Dumoulin fifth in mountain time trial Tour de Suisse
Tom Dumoulin has finished fifth in the seventh stage of the Tour de Suisse. In t...
Sepp Kuss has taken a shot at the stage win in the seventh stage of Critérium du Dauphiné. The American, however, fell just short on the slopes of La Plagne. Kuss crossed the line in sixth place.
The Dauphiné seemed to be characterised by the high tempo in the opening phase of the stages. In the first hour the riders rode at an average of about fifty kilometres per hour. In the course of the stage a number of groups in varying compositions rode in front. At the foot of La Plagne it was up to the GC riders to provide fireworks.
Richie Porte was the first to attack and got Enric Mas, Mark Padun and Kuss in his wheel. When Padun accelerated again, it was only Kuss who could follow. The two quickly built a lead of about thirty seconds. A few kilometres below the summit Padun accelerated again and left Kuss behind. The American was then passed by a quartet of other riders.
Steven Kruijswijk had a lesser day. The Dutchman dropped behind from the group of favourites on the final climb. Kruijswijk decided to ride his own pace and returned a little later. The subsequent attacks of the classification riders were too powerful for him. Kruijswijk eventually finished eighteenth at La Plagne. In the general classification he dropped to fifteenth place. Kuss in turn rose to place thirteen.
"I can’t blame myself because I know I rode to win"
“It was a tough stage with a tough final climb”, Kuss said. “My legs felt good. The goal was to go for the stage win. It was an ideal situation when Padun and I were in the lead. We worked well together and quickly took a nice lead. Unfortunately, I simply couldn’t follow him after a while. I can’t blame myself because I know I rode to win and tried to take my chance. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s stage. Of course we will try again as a team. Despite the fact we are not at the top of the standings, I am confident that we can achieve something beautiful.”
"We still have a few weeks to get in the right shape."
Sports director Grischa Niermann spoke of a mixed performance. “The plan was to go for the win with Sepp. He rode strongly and he tried. We can conclude that he made the right move. If he had stayed in the group of the yellow jersey he would not have won anyway. In the end the competition was too strong today. Steven had a lesser day. Although he was able to come back, it is currently not how we had envisioned it. It does not worry us for the Tour. We still have a few weeks to get in the right shape. Even though we don’t have a classification to defend, we won’t hide in tomorrow’s stage either.”