Racing recap

Measuring our efforts and moving up | Giro d’Italia Week 1 racing recap

Giro d'Italia

After a solid opening three days in Hungary, where the team left in a good GC position and motivated after some good teamwork in the sprints; our Giro group aimed to continue that as they made the trip to Italy. Starting off in scenic Sicily, it was a testing return to racing after the travel day and a finish atop Mount Etna where the team were to the fore with Romain Bardet and Thymen Arensman; although the GC battle lay mostly dormant. Two sprint stages followed with Alberto Dainese claiming seventh before bad luck hampered Cees Bol in his efforts the following day after a brilliant lead out from Alberto. Attacking racing rewarded the many fans that lined the roadside on stages seven and eight but the team’s focus was on conserving energy ahead of Sunday’s action. A superb ride from everyone saw Romain take second on the stage with Thymen tenth, as Romain moves up to third on GC. A very good week of racing for us and some nice foundations to build on next week!

Stage 4: Avola to Etna (172 kilometres)

With a travel day in their legs the peloton were faced with the first mountain test of the race and a summit finish atop of Etna. It was a cagey start to proceedings between the GC contenders, but Romain and Thymen rode well together and stayed with the main group, navigating any stresses and ended the day on the same time as the majority of the other GC contenders, while ahead the break took the stage win.

Speaking after the stage Romain said:It was a pretty good first test for us. “I think we did a good stage together. We were in a good position with the team at the bottom of the climb. Then when we started the climb I had some really good help from the boys to keep a high position. In the end it wasn’t a big battle for the GC but everyone was really committed, we had a quite a good stage so I think it’s a good start to the Giro.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 KÄMNA Lennard BORA - hansgrohe 4:32:11 100
2 LÓPEZ Juan Pedro Trek - Segafredo ,, 40
3 TAARAMÄE Rein Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 0:34 20
8 BARDET Romain Team DSM 2:37 -
14 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
44 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 5:56 -
72 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 13:31 -
94 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 19:17 -
143 BOL Cees Team DSM 29:25 -
157 DENZ Nico Team DSM 29:55 -
164 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -

Stage 5: Catania to Messina (174 kilometres)

The second day of racing in Sicily saw an intriguing battle where some sprinters were dropped on the major climb of the stage, but the team’s fast duo of Alberto and Cees made it over well. With groups returning to the bunch on the flatter run in, the day was ultimately decided in a fast finale where Alberto gave it his all after a good lead out from Cees, finishing the day in seventh place.

“It was a hectic stage with the climb in the middle but the guys looked after me and we made it over together in a good way,” explained Dainese. “We stayed together well in the bunch and then coming into the finale we held our position with the guys keeping the pace high. We then sat back a little and let the other sprint teams take over, before Cees brought me forward really well inside one kilometre to go. I gave it everything I had in the sprint and overtook some guys but just missed that little bit to go for the podium. We’re motivated to give it another go in the next sprint stages.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DÉMARE Arnaud Groupama - FDJ 4:03:56 100
2 GAVIRIA Fernando UAE Team Emirates ,, 40
3 NIZZOLO Giacomo Israel - Premier Tech ,, 20
7 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
43 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -
50 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
52 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
101 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 0:40 -
139 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 2:10 -
140 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
163 DENZ Nico Team DSM 11:57 -

Stage 6: Palmi to Scalea (192 kilometres) 

Back on the Italian mainland for stage six, the peloton were determined to make it a sprint finish and it seemed as if everyone agreed, with no breakaway forming in the opening part of the stage. Eventually, Diego Rosa attacked and became the proverbial carrot for the peloton to chase but he eventually sat up with 30 kilometres to go as the sprint teams began to get ready. Following the plan well, the team kept Alberto and Cees safe, with Alberto launching brilliantly in the final 400 metres to lead out Cees who started to open up his sprint with speed. However, a coming together with another rider stopped the Team DSM rider in his tracks who showed great bike handling to keep himself upright but it was a case of “what if?”.

