Tour de France – Stage 2 – Stef Clement – You try your luck and you lose; that’s part of cycling, too –

05 July 2015

IAM Cycling

Tour de France 2015

Though expected to be tricky, the second stage of the Tour de France more than lived up to its promises.  The nervousness of the pack, the rain and some wind decorated the day which ultimately became the hunting ground of experts in Dutch weather.  Consequently, the game necessarily went to the teams who knew the sort of tricks needed to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) ended by taking victory in a long sprint led out by Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep), but where Greipel, a former German national road champion, finally out-scorched Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory).  Cancellara will be rewarded for his efforts with a new yellow jersey since his 3rd place on the stage gained him the necessary bonus seconds.  In this fight among the beefy riders in the pack, IAM Cycling lost a little ground after having been well placed with Stef Clement in a breakaway along with three other riders.  Unfortunately, Mathias Frank was taken down in a mass crash after he had been well-shepherded into the front group by Matthias Brändle.  Due to losing his place after his crash, Frank finished in the second group and lost 1’28” to other GC aspirants such as Froome, Contador, and Van Garderen.

Tour de France 2015

Stef Clement, racing practically in his own back garden, made the right choice when vying for a place in the breakaway.  Indeed, he was following the instructions given during the team meeting in the morning.  But the peloton never let go of the elastic, and the foursome never had more than three minutes in hand.  Clement, who is a road captain for the Swiss team, was philosophical and realistic when discussing his day’s ride.

“You try your luck, and you lose; that is also part of cycling.  I used up a lot of energy working in the break.  But I’m not disappointed, even if the day was pretty strange.  This morning, some guys announced that we’d have rain for the departure, then others said it would be at the finish, and then eventually we ended up being soaked mid-race due to a severe thunderstorm.  That was enough to make the road really wet and slippery.  The nervousness was tangible and the crashes quickly started.”

Rik Verbrugghe, manager sportif for IAM Cycling in the company of Eddy Seigneur and Mario Chiesa, remained optimistic when looking at the results of his riders.  “For Mathias Frank, this was a good result despite his crash.  He finished on the wheels of Nibali, Quintana, and Valverde as well as Peraud and Pinot.  Surprisingly, he crashed in a roundabout and not in the wind that caused all the splits in the peloton.  Frank was right up there with the echelon specialists, but he also fell because of other guys in the group.  It’s just a shame he was not able to stay up with Froome and Contador.  But this is by no means a disaster.”

Tour de France 2015