Tour de France: Belkin duo Mollema and Ten Dam continue impressive riding
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tour de France: Belkin duo Mollema and Ten Dam continue impressive riding

by Kyle Moore at 4:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
New Tour GC threats maintain top ten placings after stage 11 time trial

Belkin Pro CyclingBelkin Pro Cycling team-mates Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam did well in the stage 11 individual time trial to maintain their spots in the overall classification on Wednesday.

Even though stage runner up and overall leader Chris Froome (Sky Procycling) went a long way to secure the maillot jaune, adding nearly two minutes to his buffer on the other favourites, Mollema and Ten Dam both did themselves favours in what is becoming the race for second place.

Mollema, Belkin’s true GC leader, was especially good, maintaining his position in third overall. He achieved what his team director Nico Verhoeven called the second fastest time of the general classification riders. Mollema was 11th in the time trial, two minutes and five seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). The Dutchman lost just under two minutes to Froome, and the third place he occupies currently is now 3’37” behind the Sky Procycling star.

Saxo-Tinkoff duo Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger remain stuck together in the overall rankings, now in fourth and fifth. Although Mollema was able to add a few seconds to his lead over the Spaniard, taking his advantage from seven seconds to 17.

Contador and Kreuziger both leap-frogged Ten Dam in the overall standings, although the bearded rider put in a solid effort on the stage, finishing 22nd, with a 2’32” deficit to Martin. Ten Dam goes from fourth to sixth overall with the movement of the Saxo-Tinkoff riders, 4’10” in arrears of Froome.

As often happens in Tour de France time trials, the GC riders separated themselves from the specialists against the clock in their judgments of the stage, which had both Mollema and Ten Dam pleased.

“I am extremely satisfied with how it went today,” Mollema enthused. “On a flat parcours like this, I really did not expect to finish as high as I did. It’s very cool to have ridden faster than Contador for example.

“There really were not any TT specialists in the top ten of the GC, but my form is at a very nice level and I think that showed again today.”

Time will tell if big mover Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is a true GC contender, and the Pole sits just behind Ten Dam in the standings. But the Belkin rider takes confidence from the way he rode on the first mountain stage, the summit finish to Ax 3 Domaines.

“I did better than the Dutch time trial champion. I think that says everything about my performance,” Ten Dam stated. “It’s really starting to look good. I’m sixth in the GC and we only really have to climb from now on. It’s going to be tough to get the time back that I lost to Contador but I’ve already dropped him once in the Pyrenees. I just have to stay focused until we reach Paris.”

“We’ve got a very good week and a half of racing behind us,” Verhoeven explained. “We rode well in the Pyrenees and on the flats and when Bauke rides the second fastest time of the GC riders in the time trial you have to be very satisfied. We were third and fourth and now we are third and sixth but we’ve managed to consolidate our position in the classification. Only two riders have slipped in between Bauke and Laurens and they are no slouches. Laurens on his own merits also rode a heck a of a TT today.”

A familiar refrain amongst many riders throughout the stage was the stunning scenery surrounding Mont-Saint-Michel, as well as the large crowds lining the entire route. Since some Belkin riders got to save energy for future work, they were able to better take in their surroundings.

“The parcours was really beautiful and together with the breathtaking finish town and all those spectators along the way, it was a very special stage,” stated Tom Leezer.

“There was an incredible amount of spectators along the way. Unbelievable. It was really something special to finish with Mont Saint-Michel in the background,” added Sep Vanmarcke.

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