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"Today went pretty much as expected for us with our two big leaders, [Bauke] Mollema and Fränk [Schleck], out of the race."

Photo: Sirotti






20.02.2015 @ 19:55 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The summit finish of the category-one Alto de Hazallanas blew the Vuelta a Andalucia apart Friday as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky) showed they were in another league finishing one-two on the stage.


Contador sealed the win and further padded his lead in the overall with the victory atop the snow-covered mountain, while Froome scrapped his way back as he so often does to minimize the damage to 19 seconds over the line.


Behind riders struggled in, finishing in ones, twos, sometimes threes, not more, as the long mountain climb with gradients reaching upward 18 percent shattered legs and dashed early-season hopes mercilessly.



Bob Jungels was the first finisher for Trek Factory Racing, now down to five riders with the non-start of Bauke Mollema this morning due to a stomach ailment.  Jungels rode across the line in 24th place (+3’ 42”) and Haimar Zubeldia arrived moments later in 29th.


“Today went pretty much as expected for us with our two big leaders, [Bauke] Mollema and Fränk [Schleck], out of the race,” explained director Kim Andersen. “The climb was really, really steep, the same climb as in the Vuelta [a España] two years ago, and so I did not expect too much. At the end there were two riders, who at the moment are at another level, and Bob actually did quite well, and I am quite happy about it. He’s not many seconds from top 10, and maybe there’s a chance he can move up in the GC.”


Trek Factory Racing’s second director Josu Larrazabal echoed Andersen’s words: “This final climb was a climb for pure climbers, for really light guys, and not suited as well to Bob and Haimar. Bob lost over three minutes, but fourth place was already around two minutes behind, so when you look at that Bob made a really good climb.”



The race continues tomorrow with another summit finish for stage four and with 27 seconds separating Contador and Froome the fight for the overall is not finished.  The huge differences in time behind the top two brings more hope that tomorrow a breakaway will have more freedom to roam.


“When we came here we had high expectations. We thought it could be a really good race for us because we have a good team but as things went…yeah you can’t change that, and now we need to get the best out of it,” said Andersen, addressing the adversity that has plagued the team since the first stage. “Tomorrow we will try and go into a breakaway; there may be more chance now after today, and perhaps we can put Bob into the top 10. The last day we will try and be there for [Fabio] Silvestre for the sprint.  We will continue to race hard, for us that does not change.”



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