Rabobank rider was surprise fourth in 2011 Vuelta a Espana
Bauke Mollema would rather win the Vuelta a Espana than finish third in the Tour de France. The Rabobank rider, who was one of the surprises of the 2011 Vuelta, may well ride both grand tours again in 2011.
The climber did not do as well as hoped in this year's Tour, being hampered by illness. He came back in the end of the race, finishing second on the 17th stage. He finished as 70th overall.
Mollema finished just off the podium in the Vuelta, with ten top ten stage finishes. He even wore the leader's jersey for one stage, and won the points jersey classification.
“I like the Vuelta. I've always liked racing in Spain and have had very good results,” he told Revista Desde La Cuneta. “I also think the Tour is well adapted to my characteristics.”
While he still does not know his race programme for 2012, “Surely I will ride next year's Tour de France and we may decide to ride the Vuelta again. For GC and to do well, of course.”
Given his choice of winning the Vuelta or finishing third in the Tour, he “would choose first in the Vuelta. A win is always a win.”
Mollema had not expected to do as well in the Vuelta as he did. “I expected to make the top ten, but nothing more. The podium was not an objective going in to the race, then the race was going well for us and I could finish fourth, which made me very happy. Also I got the green jersey in Madrid, which rounded out my performance.”
He also knows that he can't stand still. “In general I think I could improve and gain experience being stronger in all facets of cycling,” he said. He also needs to “try to improve in the time trial in the coming years, which is key to doing well in major stage races.”