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"I got to about 20m off the back but there was a guys on my wheel and I thought that he would do the last effort but he didn’t and the gap went out again," Dumoulin says

Photo: ©A.S.O. / P. Perreve

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TOM DUMOULIN

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TOM VEELERS

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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22.07.2014 @ 23:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Giant-Shimano only have one card, Tom Dumoulin, to play in the mountain stages and they nearly managed to put him into the break in today's stage of the Tour de France. However, the Dutchman missed just 20m in bridging the gap to the group that decided the stage win.

 

Le Tour de France got straight back into gear after the race’s second rest day with a tough day in the mountains which saw a large breakaway hold a healthy margin to the finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon at the end of the longest stage of the race.

 

After a hard fight early on to get into the day’s move 21 riders eventually pulled clear after over 50km of racing and this was to be the situation for the rest of the stage as the main group eased back completely before the day’s final climb.

 

Team Giant-Shimano were not present in the move so the riders set about staying together and out of trouble within the peloton which was setting a steady pace. Cheng Ji was suffering with knee pain but made it through the day within the time limit, as did all other seven riders still in the race.

 

The 237.5km stage got off to a rapid start and despite several attempts at getting away no one could break the elastic. The bunch hit a crosswind section early on and this served to split the bunch but the team were attentive and in position to make the first group together as a unit. Once the race came back together again the attacks continued and eventually a large group of 21 riders formed.

 

Tom Dumoulin jumped out of the peloton and had some company in trying to bridge across but he came up just short and didn’t manage to close the final gap to the leaders, eventually conceding and making his way back to the peloton to settle in with his teammates.

 

“It was too bad that Tom did not make it across to the break, he wasn’t far off,” said Team Giant-Shimano coach Aike Visbeek after the stage. “The race was at full speed and he wasn’t getting much help in bridging the gap so he was up against it. Other than that everyone got through the day in a good way. Cheng had some problems with his knee and had to see the race doctor at one point but it was OK in the end.

 

“I was impressed to see the guys so on the ball early on when the race broke up in the crosswinds and they all made the split together. That takes us one day closer to Paris.”

 

Tom Dumoulin added: “I made a mistake today and it was my fault that I didn’t get across to the break. I was a bit too far back on the climb when the break went and so I had to attack to try and bridge across. I got to about 20m off the back but there was a guys on my wheel and I thought that he would do the last effort but he didn’t and the gap went out again.

 

“The peloton was not far behind either and that was that for the day – from them on it was pretty easy until the final climb when the front guys went really fast. There’s no need for me to waste energy in trying to stay with these guys this far into the Tour and it doesn’t matter if I lose six minutes or 16.

 

“If I can go for a break again tomorrow without using too much energy I will try but I will then start to think about saving something for the time trial on Saturday.”

 

Tom Veelers added: “Today’s stage was OK in the end.  It was a pretty hard start especially for the guys that wanted to get into the break as it was a headwind. The pace was high but in the wheels I was quite comfortable and didn’t think that the group would split but there must have been enough crosswinds behind to break it up. We were all together near the front so were in a good situation.

 

“On a day like today I will usually get into the best position possible for the final climb then as the pace becomes too much slip back and find a good group. The legs were pretty good today and when I let go there was already a group forming and we decided to form the grupetto there.”

 

“Today in the end worked out well for me but early on there were a few moments when I really felt the pain in my knee,” said Ji from the team bus after the stage. “I dropped back to see the race doctor and that helped, and luckily the pace was controlled.

 

“We were a bit nervous at the beginning about the time limit but the pace was fairly steady in the bunch so it was all OK. It was a long one but it worked out fine.”

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