Mollema reveling in responsibility at Volta ao Algarve

With Alberto Contador’s spot on the team now a distant memory, Bauke Mollema has moved into rather more familiar territory as Trek-Segafredo‘s main contender for week-long races and Grand Tours.

The 2017 Tour de France stage winner will target the race once more this year after riding as a super domestique to Contador in last year’s event, and he’s tuning-up for his first serious objective of the year – Paris-Nice – at this week’s Volta ao Algarve.

“My biggest goal is once again the Tour de France,” he told Cyclingnews on stage 1 in Portugal. “That changed last year with Alberto in the team. I was also the GC leader last year in most of the races that I did. It was only in Catalunya and the Tour where I was racing for Alberto. This doesn’t make a difference to me and it’s similar to 2015 and 2016 when I was more or less the only GC rider in the team.”

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With Trek unable – and partly unwilling – to sign another GC leader for 2018, Mollema will lead the line in almost every race he starts. He says he thrives on the pressure, and in a contract year for the 31-year-old, that could certainly inspire him to succeed and finally deliver a podium in a Grand Tour.

“I think that I’m used to that pressure,” he said. “I think everyone needs some pressure to perform, and I think that I can say I like that.”

Trek-Segafredo as a team have appeared revitalized in Contador’s absence. It wasn’t as though the Spaniard was holding the team back last year – he provided many exciting performances, and although he only won once and cracked at the Tour de France, he was still worthy of leadership. However, with Contador gone, more and more Trek riders are having opportunities to lead and to win. The squad have already won six times this year, and given they won 20 times in 2017 they’re well on the way to beat that tally.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com