Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) settled into his Tour de France with a solid ride in the opening time trial in Utrecht, finishing 14th behind stage winner Rohan Dennis. The result saw Mollema put time into a number of his main GC rivals, including Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana. Although the gains were just a matter of seconds but the Dutchman was nevertheless pleased with his opening ride.
“I think that it was a good time trial and I’m happy with the result,” he told Cyclingnews as he warmed down.
“The first part I took a bit easy because of the headwind and then in the second half it was really hard but I felt that I could accelerate in the last few kilometres. It was a good pace.”
“The whole week I’ve been looking forward to this day and to the start. There’s a lot of waiting but now we’ve started, and with a good result. It was a great experience, especially with the Dutch fans out.”
Mollema came into the Tour de France as Trek Factory Racing’s protected GC asset and despite a back injury disrupting his build-up the former top-ten rider has come into this year’s race with hopes of a top five place.
Saturday’s result will ultimately have little bearing on the final overall standing in Paris and Mollema is well aware that the first week, with the tricky and dangerous parcours through Holland, Belgium and northern France will have far more of an affect.
“The differences are still quite small so it’s a few seconds here or there but it’s good to start well. You really have to look at it day-by-day but these time gaps will be a lot bigger after the first week.”
Mollema also stressed that although a number of the stages in the first week suit his characteristics, such as stages three and eight, with their uphill finishes, the primary goal is to come through the first week intact and healthy.
“The third stage to the Mur and then the stage to the Mur de Bretagne suit me but the most important thing is to get through this first week without crashes and problems. It’s important not to lose any time."