Bauke Mollema's victory on the 15th stage of the Tour de France was "the best win I've had, the most beautiful win." The Trek-Segafredo rider is now looking forward to the Giro di Lombardia, which he calls "the last real big race, the last chance for most riders." The Dutch rider also reflected on teammate Alberto Contador, who retired from the sport after the Vuelta a Espana.
Mollema has brought in top ten results in all three Gand Tours during his 10-year career, including seventh in this year's Giro d'Italia, and won a stage at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana. "But for me the Tour was always the most important race, if you win a stage there, it's a big deal. For sure it's the most important result in my career so far," he said in an interview with velon.cc.
The 31-year-old finished 34th in the Worlds road race, which was not a successful one for the Dutch team. He said, "our plan was to try and make the race hard. For me personally and some of the other Dutch guys, the course was just a little bit too fast. Maybe not quite hard enough - but we knew that before the race. We tried to make a good plan and make it a hard race.
"But that's how it is: next year [in Innsbruck] there will be another course, probably a better one for the Dutch team. Maybe we will be able to control it."
Next up is Lombardia, where he finished seventh in 2012. "It's always a big test at the end of the season. The race is so hard, you really need to be 100 per cent to do well, and it can sometimes be difficult to be on top form in October. It's the last real big race, the last chance for most riders."
2017 also sees not only Trek-Segafredo but the whole peloton say goodbye to Alberto Contador. "His aggressive style of racing - in this season's Tour de France but especially at the Vuelta - gives a boost to the rest of the team. It's nice to have a team-mate like that, it's good for the atmosphere. At the Tour I was able to help Alberto really well on some days, but I had my own chances in the breakaway too. It's a pity for cycling that he's going to stop."