Despite dropping from second to eleventh place overall, and the dream of standing on the final podium shattered after a crash-marred stage 19, Bauke Mollema and Trek-Segafredo, have recognised many positives from the 2016 Tour de France.
“The Tour overall was a great ride,” said Mollema. “The team was in full support for me and until two days ago, it looked really good. Misfortune like that is an intrinsic part of our sport. The difference is how you take it. How you deal with it.
“Eleventh is my worst Tour if you look at the number. Yet, it was my best. I’ll be proud of this in a couple of days when the disappointment is over. There are a number of highlights. That first TT, for example, is a moment I will remember forever.”
Only days from Paris, Trek-Segafredo was so close to achieving an enormous result and yet, as director Kim Andersen explained, in cycling, there’s always a small gap from success to nothing.
“We always knew it was a really small gap from success to nothing,” said Andersen. “For the moment, it’s close to nothing, I mean we are still 11th, but from where we came three days ago. But on the other hand, I think with this 11th place the team and Bauke had accomplished much more than when he was seventh [last year]. The team was much more visible all race, and if he had finished on the podium, it would have been a really, really big success.
“We can say we did not reach our goals, to win a stage and finish in the top 10, but in the other way, we started the Tour really well with the two young guys, Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns, who did a good job. The team was present in the first week, and then Bauke took over. We had some fantastic days, and for sure we hoped it would continue on.”
Bauke Mollema’s previous best finish was a 6th place in the 2013 Tour de France and a seventh last year. This year Mollema surprised many, taking a big step upwards in both his climbing and time trialing abilities.
“When you are disappointed you also need to look what positive things can you take from the race, and I think that Bauke can take a lot away from this Tour,” added Andersen. “He is only 29 years old, he started into cycling at a late age, and he has room for more progress. He saw that when he had his best days, that he can be with the best.”