Maxime Monfort looking to improve GC position
Lotto-Belisol have been active throughout the nine stages of this year's Giro d'Italia but are still chasing a stage win having gone close with Tim Wellens who finished second on stage six. Maxime Monfort currently occupies 14th place on the overall classification, 3:41 minutes down on Cadel Evans (BMC) but is looking to move into the top-ten after enjoying the second rest day of the race.
"The morale is very good in the team and the guys are very close," sports director Marc Wauters said. "Everybody is very pugnacious. In yesterday's stage it was full gas the first hour, eventually Tosh Van der Sande got in a breakaway. Unfortunately the finish didn't really suit him. There are always many attempts before a front group is formed. Lars Bak, Adam Hansen and Dennis Vanendert have tried several times, but they haven't been in the right break yet."
The team has made it into the break on four out of the nine stages races so far — and taking into consideration that stage one was a team time trial — Lotto's success rate so far is 50%.
Lotto were 20th on the opening stage of the Giro, 1:34 minutes down on stage winner Orica-GreenEdge which for Wauters, has been the low point of the Grand Tour despite the bad weather.
"The team time trial in Belfast on day one wasn't a success. Of all teams we had to ride in the worst weather, in the rain. We lost many seconds in the corners. Not everybody was as strong. The bad result was a combination of those two factors. In the meantime the team has grown.
"Since then we have tried each day to attack and that was successful a few times. In the rest of this Giro we will maintain that tactic. The boys have the right spirit."
The team will try its luck at claiming stage wins through breakaways and will be confident of doing so with the memory of Hansen's stage 7 victory last year.
In the GC, Monfort will be protected by the team as he looks to better his best finishing position at a Grand Tour so far; sixth at the 2011 Vuelta a España.
"Monfort has climbed one place yesterday and is fourteenth in GC now," Wauters said. " He's on schedule. Maxime is an experienced rider and that will come in handy in the tough last week. He's got faith. Adam Hansen and Lars Bak helped Maxime to get back in a good position after his crash in the sixth stage, so he could control the damage. He lost twelve seconds on other GC riders.
"In the time trial on Thursday Maxime wants to take time back on the climbers. He can possibly gain time uphill as well."
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