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"There was a little bit of a descent before the ending and it gave me false hope that I could make it, but really the legs were already gone. I was in good place for the sprint but had cramps, so in the end I had nothing."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing








13.03.2015 @ 20:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Soon after the flag dropped to signify the start of the 192.5-kilometer stage five the road tilted upwards as the peloton tackled the 12-kilometer Col de la République. 


The mountain split the peloton, but it was too early for things to remain ghettoized for long. However, it did manage to zap many legs, and with a strong five-man move riding clear on the long climb an unremitting quick pace continued for the remainder of the undulating parcours.


“It was such a hard start, the first 6k of the climb was à bloc and everyone was on the limit,” explained Kristof Vandewalle. “A group of 75 was ahead and Bob [Jungels] was there, and they let the breakaway go on the climb. After it never went slow in the bunch, it was quite nervous and quite fast all day.”



Despite a stage not perfectly tuned to Giacomo Nizzolo Trek Factory Racing activated the chase with 30 kilometers to go. In the dynamic nature of bicycle racing there is no certainty – even Nizzolo had a brief moment of respite near the end – but alas, in the finale the long gradual uphill was one climb too many and Nizzolo’s good position couldn’t summon more from his tired legs. He faded from second wheel to 24th in the final half kilometer and had good words for his dedicated teammates at the race finish.


“Today was a long day, hard day, and we started with a big climb which was a really hard effort,"  said Nizzolo echoing the words of Vandewalle. “The peloton kept a really high speed all day because it was a good breakaway and in the end the last climbs were so fast.  We decided to pull anyway because we had nothing to lose, we had to try. There was a little bit of a descent before the ending and it gave me false hope that I could make it, but really the legs were already gone. I was in good place for the sprint but had cramps, so in the end I had nothing. But the team was super in supporting me today, and I really want to thank them for that. I really am looking forward to tomorrow.”



Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) won the stage, exploding past everyone in the final 200 meters; only a few riders were able to match his burst of speed with mostly fatigued bodies left in his wake. 


Although the pinstriped team came up with empty hands after its valiant effort in the chase, Kristof Vandewalle pointed out that every day, regardless, you must try to win; it’s the nature of the game where sometimes it works out, and other times, despite the team’s sacrifices, it leaves nothing more than a day's hard work. 


"At 30k from the finish we decided to help in the chase,” he added “and I was 10-15kms alone chasing. I pinched off a minute, and then just survived after this at the back and the other guys took over really well.  It’s a pity that Giacomo felt his legs too much, but we tried, and that’s the first thing, despite everything, we will always try.”



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