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“After my first flat, I managed to return, but on the final pavé section, I needed to take risks to get back to the front. Because of the dust, I quickly couldn’t see a thing anymore. When I punctured again, I knew it was...

Photo: Sirotti












07.07.2015 @ 21:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Robert Gesink managed to hang on to the first group of riders on Tuesday in the fourth stage of the Tour de France. The captain of Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished 14th in Cambrai after a 223.5-kilometre ride that was particularly difficult because of 13.3 kilometres of pavé split over seven sectors.

“We rode as a team at the front and commanded respect that way,” Gesink said. “Racing collectively was key today. As a team, we showed a great fighting spirit. We knew it could be dangerous today, but fortunately I rolled through the day well. I’m satisfied with that. Unfortunately, Sep punctured twice in the final kilometres. That cost us a result.”

Nico Verhoeven shared Gesink’s satisfaction.


“We are pleased with the way the team rode today,” the Sports Director said.

Sep Vanmarcke had been looking forward to the cobblestone stage for months and was handed the chance to fight for the stage victory by the team, but two punctures in the final kilometres threw him back far away.

“I did everything I could to be good today and when it ends likes this, there’s obviously disappointment,” the Belgian said. “After my first flat, I managed to return, but on the final pavé section, I needed to take risks to get back to the front. Because of the dust, I quickly couldn’t see a thing anymore. When I punctured again, I knew it was over.”

Wilco Kelderman was one of the last riders to enter the first cobbled sector because he picked up some water bottles just before, but he still managed to surprise. 

“My legs were so strong that I suddenly passed everyone,” Kelderman said. “It was surprising to see that things were going so easily for me on the cobblestones. I haven’t ridden on cobbles a lot, but I like it. Perhaps that’s why it went this good.”

Laurens ten Dam started Tuesday’s stage completely wrapped with bandages after his painful crash on Monday. Eventually, he finished 186th, 16 minutes and 53 seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep).

“I was quickly dropped and was amongst the last five or six riders in the race, but I still managed to finish in a nice group,” Ten Dam said. “I feel a little stiff, but I’m glad that the worst is now behind me. Those 13 kilometres of cobblestones were a severe test.”

The peloton will ride from of Arras to Amiens on Wednesday during the fifth day of Le Tour. A bunch sprint seems a logical conclusion after the 190-kilometre stage, which is mostly flat.

“Over the next four days the riders face some flat stages,” Verhoeven said. “We must remain watchful at all times, but Laurens will now have time and space to recover.”



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