Development Team DSM started the new month in the best possible way, taking a fantastic victory on April 1st, with Lorenzo Milesi winning the tricky opening stage of Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux in Belgium, his first in our colours. Even though they had some bad luck with crashes and riders who had to abandon, the Development program kept the morale high and Lorenzo went on to take his second win in a short time trial on the morning of the third day, ending a difficult and hard week of racing on a really positive note.
Staying in Belgium, both the Women’s and Men’s programs took on Scheldeprijs. Neither wind nor rain could stop the Women’s program from showing great teamwork throughout the whole day, with a powerful sprint from Lorena Wiebes finishing off the day as she took her second victory in a row at this race. The Men’s program also weren’t deterred by the bad weather and tough racing conditions as their great, attacking racing was rewarded with the team’s first podium of the year – a third place for Sam Welsford and Development Team DSM’s Casper van Uden finishing fourth.
Challenging weather was a popular topic in April where at the Circuit des Ardennes, the next on the menu for the Development program, even the cancellation of the third stage didn’t stop the guys from showing some good racing, with Oscar Onley finishing in fifth place in the General Classification.
Over in Turkey the sun was shining for the whole week and the young group that lined up for Team DSM shone as well. In the sprints, Cees Bol and Alberto Dainese went close, both securing top five finishes, before Sam Welsford showed his power to take his first win as a professional on the road with a great win on stage five. Henri Vandenabeele was able to compete with the strongest climbers on the Queen Stage to secure a nice 10th place on GC.
In central Europe, the final block of the Classics season was waiting to be contested. This year the calendar looked different to usual, with Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Roubaix switching positions. That didn’t change anything for the Women’s program, as we saw Liane Lippert get third places at Amstel and Brabantse Pijl, before Juliette Labous rounded out a successful first week in the Ardennes with a fifth place in Brabant.
Heading to the Hell of the North the women were on fire, with some impressive racing as a team rewarded with two riders – Floortje Mackaij and Pfeiffer Georgi – finishing in the top 10. Back in the Ardennes Liane was able to show her shape twice more, taking seventh atop the Muur de Huy at Flèche Wallonne and eighth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège – finishing off what has been a great classics campaign for the Women’s program.
Moving from the cobbles and hills in Belgium and France to the mountains in Italy and Austria, a selection of our Giro d’Italia Line-up were back in action after spending some time at high altitude camp in Tenerife. The team showed some great racing in the Alps with Thymen Arensman, Chris Hamilton, and Marco Brenner all spending time in the breakaways throughout the week, with an eye initially on day results and letting the GC taking care of itself. They were able to grab three-stage podiums and another ninth place on stage four, before going into attack mode on the final stage. With Romain sitting in second position only two seconds behind the race leader at the start of the day, the team went all in to go for the overall win. On the final kicker, Romain and Thymen were able to drop the race leader and nearly all the favourites, showing great teamwork on the flat run into the finish to secure the overall win with Romain. Thymen was rewarded with the third position on GC and victory in the youth classification. The week was an amazing step for the team as we head towards the first Grand Tour of the year.
Just as the month started for the Development program, they also closed it. At the Tour de Bretagne Casper van Uden took two strong podium finishes, before a crash on the third stage ruined his GC hopes. But Casper bounced back in style, winning the fourth stage, getting his third win of the year for the team.
It’s been a great and busy month for all our programs, with exciting racing rewarded by fantastic wins and strong results. Now the first Grand Tour of the year awaits and we are all looking forward to giving our all for a result on GC.
See you out on the road!