Dauphiné news: Van Huffel, Kl”den

Davitamon-Lotto's Wim van Huffel has enjoyed a fantastic spring, with a strong ride at the Dauphiné

Davitamon-Lotto's Wim van Huffel has enjoyed a fantastic spring, with a strong ride at the Dauphiné
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Van Huffel: "Mont Ventoux is simple" Belgium's new climber Wim van Huffel, who turned quite a few heads with strong performances in the Giro d'Italia's three big mountain stages in May, and an 11th spot overall, seems to have a healthy belief in himself. In the Dauphin stage to Mont Ventoux, neither the mountain nor the presence of Lance Armstrong could scare him, as he took off at the bottom of the 21-kilometre-long climb, writes Susanne Horsdal. "It's simple. This is a legendary mountain, but it's a mountain like any other mountain, and from the moment I saw Lance didn't look like he was in super shape, I immediately attacked," explained the Belgian after finishing third in his first meet ever with the Mont Ventoux. For a while Van Huffel was alone in the front, but when Alexandre Vinokourov and Jose Gomes Marchante joined him he knew that spelled trouble. "I knew they're faster than me in the finish and when Vinokourov attacked the second time (300 metres from the finish line) I couldn't follow. He's too strong for me at this moment. That's for next year," promised the 26-year-old Davitamon-Lotto rider. Through the Belgian team's bonus system, his strong performances have already earned him double the amount of money he normally earns in a year, and although he has one more year left of his contract, several teams have already shown a strong interest in the new big thing in Belgian cycling. - Klden still has some ground to make up While Van Huffel's star is in the ascendancy, last year's Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klden has had a miserable spring. One of the means to get back on track is racing the Dauphin Libr with the first serious test being done in Wednesday's the time trial in which he lost more than three minutes to stage winner Santiago Botero. Talking to procycling ahead of Thursday's stage to Mont Ventoux, the German admitted that he still had some ground to make up. "It went okay, but I still have some deficits," Klden said. After skipping Lige-Bastogne-Lige due to lack of form, the T-Mobile rider returned to racing in the Bayern Rundfahrt and bagged a stage win, but came to France with the intention of riding the Dauphin as a training race. Whether that's sufficient to get in shape for the Tour still remains to be seen. "After this race there are still two and a half weeks to the Tour, and next week I'll decide whether I'll do more races or just train," Klden said. The 29 year old, riding in the German champion's jersey but not having been able to show it off in the best manner, admitted that this form-chasing had taken a toll on his confidence. "It has been a difficult spring and it's obviously not been optimal for my confidence. But I'll just have to keep working and see where it takes me," said Klden before taking off on stage four to Mont Ventoux. A little over four hours later, the result was a loss of nearly 12 minutes to team-mate Alexandre Vinokourov.

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