Gerrans fifth on Tour de France stage 11Wed 16 Jul 2014
Liège–Bastogne–Liège champion Simon Gerrans has finished fifth in a reduced bunch sprint for minor placings on stage 11 of the Tour de France.
A brave solo attack late in the race proved successful for Tony Gallopin (LTB) who held on to win the stage.
Off the back of his new three-year deal with the team, Gerrans maintained connection with the reduced peloton as the pressure was put on in the final kilometers of racing.
The Australian champion said the race panned out to plan until the escape of the Frenchman.
“When the little break of three riders snuck off the front early, that was the perfect scenario for us,” Gerrans said.
“It was a group that we thought we could pretty much control and bring back for the final.
“Then it came back pretty quickly and the last 50kms was raced really aggressively.
“Obviously Gallopin slipped away on the last little rise of the day, got a bit of a gap and we didn’t see him again so we were really racing for second place.”
Earlier in the day, the trio of riders got a maximum gap of 6min 45sec before ORICA-GreenEDGE sent Christian Meier to the front to begin the chase alongside Cannondale.
Before the first categorised climb of the day the margin was down to two minutes and the attacks began.
Debutants Simon Yates and Luke Durbridge were sent to the front to assist in bringing the race back together as the superior descenders showed their class.
As three of the final four escapees, including green jersey Peter Sagan (CAN) were reigned in by the fast finishing bunch, Gallopin put in his second attack of the stage for victory.
Sport director Matt White was pleased with the team’s efforts to bring back the race and set up an opportunity for Gerrans.
“It’s good that we have seen in the last couple of days that Simon is back and the team committed to giving him every chance today,” White said.
“I think a few guys were a little bit rougher after the rest day than others but a lot of people got caught off by the move from Garmin.
“It really put a cat amongst the pigeons. It was a long way out and I don’t think people were expecting such big move from any team. From then on it, there were breaks and chases and a very solid final.”
White expects the attacking strategies to remain in stages to come.
“I think there is going to be a lot more breakaways between now and Paris,” White said.
“We have one very dominant leader and especially teams like Saxobank, as they showed today, without a GC (general classification) guy they are going to be on the offensive.”