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"But my team-mate Alessandro De Marchi did it. It would be nice if we could have two jerseys in the team rather than one, if he manages to take the polka dot jersey. But tomorrow, it'll be an even harder course than today!"

Photo: A.S.O.






13.07.2014 @ 21:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Peter Sagan is already wearing the green jersey but today Cannondale proved that they have their sights on more than just the points competition. Alessandro De Marchi scored a lot of KOM points in stage 9 and the team may be arriving in Paris with two jerseys on their shoulders.


The Tour de France has started to embrace novelty, with fewer stages that can be easily categorized into one kind or another. Stage nine, 166km from Gérardmer to Mulhouse, started with four medium mountains, followed by a high mountain and an easier mountain. The final 50km after the mountains was raced mostly downhill.


With Peter Sagan no longer in contention for the Yellow Jersey and the course too hard for most sprinters, Cannondale Pro Cycling was free to ride a more exciting game plan. More of the team was free to attack.


When the flag was dropped, it was Sagan who was on the attack. He was quickly brought back. It was his teammate, Alessandro De Marchi, who was able to gap the field. He was joined by Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s Tony Martin 18km into the stage. The two rode well together and slowly pulled away from the pack.

By the second summit of the day, it was clear that De Marchi and Martin had a pact. De Marchi wanted mountain points and Martin wanted the stage win. Behind them, 28 riders, including Cannondale’s Kristijan Koran, escaped the pack. 


De Marchi and Martin rode well together until the first category climb, Le Markstein. There, with 59km remaining, concerned their lead was shrinking, Martin attacked De Marchi. De Marchi couldn’t respond and he slowly lost time to Martin. Martin summited and didn’t look back. De Marchi was second over the top and in the virtual lead of the King of the Mountains competition.


Martin didn’t look back. He rode ahead of the field into the rain. De Marchi was caught by the chase just before the final summit of the day. Martin won two points for first, putting him over De Marchi and into the lead of the KoM. After a rainy descent, the sun came out and shined on Martin as he roared off to an amazing victory, 152km in the lead, 59km ridden solo.


After the finish, De Marchi felt disappointed.


“It was a good chance, I did a strong effort and at the finished I was even out of top ten. I can’t be satisfied at all. When I was riding alone with Tony Martin I knew he was stronger than me. I worked with him and wanted to follow his pace when he attacked, but it was too much with me. I went in the breakaway for the stage win, the idea of the polka dot jersey came later. Let’s see if I’ll have other chances for a breakaway during next stages”


Sagan was relieved it was over. He didn’t increase his lead in the points competition, but then neither did his rivals reduce his lead.


"It was a very hard course today. I was trying to go in a breakaway today but probably I went too early, even before the first climb. It was a mistake. After that, I didn't have the legs to go to the front anymore.


"But my team-mate Alessandro De Marchi did it. It would be nice if we could have two jerseys in the team rather than one, if he manages to take the polka dot jersey. But tomorrow, it'll be an even harder course than today!"


Tomorrow, the high mountains begin. Mulhouse to La Planche des Belle Filles is 161.5km and all of it goes uphill or down. Seven categorized climbs, four of them, including the summit finish, are first category. Not only does this mean that the overall contenders have to come out and perform, but so, too, will French riders and French teams. Tomorrow is Bastille Day, and the national holiday means they’ll be keen to succeed, as most of France will be watching. Cannondale Pro Cycling will do what they can do to remain aggressive and in the hunt for points and stage wins.



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