What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Lars Bak 6th in Tour stage 14 after a long breakaway

The day before the stage to the Mont Ventoux a hilly stage was waiting for the Tour peloton, from Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule to Lyon. Matteo Trentin was the fastest of an escape, Lotto Belisol rider Lars Bak became sixth. Immediately in the first of 191 kilometers there were attacks, in the first hour 48,1 kilometers were covered. Lars Bak was active from the start. Together with Kadri and Voigt he could create a gap, but they didn’t get enough space. French champion Arthur Vichot could join them, just like Le Mével but he had to pass. The difference with the peloton stayed small. After about 40 kilometers 14 riders closed the gap on the four leaders. Among them Bakelants, Burghardt, Millar and Van Garderen. But still some teams kept pursuing in the bunch.

There were seven climbs on the course, five of fourth and two of third category. Before the second climb of the day, after 95 kilometers of racing, the gap rose above two minutes. Dutch champion Johnny Hoogerland and Damiano Cunego took off on the third climb, one of 3rd category, but it turned out to be a chasse patate. The 18 leaders could be sure, they would battle for the victory. Just before entering the final 25 kilometers Albasini attacked, also Millar did an attempt. In the final there were still two climbs: the Côte de la Duchère and Côte de la Croix-Rousse, two hills of fourth category. On the top of the Duchère, 15 km from the end, Julien Simon attacked. The difference kept being between 25 and 15 seconds. In the chase group attacks succeeded each other. Also Lars Bak attacked two times. Just before the final kilometer Simon was caught. 12 riders were heading towards the finish. Matteo Trentin won the stage, Bak became sixth.”

Lars Bak: “I had indicated this stage beforehand, I really wanted to be in the break. Today’s profile reminded me of the Giro stage I won last year. To really be in the break isn’t evident, that I succeeded in it shows I was good. The first two hours the pace was really high. It was extremely hard, especially with the wind. When we were in front with four, there weren’t sufficient teams represented, so they kept chasing us. The fourteen guys that joined us were all good riders. Only Euskaltel and Lampre were leading the chase until Sky took over and they just rode a steady tempo.”

“Thirty kilometers from the finish the final could start in the front. Several riders tried to take off. I knew that I had to survive the last three climbs and then I wanted to repeat the story of the Giro by attacking in the final five kilometers. I felt really strong today and had good legs. I really had the feeling I could go on. In the final I placed a counter-attack with five and three kilometers to go. When Simon was caught by the group and the sprint started, I was total loss.”

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