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24.07.2014 @ 19:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

If it hadn't been for Lars Boom, Laurens Ten Dam could have lost his spot in the top 10 in today's final mountain stage of the Tour de France as the Dutchman suffered an unfortunate puncture on the descent from the Tourmalet. Boom who had dropped back from the early break helped him rejoin the peloton on a day when Steven Kruijswijk made sure that Belkin now have three riders in the overall top 15.

 

Steven Kruijswijk ensured three Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM riders in the top 15 of the Tour de France’s overall today. The Dutchman finished 13th up Hautacam and secured the team’s win in the daily team classification. He sits 15th overall with leaders Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam – who finished seventh and 11th – seventh and eighth. Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) led the pack over the Tourmalet and to the top of the Hautacam to win the stage. 

“I was a bit too keen in trying to keep in the breakaway and so I missed out on the decisive move,” said Kruijswijk. “I soon learned that Astana and Nibali wanted to show their supremacy, however, and that it was actually a good thing that I was still in the peloton. 

“I was able to stay with Bauke and Laurens for long. They were strong again and I didn’t really have to do much for them. I think this is a good end of the Tour for me.” 
 

“This was my best day in the mountains yet, I’m very happy,” said Mollema. “This is my level and it finally came out today. I felt that I was getting better the last few days and after yesterday’s stage, my morale also got a boost. I really wanted to fight to hold on to my seventh place. 


“The final climb was difficult, but I think I did well. I was even able to squeeze out a sprint. I was just as good as riders with whom I couldn’t keep up with earlier in the race. That feels good. 

“When Zubeldia was distanced on the final climb, Laurens and I had a little discussion. Zubeldia is a good time trialist and we were thinking of moving up the pace. König was still with us, however, and we didn’t want him to profit from our efforts. Valverde was also with us, and losing his podium spot, so we decided to take advantage of his hard work.” 
 

Laurens ten Dam punctured on the top of the Tourmalet, but had Lars Boom’s help. Thanks to the help, the climber wasn’t too bothered by his flat and finished eleventh. 


“It was super that Lars was there to give me his front wheel. Still, I was maybe a kilometre behind the rest,” Ten Dam said. “Lars got a wheel of a neutral car and quickly returned to me to help me in the descent. Because Lars is 15 kilograms heavier, I could hardly keep up with him, but I’m very happy that I was able to bridge to the group of favourites and come back. Lars will get a big hug from me because I’m so pleased with him.” 

“That’s why we’re here, no? To help each other,” Boom said. “The appreciation is very nice.” 
 

 

 

Sports Director Merijn Zeeman loved the teamwork in the Pyrenees.

 

“The guys did incredibly well. This was a fantastic ride. They consolidated their positions in the overall. Laurens made his way back thanks to fantastic work by Lars and we ended the day with three men in the top 15 of the stage and the overall. Today is symbolic for the spirit in our squad.” 
 

The Tour de France peloton leaves the mountains behind and faces a flat stage tomorrow. The day and Sunday’s into Paris will suit the sprinters, while Saturday’s time trial will provide the last overall shake up. 

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