Lotto Belisol: Mad 13th stage in the Tour
The 13th stage in the Tour de France was a real spectacle. Echelons split up the field and after a coup of Saxo Tinkoff yellow jersey Chris Froome lost time. At the end Mark Cavendish could celebrate. This stage from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond was 173 km long. Six riders felt like attacking, but never got more than three minutes. After about 70 kilometers Omega Pharma – QuickStep came to the front of the bunch and echelons were formed. Sprinter Marcel Kittel was one of the many who were dropped, André Greipel could stay in the first peloton. 96 km from the end the escapees were caught. Not much later Valverde had a mechanical problem. At that moment the Spaniard was second in GC, at the end of the day he would lose almost ten minutes. Belkin, team of Mollema who was 3rd in GC, and Omega Pharma – QuickStep kept the tempo high and made a tough race of it.
At the intermediate sprint, 60,5 km from the finish, André Greipel took the 20 points, the maximal possible. With 30 km to go there was the putsch of Saxo Tinkoff. Six of their riders, among them GC contestants Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger, took off from the first peloton. A group of fourteen came at the head of the race, the Belkin duo Mollema and Ten Dam was also part of it. Cavendish and Sagan were there as well. Chris Froome had to chase. Lotto Belisol worked together with Sky. But the front group kept creating a bigger gap and could battle for the stage win. Cavendish won, before green jersey Peter Sagan, who’s leading more firmly. Greipel won the sprint for the 15th place. After today Mollema is 2nd in GC at 2’28” of Froome.
Manager Marc Sergeant: “At the moment that OPQS took the initiative to form echelons at about 100 kilometers from the end we were controlling the lead of the escapees with a few teams. Only Jürgen Roelandts was standing at the side of the road because nature called and Greg Henderson just came to get drinks at the team car when it split up. At that moment there was no problem. When Saxo placed a new coup with 30 km to go and only 14 riders were left, we had no one in front. I have to say how it is: at that point André should only keep an eye on Sagan and Cavendish. They were in the break and he wasn’t. And he should have been there as well.”
Jürgen Roelandts: “What can I say? I was standing at the side of the road, and they increased the tempo and I never got in front again. The rest of the race I haven’t seen anything anymore. The first 50 kilometers I was perfectly in front, but one moment was enough to get caught up in the back. It’s a pity.”