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"Anyway, the stage gave me a lot of motivation for the next stages, especially the ones in the Alps. I will continue to try and go for a stage victory. As a team we are in the actions every day."

Photo: Sirotti








18.07.2015 @ 19:31 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Etixx - Quick-Step rider Rigoberto Uran finished 4th in the 178.5km Tour de France Stage 14 on Saturday, out of a breakaway of 20 riders that was forced to chase after Michal Golas attacked with 28.3km left to race. Uran was able to save his energy with his teammate as the leader of the stage.


Golas was eventually caught by a solo bridging Kristijan Koren (Cannondale-Garmin) with 11.4km to go, before the penultimate climb Côte de Chabrits (Category 4, 1.9km, 5.9%). The duo worked well together, and held on to a 15" advantage over 18 chasers with 5.8km remaining. The peloton, which gave the original breakaway plenty of room to decide the stage, was still 5'59" behind.


However, Golas and Koren were unable to stay away on steep Category 2 Côte de la Croix Neuve (3km, 10.1%). Romain Bardet (AG2R - La Mondiale) saw his moment to attack with the gap at just 9 seconds. He quickly caught Koren, and passed Golas soon after. The other chasers bridged back to him, including Uran a few positions back.


Bardet wasn't finished with his accelerations. He launched again with 3.3km to go, and only Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) could get to his wheel. The steepness of the climb still gave chasers behind enough time to close the gap. Uran initially chased with Thibaut Pinot (, but Pinot chased down Bardet solo. It looked like those two might decide the stage until Stephen Cummings (MTN - Qhubeka) caught them as there was a descent after the final climb going into the finish. Cummings then accelerated, and got enough of a gap to win the stage. Pinot was 2nd, and Bardet 3rd. Uran crossed alone behind those three soon after. Golas finished 18th.


The GC contenders tried attacking each other as well on the final steep climb. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) tried his best, but was unable to get away from race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) as the two went to the line together ahead of other GC contenders. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) was unable to stay with the key moves and lost time. Quintana moved up to 2nd place overall as a result, now 3'10" down from Froome. Van Garderen moves down to 3rd, 3'32" down from the race leader. Uran is now 28th GC.


Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 183km Stage 15 on Sunday, from Mende to Valence. This will be the first stage of the second week that looks sprinter friendly on paper. However, there are four categorized climbs to conquer earlier in the stage, including Category 2 Col de l'Escrinet (7.9km, 5.8%) at kilometer 126.5km of the 183km stage. There is also a possibility that winds can play a factor at some point in the remaining kilometers before the finale.


"Golas and I entered the breakaway at the beginning," Uran said. "I knew the final climb would be the decisive one. When Bardet went I stayed with Pinot as best I could. I had good legs, but not enough to stay with them, and Cummings coming from behind. I fought and really tried to go for the victory, but it wasn't possible today.


"Anyway, the stage gave me a lot of motivation for the next stages, especially the ones in the Alps. I will continue to try and go for a stage victory. As a team we are in the actions every day. It would be nice to get another win in the upcoming days."


Michal Golas commented on the stage and told the Etixx website that the stage was very intensive among other things:


"It was very intense from the start," Golas said. "We tried to be in every big attack. After 20 kilometers I already saw a lot of riders on their knees, with groups everywhere. So, for me, it meant that everybody is tired and for sure a bigger group would go.


"First Rigo was in a nice breakaway, but IAM decided to chase them down. I knew in the next descent we should be in the front just to have a chance to go in the counter attack. Finally I got into the breakaway.


"We didn't really work well at the front. There were some riders trying to save energy. The plan was to bring Rigo to the final in the most comfortable position, without losing energy himself.


“For me, the only chance was to attack early and make a gap. I said to our sport director Davide Bramati that I would like to try. I hoped more riders would go on the offensive with me. But no one went with me.


"So, I tried to make the biggest gap possible by myself for the climb, to have some advantage. This would also give Rigo some shelter from having to go into the wind. This would keep him comfortable.


"So, OK, the plan was two-fold. I think the plan worked out until the end. We missed some legs in the finale. But we showed the aggressive style of racing that Etixx - Quick-Step is known for, which I think people love in cycling.


"You are extremely tired, but at the end you are happy. You see all this crowd cheering for you. It's Le Tour de France. It's always nice to be in the front like this and be part of the big actions of the race. I think we showed once again that we try every day to win a stage. We don't ride for 2nd place in stages. That's a nice thing and part of the team spirit."



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