David De La Cruz withdrew from La Vuelta on Thursday due to pain in his right collarbone. In the blog below, David took a moment to talk about the difficult decision.
Hello to everyone,
As you already know, I had to leave Tour of Spain because I didn't completely recover from the surgery I had three weeks ago on my broken collarbone.
For sure this isn't my favorite moment. To race well you have to invest a lot of time and effort. For sure I did this, especially for a special race like La Vuelta.
Even after the crash in Tour de Pologne, I tried to come back to training as quickly as possible to be in good shape again for this final grand tour of the season. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to stay in the race due to the pain. It is really hard when you have to say goodbye to your teammates, staff, then go to your seat on the bus and take all your personal stuff... You can appreciate that the show must go on, but this time it's not with you.
But, despite the disappointment in having to withdraw, I am happy because I tried my best, to see if it was possible or not. We can always learn something from these experiences.
Now it is time to recover, to evaluate my injury over time, and wait for the sunshine to return. For sure I wish for my teammates to have a good rest of the race. I'm sure they will fight for the nice results I wanted to do before having to stop this race.
Photos ©BrakeThrough Media
"It's the Tour de France."
That's the phrase you hear in the first week most. Whether you're a neo-professional or a 15x veteran. Every day brings a stress that subsided, but was never quite forgotten from the year before. You come back and realise what makes the Tour de France so unique. The consequences of every action, on and off the bike, are exaggerated, analysed, and have a direct effect on your next action.
I’m sat here in Pau, on the first rest day of the 2015 Tour de France, and I actually asked my press officer if I could write this blog instead of just talking into a microphone. I’ve been talking into microphones for over a week now, about my ups and downs, my teams ups and downs, my competitors ups and downs, even ups and downs of riders who aren’t at the race. And writing this gives me some relief from the “particular” things I do. Instead I’d almost certainly be doing 1 of the following: tidying my suitcase, turning my handlebars 2 or 3 degrees, raising or lowering my saddle a couple of millimeters, or telling my masseur that my feet still don’t feel parallel to one another.
Anyway, it’s nice to just relax. In fact, in a strange way, I’m looking forward to the next mountainous half of the Tour de France to “relax”. Not the legs of course, just the head. I’m looking forward to just suffering. No need to ride 200km with my fingers slightly contracted over my brake levers. No need to ride 200km with my elbow constantly touching someones hip. No need to ride 200km with Brian Holm telling us to stay at the front after we’ve just passed a roundabout on the wrong side and lost 60 positions.
You see it’s the mental, emotional stress that makes the 1st week of the Tour de France the hardest week of racing in the calendar. And what an emotional roller coaster Etixx-Quick-Step have had this last week!
3 wins, from 3 different riders, in 3 totally different finals. But all with one thing in common: A group of friends all giving everything to make sure the team jersey crosses the finish line first. From the cooks making our porridge in the morning, to the mechanics, soigneurs, press officers, sports directors and riders, everything has to go right, every day, to succeed against the 200 best bike riders in the world, all at peak condition, all trying for the most prestigious and demanding event in cycling, perhaps sport.
If I’m honest, I’m already losing my attention to write a blog, but if you’re reading this, then I’m sure you know how the week has gone, results wise, for the team. You’ll also know the heartache we had when we lost our friend and teammate, Tony Martin, in a crash while he wore the yellow jersey.
But the Tour doesn’t wait. Whether you gain or lose in a certain day, the next day will have a different challenge, that if you don’t seize, another team will. So whatever emotions I’ve had, good and bad, this first week, are really nice to reflect on today, but will be irrelevant tomorrow and the following week. I just know that whatever emotions we’re likely to feel, I’m looking forward to just suffering, not stressing.
Embedded Images ©BrakeThrough Media
You may have seen a selfless rider of Etixx – Quick-Step with Polish stripes on his sleeves, always on the front or working tirelessly for his teammates during key moments in the first week of Le Tour de France. That rider is Michal Golas, who yet again represented his team well by entering into an escape group in the 8th stage of Le Tour.
Michal talks about his experience as a domestique for Etixx – Quick-Step in the following blog.
I went in the breakaway today after working hard yesterday at the front of the peloton for 170km, in order to control the pace for my teammates who wanted to make the sprint for Mark Cavendish. It's been a long two days at the front of the race, but I am happy to try and help my team in any way I can.
