Bauke Mollema: “I want to fight for the podium and I think I still have a chance.”
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bauke Mollema: “I want to fight for the podium and I think I still have a chance.”

by Ben Atkins at 3:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Dutchman disappointed with losses in stage 17 time trial but vows to fight on

bauke mollemaBauke Mollema (Belkin) was one of the most disappointed riders at the end of today’s 32km Tour de France stage 17 time trial, as he dropped two places in the general classification. The 26-year-old Dutchman started the day in second place overall, 4’14” behind Maillot Jaune Chris Froome (Team Sky) but, after losing 2’09” to the British rider, he has been overtaken by Saxo-Tinkoff pair Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger, and has slipped to fourth.

A final corner incident undoubtedly cost Mollema several seconds, as - although he didn’t come down - he slid into the barrier and was forced to stop. He had already lost more than a minute to Contador on the first of the two 2nd category climbs on the course, however, and almost the same again on the second.

Contador now sits in second place, with Kreuziger third, while Mollema is now a minute and 32 seconds behind the Czech rider and that bottom step of the podium.

"I hadn't thought the differences would be this big,” Mollema said after his time trial. “When it started to rain, I had problems with braking. I became somewhat insecure and so I missed that last corner and I went into the fences.”

With three tough road stages to come before the ceremonial final day in Paris, climber Mollema has three opportunities to try to step back onto the Tour podium, and he intends to take them.

“Today wasn't a good day, but I still hope to show myself,” he said. “I want to fight for the podium and I think I still have a chance.”

Mollema was not the only Belkin Pro Cycling rider to suffer misfortune on the stage, as teammate Laurens ten Dam also crashed on the final descent. The bearded 32-year-old also slipped down a place in the general classification, from sixth to seventh, as a strong performance from Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) saw the Spaniard overtake.

"I felt good on the climbs but I hate the fact that I crashed in the final,” ten Dam said. I was on the limit. I gave everything I had, but the crash cost me thirty seconds. It happened about five or six kilometres before the finish.

“I took a left turn but couldn't hold my bike and slid over the tarmac,” he explained. “I suffered abrasions on my back."

With two Dutchmen in the top ten for the first time in a generation, and with the genuine prospect of a rider from the Netherlands on the podium for the first time since 1990, the famous Dutch corner on Alpe d’Huez will surely be even crazier than usual during the two ascents of the mountain in tomorrow’s stage.


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