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Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) won stage 14 of the Tour de France, going solo to the line from 40km out to take an impressive win.
Stage 14 of the Tour de France was another tough climbing day, as riders made their way from Carcasonne to Quillan over 183km. Once again it was an explosive start to the stage as just about every rider in the race had a go at trying to make the breakaway.
Sean Bennett and Sergio Henao were very active for Team Qhubeka NextHash but the battle for the break went on for 90km. Eventually it was 10 riders that finally got a gap on an exhausted peloton.
The climbs came thick and fast through the stage though, and it was Mollema who took advantage on one of the descents to jump clear from his breakaway companions with 40km to go.
The chase never really got organised and the Dutchman went solo all the way to the line. After the early efforts to try make the breakaway, Henao came home with the peloton while our other Team Qhubeka NextHash riders rolled in with the various smaller groups.
It was like a pre-Pyrenees stage with a lot of climbing. We had big plans to have Sergio in the break as we were expecting the race to develop the way that it unfolded and it took a long time, almost 80km, for the breakaway to go.
We were up there a few times with Sergio but in the end it was a bit of lottery and you can’t expect him to jump after everything. We tried and he got good help from Simon and the others but he had a puncture very early in the stage and had to use a lot of energy to get back when the race was on for the first two hours.
At the finish he was still there in the big group with the GC riders but that wasn’t really the goal, which was to have a top result in the stage, but I think that Sergio has the legs for it so we will see what can happen in the coming days.
We’re going to Andorra next and a lot of the riders live there so their wives and kids are waiting, including Sergio’s, so I’m hoping it gives some extra motivation.