In His Own Words: Jens Keukeleire on Tour de San Luis Stage Six

Sat 25 Jan 2014

Adam Yates continues to impress in Argentina. The ORICA-GreenEDGE neo-pro climbed his way to ninth place on the sixth stage of the Tour de San Luis. Yates crossed the finish line atop the Mirador de Sol in a group of three riders, 30” down on stage winner Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing).

The result was enough to allow Yates to jump up one spot on the overall, where he now sits in 11th place at 4’35 behind race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Heading into the final day of racing, the neo-pro has a firm grasp on the best young riders jersey.

Yates enjoyed an easy ride in the peloton today in part thanks to the efforts of Jens Keukeleire. The Belgian put himself into the early breakaway that included Gregory Brenes (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Richard Mascarañas (Uruguay), Juan Esteban Arango (Colombia), Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) and Larry Warbasse (BMC). The leaders gained a maximum advantage of slightly more than five minutes before Movistar began to peg them back to the bunch. In his own words, Keukeleire describes a day spent up the road.

Before the race even began, I had the idea that I wanted to get into the break one day. It was less about getting a result and more about having some good training. Of course, once I’m in the breakaway, I’m always going to try to get a good result.

Today was pretty fast. The whole group knew it would be difficult to stay in the front because it was an uphill finish. They didn’t give us much time. I realised quite early that today would be a training day instead of a result day.

Being in the front the whole day, it’s a hard thing. The riders in the break are working all day. It’s not easy to get the same sort of effort out of a training day on my own. I’m thinking about traffic or where I can stop for drinks. When I train on my own, I can’t go out and do an entire five hour ride full gas. Aside from the logistical challenges, it’s also mentally hard. In a race scenario, it forces me to go as hard as possible for the allotted time. If the team doesn’t have any specific goals on a stage or in a race, being in the break is always a good option to get a training load like this.

I felt strong in the breakaway. We managed to stay in the front a bit longer than I expected. There was a big crash in the bunch with maybe 20 kilometres left. Our group lost a few riders along the way. I was one of the last ones caught on the lower slopes of the final climb. The peloton didn’t want to let us go all the way to the finish.

Today was the last important day for Adam. He did another good ride. Tomorrow is flat stage, so we think we’ll have a sprint at the end. We’ll try to get Aidis Kruopis up there for the finish and see what kind of result he can get to close out the week.

I’m satisfied with my training and racing in Argentina. The only thing that hasn't been great for me is the weather. It was really, really hot here for many days. Today and yesterday were the first time we had normal weather. Up until two days ago, it was much too hot for me.

As you probably already know by now, we arrived a good week before the race started. The team got in some really good training rides. The roads here are very good and there’s a lot of options for the flats and the hills.

The race is practically perfect for this time of year. The stages are just enough. They’re hard but they’re not too hard, so there’s not a big worry that we’ll come out of the tour completely tired. I’ve considered every day as a good opportunity for training, and my goal has been to come out of the race better than I came into the race. For me, so far, it’s worked out very well. Every day in the race, I’ve felt stronger. I hope this lays a good foundation for the rest of the season.