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Mollema hopes to cement Tour de France GC place during mountain TT

Bauke Mollema said he hopes that the tough mountain time trial on Wednesday at the Tour de France will be an opportunity to cement his second place on general classification ahead of three tough Alpine mountain stages - including a double ascent of Alpe d'Huez.

Speaking on the second rest day, the team Belkin leader said the 32km time trial over a pair of category 2 climbs to Chorges could be a platform to distance his nearest rivals.

Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger (both Saxo-Tinkoff Bank) lie less than 15 seconds behind him on general classification.

Mollema said didn't expect large time differences between on tomorrow's stage in Gap, which finishes with a technical descent of the Col de Manse.

"Every day is important, but I don't expect a lot of differences between GC riders tomorrow," said Mollema.

"In the time trial, I hope to gain some time on some riders behind me to have a bit more space in the last three hard stages," he said.

On yesterday's stage to Ventoux, Mollema was shepherded to the summit with help from teammate Laurens Ten Dam, fifth overall. Mollema said the pair would continue working together and were hopeful of extra support from Robert Gesink.

"It's really special we are both top five in the Tour," said Mollema. "We are both really happy with our positions and it's important to try to stay here. Maybe we can try to help each other I think because we're pretty equal in the climbs.

"Robert Gesink is getting better and I hope he can help us more now in the last three days than in the Pyrenees. Then we will see."

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Sam started as a trainee reporter on daily newspapers in the UK before moving to South Africa where he contributed to national cycling magazine Ride for three years. After moving back to the UK he joined Procycling as a staff writer in November 2010.