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“I came down on my old wounds but it wasn’t too bad and I was OK to push on and get back to the bunch with the help of the guys. The heat was pretty full on but we were using ice packs out there which helped a lot."

Photo: A.S.O.










18.07.2014 @ 23:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marcel Kittel faced a tough day in today's stage first big Tour de France stage in the Alps and his attempt to make the time cut was not made any easier by an unfortunate crash in the fast first hour of the race. In the end, the German got safely through the day without suffering any major injuries.


Stage 13 of Le Tour de France held some misfortune for the team as Marcel Kittel and Koen De Kort both hit the ground early in the day. Both were able to carry on and finish safely within the grupetto together with several teammates, conserving what energy possible on the arduous hot and mountainous stage.


Tom Dumoulin was eventually the first rider home over 20 minutes behind the stage winner, race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Dumoulin initially made the day’s early breakaway but dropped back after suffering a puncture. From here on it was a day in the wheels for all behind the break until the stage’s final two mountains to finish.


Dumoulin was part of an early seven man move that jumped away but at the riders hit the first categorised climb of the day, after just 20km Tom suffered a puncture and couldn’t get back on to the fierce pace being set by the break in an attempt to pull clear. Dumoulin returned to the peloton and not long after several other escapees were back in the main group. Others then bridged across to those left out front to form the nine riders who would be let go for the day, but their advantage was kept on a short leash.


Kittel and De Kort came down fairly early in the stage but were able to continue and rejoin the bunch without too much problem and then it was on the early slopes of the first of two cols that they eased back and found the shelter of the grupetto.


The pace at the front remained high and the riders gradually dropped back one by one to find groups on the road where they could ride their own rhythm to the top in Chamrousse for the finish of the first of two tough mountain stages.


At the front of the race the final riders from the day’s breakaway were swept up on the last ascent after which Nibali launched his move, riding away to his third solo victory of the race and comforting his overall lead in doing so. The fast pace set at the front did mean that the team had to push hard to not get caught out by the time cut but everyone made it home in time.


After the stage, Team Giant-Shimano coach Christian Guiberteau said: “It was pretty hectic for us early on today. Tom D was in the first break of the day but he punctured when they were trying to get their gap and that was that. The break didn’t last long anyway after so that was OK.


“Then Koen and Marcel came down and the pace was pretty high so they had to fight to get back on. Albert [Timmer] and Cheng [Ji] waited for Marcel when he came down and brought him back. All the guys made it through the stage OK and safely in the limit though.”


Tom Veelers added: “It was a heavy stage today with the heat and the mountains – I’m feeling it now. I had to go pretty hard on the hills to make the time cut but in the end it was OK. I think I got through 12 or maybe 16 bottles in the end – it was so hot out there.”


“I came down on my old wounds but it wasn’t too bad and I was OK to push on and get back to the bunch with the help of the guys," Kittel said. "The heat was pretty full on but we were using ice packs out there which helped a lot.


“The speed in the grupetto was still pretty tough as the racing was full on up front so we had to keep pushing on – it is not easy.”



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