Tour de France: Orica-GreenEdge and Sojasun amongst those foiled by Bakelants
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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tour de France: Orica-GreenEdge and Sojasun amongst those foiled by Bakelants

by Kyle Moore at 9:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Gerrans, Impey, and Simon well placed on GC after stage two sprint

Daryl ImpeyWhen Jan Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard) surprised everyone with an enthralling victory in stage two of the Tour de France, by a single second over a pack of speeding sprinters, he ensured that a number of hill-climbing fast men missed out.

The gripping footage of the stage finish shows a shocked Bakelants celebrating victory, with Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Julien Simon (Sojasun), and Daryl Impey and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in full flight just behind him.

Sagan was the fastest of the rest, taking second on the stage, with Kwiatkowski third. Simon finished sixth for Sojasun, and Impey was led out by Gerrans to an eighth place finish. Strong finishes the past two days has each rouleur positioned well overall, as Simon sits in third, and Impey in fourth.

Stage two was an undulating stage, and the survival rate for the sprinters was an unknown going in. The stage seemed suited well to Orica-GreenEdge, and team director Laurenzo Lapage explained their tactics afterward on the team website.

“We reviewed the course last week with [Matt Goss], Gerro and Impey. We knew that the profile was really hard, but it was hard to predict how the race would unfold after the [Col de Vizzavona],” Lapage explained. “A lot would depend on what other teams wanted to do. Cannondale raced hard over the climbs to eliminate the sprinters. We knew this was a possibility. We thought Gossy was one of the sprinters who might be able to survive the pressure applied by other teams, but he didn’t. He fell back with most of the other sprinters into the grupetto. We had three riders in the front group – Gerro, Impey and [Michael] Albasini. The rest of our riders were in the next group.”

The result in the hectic finale was Gerrans, a former Tour stage winner, leading out the speedier Impey.

“I tried to do my best to lead out Daryl to set him up for the sprint, and we weren’t far off the mark,” Gerrans said on the team’s Backstage Pass video posted after the stage.

“It was one of the best lead-outs I’ve had all year, but Gerro’s been doing that all year for me. He really looked after me in the end, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish it off,” Impey added. “We’re in a good situation now for the overall, and hopefully we can be a bit lucky tomorrow.”

“We’re well within striking distance of that yellow shirt, and we’ll keep cracking at it tomorrow,” Gerrans concluded. Monday’s stage three could have a similar conclusion, though the final climb – a category-two ascent 12 kilometres from the finish - comes closer to the end.

Julien Simon tries and tries again:

Before he finished sixth on the stage to move into third overall, Simon tried to get in the day’s early break, which had already gone away, more than a minute up the road. The attempt was unsuccessful, but it may have worked for the better for Sojasun, which had seven of its nine men in the lead group at the finish. They were a constant presence in the closing kilometres, eventually setting up Simon’s finish.

“It took a little time to get over [the failed breakaway], but I finally recovered,” Simon stated. “The peloton broke up but we had a lot of Sojasun riders in the front group. At this point, our strategy played out well. I managed to be near the top 20 at ten kilometres from the finish. It was kind of tough in the final but I ended up with the beautiful sixth place. This allows me to take third place overall.”

Riding in his second Tour, the 27-year-old is hoping for more and takes confidence into the next few stages.

“I’m happy, but I would have liked to take a jersey,” he admitted. “It’s the dream of every rider. I think I can do better and I’ll try to keep the momentum going in the next stages.”

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