The final two stages of the Tour de Romandie surely didn't go the way that Team Rabobank had hoped, as the defending champion dropped out of the race during Saturday's Queen stage and the team lost promising youngster Bauke Mollema after a crash in the final stage.
Thomas Dekker had wanted to defend his overall victory from last year After finishing second in the third stage time trial, behind the later overall winner Andreas Klöden, the young Dutch rider couldn't keep up with the German Astana climber on Saturday's mountains, in what the team called "a huge disappointment" for him.
With about 25 kilometres to go, the 23 year-old dropped off the back of the group around Klöden, and indicated that he just didn't have it that day, and eventually abandoned the race. "Thomas told me at the start of the [third] climb that he did not feel very good. That was a surprise for me, too, nothing seemed to be wrong," said directeur sportif Erik Dekker, who compared the youngster to Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov. "Denis came with the same message on almost the exact same moment. He bit the bullet and secured a nice place in the end."
On the team's website, the elder Dekker later said about the younger Dekker (no relation), "He was exhausted yesterday, especially mentally. His resiliency, which is logically weaker and reduced in this period, broke. The main emphasis was put on the three classics and this was supposed to be the dessert."
The 21 year-old Mollema was caught in a serious crash near the middle of Sunday's last stage. "That really caused some pain to his arm and elbow. Bauke spent approximately two minutes on the ground and he was still able, by putting out all the stops, to come back. He managed to do it, but his heart wasn't in it," Erik Dekker said. "He could not even take a water bottle. I told him not to take any risks. That's when Bauke pulled himself out of the race."
A hospital in Lausanne diagnosed a broken elbow, and the youngster flew home on Sunday for surgery that same day in Amersfoort.