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"This year's parcours wasn't exactly suited for my skills, but we have to live with it as it's the same for everybody. Until now I didn't have my victory ,but I can't complain about the fact that I tried every day t...

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JAN BAKELANTS

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24.07.2014 @ 22:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Bakelants again went on the attack in today's stage of the Tour de France but as it has been the case so many times before, his efforts didn't pay off. The Belgian is dissastisfied with the course that didn't leave many opportunities for a rider with his characteristics.

 

OPQS rider Jan Bakelants took yet another chance in a breakaway at the 101st edition of the Tour de France on Thursday. Bakelants finished 32nd after entering into an original breakaway of 20 riders, which eventually split up on HC Col de Tourmalet (17.1km, 7.3%).

 

Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) and Blel Kadri (AG2R - La Mondiale) went ahead after catching and dropping the first attacker out of the group on the climb, Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling). The group behind them split up for a time, but Bakelants and others were able to catch back on to three riders and formed a six rider chase group with 29.2km left in the stage.

 

Bakelants remained in the first group until the summit finish on HC Hautacam (13.6km, 7.8% average gradient). That group was caught by the peloton on that climb, while Nieve went ahead of Kadri wiith about 11.5km to go in the stage.

 

Yellow jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) eventually passed Nieve to go on and win the stage solo — his 4th stage win of the Tour de France. He initially followed the wheel of an attacking Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida), but dropped him with 9.4km to go in the stage. He passed Nieve to go on for the victory with 8km to go.

 

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.FR) finished 2nd out of a small chase group behind. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 3rd.

 

OPQS and the Tour de France peloton move on from the Pyrenees stages and look next to 208.5km Stage 19 on Friday, which is flat, with a Category 4 climb before the finish. There is also the Stage 20 Individual Time Trial. Three-time UCI World TT Champion Tony Martin will no doubt do his best for a good result. The stage is hilly, though it includes no categorized climbs. There is a descent that leads into the slightly uphill finish.

"This morning it was planned to go into the breakaway," Bakelants said. "I had good legs at the beginning but then we had to go full gas because Astana didn't let us go. Probably they aimed for the stage victory.

 

"The breakaway exploded a bit too early on the Tourmalet, but we never really had enough of a gap to begin with due to the pace of the peloton. I managed to stay with the group on the climb and then we went full gas on the downhill. When we rode through the valley to hit Hautacam there was a full headwind, and the group was chasing hard behind us still, so our destiny was already decided.

 

"I felt ok today, though there were occasions in my career where I felt better. But it is what it is. Even today I tried my best. I tried to be active during the Tour de France. I tried to enter the breakaway and attack and shake things up. Unfortunately the actions never succeeded.

 

"This year's parcours wasn't exactly suited for my skills, but we have to live with it as it's the same for everybody. Until now I didn't have my victory ,but I can't complain about the fact that I tried every day to be in the action.

 

"Tomorrow it will probably be my last chance for a breakaway, as we have the time trial and then Paris. Stage 19 it will be difficult for me after a long breakaway today in the Pyrenees, but we will see." 

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