Fuglsang confirms exceptional climbing skills

Young Dane challenges race leaders

After his strong showing on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux, Danish rookie Jakob Fuglsang confirmed on the Col de la Madeleine that he's a climber in the making. His Saxo Bank team believed in his ability to catch all the breakaway riders on stage seven's finishing climb. Team Saxo Bank took over the chase from race leader Alejandro Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne team in the valley preceding the mountain finish and put Fuglsang in a perfect position for the stage win in Saint-François-Longchamp.

"At the bottom of the last climb, I felt really really good," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews at the finish line. "On my first attack, only three riders followed me: Evans, Contador and Valverde. So I went again. In the last 500 meters I blew but I was not scared of blowing up. Others have the Tour de France in mind, not me.

"Maybe I'm not strong enough," said the Dane who had the ambition to make the top five overall at the Dauphiné. With one stage to go, he's in 6th, which is the same position he got last month at the Tour of Catalunya. There will be more to see of Fuglsang in a near future but not at the Tour de France this year as he is in his first year as a road rider.

The 24-year-old who came from mountain biking might start his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España at the end of August. After his convincing Dauphiné, he'll use the Tour of Slovenia as a preparation for the national championships where he'll challenge his teammate Lars Bak for the time trial title.

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