Vuelta a España: Mollema abandons GC goals after further time loss
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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Vuelta a España: Mollema abandons GC goals after further time loss

by VeloNation Press at 9:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Ten Dam also fatigued after Tour, but Dekker says he’ll keep battling

Bauke MollemaUnder pressure of late in the Vuelta a España, Bauke Mollema has decided to abandon any thoughts of riding for the general classification in the race.

The Dutchman finished sixth in the Tour de France and initially looked to be on track for his goal of a high overall finish in the Spanish event. After his Belkin team took tenth in the opening team time trial of the race, he was ninth, sixth and fifth on the next three stages, putting him fourteenth overall, just 49 seconds off the race lead.

He then picked up an intermediate sprint time bonus on stage six and moved up to thirteenth overall.

However since then things haven’t gone to plan. Mollema suffered on stage eight, dropping two and a half minutes to the stage winner Leopold Konig (NetApp Endura), and lost further time on stage nine.

Yesterday was the final straw, with the Dutchman realising during the stage that his battery was empty.

“Already at the foot of the Monachil, I felt it was going to be hard to follow and decided to let the pack go,” he said. “I have decided the GC is no longer a goal. My legs are just not good enough.”

Instead, he will choose his moments and attempt to salvage something from the race. “I will now try to save energy wherever possible and pick a day to give it a try,” he explained. “We still have a few nice stages to go. Hopefully I can also do something for Laurens. My morale is still high.”

His reference to team-mate Laurens ten Dam is because his compatriot, who helped him during the Tour, is now the best placed Belkin rider overall. However he too had a tough day yesterday, rolling in 25th, three minutes 58 back.

His chances of a strong finish in Madrid also appear to have evaporated on what was a disheartening day for the team. The time loss yesterday puts him sixteenth overall, over six minutes back.

Still, directeur sportif Erik Dekker believes he will keep battling on. “Lau [Laurens – ed.] is Lau and he always works hard. He placed 25th and that’s a good performance, but he just lacks that little bit of power to keep up with the best.

“Lau's middle name is fighting and that’s what he will continue to do.”

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