What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Bart De Clercq 20th after 9 Vuelta stages

The ninth stage of the Vuelta ended today on the steep ‘wall’ in Valdepeñas de Jaén. Bart De Clercq crossed the finish line as sixteenth at 18” of winner Daniel Moreno, who is the new leader. Yesterday Bart already set a great performance by becoming sixth on the Alto Peñas Blancas, because of that he made a big jump in GC. On the eve of the tenth stage he stands on the 20th place at 2’33”.

Bart De Clercq: “Beforehand you knew that on the final climb you’d have to go à bloc. Fifty kilometers from the end the nervousness in the bunch started to be sitting in the front. The team helped me very well with that. On the last climb I didn’t turn up with the first, but I was part of the limited group that started the ‘wall’. I was able to control the damage, 18” isn’t that bad. Such a very steep and short climb at the end isn’t my specialty.”

“I was very satisfied with the result in yesterday’s stage as well. The first days I lost some time uphill. The two stages before yesterday were less tough and the legs felt better. Yesterday it went very well. While before I was close to the limit uphill, I had power left for a long while now, that’s why at the end I could jump away with the others. That was a very positive conclusion. I hope to be able to hang on to this feeling for the next two weeks.”

“Apart from the Belgian Championship time trial I didn’t race between Tour and Vuelta and on purpose I hadn’t trained too intensively so I wouldn’t stand tired at the start. That’s why I could expect not to be super from the beginning. But now the legs have come under steam. Top fifteen in GC is still possible. In the next stages there will be more differences of minutes. Up till now the gaps weren’t big. I’ll try to win places in the upcoming stages. The toughest part is yet to come, until now it wasn’t too hard. The course is definitely not inhuman, it aren’t always stages of more than 200 kilometers. The transfers after the stages are less fun.”

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