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"I wanted Joaquim to follow the best guys today because it’s good to head home after the Tour knowing you can climb with the best. This is the place he belongs."

Photo: A.S.O.




25.07.2015 @ 19:30 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The final day in the mountains for the 2015 Tour de France ended on the fabled climb of Alpe d’Huez, known for its 21 hairpin turns and enthusiastic crowds of cycling fans lining the slopes to cheer for the peloton. Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez was part of the stage action, riding with the yellow jersey group for much of the climb and finally earning 12th place on the day behind winner Thibault Pinot (FDJ).


“Yesterday we saw our chance to win the mountains jersey slip away when we were unable to get the 40-50 points available on the last to climbs. With this in mind, I told the guys to stay on the wheel all day today and wait for l’Alpe d’Huez – then Joaquim could do the climb with the GC riders. These past three days have been hard for him, Caruso, Losada and Machado as they have fought for the jersey and gone in all the early attacks. Of course eventually you pay for these efforts.


“But anyway the team did a good race today. I wanted Joaquim to follow the best guys today because it’s good to head home after the Tour knowing you can climb with the best. This is the place he belongs. He has nothing to prove to us – we have complete trust in him. Now comes the Vuelta and it is a big goal,” said team director José Azevedo to the Katusha website.


The prestigious win on Alpe d’Huez went to Frenchman Thibaut Pinot who put up a grand ride to take the victory. Quintana’s quest to unseat yellow jersey Chris Froome put him in second place on the stage at 18-seconds with Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) in third at forty-one seconds. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Froome were at 1.38 for fourth and 5th places.


“These past few days have been very hard for our sprinters group. There is no way to really conserve energy on these mountains but we’ll hope they have saved something tomorrow for Alexander Kristoff. The stage on the Champs-Élysées is a big stage for us. We hope it will be a big stage for us. I think he feels OK. During the stages he has felt pretty good and tomorrow is a short stage and a big goal for him. I hope tomorrow he is able to give 100%,” concluded Azevedo.


Sunday brings stage 21 and the finale in Paris. At 109,5 km the stage begins in Sèvres and ends in Paris on the Champs-Élysées. After a hard Tour de France and many climbs behind them, the sprinters will have one last opportunity for glory. Watch for Alexander Kristoff to give his all one last time in the 2015 Tour de France.



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