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“All day the team rode for me and it was incredible to see Jens Voigt up there at age 42 and going like a mad man on the front," Bakelants says

Photo: Sirotti






01.07.2013 @ 19:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Bakelants (Radioshack) enjoyed another day in the spotlight in the third stage of the Tour de France as he raced the entire stage clad in the race leader's yellow jersey. Teamwork saw him defend his lead and we was deeply impressed by 42-year old Jens Voigt who did much of the work throughout the day.


It was no easy day for Radioshack in the third stage of the Tour de France. Most other teams were keen to save themselves for tomorrow's team time trial and so had no interest in chasing the 5-rider breakaway that dominated most of the day.


That left it to the Luxemburgish squad of race leader Jan Bakelants to do almost all the work, and Jens Voigt and Markel Irizar dragged the peloton along almost from the start all the way to the bottom of the day's final climb. More attacks took place on the ascent, forcing Andreas Klöden, Maxime Monfort and even team leader Andy Schleck to work hard during the final kilometres to bring it back for the sprint.


In the end the mission was accomplished as Bakelants crossed the finish line in 17th to defend his narrow 1-second lead. The Belgian was grateful for the work his team had done throughout the day and was especially impressed by veteran Voigt.


 “The team was always in control so there was no time for panic," he said. "It all went according to plan. The last climb was very hard. All day the team rode for me and it was incredible to see Jens Voigt up there at age 42 and going like a mad man on the front.”


The team now faces the difficult challenge of defending the lead in tomorrow's 25km team time trial in Nice.

“We have a good team here so will give our best tomorrow," Bakelants said. "Today’s emotions are different from yesterday but we’re very happy to keep the jersey for one more day. I also want to thank my fellow riders for the nice comments they have given to me. It means a lot to me.”


Monfort admitted that it will be hard to go up against teams like Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Garmin and Sky who are known as team time trial specialists and so knows that it will be hard to defend the jersey.


"It’s nice that tomorrow we start as the last team in the TTT," he said. "We have nothing to lose but we need to be realistic. There are other teams here that are specialists so it would be nice to only lose 20-30 seconds, but we will go full gas.”


The Belgian was happy to see his team leader Schleck who has had a difficult season so far, show clear signs of improvement.


“It was a hard stage and our team did 97 percent of the work with almost all of it done by Markel and Jens," he explained. "Sky and Belkin didn’t make it easy for us. In the end every one of us worked for Jan, even Andy. I’m also seeing a very relaxed Andy Schleck. He is riding without pressure and looking forward to the last stages of the Tour."


There is a campaign underway to get the Queen of England to give him knighthood and make him Sir Jan Bakelants as was done for British subject Sir Bradley Wiggins. Asked about this initiative, Bakelants had a quick reply.


“I didn’t know about the campaign but if it’s really true then the Queen can call me," he said. "I will give her my number and we can make an appointment.”


Starting at 15.00 you can follow tomorrow's team time trial in its entirety on



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