Fuglsang regrets wasting energy on Tour de France cobbles

'I felt a bit lonely out there' says Dane

Jakob Fuglsang managed a strong ride in stage 9 of the Tour de France on Sunday afternoon. The 33-year-old Astana rider finished in the same group as most GC-riders.

After the finish, Fuglsang told Cyclingnews that his goal was to gain time on his rivals, but regretted that he wasted energy on the cobbles between Arras and Roubaix. He pointed to the lack of team support, lack of interest among other riders and the strength of the Movistar team.

Fuglsang crashed in the fourth pavé sector of the day, the cobbles from Warlaing to Brillon. On the following sector, Team Sky opened up the gas, making it even harder for the Danish rider to come back. Nevertheless, Fuglsang managed to return to the first peloton together with Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), shortly after the pavé sector to Orchies at sixty kilometres from the finish.

Fuglsang quickly moved up and joined a move with Greg Van Avermaet and Jasper Stuyven but Team Sky controlled that move. 20 kilometres later, the Astana team moved to the front on sector 7 from Lérignies to Avelin. The Movistar team neutralised that effort once back on the asphalt and Fuglsang tried again on the following pavé sector, from Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin.

"I came back after that crash. I tried hard, but Movistar controlled it so nicely for their guys. I felt a bit lonely there. Also, there weren't many other guys that seemed like they were really interested in making it hard so it was basically wasted energy. I would have liked to have done a little bit more, but in the end, the tank was empty," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews shortly after crossing the finish line next to the velodrome in Roubaix, while rolling on to the Astana team bus.

The Danish GC rider had fond memories to his pavé ride in the 2014 Tour de France, in which he finished runner-up. Back then, Fuglsang was up the road on wet cobbles with eventual winner Lars Boom and teammate Vincenzo Nibali, who would go on to win the Tour de France that year.

This time around, the cobbles were dry, but Fuglsang clearly had high hopes of doing a good job in the stage from Arras to Roubaix, but his team wasn't present in front in great numbers. The early crash that took out Richie Porte (BMC) also included Fuglsang's teammate – classics specialist Michael Valgren Andersen.

Fuglsang tried hard himself, but to his surprise, it was the Spanish Movistar team who moved forward deep into the finale to control the race. His own Astana team wasn't as good as he hoped for.

"They rode really good as a team and together. They were always together, and always together in the front. We missed that a little bit. We were together now and then but only two at a time. That was not enough to control it today," said Fuglsang.

After the opening week of the Tour de France, Fuglsang is positioned seventh in the general classification at 1:33 from race leader Greg Van Avermaet. He's 50 seconds down on Geraint Thomas, the best-placed overall contender.

Looking back on the first part of the Tour, Fuglsang was pleased that it was over. He will not be the only rider who didn't like the hectic fights for position in the peloton. Now that the race is heading to the Alps, there will be more space as soon as the roads go up. The hectic days might be over.

"Hopefully, I survived it. We were there a few times but I look forward to the mountains now and to start climbing. Start maybe to get over with the stress at least."

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