Having lost its leader Mathias Frank earlier in the race, IAM have suffered the loss of another rider. Reto Hollenstein crashed early in stage 16 and has been diagnosed with a pneumothorax that forces him to abandon the race.
The first stage through the Pyrenees gave Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) the chance to win solo in Bagnères-de-Luchon, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) defended his yellow jersey for this 16th stage of the 101st Tour de France. IAM Cycling, meanwhile, celebrated the impressive ride that Roger Kluge managed to do, in spite of being more a big sprinter, finishing in 23rd place 9’07” behind the winner.
On the flipside, IAM Cycling will lose Reto Hollenstein who crashed early in the stage but still managed to make it to the finish line. The tall Swiss rider was examined in the Tour de France’s mobile clinic at the finish line, which detected a pneumothorax of the right lung, in addition to multiple abrasions.
After finishing 26’47” behind the winner, Hollenstein understandably was in tears at the news. Having crashed following a touch of wheels with another rider, the Swiss German from the Thurgau region of the country, climbed back up on his bike and began a pursuit of more than 60 kilometers to rejoin the peloton. Having the courage to ignore the pain, Hollenstein succeeded in finishing the difficult stage in the gruppetto.
After riding so well in this longest stage of the Tour de France, Roger Kluge offered a crisp assessment of the difficult climb up to the Port de Balès. Happy in the sun at the finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon, Kluge, who took a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the points race on the track, used his usual humor to talk about his day.
“I had a good rest day after sledging it through the Alps. I relaxed by the swimming pool. Today, the team did plan on putting a rider in the break. Everyone was on alert.
"I had not planned personally to get in it, since several of my teammates are better climbers. But I found myself off the front, and I gave it my best shot.
"Since we had such a comfy gap before the final climb, I was able to find a second wind when Nibali and the others passed me in view of the top of the Port de Balès. Personally, it has been a fun, satisfying day that will motivate me to get through the Pyrenees and make it to Paris.”
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|Miroslav MINCHEV YORDANOV|
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