Krists Neilands came ever so close to pulling off an incredible victory on stage 10 of the Tour de France. Unfortunately, his courageous solo attempt ended with just two kilometers to go and Neilands had to settle for fourth place on the stage.
“I really wanted this one”, a disappointed Neilands said after catching his breath at the finish line. “I felt great this morning and I wanted to get up the road. When I went solo, I was never sure if I could make it all the way but I just wanted to give it my best.”
Right from the beginning, it was clear to see that Neilands was on a great day. The 28-year-old Latvian was in every move, always at the front, and when a bigger group finally got away, it was no surprise to see Neilands in the mix once again, this time together with IPT teammate Nick Schultz.
“All eight riders here are able to fight for a stage win from a breakaway and after Mike’s victory two days ago, we all have a lot of confidence”, Neilands explained.
Starting on the final climb of the day, Schultz went to the front of what remained of the breakaway group to up the pace. Immediately, riders started to drop off and when Schultz finished his pull, Neilands attacked right away.
With 25 km to go, Neilands had a gap of half a minute on the chasers and for a while, it looked like he would be able to pull it off. However, on the final kilometers, the chase group caught him and he finished fourth in the sprint.
“I’m gutted for Krists. He was so strong and he did the perfect race”, Schultz said after the stage. “I think we raced really well together and we went all in for him. He did everything right but unfortunately, it was just a little bit too long. But we have ten more days to try again!”
Unsurprisingly, Neilands was awarded the Combativity Prize and finished his day on the podium.