Ten Dam, Mollema and Kreuziger all showing effects of tough Tour de France
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Sunday, September 01, 2013

Ten Dam, Mollema and Kreuziger all showing effects of tough Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 8:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Trio lose time on eighth stage of Vuelta a España

Laurens ten DamThey went into the race with hopes of repeating their strong Tour de France form but Belkin riders Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam – who were sixth and thirteenth there - and Saxo Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger, who was fifth, each suffered on yesterday’s eighth stage.

Ten Dam was best placed of the three, finishing in 25th place, 59 seconds behind Leopold Konig (NetApp Endura). Mollema was ten places further back, dropping two minutes 33 seconds, while Kreuziger was only 47th, five minutes 27 seconds in arrears.

The stage spelt an end to Mollema and Kreuziger’s GC hopes, leaving them three minutes twelve seconds and six minutes back respectively. Ten Dam is not in quite such a bad position, but still has a lot of work ahead to make up the two minutes and two seconds he is behind the red jersey of Nicolas Roche.

He said that the experience of the final climb of the Alto Peñas Blancas was a frustrating one. “With eleven kilometres to go I reached out for a gel in my back pocket and banged my elbow against a sign above the road. It really hurt and I found it quite difficult to get back into the rhythm,” he said. “Despite the fact that standing on the bike's pedals was hard, I still managed to catch up with the front.”

That effort cost him, though. “At that moment, there was an attack and I blew up. I’ll just have to wait and see how my elbow reacts but this is a downer because the legs were pretty good.”

Mollema finished ahead of him in the Tour but suffered yesterday. He said he knew early on that something wasn’t right.

“At the beginning of the stage and at the foot of the final climb, I already felt my legs weren’t at their best,” he admitted. “When I was dropped, I started riding my own pace.

“In the last kilometres, I was able to accelerate and take back some time. It’s a pity I lose this much time because the whole week I’ve felt good. But well, tomorrow is another day.”

The duo had been determined to fight for the red jersey but now find themselves on the back foot. It’s a similar scenario for Kreuziger, who rode above his previous level in the Tour but who was far off the pace yesterday.

It’s likely that fatigue after the Tour is one of the issues he is facing. Fortunately Roche is in good shape and he kept the team to the fore, finishing third and taking over the red jersey of race leader.

Kreuziger’s collapse in position means that Roche will now be the sole leader of the team. The Irishman rode hard for his Czech team-mate plus Alberto Contador during the Tour, and now Kreuziger is in a position where he can pay him back for his work.

“For the team, it’s a good day,” he said, thinking beyond his own performance. “It’s a real satisfaction to have the jersey with Nicolas. As for myself, I was lacking strength after having done the Tour de France. It’s a pity. I’ve been dropped pretty early.”

He will hope to feel better on today’s ninth stage, particularly as Roche will need help defending the lead.

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