Bauke Mollema posts solid outing in Il Lombardia
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bauke Mollema posts solid outing in Il Lombardia

by Kyle Moore at 3:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia
 
Rabobank rider up front all day and nets top ten finish

Bauke MollemaPeering out from over his glasses, Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) was visible throughout the latter portions of the day in the Giro di Lombardia, eventually finishing in seventh position. With fogged up glasses sitting on the bridge of his nose on the day’s final climbs, Mollema battled the weather and the elite group of favourites that fought to the finish.

After a breakthrough 2011 season, Mollema has struggled to duplicate in 2012, though the Dutchman is not short of race days as his season winds down. Mollema did complete a solid spring, taking third in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, followed up by top ten finishes in all three of the Ardennes Classics. He crashed out of the Tour de France and then could not repeat his Vuelta a España of 2011, when he was fourth.

In just his second race since the Vuelta concluded, Mollema showed that he had built good form coming into the fall. He wasn’t able to go with Katusha rider and Lombardia champ Joaquim Rodriguez, but finished in the middle of the first chasing group, nine seconds behind. He was Rabobank’s best finisher, working in the front group for the last 50 kilometres with team-mate Laurens ten Dam.

“The Giro di Lombardia was a real war of attrition,” remarked Mollema’s Rabobank director Frans Maassen. “Under these circumstances the best riders automatically surface and it was no different today. This actually happened pretty early, based on the result of the passage over the Sormano.”

Rabobank had carried out its race plan just as it had wanted, having both its leaders in the main group as well as a man in the breakaway. Tom Jelte Slagter found the early escape, though it did not last long.

“It’s a pity that the leaders, with Tom Jelte, could not keep up there longer,” Maassen added. “Because then he could have given Bauke some extra support. That’s why we were happy to get someone in the escape, but the 12 men were unfortunately not given enough space.”

The Dutch squad started the race one valuable man down, as Juan Manuel Garate did not start due to illness. Super-domestique ten Dam took on extra work as a result, which Maassen complimented afterward.

“Halfway through the race, more than half the pack was put at a disadvantage because of the weather. Luckily, Bauke was able to go deep into the final with a lot of support from Laurens, who really did a super job today. He went down when [Vincenzo] Nibali crashed, but fortunately it was without much consequence and he was able to return. He could assist Bauke until the last climb,” Maassen stated.

Mollema stayed at the front, upright, and out of trouble on the wet roads as rain poured down at the finish, the conditions making Rodriguez’ win even more impressive.

“Rodriguez was truly a class apart in the final,” Maassen concluded. “When he goes you know you must remain in the neighborhood. That didn’t work, but Bauke was still close to the podium.”

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