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Breukink says Tour de France was very difficult in 2009

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
November 27, 2009, 12:27 GMT,
Updated:
November 27, 2009, 11:30 GMT
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 27, 2009
Team director Erik Breukink with a shiny brand new machine

Team director Erik Breukink with a shiny brand new machine

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Outside pressures and unmet expectations added to team difficulties

Erik Breukink is leaving his job as team manager at Rabobank, and taking on the responsibilities of technical director. This year was a particularly tough one for him, he said, although that is not the reason he is changing jobs.

“Expectations were higher than ever, so it fell further when everything went wrong,” he told sportweek.nl. “That made the Tour very difficult.”

Breukink did not say exactly what the problems from the Tour were, but they were obvious difficulties. Robert Gesink had gone into the Tour, his first, with hopes of a high placing, but had to drop out after the fifth stage after breaking his wrist in a crash during the stage. Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov crashed during the team time trial and finished only 51st overall.

Breukink had other worries about his Russian star, too, as he confirmed during the Tour that Menchov had been questioned in connection with the Austrian HumanPlasma blood-doping investigation.

Adding to the pressure, the team struggled for results in the Tour, finally being successful when Juan Manuel Gárate won the climb up Mont Ventoux in the penultimate stage.

“The riders continued to fight, no one was sitting in sackcloth and ashes,” Breukink said. “But the outside influences were more difficult for us. The riders were less affected than the coaching and management team.”

The 45-year-old Dutchman said that he hid is anger and frustrations. “When people see me sitting in the car, they think I'm very calm. But things go through my head constantly. I am always tense.”

He didn't show it, but “that's what I feel inside.” Pretending that he didn't feel it “makes no sense”.

As technical director, Breukink will be responsible for composition of the ProTour team as well as the race programme, management of team directors and cooperation with the Continental Team.

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