Tour de France: Roman Kreuziger lives to fight another day
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tour de France: Roman Kreuziger lives to fight another day

by Ben Atkins at 6:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Astana’s Czech rider couldn’t quite make it to the front group but lives to fight another day

roman kreuzigerRoman Kreuziger (Astana) was one of the many victims of the first week’s crashes. On stage seven he came down hard on his left wrist and, while he suffered no broken bones, his hand has been heavily strapped since and he has been losing time ever since.

On today’s stage to Luz-Ardiden though, the Czech rider took off in pursuit of Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) on the 1st category Hourquette d'Ancizan.

"This part of the climb suited well to my characteristics,” explained the Czech rider. “I felt good, so I accelerated"

Kreuziger dropped Chavanel and Hoogerland as he chased the six-man group that had been up the road since the second kilometre. He got to within fifteen seconds of the splintering group as it neared the top of the Col du Tourmalet but, as Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas upped the pace in the last few kilometres of the climb, he was just unable to make the junction.

"I was really close, I was about to join the escapees but they accelerated and I had already lost strength,” he said. “I hadn’t caught them before the descent and I was still losing time while I was climbing. I felt pain at my back, the climb was very long and the pain was the price to pay because it’s been quite a long time that I had not rode on this type of climb, so long."

After the descent to the bottom of the climb to Luz-Ardiden, Kreuziger was joined by a number of riders, including eventual stage winner Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and second place Jelle Vanendert and Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (both Omega Pharma-Lotto). He was quickly dropped by the small group though, and sat up and finished the climb at his own pace.

"I suffered and I preferred to keep forces for future opportunities."

Before the Tour Kreuziger had not raced since the Giro d’Italia, where he finshed sixth to Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard), taking the white jersey in the process. Ordinarily he would be a worthy replacement as Astana’s overall classification rider after Alexandre Vinokourov crashed out on stage nine.

His injuries prevented this though, but he is now improving and hopes to go on the attack in future,

"I'm satisfied with the efforts of today,” he said. “I feel that the condition is there and I think we’ll reach to achieve beautiful things in the coming days."


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