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"This is my first race since the Tour of Romandie, so I am still missing that little extra punch, but I feel that that will slowly come back, and I’ll be fine for the Tour de France."

Photo: IAM Cycling






11.06.2015 @ 20:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In a few weeks the col d'Allos and the climb of the Pra-Loup will be giving everyone trouble.  In a few weeks the Tour de France will make use of exactly the same route that the peloton took in Thursday’s Dauphiné stage.  In this important test of reconnoitering, Romain Bardet came up trumps and seemed to be the best informed for this fifth stage of the event.  The AG2R La Mondiale rider crossed the line 36 seconds ahead of Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), on what was obviously not his first time through the Ubaye Valley. 


As for Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), who took 10th on the stage moving him into 9th place on the general classification, this was a day more of discovery with an eye towards what the Tour de France will bring.  The Swiss rider finished right in the mix with the leaders of the race, who are also using the Dauphiné to familiarize themselves with the routes that will be their playground later this summer.


Mathias Frank is now just 1’18” behind Tejay Van Garderen, who became the new leader of the race after his performance on the stage.  But Frank is not getting too worked up, since nothing is yet settled for this Dauphiné, which he is approaching more as preparation. 


“I do not feel too bad,” Frank said after the race.  “I finished 10th in the stage, and was really not that far off the very best.  So I am satisfied.  This is my first race since the Tour of Romandie, so I am still missing that little extra punch, but I feel that that will slowly come back, and I’ll be fine for the Tour de France. 


"And this stage was especially interesting, since we will do exactly the same route in July.  I had the chance to see what awaits us.  For example, the col d’Allos tops out at 2250 meters, which means you are already having difficulty breathing at the summit.  Likewise, the descent that follows is very technical and dangerous.  So actually, it was really great to see this course in a race situation.”


Rik Verbrugghe, sports manager for the Swiss team, shared Frank’s view of the day. 


“The team has generally performed well this Dauphiné.  Mathias has shown that he has arrived ready for the Tour.  Right now, he is lacking that little extra something to stick right with the best.  But that is normal.  It is still three weeks to the start of the Tour, so it is important not to be too ready at the moment.  I think that he is just where he should be. 


"To speak more generally of the stage, I think Romain Bardet must have trained this course very well, and knew the pitfalls.  His performance will certainly give some ideas to the other riders come July. 


"It was also important to see the descent of the col d'Allos. It’s important to have made at least one descent of it at full speed.  For me, it is one of the most dangerous descents in France.  And I know what I’m talking about, since I broke my collar bone here.  So the fact that the whole pack had a chance to do it today is a great opportunity.”



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