Vuelta a España: Mollema back in white combination jersey
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vuelta a España: Mollema back in white combination jersey

by Bjorn Haake at 1:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Dutchman moves up to third overall with another courageous mountain ride

bauke mollemaBauke Mollema of Rabobank had another great day in the high mountains, finishing in a group with Sky duo Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome as well as Geox rider Denis Menchov. Mollema made a jump from sixth to third overall as they dropped several big shots on the way to La Farrapona. Mollema took back the white combination jersey from a suffering Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and closed in on the green points jersey of Joaquím Rodriguez.

Mollema was exhausted after following Wiggins and Froome's power ride. One by one, the big favorites had to let go, but Mollema hung on. "With some difficulty," team manager Erik Dekker said on "Bauke was at his limit, but that was undoubtedly the case for the others in the group as well. Wiggins wasn't very fluid anymore, either." Indeed, Wiggins missed the attempted shakehands from his teammate Froome after the line, ready to get his breath back.

Dekker did say that one always dreams of more. "But Bauke told me that in the final kilometers he had nothing left for an attack. That was the maximum and we are content with it."

Still, an improvement in the general classification would be welcome. "We won't leave chances behind," he said. Dekker doesn't believe that Wiggins is concerned about Mollema. "I am expecting a big attack from Cobo on the red jersey on the Angliru and I think that at Sky they are more thinking about Cobo than about Bauke. Principally, this is not a bad thing for us."

Mollema rode a cool race and did not panic when Moreno went hard on the penultimate climb, the Puerto de San Lorenzo. Moreno was caught and paid for his efforts when he tried again on the final uphill. Moreno dropped over half a minute to Mollema, whose patient riding near the Sky duo was rewarded at the finish.

With his seventh place he closed in on the green jersey, jumping from third to second, past Peter Sagan. Rodriguez is now only three points ahead of the Dutchman.

In the overall, Mollema sits 36 seconds behind Wiggins and 29 seconds behind Froome. He has a gap of 19 seconds over Juan José Cobo. Tomorrow's stage to the Angliru will be quite interesting. On the terribly steep climb that is now famous for the Vuelta, big gaps can be created and it is almost certain that the top ten will be reshuffled on Sunday.


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