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Despite having lost three teammates earlier in the race, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) finished fourth on Friday at the Tour de France, and rose from 12th to sixth overall on a vivid and unpredictable day at the biggest bike race in the world.

Photo: Sirotti






13.07.2013 @ 08:27 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

At the skin of his teeth, Fuglsang managed to slip into a late-stage breakaway with 13 other riders in the final 50km of a flat stage from Tours to Saint Arnaud Montrond.


In crosswinds that shattered the peloton into several different echelons, and which isolated many of the top favourites in the three-week race, including overall leader Chris Froome (Sky), Fuglsang and the rest of the escapees built a 1’10” advantage and held the gap to the finish, effectively changing the standings in a highly dramatic and offensive move.


"My teammates kept me at the front all day, and when the speed picked up I was able to go with the attackers. There are only six of us at Astana now, but we have one goal and we work together every day to achieve it," Fuglsang said on the Astana website.

Fuglsang clocked the same time as stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and jumped six places in the overall standings. He is now 4:39 behind Froome, and is poised to race for a Top-10 finish in the remaining stages.


Astana Pro Team Director Sportif Jaan Kirsipuu drove ahead of the race on Friday, and noticed the strong crosswinds from the 50th to 110th kilometre mark.


"In a crosswind the peloton stretches out in a long diagonal line across the road, and it is very hard to find protection if you are at the back. Riders get tired and they lose contact and it is too difficult for everybody else to close the gap. If you aren't in the front in these situations you can lose enormous amounts of time. That's what we saw today," Kirsipuu said.


"Jakob made smart decisions with his head and rode a strong stage with his legs. He's in excellent condition right now because of his training, his experience and motivation, and because he has a very strong team behind him going to work at every stage. We still have a very difficult week ahead of us in the Alps, and to be in sixth place on GC right now is absolutely fantastic," Kirsipuu added.



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