TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA shows big morale in France
TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA shows big morale in FranceThe Tour de France turned into an emotional roller coaster for TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA. At first the team had to swallow the abandon of its designated leader Rui Costa. But then Rubén Plaza found his form and performed greatly in the Alps, winning a stage and thus saving the race for the team.
The first week of the Tour de France is always tricky: All riders are still fresh and the tension within the peloton at times in tangible. This has caused a lot of crashes in the past, and Rui Costa as the designated overall leader of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA got involved in what turned out to be possible the worst pile-up of this year’s edition. The Portuguese suffered injuries to his knees, legs and hip and could not recover from those until he stepped off his bike during the second stage in the Pyrenees. This was all the more unfortunate as the the riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green had ridden a decent team time trial, finishing in eighth. As for TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA it had to recover from this set-back first.
But on the transitional stages through France’s central low mountain ranges, the riders of the team repeatedly made it into the group of the day. By doing so the team showed big morale, and Kristijan Durasek, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Valls and Rubén Plaza were the most active riders in this. The attacking style of racing got rewarded at the end of the 16th stage: Rubén Plaza managed to drop all of his companions on the final ascent to Col de Manse and got to celebrate a fine solo win in Gap - his first stage win the Tour de France ever. Plaza continued to ride in top form after the second rest day and was rewarded with another top result, finishing the stage up to the legendary Alpe d’Huez in 10th. From TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s perspective these where the sporting highlights.
The riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green kept going strong throughout the final stage: Filippo Pozzato was the first rider atop the Tour de France’s final classified climb, and on the Champs Elysées first José Serpa and then Nelson Oliveira made it into escape groups that both got reeled in. In the last bunch sprint of the race Davide Cimolai had to settle for 19th after he had been sprinting to top10 finishes in four stages earlier on. Another success is the fact that eight of the nine riders of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA survived three tough weeks and made it all the way to Paris. Without the selfless efforts of the team’s personnel - soigneurs, mechanics, drivers and cooks - this would not have been possible.
Throughout the three weeks in France no less than four different MERIDA models were brought to use with the SCULTURA, the REACTO EVO, the RIDE and the WARP TT. Apart from two flat on the cobbled sections of the 4th stage, TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA did not face any technical issues. This is well worth a mention as its riders have been covering an overall distance of about 28’500 kilometers. And its proof of the reliability of the equipment, from the Fulcrum wheels to parts from Rotor, FSA and ProLogo and to the 25mm wide Continental tires.