This morning we had a feeling something happen during the race. We were awake, ready for any action in the peloton. After the bonification there was a group that took a small gap. So we went, Kwiato, Cav and I, just to see because you never know. If it's a good reaction you can take advantage. But of course the group saw a lot of strong guys in the selection and controlled the gap. Also the guys were looking a bit to each other, so we took advantage and we went as a group of three. It was really full gas from that point until the moment they caught us. In the end it was a nice selection, but in a race like it is difficult to go to the finish. Especially with the finish on the Mûr de Bretagne, which was the first chance for the GC guys to show themselves. Now we look forward to the TTT tomorrow, having already won a few stages, and we put Tony in yellow before his unfortunate crash. It's been quite a week where Etixx – Quick-Step has always been in the actions.
This is my 2nd Tour de France in a row, so it is also nothing new to do this kind of work for a lot of kilometers during the three-week race. As you can see by the success we had this week, with three wins and the yellow jersey, it is all worth it. Le Tour is something I really enjoy. It's so hard, but at the same time it is beautiful. Not just the racing, but where we race. We passed through Holland, Belgium, and now France, all the places with deep cycling tradition. We saw it before the race even started during the team presentation in Utrecht. We entered on a boat and it was incredible to see the passionate supporters on each side of us. You don't get to notice it as much when you are busy racing your bike between them. This was something special. Le tour takes you through all the mythical places of cycling. We even got to race on the cobbles, and Tony won solo that day!
It's a shame we lost Tony due to his crash. It was a pleasure to work for him. It has also been an honor to work for Cav. It's not a problem for me to do this work for my teammates because we are really united. It's probably one of the best groups of riders we've had in terms of how cohesive we are. I share a room with Michal Kwiatkowski (Kwiato). We're two Polish guys together at this Tour. But with this team, the rooms are always open. We go from one room to another, there is no isolation or groups. It's really all together. So, it's quite nice. If you want privacy to talk to your wife or your family, all you have to do is just close your door for a few moments.
So far, despite the up-and-down emotions of this first week, we cannot complain.
It's been a really nice Tour de France. I also know a lot of people are following the team and I from my home country Poland. They are supporting us on TV, following us on social media, the website, and some are even at this race. I've received a lot of positive comments from people, in Poland and outside Poland, who really support our team and look for them. So, we will continue to try and do our best to represent all the support we have from the public. We will try to add a fourth win to our tally in the next days. That would really be icing on the cake!more information
After Paris Roubaix I took a little break, which was more than welcome.
Having started my racing at Six Days of Rotterdam in January, the season started early for me, so it was time to rest a bit after a long stretch of competition.
And I did enjoy the time off, doing some of my hobbies like riding with my cars. I took the time to renew my house a bit.
With Ramona we decided to install a new floor. Quick-Step gave us a big help and now we are really happy about the result!
After that, I started training again. I also went to Mallorca to do some training over there in the nice Spanish sun. :-)
I'm really happy to start in the Tour of Belgium, I have always liked this tour. It has something for everyone, a time trial, sprint race, climbing,... And especially for me, this is the race where I made my debut by winning my first professional race. It was in 2006, an Ardennes stage where we also did the Mur de Huy. So, it was a pretty tough one! I went into the breakaway kind of early with a big group. We took quite a bit of time on the peloton, and it became clear that this group could make it to the finish. In the final, with about 15km to go I went solo. This was after the last climb, and they never saw me again. ;-) That feeling was amazing! It was the most beautiful stage of the race and also no one expected me to win, including myself!
I'm looking forward to seeing how my condition is. I trained a lot but the past weekend I had a really bad cold. But as of Tuesday I felt better, so ready to go for it! Looking forward to the rest of my program.
Together with the team we decided that I will not take the start at Le Tour. This year my program is a little different than usual. It was a difficult decision because with the start in Holland, as a Dutch rider, it would have been something special to be riding on what I consider to be home roads. But sometimes you have to make choices to find the right program. I will be riding the Eneco Tour, and after that we will see what my program is for the rest of the season.
I'm really excited to enter competition again after such a productive period of recovery and training!
The following blog entry is from Petr Vakoc, who is participating in the Giro d'Italia for the first time in his professional career.
I was so excited when I learned that I was selected for the Giro! My first big tour…. it was a bit of a surprise to me, but a really nice one! Of course I knew that it was going to be hard, the Giro is a tough race but a very beautiful one too. I didn’t really know what to expect. But it still surpassed my expectation. Also the atmosphere of the race is amazing, even better than I had imagined.