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"I could not even try to go again on the bike it was so painful. I could not walk, or even bend my leg. We don’t think anything is broken, but we will go to the hospital to be sure.”

Photo: Sirotti












18.02.2015 @ 20:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol started with two stages Wednesday, a 118-kilometer road race followed by an 8.2-kilometer individual time trial, and resulted in a seesaw day for Trek Factory Racing.


While a crashed-marred finale in stage 1a impeded Bauke Mollema and ended Fränk Schleck’s race, Fabio Silvestre sped to a second place finish.


A few hours later Bob Jungels helped even the score and lifted the team’s spirits again with a fantastic ride in the time trial to jump into second overall behind Alberto Contador.


“Fabio [Silvestre] confirmed to us that he had made a small step and he will be good for the future and ready to show something in the sprints,” said director Josu Larrazabal, happy with Silvestre’s second place finish. “It was unfortunate to lose Fränk, but this is racing. We think he will be okay and that nothing is broken. 


“It’s also a pity that we were so close to get the leader’s jersey with Bob, but the field is a really high level here and we are very satisfied with his result. Jesse [Sergent] did a good TT, too, for his first race since coming from New Zealand. Bauke lost a little more time to the GC favorites in the TT and it was unfortunate there were gaps from the crashes. We will have to see the official results later to see where we stand.”


The short first stage unfolded toward the expected bunch finish until two large crashes in the final 10 kilometers reduced the peloton to less than 30 riders. Pim Ligthart jumped from this disorganized group a kilometer and a half from the finish to win by two seconds.


On his heels, Silvestre sprinted from the bunch to claim second place, a nice result to balance the damage inflicted from the crashes.


“It was crosswinds in the last 20k and we knew that it would be rock n’ roll for the end, and that is exactly what happened,” explained Fränk Schleck about the crazy final kilometers. “We were all up there, the whole team together, at five kilometers to go, but it was an easy race until then so there were a lot of fresh legs, and then everyone thinks they want to go and sprint.


"I saw later in a video that some guy went down in the first line of the peloton and there was no way around it, so a lot of riders crashed at 60-65km/h. It was the second crash of the day; I missed the first, but this one took me down. I could not even try to go again on the bike it was so painful. I could not walk, or even bend my leg. We don’t think anything is broken, but we will go to the hospital to be sure.”


Bob Jungels finished safely in the front group, avoiding the carnage and numerous time gaps while Bauke Mollema was an unfortunate victim and lost 40 seconds to the main GC rivals.


Although Mollema’s overall hopes took a blow, Jungels compensated by flying around the rolling, technical 8.2-kilometer race of truth to finish less than half a second off Alberto Contador’s time.  


Contador grabbed the leader’s jersey with his fourth place finish and Jungels leaped into second overall, rounded to the same time.


“It was pretty technical, three long straights around a kilometer long, and for the rest quite small roads and corners,” said Jungels, describing the short, intense time trial.  “Spanish roads are always a little dirty and slippery so you had to be careful, and there were a few short 200 to 300-meter hills. They are always a bit of a leg breaker when you turn a corner and have to sprint over them. It wasn’t easy.


“I started really well, the first five kilometers were fast, but in the last three kilometers I felt I missed a little bit of power “Last week I could not train that much outside and I did a lot of training on the rollers. I felt that a little bit today. But I think for my second race it is a good result; I don’t see where I could have gone faster, except missing that power at the end. So overall, I am pretty happy.”


Tomorrow the Ruta del Sol continues with the longest stage of the five-day tour and likely will end with a reduced bunch sprint with a category three climb situated less than 10 kilometers from the finish.



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