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"I have a stage win already and I’ve worn yellow. But the stages made for the attackers are still to come and that’s me. Ok, the peloton now know me, but believe me, they already knew me," Bakelants says

Photo: Sirotti

ANDY SCHLECK

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JAN BAKELANTS

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KIM ANDERSEN

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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02.07.2013 @ 20:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For two days, Jan Bakelants (Radioshack) was in the spotlight as he wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France but today it all came to an end in the stage 4 team time trial. His Radioshack team was only good enough for 11th and so the Belgian lost grip of his tunic, instead moving back into the role of attacker that landed him the glory in the first place.

 

Jan Bakelants had hoped to make an impression in his Tour debut in some of the hilly stages late in the race but had never imagined to leave Corsica after just three days of racing clad in the yellow jersey and already with a stage win in his pocket. Nonetheless, that became a reality when he won stage 2 into Ajaccio and defended his lead in stage 3.

 

Nothing lasts forever though and so Bakelants' moment of glory came to an end in today's team time trial. His Radioshack team has many strong riders but lack pure time trial specialists and so they finished 11th on the completely flat course in Nice.

 

Bakelants was of course unhappy with the loss but had taken time to enjoy his time in yellow.

 

“It’s a pity to lose the jersey but I can only be happy," he said. "I’ve enjoyed this entire day. And yellow is nice for the photos back home. But today was hard. Normally as the leader of the race you can just sit in the wheels but I’ve had to work hard for two days. In general I could taste yellow for two days. To do it ever again will be hard as I am not a top sprinter, a climber or a prologue specialist."

 

Bakelants rides a solid time trial but is not specialist in the discipline and he admitted to have suffered in his attempt to stay in yellow.

 

"Eleventh today was not so bad," he said. "Honestly this is the first TTT in my career where I’ve suffered. The others in the Giro and Vuelta with Lotto were more chill.  The heat today also made it hard. While the course was easy, everyone rode faster.”

 

Despite the lost jersey, Bakelants has no intention of hiding away in the bunch throughout the remaining part of the race.

 

“For the rest of the Tour there is nothing else I ‘must’ do," he said. "I have a stage win already and I’ve worn yellow. But the stages made for the attackers are still to come and that’s me. Ok, the peloton now know me, but believe me, they already knew me.”

 

Today's stage was not all about Bakelants' yellow jersey. It was also the first chance for team captain Andy Schleck to gain time on his rivals.

 

Despite coming away with a 29-second time loss, Schleck was happy with the result and his sensations but insisted that his main goal was not the GC.

 

“We had a good time today," he said. "We only lost about 1 second per kilometer. If we would have taken shorter turns, we might have done 10-15 seconds better, but this was ok. For me personally I have good morale with the team. Now I see that the work I did was not for nothing. My national championship was bad but my three stages on Corsica were good. My confidence is high but I still do not consider myself a favorite. My goal is a stage win.”

 

Sports director Kim Andersen was equally happy.

 

“We are very happy and it was quite exciting out there," he said. "At the midway point we were in eighth place and only 11-seconds down so if we could keep that going it would have been so good. But when I look at the end result and see we’ve only lost twenty seconds to a team like Saxo Bank who have many specialists on their team, this is very good thing. We could have perhaps done shorter turns which might have made us go faster, but it’s hard to say. We didn’t have any problems - no gaps and no crashes. They were together all day.”

 

Radioshack now heads into a 228,5km stage to Marseille that should end in a sprint but the predicted script could be rewritten due to the Mistral wind. Starting at 14.00, you can follow the action on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

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