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"Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants helped me a lot and kept me at the front. That saves energy. We were expecting echelons, but it's a pity there was not enough wind [to split the peloton]," Mollema says

Photo: Sirotti








20.07.2014 @ 20:05 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bauke Mollema and the Belkin team were some of the winners in last year's windy stage to Saint-Armand-Montrond and today they went into stage 15 with the plan to make a similar coup. However, the wind abated in the finale which robbed the team from an opportunity to wreak havoc on the bunch.


Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM was hoping to lay a trap in Sunday's long, windy transition stage from Talland to Nimes, but the day finished with a bunch sprint, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) winning his second stage. Bauke Mollema led the team with 23rd on the stage.

"We expected more wind in the finale, with 10km to go, the field was open, but the wind was gone. Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants helped me a lot and kept me at the front. That saves energy. We were expecting echelons, but it's a pity there was not enough wind [to split the peloton]," said Mollema, who remains seventh overall going into Monday's rest day. "Now I will focus on the final week. Yesterday was a disappointment, but I am still seventh, and we have two men in the top 10 on GC."

Belkin was hoping to drive the front of the group, and force a split in the bunch to try to catch some of their GC rivals in bad position, but the wind let up as the peloton hit the wide-open fields late in the stage.

"We had Sports Director Frans Maassen riding in the front, and there was a lot of wind, but then it stopped. First, we had a storm with rain, and when we hit the fields, the wind stopped," said Lars Boom, winner of stage 5. "We were at the front with some of our guys, including Bauke and Laurens, and it was our plan to push the pace and to make sure we were at the front. It was unfortunate that there was no wind, but now we have a rest day, and that's nice."

Like Mollema, Ten Dam finished safely in the bunch to defend his ninth place in the overall standings, 10:01 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

"After two heavy mountain stages, the legs feel tired. That's not strange after two weeks of racing at the Tour de France," Ten Dam said. "The first 60km today were quiet, and I was thinking that the past two days were tough, and I needed to stay focused. It was a nervous ride. I am glad we made it through the stage OK."

The Belkin riders enjoy their second and final rest day Monday, and then head into the final battle with three demanding stages across the Pyrénées starting Tuesday.

"The rest day comes at a good time for the boys. It was not easy today. It was really fast, with the crazy weather, but everyone got through it OK," said Belkin Sports Director Merijn Zeeman.

"We have both Laurens and Bauke in the top-10. We want to keep them there, but it will be very hard in the Pyrénées. Tomorrow, we will make some hard training, because if you relax too much, it is very hard the next day."



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