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"I don’t know where they came from, but they came back to the peloton after 100kms.  At the top of Puig Major Fränk was in a group of 10 riders chasing Valverde. So at the end again we could play for...

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BAUKE MOLLEMA

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CHALLENGE MALLORCA

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FABIO SILVESTRE

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FRANK SCHLECK

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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31.01.2015 @ 19:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today saw the hardest and hilliest day of the Mallorca Challenge’s four races and inclement weather added extra zing to an already spicy day. By the finish there were only 46 finishers under the harsh conditions. The highest finisher for Trek Factory Racing was Fränk Schleck who prevailed to finish in ninth place.

 

Trek Factory Racing suffered a mixed day of up and downs. In one moment all was good, each breakaway that rolled away had a pinstriped jersey in its midst, the next a crash would change everything.

 

“This race was like a movie – there have not been so many times that I have seen a race happen like this!” exclaimed Director Adriano Baffi. “Not only about the parcours and crashes, but also to see Fränk, who in the first 20 kilometers was in the third group over three minutes back and appeared to be out of the race, to come back to be in contention for the podium at the end of the race!”

 

The 165.7-kilometer race began under treacherous conditions: narrow, twisty roads already wet, a strong wind gusting hard, and the threat of more rain on the horizon. Everyone wanted to be in the breakaway and it made a fast, chaotic start.

 

 

It was not long before the peloton split into three groups, and a break of 20 surged up the road with Fabio Silvestre.  Bauke Mollema, Fabian Cancellara and Fumy Beppu were in the second group numbering around 30, but Schleck was caught behind in the third group.

 

"It was a fast start with wet roads, and before the first break went it was so crazy it split the peloton. It was a big fight to be in the break.  It was a hard day, with full on rain in some parts,” explained director Josu Larrazabal from the team’s hotel.

 

“We had Silvestre crash out of the first breakaway in the first 20 kms. He went down in the crash with [Rory] Sunderland. It was impossible for him to avoid it and he was brought to the hospital. He has superficial abrasions in his left knee and right arm but thankfully nothing more and we hope that he is able to start tomorrow.”

 

After the breakaway’s crash the two front groups rejoined and an attentive Bauke Mollema jumped into the next move of 25 riders that also included eventual race winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

 

It was a perfect situation until he, too, crashed from the breakaway leaving Trek Factory with empty hands again.

 

“So we went from having Silvestre in the break and crashing out, then Bauke in a good break, and crashing. We looked to have nothing and then in one moment the group with Fränk appeared again! I don’t know where they came from, but they came back to the peloton after 100kms.  At the top of Puig Major Fränk was in a group of 10 riders chasing Valverde. So at the end again we could play for the second place. Today was something - it was crazy!"  explained Baffi.

 

On the descent with less than 24 kilometers remaining attacks from the chase group freed Tim Wellens (Lotto) and Leopold König and they scooped up the final podium steps.

 

 

Schleck, who early on seemed out of contention, came across in 9th place, a good result in a tough, messy race that left only a few strong, and lucky survivors by the end.

 

“Today there was a lot of wind, and the rain started at around 100-kilometers. Here the roads are very slippery even when it’s dry, so that made it even more dangerous.”continued Baffi.

 

“Matthew [Busche] also crashed on the downhill, it was a slow crash but he went down hard on his arm, so he stopped. And after Bauke crashed he pulled out after 20 more kilometers since he said he was not feeling so good.

 

“Okay at the end what Fränk did was not a big result, but it was the maximum that we could have today after Bauke crashed and all that happened.”

 

Tomorrow is the final day of the Mallorca Challenge, a flatter race tailored to the sprinters. Trek Factory Racing will bring in Giacomo Nizzolo and Marco Coledan in anticipation of a bunch sprint finish.

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