A fifth place finish on Tuesday's 16th stage of the Tour de France was “a terrible disappointment,” according to Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Silence-Lotto. “I gambled on my sprint, but it was not to be.”
Van Den Broeck, 26, had fancied his chances in a sprint as he and a small group of riders approached the finish, but Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was able to escape 2.5km from the line to take a solo win. “I could not close the gap and [had expected] Amael Moinard (Cofidis) would go, too,” he told sporza.be.
Van Den Broeck had been part of an early escape group which got away only 5 km into the race. The group was originally was made up of 17 riders and he was one of just eight to stay away until the end.
"Fifth. Fine. Really fine. But I wanted more, I wanted to win,” he said. “Sunday night, I did not sleep well because the finish at Verbier had not been good enough, and I fear that I shall not sleep well tonight again.”
Van den Broeck, who had hoped to deliver a stage win on the Belgian national holiday, admitted that he hadn't felt comfortable in the early part of the stage. “The first Col [the Col du Grand-St-Bernard] did not go very well, but afterwards I was feeling progressively stronger,” he said on the Silence-Lotto website. “I climbed at least as well as KOM Pellizotti. He was the ideal companion to stay ahead.”
His result on the stage also meant that Van Den Broeck rose from 30th to 22nd on general classification, but the Belgian was indifferent to his position in the overall. “I want a win, not a place of honour. I'm not interested in knowing how many positions I gained in the general classification.”