Flens missed cyclocross obstacles in stormy Giro d'Italia stage
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flens missed cyclocross obstacles in stormy Giro d'Italia stage

by Bjorn Haake at 4:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Reminiscent of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

Rabobank's Rick Flens was part of the break of the day in yesterday's Giro d'Italia stage seven. He went clear with Nicki Sørensen (Saxo Bank) after around 80km and the duo was caught in the final part of the race, when the Passo del Rospatoio and two off-road sections decided the outcome.

Flens finished second in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne earlier this year, a race that was held in equally adverse conditions. But he denied any connection in his break attempt. "I try to escape here every day. This is my first Grand Tour. I refuse to give up," he said on rabosport.nl. It was his second longer break of the Giro. "It wears you out, but it also gives you a kick."

Flens had no illusions that they were being caught in the final. "It was clear they wouldn't let us get through. We heard that the peloton had broken into pieces - then you know enough."

Flens was a bit amused at the term bike race. "The end had little to do with road racing. I did miss the obstacles to jump over," he said, drawing a comparison to cyclo-cross racing. "I understand this is part of the appeal of the Giro, but it really meant a lot of suffering."

Before the off-road section was hit and with the gap of Flens and Sørensen still almost six minutes, the Dutchman changed bikes. "But it was nothing special, I just had some trouble with my derailleur. I did need another bike, with regards to the off-road sections."

Once caught, Flens could not hang on with the front runners. "In the finale I rode my own pace. I was part of a larger group for a while, then rode by myself for a long time." He ended in a small group, 24 minutes down on the day's winner, Cadel Evans.

Despite not many flat stages left, Flens hasn't given up hope that a break can still succeed. "You saw it twice this week that an early break stayed away. This chance will increase the longer the race goes on. But not Sunday [today]. That is for the climbers."


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