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"It was not a mechanical or a puncture like I heard here and there. It was just a bad day. Everybody's tired. Everyday something happens and everybody's worn out.”

Photo: A.S.O.










10.07.2014 @ 19:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marcel Kittel's dominance of the Tour de France sprints came to an end in today's sixth stage of the race when the German suddenly slipped backwards in the finale. Despite rumours that he suffered a puncture, his team makes it clear that their star sprinter simply didn't have the legs.


At the end of another frantic stage at Le Tour de France Tom Veelers finished highest for Team Giant-Shimano in seventh place. The stage was another stressful day with crashes and crosswinds but the team did a good job in controlling the race throughout but a late problem for Marcel Kittel foiled his chances for another stage win in the final kilometre.


Despite much of the peloton licking their wounds after a very tough cobbled stage yesterday, the stage got off to a rapid start with a strong tailwind, but a group of four soon established itself nonetheless. Behind these riders the team took control with Cheng Ji taking up the pace making from early on.


Ji held the gap at between two and three minutes, doing a superb job on the front before Dries Devenyns, joined making it two controllers on the front of the peloton.


As the race passed into the second half and the chances of crosswinds became stronger other teams started to push for position and so more riders joined the pursuit. The team received little help until the final 25km from which point the pace was ramped up seeing splits occurring at the back of the bunch.


With different teams fighting for position at the head of the bunch it was hard to stick together and hold position, and coming into the final few kilometres with the race back together Kittel was slightly out of place sitting too far back.


As the sprint unfolded Kittel slipped off the back, having a bad day at the office while further towards the front Tom Dumoulin took up the lead-out role for Veelsers and brought him towards the front to do the best finish possible.


After the stage Kittel said: “I am actually pretty disappointed with how today went and that we didn’t use this opportunity, especially because we worked hard for it all day today.


“In the final we lost control and were not able to set up the sprint formation in the right position. It cost us too much energy to get back to the front and it was all over at the end.”


Roy Curvers, road captain added:”We lost each other in the last 20km when the race was full gas and struggled to regroup from here on. Other than that we had everything under control today.


“From here on it became difficult and we couldn’t find each other any more to bring the formation back together. With five kilometres to go we weren’t in the front 20 with Marcel and knew that it would be tough to get a result. Tom D was able to bring Tom V up to the front so he was able to sprint but that was it.


“We have to get together with the coaches now and look at what went wrong as something that we usually are good at did not work today. We can use today to learn and improve and get better.”


“It was a little difficult for Marcel today," sports director Christian Guiberteau said. "It was not only the consequences of his crash but he just didn't have the legs today. With the echelon, the team struggled to get organised. It was not a mechanical or a puncture like I heard here and there. It was just a bad day. Everybody's tired. Everyday something happens and everybody's worn out.”


John Degenkolb battled through the stage after damaging a muscle in his glutes yesterday and said after the stage: “Early in the race I was feeling OK and the pain was bearable but after 2h30 I started to really suffer as the pain came back from the damage caused by yesterday’s crash.

“I want to go on though and will take it day by day, fighting against the pain. I lost contact in the final today and it was a shame that I couldn’t help the team out as I usually would.”



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