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"There are still plenty of stages left. The GC is over for me, but we are really motivated for stage hunting as always," Kwiatkowski says

Photo: Sirotti

JAN BAKELANTS

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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SOUDAL - QUICK STEP

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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19.07.2014 @ 20:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Michal Kwiatkowski again lost time in today's big mountain stage of the Tour de France and unlike yesterday he was unable to limit his losses. The Pole now admits that he is out of the GC battle and sets his sights on stage wins.

 

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Jan Bakelants was the top finisher of the 177km 14th Stage of the Tour de France, from Grenoble to Risoul on Saturday. He crossed the line in 45th place, with Michal Kwiatkowski also finishing 46th.

 

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the stage solo after attacking out of the remaining riders of an original 17-rider breakaway. He launched his acceleration on the 12.5km, 6.9% Cat. 1 summit finish. 

 

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) took his chance to try and chase the Polish rider down with just a few kilometers left in the stage. He finished 2nd, with Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R - La Mondiale) crossing shortly after in 3rd after being the only rider able to follow Nibali's wheel.

 

Kwiatkowski had two teammates with him after he was unable to maintain contact on HC Col d'Izoard (19km, 6%).

 

OPQS looks next to a stage that might fit the Belgian team well. The 222km Stage 15, from Tallard to Nimes, is considered a flat stage. However, the winds — crosswinds in particular — could very well blow the race apart. Belgian based OPQS is known to embrace such conditions.

"From the start I was in the front group with Bakelants, with a little less than 40 riders including Nibali," Kwiatkowski said. "I tried to put Baki in the breakaway but we couldn't make it. So, we stayed in the peloton. The feeling during the day was good.

 

"They accelerated about a kilometer and a half from the top of the second-to-last climb. From that moment on, I couldn't push anymore. Tony Martin and Baki were with me until the end. The last 10 kilometers of the race were really difficult but I had my teammates to support me.

 

"It wasn't my best day. But, it is what it is. We will look back on this performance in the future to try and analyze why I didn't have the best legs, but as of now we need to look to the future. There are still plenty of stages left. The GC is over for me, but we are really motivated for stage hunting as always.

 

"I also have to say I'm happy for fellow Polish rider Rafal Majka. That's just the second victory for a Polish rider in the history of the Tour. That's amazing. He is pure talent, improving from year-to-year. He's a big champion and congratulations to him." 

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