With the Tour de France finished in July, stage races across Europe saw Team DSM’s three programs taste success in the run up to the final Grand Tour of the season – the Vuelta a España.
Starting already at the end of July, the Men’s program continued racing in Poland with a good display across the board; especially in the second half of the race. On stage four Nikias Arndt showed the momentum was building by sprinting to a solid tenth place, while on the following day he could keep the flow and sprinted into a nice third place, after a hilly day of racing. On stage six a hilly time trial would shape the final GC standings. Thymen Arensman could execute the expert plan perfectly, pacing his way to the finish to set the best time of the day, taking his first professional win and securing second place in the final GC. Meanwhile, teammate Marco Brenner had a strong performance as well finishing the time trial in fifth place, his best result as a professional, and finishing in 12th position on the final GC. All in all, the young group can look back with pride on the step they made in their preparations for the Vuelta.
Meanwhile, one-day racing was back again in August and after a hard day of racing at the Circuit Franco-Belge Alberto Dainese could prove his sprint qualities by finished fifth and ‘winning’ the bunch sprint behind the four escapees.
The Development program made the trip to the Czech Republic for the Sazka Tour, with recently promoted Pavel Bittner joining them from the Men’s program. On the first stage local hero Bittner took a solid top ten result to kick off the week, while Oscar Onley came close to success by climbing to a brilliant second on stage two. On day three Oscar took another top ten on the second mountain top finish in a row, while Max Poole finished fifth on the hilly and punchy final day. Four top ten stage results and seventh and tenth place on GC made it a pretty successful week for the young group.
The next stop for the Women’s and Men’s programs would be Scandinavia. The block kicked off with the doubleheader of the Postnord Vargarda WestSweden, where the Women’s program claimed a strong third place in the TTT while Pfeiffer Georgi came close to victory with a strong second in the road race the following day. Two days later the first edition of the Tour de Scandinavia started in Copenhagen. The Women’s team kept their momentum up, seeing Megan Jastrab sprinting to her first ever podium as a professional and confirming that shape with a fourth place one day later. On stage five the race took on the mountain-top finish in Norefjell to fight out the win in the general classification. This time Liane Lippert came close to success, finishing second in the two-up sprint for the win and securing that same position in the final classification. Next to that, Team DSM also won the Team classification, rounding off a nice block for the the team in Scandinavia.
Next it was the turn for the Men’s program in Norway, with the Arctic race of Norway on the menu. In the first stages the tough weather conditions made it hard for the whole peloton, but stage four was the day to shine for the team. Andreas Leknessund made the jump into the breakaway on the final day around Trondheim, from where he attacked with 32 kilometres to go. He could stay clear and win what is his home race on the last day of action after a superb solo. Behind the team played the tactical game perfectly allowing Leknessund to take the win, with an impressive ride from Development program’s Poole, who could round off a great result by with fourth on the final day and seventh on the GC. The last stop for the team’s Scandinavian adventure was the Tour of Denmark. With strong performances in the TT and the final hilly stage to Vejle, Søren Kragh Andersen just missed the podium on the GC but finished his home race in a very respectable fourth place.
Approaching the end of the month, one of the biggest stage races for U23 riders was on the calendar for some of our Development program riders with their national teams. At the Tour de l’Avenir, Casper van Uden, Enzo Leijnse and Hannes Wilksch took wins with their teams in the two TTT’s, while Van Uden also took an impressive a stage victory from a sprint as well. The final mountainous day was won by Lorenzo Milesi, which meant every Team DSM rider present at the race won a stage – not bad going that!
To round off the month of action the Vuelta got underway in Utrecht. In the first week, the team looked for their chances in the sprints and the break, while also having an eye on the GC. John Degenkolb took a solid ninth place on stage two in the sprint while Nikias Arndt claimed sixth on stage five, where he was in the fight for the win from the break, before unfortunately having to leave the race because of a positive covid test a few days later, alongside Mark Donovan. The team continues to battle on and will look to take their chances as the race continues in Spain and well into September.
Finally, one of the last stage races of the year for our Women’s program is underway the moment. At the Simac Ladies Tour, the last race of Leah Kirchmann with the team before retiring after the World Championship, has once again showed the team’s sprinting prowess and arguably the best lead out in the women’s peloton. After a reduced group went clear, the team worked brilliantly to set up the new European Champion Lorena Wiebes who powered to the win, claiming the Women’s program’s 24th win of the year.
We hope you’re looking forward to the action still to come in September as the 2022 season draws towards its close!