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"Bob was in good position and it was perfect as he grabbed third and took the four second bonus. But the sprint was planned for Giaco. It’s too bad, and with what we are showing here we deserve to have a win this week!"

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BOB JUNGELS

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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05.02.2015 @ 20:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A reluctant peloton started the 157-kilometer stage two from Nîmes to Les Fumades with a dangerous wind blowing so hard that the riders’ welfare was at risk.

 

For the second straight day frigid temperatures and stiff, icy winds continued but it was the gusting, perilous gales in the first hour that had the peloton requesting a shortened parcours.  The organization said ride-on, resulting in the riders stubbornly stopping three times out on the road to express their dissatisfaction with the dangerous conditions.

 

“The protest was for the wind, not the cold!” explained team director Alain Gallopin. “It was very, very dangerous for the wind in the first hour and it was for the security of the riders they spoke with the organization.  But okay, I told the guys that if you go slowly it is not dangerous. Once they entered the forest it was better, but until then it was not safe for the riders. During the race we spoke with the organization again, and at end the riders continued in a good way.”

 

Despite a disgruntled peloton, once the flag dropped three riders wasted little time forging ahead and gained over three minutes before the peloton pressed the accelerator to quickly bring them back to solidarity.  If a point was to be made, the riders needed to be united.

 

 

But it was not long before another rider fled the flock and as the protests continued behind he bravely pushed on, enduring the stiff wind alone.

 

And, as often the case when the barn door beckons toward race end, the peloton – perhaps content its demonstration made enough noise - finally caved to its suppressed competitive desires; when the day’s seven-kilometer mountain climb arrived with just over 40 kilometers to go two riders emerged ahead of the rest.

 

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Hugo Houle (AG2R) easily caught the lone fugitive, rapidly disposed of his tired legs, and gained almost a minute’s advantage.

 

But the now-roused peloton had the finish line and victory on its mind once again, and the duo was tagged back with 11 kilometers to go.

 

Trek Factory Racing lined up for the fast finish, leading fastman Giacomo Nizzolo perfectly until a late crash impaired his progress, ruining his chance of victory.

 

“It was fantastic teamwork at the end, we were in front. Marco, Bob and Fabio [Silvestre] passed by the crash, but Giacomo had to brake,” continued Gallopin, describing the last kilometers. “I think Marco was a bit tired after yesterday [in the breakaway] and he still managed a fourth place. Bob was in good position and it was perfect as he grabbed third and took the four second bonus. But the sprint was planned for Giaco. It’s too bad, and with what we are showing here we deserve to have a win this week! That is our goal, I don’t care what stage, but we want a victory.”

 

Stijn Devolder went down in the crash but came away unscathed and was able to finish.

 

Fabio Silvestre also sprinted to 10th, placing three of Trek Factory Racing into the top 10 positions.

 

With his fourth place today, and a third yesterday, Marco Coledan claimed the lead in the points competition.  He also continues to hold onto third overall (+06”).

 

“It was difficult because the wind was from the front at the end, and then the crash happened with 2kms to go,” said Coledan. “I was in front of it with Bob and Silvestre. It was very good for Bob to be third, and okay I was fourth and have the points jersey but we missed the opportunity for a win with Giacomo, and that unfortunate.”

 

 

Kristof Vandewalle was the only downside to a successful day as he was forced to stop a result of sickness.  With the temperatures hovering between two to five degrees the past two days the weather is forecast to be slightly warmer tomorrow, and a relative balmy 11 degrees (Celsius) expected by the weekend.

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