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“I crashed in the neutral zone and went down right on my belly. At first I thought it was nothing much but as soon as the speeds went up, my body and legs were blocked."

Photo: A.S.O.

JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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15.07.2015 @ 19:20 Posted by Andy Pedersen

A second day in the Pyrénées was much calmer than Tuesday’s stage, but could prove to be the calm before the storm as the peloton of 177 riders conclude their time in France’s southern mountains tomorrow. Wednesday’s 188 km stage 11 from Pau to an uphill final in Cauterets showed a more reasoned side of cycling but was difficult nevertheless with fast speeds and hot temperatures ruling the day.

 

Team Katusha’s Spanish leader, Joaquim Rodriguez, had hoped to be in the group of favorites today as he rode near his home country, but an early race crash made that impossible.

 

“I crashed in the neutral zone and went down right on my belly. At first I thought it was nothing much but as soon as the speeds went up, my body and legs were blocked. Now I will try to recover and with what I have left I will try for more in the upcoming stages. The GC is gone but the Tour is not over yet,” said Joaquim Rodriguez.

 

"Today we lost all of our chances for reaching the top ten.  Yesterday was not a good day and we lost all expectations although we were hoping today would be a good day.  But after only 1km Joaquim crashed hard into a traffic island.  Right from kilometer zero the peloton rode very fast and the impact on Katusha was very big, everyone was suffering all day.  Once Joaquim was on the Tourmalet, after only 5 or 6km he was dropped so we knew it was all over for the GC.  Tomorrow is another hard day so the team will look to recover and try for stage wins.  We also have Alexander Kristoff who will try in Paris so we have those objectives.  Also with our other riders perhaps someone will try to go in a breakaway to try for a stage win.  We have one stage win but we will try to finish the Tour with more," said team director José Azevedo.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka took off from his breakaway companions on the second climb of the day, the impressive and difficult HC Col du Tourmalet. Majka was able to stay away from his chasers by one minute to second-place Dan Martin (Team Cannondale – Garmin) and secure the first team win in the 2015 Tour de France.

 

The pre-race favorites, including yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky), arrived more than five minutes behind, but they crossed the line together so there was no change in the top three on the classification. After just over 41 hours of racing, Froome holds the yellow jersey by 2.52 and 3.09 respectively to Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

 

Rodriguez remains in the top 20 at 19th place, but at twenty minutes behind the leader, his chances for the podium are over. Stage wins will become the primary focus for “Purito” and Team Katusha.

 

Tomorrow is the final day in the Pyrénées. It promises to be a hard one and could cause some shakeups at the top of the leader board. At 195 km, stage 12 begins in Lannemezan and ends uphill on the HC Plateau de Beille.

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