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“We didn’t do a super time trial yesterday, but I think Bauke and myself are strong and also Riccardo and Matthew."

Photo: Sirotti








10.06.2015 @ 19:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Critérium du Dauphiné continued with stage four on Wednesday, the longest stage of the eight-day race at 228 kilometers and the final chance for non-climbers.


Two men formed the key escape, departing a nonchalant peloton at kilometer three and set off on a long, onerous ride for over five hours. They kept the peloton at bay, even threatening a big upset as they held a hefty lead in the last 25 kilometers, until the headwind and hills became their demise.


In the closing kilometers a few opportunists threw in their cards, hopeful a late move would be able to punch out a win, but in the end all arrived in one big bunch to contest a sprint.


Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) jumped to his second victory, and the upper rungs of the general classification remained unchanged.


The 2015 Critérium du Dauphiné is split into two distinct halves with all the climbing jammed into the latter part; the final four stages are chock full of uphills, including a climb to the finish each day and the race for the overall begins in earnest tomorrow.


Trek Factory Racing came into the race targeting stage five onward for its climbing specialists Bauke Mollema, Riccardo Zoidl, Haimar Zubeldia and Matthew Busche.


“We didn’t do a super time trial yesterday, but I think Bauke and myself are strong and also Riccardo and Matthew,” Zubeldia explained as he cooled down on the CycleOps trainer after the long stage. “I think we can expect something in the next four stages. The goal is simple now - to stay with the best riders [on the climbs] and then if we see a chance to win the stage we go for it.”


Although it was an unassuming day for the team it was not an easy day.  The sheer length coupled with numerous climbs and heavy rain made for a difficult day in the saddle.  Immediately following stage four Trek Factory Racing mounted their bikes to CycleOps trainers to spin out their legs, an extremely helpful recovery tactic ahead of the four hard-hitting days to come.


As Riccardo Zoidl turned the pedals he recounted the stage and offered his opinion to the next days:


“Today was long, and at the beginning it looked like it might be an easy day, but when the climbs started in the middle of the race and with the rain it made it difficult. In the finale, it was really, really hard with the climbs and everything – and the crashes on climbs where we had to chase. In the end, it was quite a hard day.


“The next days will be incredibly hard.  It will be a climber’s race now with Haimar and Bauke, and me and Matthew looking for the stages. There are no easy stages left – it will be a very hard four days now.”


Then he added, smiling, “When the weather is okay, I am looking forward to it.”



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