Your Friday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

December 16, 2016

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Trek-Segafredo convinced Tour de France win is still within Contador’s reach; With an eye to the future, Mollema targets Giro and commits to Contador in 2017 Tour; Bart Wellens on transition to managing a team; Stijn Vandenbergh ready for Roubaix; Rob Peeters out with flu; George Bennett diagnosed with mononucleosis; Matthew Busche announces retirement; Wegmann retires after 15 seasons; Matteo Tosatto on retirement: ‘I will not beg for a contract’; Compton, Hyde win USA Cycling Pro CX titles; Tirreno-Adriatico 2017 route announced; Cyclist attempting to cycle around Britain abandons attempt; Practice the post-up before winning.

With an eye to the future, Mollema targets Giro and commits to Contador in 2017 Tour

by VeloClub

For some, Bauke Mollema may not be an obvious selection as a future Grand Tour winner but, save for a stage 19 crash during the 2016 Tour de France, he may well have finished on the podium in Paris. The Dutchman has a greater self-belief than before and is aiming for victory in the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Longer-term, chasing yellow in France remains his big ambition. Here is an excerpt from the feature:

Mollema has been a professional since 2008 and at this point in time, any changes are refinements rather than revolutions. Still, in such a difficult sport the difference between winning and losing can be miniscule. Because of that, every gain must be searched for. He doesn’t require any convincing about this point. On September 4 he won a 12.1 kilometre time trial in Edmonton, Canada, during the Tour of Alberta. He beat Holowesco-Citadel duo Andzs Flaksis and Robin Carpenter by nine and 16 seconds respectively.

The win was appreciated, but also carried a small tinge of regret. The margin of success left him one second shy of Carpenter in the general classification, and the American retained this advantage on the following day’s final stage. Taking second overall was a strong showing by Mollema, but finishing just a shade off the overall race win stung. It’s a very strong reminder that every second counts in the sport.

“Winning the time trial was big for me,” he says. “I never won a TT before so that was a nice experience. Of course I hoped to win the GC too, which I lost only by one second. I think there is still some room for improvement. I never did a check like this on the Madone, just for aerodynamics. There are some small changes too on the TT bike. My TT last year was pretty good, especially in the Tour, but it can always be better. We are always looking for improvement.”

Mollema may not have taken victory against the clock prior to that, but he showed his worth during the 2016 Tour de France’s first TT. He placed sixth in the stage 13 time trial to Le Caverne de Pont d’Arc. The showing moved him up to second place overall, slotting in behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky). He then remained there for almost a week, beginning stage 19 some 24 seconds ahead of third-placed Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) and 45 up on Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

“The Tour went really well until two days before Paris,” he says now, looking back. “It was my biggest goal and physically I was at a really good level, right where I wanted to be. That was really positive. Of course, I had bad luck in the end. I crashed at a really bad moment and dropped from second to 10th position. That was really disappointing, but that’s cycling, sometimes.”

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