Mollema to lead Dutch charge at world championships

After a productive season which has been highlighted by his sixth overall at the Tour de France, Bauke Mollema will captain the Dutch team for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in September.

The Belkin rider came agonisingly close to securing his nation's first podium in 23 years at the Tour before his hopes were shattered when Mollema slipped from second to fourth overall following the stage 17 time trial to Chorges. Suffering with the flu, Mollema battled through the remainder of the stages to eventually finish sixth, 11:42 down on yellow jersey Chris Froome (Sky).

Top-10 results have been a feature of the 26-year-old's season, beginning with sixth at the Tour Méditerranéen, runner-up at Vuelta a Murcia and Tour de Suisse, fourth at Critérium International, 10th at Amstel Gold Race, ninth at Flèche Wallonne, fourth at Tour of Norway, and just last week, he was ninth at Clasica San Sebastian.

Dutch national coach Johan Lammerts told NOS that Mollema's results dictate that he should be the team's protected rider.

"Bauke is the leader and we are expecting a result," he said. "He gets a protected role and should keep quiet until the final."

Pieter Weening, Wilco Kelderman, Robert Gesink and Laurens ten Dam should also feature in the Dutch team of nine riders for the men's road race.

Lammerts has been working with a core group of riders for the championships since May.

Mollema's best placing at world championship level, of his two berths in the elite Dutch ranks, is his 48th place in Valkenburg in 2012. He made his debut in 2011, finishing 62nd. 

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