Jurgen Van Den Broeck: “I was thinking of time gains not the stage victory”
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Jurgen Van Den Broeck: “I was thinking of time gains not the stage victory”

by Ben Atkins at 4:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Lotto-Belisol riders blow the peloton apart; concedes that the podium is now probably out of reach

jurgen van den broeckAfter a disaster on the previous stage, where a mechanical incident at the foot of the final climb to la Planche des Belles Filles saw him lose 1’52” to the other big names of the race, Lotto-Belisol’s Jurgen Van Den Broeck came out fighting on the eighth stage of the Tour de France. The Belgian put teammate Jelle Vanendert - who won last year’s stage to the Plateau de Beille - to work on the climb to the Col de la Croix, and smashed the peloton to pieces as it crossed the summit with 16km to go.

"After yesterday I didn't let myself go,” Van Den Broeck explained. “I started full of courage and enthusiasm. My legs were good today, it showed on the final climb. The crowd was huge and it was an advantage to climb in front.

“Jelle started with lots of power,” he continued. “One kilometre from the top, I took over and was able to go 100 percent."

"During the race we already had discussed making a move on the Col de la Croix,” echoed Vanendert. “First Sky and Liquigas took the lead and finally we got up front. I was asked by Jurgen to really go the limit, in order to pull the group in a strip.

Vanendert’s pace shattered the peloton and, as Van Den Broeck took over, the front group was reduced to just ten big names. The Belgians - having been unlucky the day before - are looking forward to making further waves in the stages to come.

“We feel really good and the Tour isn't over yet,” said Vanendert. “We still have two weeks to go and every day the situation can change. We still can make lots of progression."

Van Den Broeck finished fourth in the 2010 Tour, which was the best result for a Belgian since Lucien Van Impe took fourth in 1983. Inevitably the pressure of the cycling-mad nation has fallen on his shoulders and, after crashing out of the 2011 race, was determined to aim at the podium this time.

Having reduced the front group on the climb, the Belgian tried to escape in the flatter final kilometres to the line, but - although defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) had similar ideas - he was ultimately recaptured by the rest of the favourites.

"In the descent, our explorer Mario Aerts had told me to go left at the roundabout, instead of going right like all the rest,” he explained. “It enabled me to get away. Soon Cadel Evans joined, but I was unable to go through again. I only thought about the time gain, not the stage win. When you see which riders have lost time in recent days, you know everything is possible.

Having suffered such a big loss on stage seven, Van Den Broeck concedes that the podium he was aiming for now looks out of reach. His aggression has moved him up from 13th to eighth however, so he has not given up hope yet.

“Top three is not realistic, but top five is,” he concluded. “Although you never know what might happen."


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