Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM’s Bauke Mollema finished the Tour de Suisse final stage at Saas-Fee second behind Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and moved onto the podium for a third place overall.
„I’m very satisfied with this week in Switzerland,“ Mollema said, „and happy with my third place in the GC.“
Current world champion, Costa won the summit finish 13 seconds ahead of the Dutchman who is preparing for the Tour de France. With his second place and third yesterday, Mollema moved up the overall from 11th to third at 50 seconds and gave the green and black Dutch team a big boost. Costa, thanks to the stage win and time gained, overtook Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) for the classification victory.
„We made a plan to make the race tough to drop Martin,“ Mollema added. „The plan worked out perfectly. I’m very happy with how the team performed.“ Mollema made his way ahead in the Saas Valley after the escape was caught in the 156.5-kilometre stage. One by one, his rivals lost pace up the 25-kilometre climb to Saas-Fee at 1807 metres. The result came thanks to Team Belkin’s strong team work.
„The plan was to win the stage and to get Bauke on the podium,“ Stef Clement said. „We worked as a team from the start. Everybody did his job very well during the stage. Two weeks before the Tour de France, Bauke showed he is a real leader, a captain. He promised a podium place and he did just that.“
The Tour de France, Mollema’s season goal, kicks off in 13 days’ time in Yorkshire. With today’s result, Mollema also showed he is ready for the task ahead.
„It will boost the confidence of the team because the Tour de Suisse is not a preparation race. It comes down to hard racing and suffering,“ Clement added. „The reward for all that is a lot of WorldTour points and we showed the world Team Belkin is one of the best teams in the world. We are still looking for a sponsor and this is the best advertisement we can make.“