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“Of course I don’t look yet to tomorrow, first I need to get over the day, the disappointment. I expected something higher, something bigger. But that’s sport."

Photo: Sirotti










04.07.2015 @ 20:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Tour de France opened with a 13.8-kilometer individual time trial in Utrecht, the only individual test in this year’s edition of the French Grand Tour, and the specialists against the clock came out with all guns firing.


The stage win and the first prestigious yellow jersey were on the line and the hot weather that greeted the 198 riders made the short, painful race a heated affair in more ways than one.


Fabian Cancellara blasted around the corners in the fast, flat race against the clock using his deft bike handling skills to try edge out BMC’s Rohan Dennis who had set the benchmark much earlier, but his time of 15:02 (55.078km/h) fell six seconds short. Cancellara - targeting the stage win and more importantly yellow - settled for a disappointing third. 


“It was quite a heat and my mouth was so dry at halfway already," he said. "It was hard to get a deep breath at times, I couldn't swallow. But for one, it shows I am in progression from where I was two weeks ago. Of course, I came here to get yellow, and so in that way it’s kind of a disappointment. But, on the other hand, I did a good performance. I am not sure where I could give more; maybe if the wind was less before, I don’t know, you can make a lot of speculation…In the end, it is how it is.


“Of course I don’t look yet to tomorrow, first I need to get over the day, the disappointment. I expected something higher, something bigger. But that’s sport. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, I have already proved many, many years of big things. People expect me to perform on days like today where I am a specialist. But for having a perfect day you need more, and I was not having a perfect day, and for me the heat cut my performance. This is not an excuse, but the reality.


"It was very tiring. The heat was demanding for everyone but even more with a time trial helmet. I did all I could but Rohan has been the best. I've lost some mini seconds in a curve or two but it hasn't made that difference.


"It was an important race for me because I didn't get a chance to ride the classics this year. But it's no big deal. I've won a fair bit in my career. I race for fun and the Tour is long. There'll be other occasions, I'm sure of that."


Tony Martin (Etixx Quick Step) finished one second ahead of Cancellara to grab second place in a time of 15:01; no one was able to sneak under 15 minutes to break Dennis’ winning time of 14:56 and the Australian will don the coveted maillot jaune for tomorrow’s second stage.


Bauke Mollema (+37”) and Bob Jungels (+38”) had stellar performances to finish in 14th and 15th places respectively, giving Trek Factory Racing three in the top 15 and earning them a strong second in the team classification behind Giant-Alpecin, missing the top spot by a mere three seconds.


“I was feeling really good," Mollema said. "I started quite easy because the guys told me there was a headwind in the second part. I went full in the last part and the final 3-4 kms I felt I could accelerate, and I ended with the feeling that it could have been a little longer for me! It was really a nice feeling. 


“For GC the differences are small, but it’s always nice to start well and do a good time to the other GC guys. I am happy that [the Tour] has finally started, after all the waiting and anticipation, and with all the Dutch fans today it was a really great experience.”



For Bob Jungels it was his first taste of the crazy circus that is the Tour de France and the Utrecht fans lining the entire length of the course blew him away:


“I have to say it was really special to start, and I was quite relaxed until Laurent [Didier] was coming back to the bus and telling me about the course. Then I started to realize it’s all starting now! But I felt really good, and maybe I started a bit too fast with all the sensations, with all the people it was really crazy, everyone is cheering at you. It’s fantastic! I was happy with my performance, as I always need a few days to get into my rhythm. For the rest, I really hope that it continues like this with all the great crowds and no incidences - crashes or problems.  I think we will have a really nice time here.”



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