Race report

Leon Heinschke climbs to brilliant 2nd place, Enzo Leijnse impresses in breakaway

Tour Alsace

After yesterday’s opening foray into the climbs at the Tour Alsace, the peloton once again headed into the mountains today for the race’s queen stage. Climbing from the flag drop, it was an incredibly hard start to the stage with the peloton racing very aggressively and it became an early race of attrition as the bunch thinned down. Eventually after 70 kilometres of hard action, the elastic snapped and Enzo Leijnse rode strongly to make it into a breakaway of nine.

Leijnse and his breakaway companions worked well together over the climbs, holding onto their advantage which reached a maximum of two minutes, deep into the stage. Heading into the final 15 kilometres, which were mostly uphill, the pace increased yet again in the peloton and the attacks started in the breakaway group. Leijnse dug deep to follow the initial attacks before he had to let go of the wheels.

Dropping back to the now drastically reduced peloton, Leijnse did one last pull to bring Leon Heinschke back into and towards the front of the group. Heinschke then continued to press on the pedals brilliantly, setting off in pursuit of the remnants of the break out front. Picking off riders one-by-one, Heinschke pushed all the way to the finish line, claiming a brilliant second place at the end of the stage; a result that sees him move up to third on GC and into the lead of the best young rider’s jersey.

“At the start we had the plan to cover the attacks from the other dangerous teams,” explained Heinschke after the stage. “For me personally, the plan was to save energy in the beginning and if it was necessary, to also be in there in the attacks. It was a really high pace with a lot of attacking and closing gaps from the beginning onwards. The other guys really helped; protecting, positioning and feeding us – everything that they could do. Later on, Enzo made it into a strong break and was in there until the last climb where everything exploded. He gave me a final pull which helped me a lot to stay in the front and even pulled me back to a group just ahead of me. I then just gave my best and continued riding after catching the group back. I saw I had a gap and continued to the top, where it was just about surviving and riding all out to the finish.”

Team DSM coach Roy Curvers added: “It was a great ride by the team today. First, we had Enzo present in the strong break which was good for us. Then when the favourites group caught Enzo, he still had energy left to launch Leon, who was a few bike lengths behind, back into and over the top of favourites group. Leon rode really well and caught almost all of guys in front of him after that, with only the eventual winner staying away. It’s a really nice second place for Leon on the stage and he also moves into the best young rider jersey now too.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 PARRA José Félix Equipo Kern Pharma 4:34:10 7
2 HEINSCHKE Leon Development Team DSM 0:43 3
3 REICHENBACH Sébastien Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ 0:48 1