Mollema’s gritty effort keeps him in the hunt

Despite losing the race lead, Bauke Mollema is already anticipating Stage 3.

Trek-Segafredo gave a valiant effort to defend the yellow jersey in Stage 2 of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, and Bauke Mollema’s excellent performance with a second place finish just behind Michael Woods seemed enough, but in the end, yellow changed hands.

Woods, one of the best when it comes to steep gradients, opened a gap in the final meters of the finish climb of the 169-kilometer race and held on for the win.

Mollema dug deep and threw his bike across the line for second place, an emblematical effort of a rider who’s always fighting for every inch. This time, however, Mollema’s gritty effort fell one-second short of holding yellow.

“It was a tough day, up and down the whole day. It’s a pity to lose the jersey by one second, but Woods was stronger today He went from first position with 300-400 meters to go already. I was in his wheel, but I couldn’t pass him or close the gap. He deserved to win today. I am happy with the feelings – the legs are good!  And it’s not often that I finish first and second in two constitutive days,” said Mollema.

The Trek-Segafredo team did the bulk of the work, as is expected in defending a race lead, and although the yellow jersey is now on Woods’ shoulders for the final, decisive Stage 3, Mollema is confident. It’s a parcours he knows well.

“I’m happy for now, and tomorrow will be a mountain stage, much harder than the last two days, more for the real climbers. I am really looking forward to this stage for a long time because it’s on my training roads and I know every climb really well. Hopefully, we can change things in the classification tomorrow,” he smiled.

Bauke will wear the green points jersey in Stage 3.