Belgian climber - and these two words are rarely seen together - Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon-Lotto) found the 2670 metre high Rettenbachferner hard going in Stage 4 of the Deutschland Tour yesterday. The highest summit finish in European racing this season, the Rettenbachferner averaged 10.7 percent for 12 brutal kilometres, and there were several sections of 16 percent. For Van Huffel, who rode well in the Dolomites in the Giro and on the Ventoux in the Dauphiné Libéré, the climb was even harder than those.
"This is tougher than the cols in Italy and Le Mont Ventoux," said Van Huffel to Sporza TV after the finish yesterday. "At the base it exploded and I had to recover. I immediately settled for my own tempo. When I came back, there were more attacks and I didn't push it any more. But I didn't go over my limits and didn't slow down. The tempo that I found was still relatively high. I even caught a couple of guys.
"I'll try on the Feldberg on Sunday one more time. What I learned today is that the condition isn't like it was in the Giro and the Dauphiné."