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“I don’t think we did a good time trial because after 5-6kms we were only five guys left. Then it was still 20kms to go and we needed to stay with five to the finish. I think we made a mistake to do the first climb too fast."

Photo: Sirotti








09.06.2015 @ 19:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Trek Factory Racing stopped the clock in 31 minutes and 12 seconds for the 24.5-kilometer hilly team time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and when the times of all 21 teams were tallied they stood in 17th place.   


It was not the result the pinstripes were hoping for and it left the team’s GC contenders over a minute down on many GC rivals. However, with plenty of hills packed into the final days the race has just begun, and team director Alain Gallopin was optimistic despite the small setback:


“Our time is not so good, but we did what we could with what we have. If we had [Fabio] Felline and Kristof [Vandewalle] liked previously planned it would be a big difference. But we have what we have and we cannot change injury or anything. 


“But the good things that I saw were a strong Bauke [Mollema], Riccardo [Zoidl], and a very strong Matthew [Busche]. It was good for Matthew because it was not very technical and he could show his power. And, Haimar [Zubeldia] was his regular strong self.  We knew before the race that there are a lot of very strong teams here, but I also have very strong guys and I am very optimistic for the rest of the race.”


World TTT Champions BMC Racing won the tough test in 29:58, 1 minute and 14 seconds faster than Trek Factory Racing.  The short course was not expected to create huge time gaps and the first three teams were separated by a mere five seconds, leaving a wide-open GC battle for the remainder of the race.


For Trek Factory Racing, down two strong specialists against the clock who were unable to take the start of the eight-day race and replaced with two fatigued members fresh off the Giro d’Italia (Calvin Watson, Fumy Beppu) the team was behind the eight ball from the get-go.  


Bauke Mollema recapped the team’s ride and despite the TTT creating a bigger mountain to climb for the later stages, he still appreciated the tough discipline:


“I don’t think we did a good time trial because after 5-6kms we were only five guys left. Then it was still 20kms to go and we needed to stay with five to the finish. I think we made a mistake to do the first climb too fast and we lost three guys really quick. 


“After we did a good job to the finish. Markel was really suffering on the climb, but he managed to stay there. But with the five in the end we couldn’t go faster. Tactically, we made a mistake. 


“In the end, I was on the limit too, everyone was; the TTT is such a hard discipline in cycling. I like the TTT – it’s nice to do, you have to think for the team, think about all the details and make a plan. For sure we were nervous before the start; I think it’s because everyone is afraid to make a mistake and jeopardize the team – no one wants to be dropped. But that’s a TTT – it makes it more nervous, but it’s different – it’s nice.”


With three members dropping early, the pressure was on Markel Irizar to stay with the team’s four climbers. With no choice but to hang with the uphill specialists, Irizar showed his usual grit.


“Oof, it was a hard day!”  he explained. “We started okay, but after only 5kms we were down to five riders. We did well until the last climb, but then I was just trying to survive with them on the wheels as they are all climbers. I could recover a bit on the downhill, but then again it was up to the finish - it was really just surviving for me and trying to make it.”


Gallopin added, “We didn’t want to start too fast because we knew that the end was very difficult. We lost Fumy and Calvin very fast, and then Popo after his crash yesterday was also out quickly, so we lost time at the beginning because of this. So then we rotated with five guys, and it went quite well until the last climb. The guys were strong – Bauke, and all the guys – and it was difficult for Markel because he is not a real climber and they had to wait a little bit for him.” 



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