Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) has been enjoying himself since the Tour de France finished at the end of last month. After making an appearance at Clásica San Sebastián, where he finished sixth, he has been making the most of the critérium circuit at home in the Netherlands. The Dutchman is a popular figure at the events after he continued his string of top 10 finishes at the Tour by coming home seventh overall.
Injury has hampered Mollema this season but he has made some big steps forward and he says that there is still more to come. "I’m in the moment in my career that I’m still progressing and still making steps. A lot of riders are at their best in their 30s, I’m 28 now and I’m still progressing. I’m hoping in the future to have some good results," Mollema told Marca.
"I hope to be on the podium in a Grand Tour for sure. I’ve been fourth in the Vuelta a España in 2011, sixth and seventh in the Tour de France already. I’m almost there I think. I have to make one small step to finish on the podium in a Grand Tour I think. It will be difficult to make that step but I’m still improving so hopefully I can make it."
At times, Mollema’s top 10 result looked like it might be under threat from the likes of Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) and Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin). Some aggressive racing in the final week strengthened his position, though, and he began climbing the rankings. His final result was one short of what he achieved at the 2013 Tour.
"I’m happy with my result. I did the maximum possible. The riders in front of me in the Tour de France were stronger than me and I think that seventh position was the maximum result and I have to be satisfied with that," he said.
The Tour de France was Mollema’s first Grand Tour with Trek Factory Racing since joining them at the start of this season. The American-registered team is only his second since turning professional with Rabobank back in 2008. He was brought on as their lead GC contender and has pulled out some solid results such as second at Tirreno-Adriatico.
"I’m really happy with my team Trek Factory Racing this year. After so many years with Rabobank, Belkin and Blanco it’s a new step and I’m really happy with the move," said Mollema. "It’s a new environment, new teammates, new people and I think it works well for me. I’m really happy with the confidence and the direction that the team has for me. I made a good step in Tirreno-Adriatico and at the Tour de France I was strong again and I hope to stay with this team a long time."
Mollema is not set to make his return to racing until the Tour of Alberta on September 9. He will remain in Canada after the six-day race to ride the Quebec and Montreal WorldTour races before, he hopes, heading to Richmond for the World Championships at the end of next month.