Tour de France Round Up: Solid stage nine effort for Rui Costa
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Tour de France Round Up: Solid stage nine effort for Rui Costa

by Kyle Moore at 9:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Van den Broeck puts it in perspective after Besançon time trial

Rui CostaWith Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome (Sky Procycling) seemingly head and shoulders above every other top general classification contender in the time trial save for Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), several of the men fighting for a top ten placing in Paris are comparing their results in the stage nine time trial with others closer to themselves in ability against the clock.

Wiggins’ and Froome’s times notwithstanding, two riders relatively pleased with their result in Besançon are Rui Costa (Movistar) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). Both were able to come up with finishes in the 41.5-kilometre race that left them in solid overall contention, and looking forward to the mountains to come.

Costa was pleased to have come home 14th in stage nine, having gotten over a bit of an illness. The Tour de Suisse champion says his legs are improving with the higher peaks approaching. With the bad luck of several of Movistar’s top riders, especially Alejandro Valverde and Jose Joaquin Rojas, Costa is hoping to help turn things around.

“The time trial became quite hard because both the flat sections and the hard sections required you to be at your maximum,” Costa stated. “I am satisfied with the outcome. Now I get to take the day off and see how we confront the Alps. I started a little wrong in the Tour – the feelings were not good. But it seems that every day your legs are better and I hope that now, when we reach the mountains, I continue to find it.

“After Switzerland I went four or five days without training with a cold that left me a little limited. We’ll see what Eusebio [Unzue] says, but surely we will focus on the general classification, and I’m there. And if I ever lose time, it would be a matter of going for stages. To me it feels new to fight for the general classification in a ‘big’ race and certainly it’s going to be a good experience for me to see how far I can go. Every year I improve a bit, and age is being felt – little by little we are no longer young and we must take advantage of the good years. We have had very bad luck in the first week of the Tour and I hope that in this second part we can change things and be protagonists.”

After working on his time trialing in the winter, Van den Broeck was pleased with his 25th place in Besançon as it compared to other riders of similar style.

“I felt good during the ride, but it is difficult to estimate,” the Belgian said. “Team manager Herman Frison told me on the road that I was in a good rhythm. Ultimately, when you see that I am up against specialists like [Fabian] Cancellara, a two-minute time loss is no shame. The difference between competitors like Nibali, Menchov, and Zubeldia is certainly possible. The real mountain stages are still coming, with the Alps and the Pyrenees. I expect a tough battle in the mountain stages.”


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