Cycling | 31 augustus 2017
Clement fifth in Vuelta after day in the breakaway
An entire day in the breakaway brought Stef Clement the fifth place. In the twelfth stage of the Vuelta, the escaped Tomasz Marczynski won.
"To hunt him down, I needed super legs today", the 34-year-old rider from Breda said. "I did not have them, so I had to adjust in the end. At my own pace I ascended the Puerto del Torcal and rejoined Rojas and Fraile. I knew that if I were to ride with them, the chance of winning was small. That's why I think the fifth place today was the most feasible."
Sports director Addy Engels agreed with Clement. "If there’s a breakaway after one hour of racing only, you know that there are good men amongst them. Of course we went for a stage win, but Marczynski was too good today. It was nice for Stef that he fought in the breakaway, and fought on the last climb to the best of his ability."
Clement was not the only one who delivered a fight today. Daan Olivier had a hard day. Engels: "Just when it became clear Stef had made it to the breakaway, we heard that Daan had fallen. When we got to him it became clear that he had had a big crash. Initially, he rushed back to the peloton. Upon arriving, he seemed to be hurt. Especially using his left leg was painful for him. For a while I thought he had to give up. The coming days will be tough for him."
George Bennett abandoned the Vuelta. The expectation was that the New Zealander was going to improve during the race, as he had started his preparations later after leaving the Tour de France. The contrary seemed to happen. Since Bennett suffered from Pfeiffer's disease last winter, it was decided not to take risks and take him off course.
Lastly, the sports director had a compliment for his leader, Steven Kruijswijk: "He looked good today. At the time Contador was blasting, Steven was well in the chasing group. The fact that he jumped just before the finish and became the first of that group will be a mental boost for him. The good legs seem to come back", Engels said.