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"I recovered and did the second part in my tempo and I feel good.  I am happy because I think I am in good form for the Tour," said Haimar Zubeldia."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing








09.06.2014 @ 17:19 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The ever-consistent Haimar Zubeldia could again turn out to be the Trek team's strongest weapon in the Tour de France. Today he proved that he is still going strong when he finished 11th in the first mountain stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné.


There was no easing into the Critérium du Dauphiné with the Hors catégorie col de Béal (13.6kms at 6.6%) ending the 156-kilometer second stage. The summit finish further tested the GC after yesterday’s time trial generated first cracks, but it was the weather that added another level of torment.


With temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius the weather played a vital influence on the race.


“On a day like today it is imperative the riders get enough fluids,” said Trek team doctor Dr. Ortwin Schaefer to the Trek webpage. "The adult body is about 60% water by weight so a 70kg person consists of approximately 40kg of water. With a water loss of 3% of total body weight blood volume decreases and performance deteriorates.


"Fatigue at the end of a day like today could be a result of dehydration as much as the hard sustained effort. Losing 5% can result in confusion and disorientation and lose up to 10% can be life threatening. The task of going back to the car for bottles is crucial on hot days like today


On the early part of the col de Béal the race intensified to match the sweltering temperatures. The day’s principal five-man break stood little chance on the slopes of the col de Béal as Team Sky led a blistering pace from the bottom. When Chris Froome launched the first of many searing attacks with just over five kilometers to go he blew the front group to pieces.


During a moment of cease-fire with a regrouping of the remaining survivors a tally was taken: Haimar Zubeldia was found in the second group of seven pursuing the six-strong Froome and Contador group ahead.


The truce was brief. The battle raged again as the leading six pitched attacks to the line until the final heave by Froome that only Contador could follow. They would finish one-two, Froome just ahead of Contador, enough to pad his lead over the Spaniard to 12 seconds.  Haimar Zubeldia finished 45 seconds later for 11th place and now holds 7th overall (+1’22”).


“I felt good," Zubeldia said. "But it was a hard day with the hot weather and Sky setting a good pace all day. The last climb we started full gas. Maybe it was also for the morale ahead of the Tour. I struggled in the middle of the climb, but I recovered and did the second part in my tempo and I feel good.  I am happy because I think I am in good form for the Tour."


Bob Jungels paced himself up the col de Béal, opting to ease off the relentless pace set by Team Sky. He did not retain the white best young rider jersey, however, this was never the goal as his focus lies in winning a stage, not in the overall classification.


“With Bob he is young, and I wanted to help him a little bit, help him learn - he has a lot to learn still. He is in good shape but when you are young you feel the pressure [of expectations] and that is difficult. But I think Bob has a big, big talent and a big future,” Zubeldia continued.


Tomorrow the 194-kilometer stage three favors a sprint finish and Trek Factory Racing will aim to be on the top step of the podium with Giacomo Nizzolo after his highly successful Giro d'Italia.



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