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Mollema takes Vuelta points jersey in Madrid

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
September 12, 2011, 14:00 BST,
Updated:
September 12, 2011, 15:24 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 12, 2011
Race:
Vuelta a España, Stage 21
Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) took the points jersey on the last day.

Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) took the points jersey on the last day.

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Rabobank rider snatches green jersey from Rodriguez

Bauke Mollema ended his Vuelta on a high in Madrid after snatching the green points jersey from Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) thanks to a better finish in the final sprint to the line.

The 24 year-old Dutchman also finished fourth overall, 2:03 behind Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC), confirming his consistency during the three weeks of hard racing in Spain.

Mollema started the final stage to Madrid with 115 points, exactly the same as Rodriguez. However, his Rabobank team rode a clever race and worked hard to set him up for the final sprint. He finished ninth, thereby scoring seven points, while Rodriguez finished a low 125th and lost any chance of winning the jersey.

"In the first week I wasn't fighting for the jersey, it only became a goal in the last few days, so it's nice to win it," Mollema told Cyclingnews. "Me and Rodriguez were close in the last week but I knew I could beat him on the last stage in Madrid. I'm not a pure sprinter but I knew I could maybe start the sprint in tenth position and finish ok. I got ninth and so got the jersey."

The Rabobank team was totally committed to taking the points lead. "We had a tactic not to go for the intermediate sprints and like Geox, we were happy that a break went away," Mollema explained. "All my teammates helped throughout the stage so that I could focus on the last kilometre. It was a little uphill and so a few sprinters faded."

Mollema had a breakthrough ride at the Vuelta. He finished second to Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) on the tough mountain finish to La Covatilla and put on the red race leader's jersey for one day. He was only 25th in the following day's time trial, losing the jersey to Froome, but continued to ride consistently well for the rest of the race.

"Fourth place made my Vuelta hugely satisfying even before I managed to win the green points jersey," he said. "I think it means I'm strong in the sprints on any kind of terrain. I'm consistent and I think I've been in the top ten on ten or eleven stages. That shows how well I've done."

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