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Mathias Frank proved his high level of fitness at the Tour de l'Ain (foto by Tim de Waele)
Mathias Frank proved his high level of fitness at the Tour de l'Ain (foto by Tim de Waele)

Mathias Frank succumbs to stomach ailment, looses top position at Tour de l'Ain

12. August 2009

Culoz

In a stage that lived up to its billing in terms of difficulty and importance, the final stage at the Tour de l'Ain wreaked havoc once again on the general classification.  Cofidis had already proved in Tuesday's climbing stage that they had a solid group of mountain men ready to challenge for the lead. 

They followed up with an emphatic performance on the Col du Grand Colombier which saw them take the top three spots for the stage as well as have Rein Taaramae snatch the overall victory from overnight leader, Chris Horner from Astana.  In spite of Mathias Frank's best efforts, he was unable to hold the leaders' pace due largely to the fact that he had apparently contracted a stomach ailment similar to what forced his teammate Thomas Frei out of the race the day before.

Hoped to work through it

"Already in the morning I could feel that there was something wrong with my stomach and I was completely lacking in power," Frank confided.  "I had hoped to get better as the day progressed, but even though I tried to keep up on the last climb, I just couldn't do it."  Since the Col du Grand Colombier is 18 tough kilometers long, there is simply no place to hide if a rider is not on the top of his game.  Consequently, when the potential winners started lifting the pace, there was just nothing left in the tank to help Mathias react and respond.  "Though I am feeling better now that it is many hours after the stage, during the race I was feeling very sick," Frank said.  "It is very bad timing of course since I had really planned on being among the leaders, but sometimes things like this happen." 

Looking ahead

Though Frank and the rest of the BMC team are naturally disappointed, everyone understands that there is no point in dwelling on what has happened.  "For the moment I am very disappointed but I want to be sure not to think too much about it and rather begin to prepare for the next race," Frank reasoned.  "I will be starting the Tour of Ireland next week, so I have over a week to rest and recover.  That should be enough and I'm hoping to have better results for that race."  Since Frank has been one of the team's best performers all season, he has every expectation that he will be able to deliver another fine result in next week's Tour of Ireland.