Laurens ten Dam remembers the 2009 Tour de France and why riders must never ever give up

Laurens ten Dam remembers the 2009 Tour de France and why riders must never ever give up


Laurens ten Dam riding a skateboard up the side of a road


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Laurens 10 Dam

Procycling magazine’s 12 times of Christmas revisits some of the highlights from our contributors in the journal around the past year. As a pro, Laurens raced 18 grand excursions. He remembers back to the 2009 Tour de France, and a incredibly crucial lesson he figured out about why you need to never give up.

Laurens ten Dam is a columnist for Procycling. This report was taken from Procycling journal challenge 269 June 2020.

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The Tour de France had been a catastrophe for workforce Rabobank in 2009. After successful the Giro d’Italia in May possibly, my group chief Dennis Menchov ran out of gasoline speedily. His GC hopes have been already buried when he obtained caught in the prologue by the stage’s eventual winner Fabian Cancellara. Stage 1 carried out, much more than a single moment down. The previous year’s inexperienced jersey, Oscar Freire, encountered a younger and unbeatable Mark Cavendish who would go on to get 6 levels that yr. On best of that our tyres turned out to be useless in the rain, so seven out of 9 riders were being packed in plaster. What started as a Tour with substantial hopes to earn the GC or various phases, turned out to be a nightmare for the significant budget staff Rabobank was. Morale was low, in actuality it has in no way been that small in my complete Tour de France job. 

Customarily the very last Friday in the Tour is the working day of the very last possibilities. Saturday would be a substantial showdown for the GC contenders and this precise calendar year it was no big difference with the stage ending up Mont Ventoux. Me and my teammates were all informed that this stage would be our past possibility to redeem ourselves to the Dutch general public and our sponsor. With the leading of a second classification climb just 16 kilometers from the finish in Aubenas, this stage was also challenging for a sprinter. A team would go to the end simply because the GC adult males would lay lower and conserve their legs for Mont Ventoux. Just be in that group and you would struggle for the victory. It was as uncomplicated as that. 

It turned out not to be that effortless for me and my group-mates. A massive and powerful team strike the road and we ended up a person of the 6 groups who missed it. The race was over. 

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I’ll never overlook Juan Antonio Flecha, his facial expression when he demanded I pull. In reality, he commanded the whole team to pull apart from our group leaders. So we started to trip tempo, a hopeless trigger 6 wounded riders commenced to pull guiding a quite powerful 20-male team. I knew the peloton was laughing driving my again. Individuals lousy guys are being punished for becoming nowhere this Tour. 

But it was not our workforce leader who commanded us to the entrance of the bunch. It was our pleasure. We desired to present we were being continue to there. At a single point, Flecha begun to yell at us. “Faster, and go comprehensive by means of the corners”. I went as quick as I dared and even speedier. Later I listened to stories from other riders that they ended up terrified driving us. What was likely on there? I never ever rode so long and so rapid at the entrance of the bunch. It was pleasure and anger which drove us that speedy. We pulled full till the bottom of the very last climb with 16km to go exactly where we were just 30 seconds at the rear of the 1st group. When I ultimately enable go I almost cried, we went that deep as a crew to fight for our very last chance. 

Not all stories have a content ending. Mark Cavendish flew up that past hill in Auvergne. He survived a 14 kilometre-extended second group climb and gained the dash in front of Oscar. We ended up still left empty-handed. 

That night time on the supper desk we emptied 3 bottles of French purple. It was the first time that Tour we laughed and experienced exciting collectively. We fought for the victory and could be happy of ourselves yet again. 

And then the impossible transpired. Juan Manuel Garate, my close friend and group-mate, would go on to gain on Mont Ventoux – the phase that was primarily designed to be received by a large identify. Just after all that, we won the most gorgeous stage of that Tour. We crowned Juan “el Legendario” that night! 

In no way give up.