Jurgen Van den Broeck is restless. He no longer has his girlfriend and eyes only the Tour de France. After the time loss yesterday, he is fighting back, starting with today’s stage to Porrentruy in Switzerland.
“If you have to keep thinking about all the bad luck in your life,” he said, “then you are going let your life pass by.”
The Belgian spoke outside the Lotto-Belisol team bus after the race’s shortest road leg from France into Switzerland. Ahead of the last climb, topping out at just 16km from the finish, he ordered his team-mate Jelle Vanendert to push the pace. It worked.
Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis), fourth overall this morning, and Nicolas Roche (AG2R), eighth, lost ground. After you take out Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), Michael Rogers (Sky) and Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who crashed and abandoned, Van den Broeck moved up five slots, from 13th to eighth overall.
“It was a big war today, attacks and riders trying to form an escape from the start,” Lotto’s sports director, Herman Frison told Cycling Weekly.
“We told him to go for it and take the time.”
Vanendert and Van den Broeck didn’t crack the field, but they did thin it. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), who sits third overall behind Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans, helped with the rest. The lead group flew down the Col de la Croix pass and into Porrentruy. Van den Broeck attacked and Evans joined. He didn’t break free, he helped keep the speed high and the others distanced.
“Yesterday was a s**tty day, but I’ll never give up,” Van den Broeck said. “I’ve never lost faith in myself. I’m now in eighth place, it can be better.”
Van den Broeck touched wheels with another rider and dropped his chain yesterday. He recovered, but missed the Sky train to up La Planche des Belles Filles. He’s now back up to eighth overall ahead of one of the race’s crucial two time trials tomorrow.
“I hope he rides the same as he did in the Dauphiné time trial [2-12 minutes behind Wiggins - ed]. That was the perfect, that was the best time trial that he rode in the past three years,” Frison continued. “After the time trial, we will see what we can do for the rest of the Tour.”
“Can I place on the podium? No. As I said this morning, a podium is impossible for me. A top five finish is possible because I feel good,” said Van den Broeck. “I won’t change tactics. I’m going to continue to fight. I have legs.”