Team Lampre-Merida

Rays of hope after a difficult first week in the Tour


Rays of hope after a difficult first week in the Tour

The Tour de France is the undisputed highlight of every cycling season. The intensity of racing throughout the first week is enormous and frequently leads to bad crashes. Sadly TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA got its share of those. But at the end of the first week the team scored three top10 results and showed a clear uptrend.


This year TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA has done everything to provide Rui Costa with a strong supporting team. The freshly crowned Portuguese road champion can rely on the powerful support of his compatriot Nelson Oliveira, the two Spaniards Rafael Valls and Ruben Plaza, Colombian José Serpa and Croatian Kristijan Durasek. Another faithful domestique is Matteo Boni while the sprint team only consists of Davide Cimolai and Filippo Pozzato. This goes to show that the team has clearly prioritized a strong result of Rui Costa in the overall to successes in single stages.

Rui Costa’s ambitions were put in question seriously throughout the first three stages however: TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s captain conceded a bit more time than expected in the Tour de France’s opening time trial. When the peloton split into various parts at the end of stage 21 due to heavy rainfall and gusty winds, his deficit to some of the overall contenders grew by another one and a half minutes. But things were to turn for the worse as Rui Costa got entangled in a truly frightening mass pile-up that happened at high speeds with about 60 kilometers to go in the 3rd stage. Miraculously the Portuguese rider got away with abrasions and bruises to his hip and legs, but another loss of time was inevitable.

Just one day after that crash Costa showed a courageous performance: The 4th stage followed the route of the Paris-Roubaix spring Classic and featured seven cobbled sections. On these Costa could fully rely on the help of his compatriot Nelson Oliveira who managed to bring him back to the group of main favourites more than once. Thus Costa only lost contact to the leaders on the final stretch of cobbles, limiting his losses. One detail worth mentioning is that while all the other riders of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA opted for the RIDE comfort bike, Rui Costa chose to ride this stage on MERIDA’s new, super lightweight SCULTURA. Despite its feathery weight the new bike easily withstood the punishment that the cobbles dished out.

After four days of frantic racing, the peloton faced a rainy day in stage 5. The riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green managed to keep their captain Rui Costa out of trouble. And in the bunch sprint Davide Cimolai managed to score TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s first top10 result of this year’s Tour de France, crossing the line in 9th. One day later, the sun was back out and Cimolai proved his versatility in the demanding finale in the harbour city of le Havre: The young Italian kept up with the best riders on the final ascent and eventually sprinted to an 8th place. As for the 7th stage, Kristijan Durasek was the first rider of the team to make it into the group of the day. When this group got reeled in in the finale, Davide Cimolai scored a 9th place in the ensuing bunch sprint - his third top10 result within 48 hours.

On a positive note the team has not lost a single rider throughout the frenzy of the Tour de France’s initial seven days that were marred by numerous crashes. As fond the race is still continuing for long enough to chase more success. Even more so as TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA still has nine healthy riders at its disposal.