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"We know we did things well in this Tour - it was only the road that smiled unfavourably at us yesterday."

Photo: Sirotti

JOSE JOAQUIN ROJAS GIL

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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13.07.2013 @ 19:45 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

After a big blow yesterday in the 2013 Tour de France, the Movistar Team riders bounced back from misfortune to shine brightly on stage 14, over 191km with seven rated climbs between Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule and Lyon.

 

The impressive pace all day (45 kph average) was the result of a hard fight to enter the day's breakaway, with José Joaquín Rojas and Imanol Erviti ultimately making it into the 18-man attempt that would end up contesting the day's stage.

 

The escape had to ride hard for almost one hundred kilometres in a frantic arm-wrestle against the bunch, with teams out of the original break forcing them to more than two hours’ effort. The penultimate climb, with 15km to go, saw the real attacks for victory: a first move from Tejay van Garderen (BMC), quickly responded to by Rojas, was followed by another dig from Julien Simon (SOJ), whose effort took him up front until the 'flamme rouge'.

 

With Erviti dropped after a great work for Rojas, the Spaniard took responsibility for a long final sprint, where he was beaten by Matteo Trentin (OPQ), Michael Albasini (OGE) and Andrey Talansky (GRS). Despite not being able to crown the work done, the effort from the two Blues was a huge recovery in the teams' classification - after losing almost 20 minutes yesterday - with Movistar now in second, just two-and-a-half minutes away from wearing their yellow helmets again. Sunday will bring one of the key stages in this year's Grande Boucle: the longest day of the race, with 243km between Givors and the mythical Mont Ventoux (HC), with its 21 kilometres at 7.5% average gradient.

 

José Joaquín Rojas gave his account of today’s events after the stage: "After all, what we wanted today was to tell everyone that, despite what happened yesterday, we have not lost all hope in this year's Tour - we're willing, we have the courage to keep fighting and shining. It was my turn to contest the win today, but I couldn't take it. The break companions knew I was the fastest guy and, logically, they forced me to go after several moves in the finale, especially in the last kilometre, when Albasini attacked. I saw the race slip through my hands and I had to give almost all I had in the tank with 600m to go - Trentin was on my wheel and profited from it. All those efforts leave you drained, but I had to ride like that in order to try to win.

 

"Today I'm leaving this city with the feeling of having lost a chance, but also satisfied because I gave all I had in my legs and my heart. Not only strength counts here, you always need good luck. It might have been harsh yesterday, but we must keep trying - that's cycling. There's another good stage for me on Tuesday to make the break, but all team riders have good stages in the next week to be up front. We haven't done all we could do yet. We know we did things well in this Tour - it was only the road that smiled unfavourably at us yesterday."

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