Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nederlanders in La Grande Boucle

I'm sure you've all been waiting for my report on riders from the Netherlands in this year's Tour de France. These riders generally do well in the Spring Classics -- one-day races and short stage races before the big national tours of which the Tour de France is one. They peak relatively early in the year and don't have the form for top placings later on. On the other hand, Rabobank, the principal Dutch team, does boast this year's winner of the King of the Mountains jersey, Michael Rasmussen, also winner of Stage 9 of the race, and a man who was able to hold a top placing, 7th overall, despite some bad luck and absence of the physiology needed to do well in the individual time trials. We enjoyed cheering him on during our viewing of mountain-stage videos, but that's another story.

So, with no more ado, here are the NL riders' Tour placings, Frieslanders first:

Pieter Weening
(Harkema, Friesland), Rabobank, 2:24:16

Joost Posthuma
(Hengelo, Friesland), Rabobank, 2:33:59

Erik Dekker
(Hoogeveen, Friesland), Rabobank, 3:03:36

Bram Tankink
( (Haaksbergen, Friesland), Quickstep, 3:05:12

And the other lowlanders:

Michael Boogerd
(Nl), Rabobank, 11 Pts.

Karsten Kroon
(Nl), Rabobank, 3:42:03

Servais Knaven
(Nl), Quickstep, 3:59:07

Gerben Löwik
(Nl), Rabobank

I don't mean to suggest that the flatlanders did not distinguish themselves in the Tour. Simply finishing the race is a huge accomplishment and one of them, Weening, won himself a stage:

Dutchman Wins in Photo Finish

Weening edges Kloden in sprint duel
By Joe 'Lindsey, Contributing Writer
July 09, 2005

Today’s report on Stage 8 was written by Justin Davis of AFP


Weening, who came through the Rabobank team's under-23 program, began his professional career in 2002 but since has been searching for the first big victory that would confirm the potential which some in his native Netherlands feel will one day lead to him winning the yellow jersey.

Today, the 24-year-old from Harkema in the northern Friesland region of Holland decided it was time to show what he can do.

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