#1 become a free agent Tuesday. B von mary123 03.09.2019 06:39

MONTAUBAN, France -- Serge Pauwels says he is quite a good descender. But as the blue strapping on his left wrist and hand shows, even he can get it wrong and, with it, throw away the chance of a career-defining win in a race like the Tour de France.Climbing prowess is great, especially during Wednesdays 216-kilometer fifth stage from Limoges to Le Lioran in the Massif Central that had six categorised climbs -- four of which were in the last 45 kilometres. And Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) proved to be the best climber, taking the yellow leaders jersey after soloing away from Belgian Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) with 17 kilometres to go.But as Pauwels (Dimension Data) was reminded in a stage that suited his climbing ability, descending can be just as significant an asset. Pauwels was in the original nine-rider breakaway with Van Avermaet. But unlike his countryman, he did not reap the glory he had hoped for, instead crashing on the descent before the last climb and then finishing the stage in 32nd place, 6 minutes and 3 seconds behind Van Avermaet.With his left wrist strapped and still sore for Thursdays sixth stage from Arpajon-sur-Cère, Pauwels told ESPN: I went off the course on the descent before the last climb, which was pretty tricky. Generally, I try and stay within myself and within my limits. But I made a mistake. Im lucky its nothing really bad. In general, I am quite good at [descending]. I normally dont have any problems with it. I am not the kind of guy who likes to take a lot of risks. Normally I can be well focused.However, he said other elements can affect a riders ability to descend. Accumulated fatigue in the Tour -- the peloton raced 1,048km in the first five days -- can impact concentration. Also influential can be the changing weather, like what this years Tour has experienced. After the cooler climes of Normandy where the Tour began, the peloton faced the heat of the Massif Central on Wednesday that turned bitumen on the road into a slippery hazard.[On Wednesday] the asphalt was melting, Pauwels said. Also the fatigue. I was happy to be in the breakaway, but unfortunately I wasnt feeling super great. Maybe the first heat [of the Tour] got me a little. I was expecting to go a little better. Well, I will try and fight again.Pauwels will get his chance possibly in the Pyrenees, where the Tour enters on Friday in stage seven -- 162.5km from LIsle Jourdain to La de Payolle. It remains in the mountain range bordering France and Spain for the weekend with stage eight, 177km from Pau to Bagnères de Luchon and stage nine, 184km from Vielha Val DAran in Spain to Andorra Arcalis.Yes, thats kind of my plan, Pauwels said. Its about taking opportunities and being flexible in the mind with whatever comes. I generally dont make big plans. I like to take my chances when they come. Hopefully everything falls into a good place sooner than later.Tejay van Garderen: Riders must manage the risk of descendingDescending doesnt just impact individual stages; it can have also have a significant impact on the overall race. The Giro dItalia in May proved that. Dutch leader Steven Kruijswijk (Lotto-Jumbo), who is not racing in the Tour, crashed on the descent of the Colle DellAgnello in stage 19 while following Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange). He had an overall lead of three minutes. But the crash cost Kruiswijk the leaders pink jersey that went to the stage winner, Chaves, who lost it the next day to Nibali who went on to win the Giro. Kruijswijk finished fourth at 1 minutes, 50 seconds.The importance of descending is not lost on American Tour contender Tejay van Garderen, who has twice placed fifth in the Tour -- in 2012, when he also best young rider, and in 2014. You have to have the skills on the bike to go down hill, especially [when] a lot of time, you see in these hot temperatures the tarmac starting to melt. The wheel can slip, van Garderen said before starting Thursdays sixth stage. There are a lot of [stages] that finish after descents. So, its something you have to be good at and manage the risk.Like Pauwels, van Garderen looks forward to the Pyrenees; but while it is a stage winning opportunity for Pauwels, for the American it is with the overall race. He forecasts a shake up of classification in which he is still on the same time as the best placed favourites. There are definitely some hard stages coming up that will shake up the GC [general classification] quite a bit, van Garderen said. There is going to be some attacks.According to former British professional Graham Jones who raced on numerous European teams from 1979 to 1988, this years Tour route will challenge every riders descending. Some people are very good descenders and can take time, but the most important thing -- especially for a GC rider -- is to be able to not lose time, Jones said. So it is important he can at best have the ability to follow the main favourites.Jones says the greatest hazard could be on stage 20, with the descent to Morzine from the Col de Joux Plane. I know the Col de Joux Plane, there is always an incident, he said. Descending may be not quite as significant as climbing, but certainly it is very important.Certainly, it is when one rider detects a weakness in descending in the other, adds Jones. You can force an error into somebody. You might know somebody has got a weakness on the descents, Jones said. Giving it that little bit extra can make somebody make a mistake. Once you lose it on a bend or corner, you have a scare. After that, it is difficult to recover.You will probably take more risks if you need to try and gain time. 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