Mollema pledges revenge for Leopard Trek tactics after puncture
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mollema pledges revenge for Leopard Trek tactics after puncture

by Shane Stokes at 7:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Suisse
 
Says his Rabobank team will repay gesture at Tour de France

Bauke MollemaDutch rider Bauke Mollema has spoken angrily about what he said were opportunistic tactics by the Leopard Trek team on yesterday’s eighth stage of the Tour de Suisse, and has vowed that his team will take revenge in the Tour de France.

The Leopard-Trek squad drove the pace in the finale to ensure that the Dutch rider couldn’t return to the front half of the peloton, which had split on the category three Hallauerberg climb, some 22 kilometres from the line. It sought to boost defending champion Frank Schleck’s chances, and he consequently moved up to third overall.

Mollema said afterwards that he had made the split, but was then forced to stop when he punctured with 15 kilometres to go. “It's unbelievable they (Leopard) hit full gas when they heard I wasn't in the group any more,' said the Dutchman, according to Sky News.

“Last year in the Tour de France the Leopard guys [then riding for Saxo Bank] neutralised the race when some of their guys had crashed. We won't forget this when it comes to the Tour de France,” he vowed.

Mollema had started the day second overall, one minute 23 seconds, and had a chance of taking the general classification in today’s time trial. Race leader Damiano Cunego is not known as a strong rider against the clock; former Tour de l’Avenir winner Mollema fancied his chances of taking a chunk of time back, and possibly winning the race outright.

However in losing 48 seconds to the 28-man leading bunch, he dropped to fifth overall and has surely lost his chance. His team-mate Steven Kruijswijk has moved up to second place, one minute 26 seconds behind Cunego, and will now shoulder the team’s hopes.

“I could be very angry, but it wouldn’t do anything,” said directeur sportif Frans Massen. “But it certainly wasn’t very sporting…everyone could see that.”

Peter Sagan (Liquigas) won the stage to Schaffhausen, decisively beating Matt Goss (HTC Highroad), Sky Procycling’s Ben Swift and the other riders in the front group. The race concludes today with a rolling 32.1 kilometre time trial at Schaffhausen.

Mollema has had a very solid season thus far, netting second overall in the Vuelta a Castilla y León, placing ninth overall in Paris-Nice and tenth in the Volta a Catalunya. First or second overall in the Tour de Suisse would have been the biggest result of his career, and he’s likely to remember yesterday’s tactics for quite some time.

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