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Tour de France

Georg Zimmermann (8th): “I wanted to show what I’m capable of”

The riders of Tour de France began their ascent towards the center of the Hexagone on Friday during stage 19. Leaving from Mourenx, in the district of Pau, they headed towards Libourne (Gironde) after 207 kilometers, virtually without major difficulty. Only the Côte de Bareille (1.9 km at 4.9%), a fourth category climb, featured at kilometer 12.

The German Georg Zimmermann, who is competing in his first Tour de France, was the first rider to attack after the start. Thanks to his perseverance, he managed to evade from the peloton with five other riders and integrated the breakaway of the day. The 23-year-old climber, who overcame a broken wrist sustained in the very first stage, went on to win the intermediate sprint at Saint-Sever. Over the last four stages, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert had taken first place in the intermediate sprint on three occasions.

While the breakaway was kept at four minutes by the sprinter teams, several riders revived the pace in the peloton, taking advantage of a highway around Mont-de-Marsan. A counterattack of 14 riders took shape 130 kilometers from the finish, and after being chased for a long time by the peloton through the Landes Forest, it made the junction with the front of the race. The peloton surrendered 80 kilometers from the finish, and the 20-rider breakaway that featured Zimmermann, third in the German championship last June, was going to fight for the stage win.

The attacks at the front of the race began 45 kilometers from the finish, and the breakaway had halved under the last 25 kilometer banner. It was exactly then that Mohoric (Bahrain) engaged in a solo, outrunning his fellow breakaway companions. For the remaining of the stage, Zimmermann contribute actively to the chase, responding to attacks and trying to get rid of his rivals himself. After 207 kilometers of racing at an average of 48 km/h, Zimmermann punctuated his day in a breakaway by taking eighth place in Libourne, just over a minute behind winner Mohoric.

You could say that I took one of the last opportunities to make my first Tour de France a success. I was keen to show what I was capable of, and I'm happy with my performance two days before we arrive in Paris. I was one of the victims in the first stage crashes, and that day I suffered a slight fracture to my left wrist. Thanks to the treatments given by our doctor Joost De Maeseneer and our osteopath Nick Vandingenen, I managed to overcome two difficult weeks. By now the pain was gone and I was able to fully express myself at the front of the race.


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