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"Half way up the climb I was finished. It was twice as long as I could handle. I knew the last climb was hard but I was hoping I could fight with the best but today I wasn’t even close."

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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17.07.2015 @ 22:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was a transitional stage on Friday in the 102nd Tour de France as the peloton of 175 riders left behind the climbs of the Pyrénées and headed toward the Alps. The climbs in the high mountains were replaced by a series of smaller, punchier rises and searing heat. Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff thought he had a chance to fight for the win in Rodez and gave it a go, but just missed a little to pull off the win.

 

"I didn’t have too much trouble in the climbs and when I heard that other guys were dropped, I was hoping to do a good sprint. The team was good," Kristoff said.

 

"Marco Haller put me in a good position at the corner but then when we started from the bottom of the finishing climb I didn’t have a chance. Half way up the climb I was finished. It was twice as long as I could handle. I knew the last climb was hard but I was hoping I could fight with the best but today I wasn’t even close.

 

"It’s a pity because the team did a good job for me but at least we were there in the end. Many of the others were not so that’s a good sign. We have two more chances for the sprint so we will make the most of it.

 

"Marco is very strong. He’s not the Austrian champion for nothing. He did a very good job moving me into position - I just couldn’t finish it off. I’m struggling a bit in the heat but day-by-day it gets a little better," said Kristoff. Soigneurs for Team Katusha were busy overnight filling 200 bottles for seven riders to keep them hydrated and cooled in today’s stage 13 from Muret to Rodez.

 

With only 200 m to go, three men from the remains of the 6-man breakaway could almost touch the finish line, but the sprinters were determined to have their day and continue working to pull them back at the last moment. The uphill sprint was won my BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet who powered up his sprint at 50 m to hold off challenger Peter Sagan of Tinkoff-Saxo. Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) was third at 3-seconds. There was no change on the GC with Chris Froome (Team Sky) still in yellow at 2.52 to Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and 3.09 to Nairo Quintana of Movistar.

 

Saturday brings stage 14 as the 2015 Tour completes two weeks of racing. At 179 km, the stage begins in Rodez and ends in Mende. It’s a stage very familiar to Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez. “Purito” won his first Tour de France stage here in 2010 and is hungry for a repeat performance.

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