Bauke Mollema of Rabobank tumbled in the Tour de Suisse GC Saturday due to what the team called “an unsportsmanlike act” by Leopard Trek. Mollema fell from second to twelfth overall on the eighth stage.
Mollema punctured with 15 km to go, and, according to Rabobank, when Leopard Trek noticed that, they turned up the speed at front.
“We had everything perfectly under control,” DS Franz Maassen said on the team website. But then Mollema punctured, shortly after the breakaway had been caught but before the sprinters' teams had taken control of the field.
Mollema quickly got a wheel from Peter Weening, and Weening, Tom Jelte Slagter and Matti Breschel tried to help their captain back up to the front, but it was impossible to counter the Luxembourg team.
“They sacrificed Gerdemann, Cancellara and Andy Schleck completely. They rode all out until they couldn't any more,” Maassen said.
“I could be very angry, but it wouldn't help. It was certainly not sportsmanlike. Everybody could see it.”
Maassen said that Mollema should have had a chance to win the stage. “The guy has a great week behind him and then this happens. I think the podium is not impossible, but Bauke's already small chances of victory are now completely gone.”
All was not lost for the team, as Steven Kruijswijk moved up from third to second place. “Maybe something good can come from today,” Maassen concluded. “The team was formidable in the finale. What happened only makes us stronger.”