Team Lampre-Merida

Surviving the hell of the North


Surviving the hell of the North

Both riders and fans will remember the fifth stage of this year's Tour de France for a long time: The combination of seven sections on cobbled roads and steady rain made for an unrelenting selection. From TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA's perspective, Rui Costa successfully kept the deficit within limits.

Before the stage started, the race jury of the Tour de France had decided to skip les Orchies and Mons-en-Pévèle, the two most demanding cobbled sectors of a total of nine such sectors. The reason for this was the steady rain that had turned some of the already tricky sectors into effective mudbaths. Even so the course still featured 153 kilometres and seven cobbled sectors. TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA's mechanics had built up RIDE PRO frames with wider tires from Continental for this particular stage.

The wet roads caused a series of crashes even before the race hit the first cobbled sectors. While Rui Costa narrowly managed to escape a large pile-up in a roundabout, two other riders of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA went down.

Thus the world champion was on his own pretty early on in the stage. And to make matters worse Rui Costa had to let a number of overall contenders ride away after the first cobbled sector. But he was in respectable society, as Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador were in the same group.

Rui Costa conceded 2.28 minutes to stage winner Lars Boom on the way to the finish - and a bit over two minutes to Italian Vincenzo Nibali as the overall contender who fared best on the cobbled sectors. In the overall standings the leader of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA moved up from 15th to 13th. From the team's perspective it's all the more pleasant that all riders of the team made it to the finish in Arenberg - including Mac Richeze who is suffering from the consequences of the crashes he had been suffering in recent days.