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CHAINTRÉ, France (VN) — Brandon McNulty made the call to try to fix his time trial bike rather than swap it out for a spare one, a decision that proved costly in Wednesday’s decision time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
McNulty dropped his chain early in the 31.9km stage, and instead of moving up on GC, he lost more than two minutes and likely any hope of finishing on the podium at the Dauphiné.
McNulty said it was his decision to try to keep pushing on with the same bike rather than swapping out for a spare bike.
“The chain came off over the speed bump, and I prefer to stay on the new bike because it’s quite a bit faster,” McNulty said at the start Thursday.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to fix it and we went to the other bike.”
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McNulty wanted to continue to race on the new Colnago frame and setup that the team will be using in the Tour de France next month.
The chain was so stuck, however, that the team mechanic couldn’t wrestle it loose. After valuable seconds bled into minutes, he was forced to swap bikes and finish the stage on his backup frame, which is last year’s model.
“In hind site it’s 20-20, but there’s nothing we can do now,” McNulty said of the botched switch. “It’s really frustrating. We were really looking forward to it. There were a lot of cuss words and a lot of bad things. It’s try to stay calm when things are going badly.
“We had everything dialed, the position, and everything was good,” he said. “It was over with in three K’s, but there are more chances to come.”
McNulty tumbled out of podium contention, and started Thursday’s fifth stage at 20th overall at 2:35 back.
“We still have Juan [Ayuso] in the top-10 GC and maybe we can try something,” he said. “There’s no point in dwelling on it and all you can do is move on, and look forward. The legs feel really good when I was back on the bike, so hopefully that continues.”
McNulty finished safely in the bunch Thursday, and moved up to 19th overall with the Alps looming this weekend.