Team DSM coach Matt Winston said: “I think we were in a really good position coming into the finale. The guys protected the bubble in a really good way which I was super happy with. In the finish it was a chaotic sprint but we kept finding each other which is really positive. Alberto was doing a really good lead out and it seemed like there was a bit of a coming together there in the closing stages and unfortunately it stopped us being able to sprint for a result with Cees.” 


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DÉMARE Arnaud Groupama - FDJ 5:02:33 100
2 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal ,, 40
3 CAVENDISH Mark Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team ,, 20
44 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
48 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -
54 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
66 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
76 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
85 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
133 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
144 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -

Stage 7: Diamante to Potenza (196 kilometres) 

A brutally fast start to proceedings caused a lot of difficulties for many throughout the peloton but eventually the elastic snapped and a breakaway formed out front; which would go on to fight for the stage win. With all Team DSM riders in the bunch, focus remained on staying safe and looking after the climbers on what was a tricky day in the saddle.

Speaking at the line Thymen said: “Today was a really hard stage with a fast start. I think the break didn’t go until 75 kilometres – it was really fast on the climbs with attacks everywhere, even the GC guys were getting involved too which made it tough. The guys did a really good job following on the climbs – Chris, Martijn and I followed all the attacks to cover the big breaks. In general it was really good teamwork today. Romain and I finished with the favourites – we couldn’t really go for a result as we lost each other at the end where it was hectic but in general it was a hard but good day.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BOUWMAN Koen Jumbo-Visma 5:12:30 100
2 MOLLEMA Bauke Trek - Segafredo 0:02 40
3 FORMOLO Davide UAE Team Emirates ,, 20
11 BARDET Romain Team DSM 2:59 -
40 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
51 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 5:22 -
65 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 15:43 -
116 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 42:35 -
117 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
156 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
166 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -

Stage 8: Napoli to Napoli (153 kilometres) 

A short but sharp stage, today was a stage that many had marked in their road books as a potentially dangerous one where the peloton had to navigate the narrow and twisting roads of Napoli and the surrounding area. A fierce start to the day saw a big fight for the breakaway but things calmed down after that action. Back in the peloton, the team once again did a really good job to look after the climbers and make it through the stage unscathed and as stress free as possible.

“It was as expected – annoyingly hard,” expressed hill-stage captain Chris Hamilton. “We didn’t have an eye on the stage, it was more about getting through it safely with a big one coming up tomorrow and we did that. All of the guys rode really well to keep out of trouble and at the front so it was nice to see. We’re looking forward to tomorrow now.” 


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DE GENDT Thomas Lotto Soudal 3:32:53 100
2 GABBURO Davide Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè ,, 40
3 ARCAS Jorge Movistar Team ,, 20
20 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 3:33 -
37 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
88 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 4:14 -
99 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 7:18 -
126 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 11:42 -
142 DENZ Nico Team DSM 13:30 -
143 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
156 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -

Stage 9: Isernia to Blockhaus (191 kilometres) 

After two “quieter” stages for the peloton with two breakaway wins in the previous days, all eyes were on stage nine’s summit finish atop the incredibly difficult Blockhaus climb. A strong break formed out front after a lot of attacking but the peloton kept them close and it was always going to be a day that ended in a showdown between the GC favourites. The team rode superbly well throughout the day to support each other. Alberto, Cees and Nico Denz did a lot of the early pacing and positioning work before Romain Combaud and Martijn Tusveld took over. Then on the slopes of Blockhaus itself, Chris kept Romain and Thymen towards the fore before Thymen took over his role as Romain’s final support rider. On the climb we had some explosive action between the GC riders with Romain following and attacking the very best, while Thymen rode a mature and measured effort himself. Coming into the finish the stage was amazingly decided in a sprint of six riders, with Romain charging from deep but coming up agonisingly short to take second on the stage with Thymen in tenth.

“I think from a GC perspective we are in a good place,” explained Bardet. “We are where we need to be. It was really great, we’ve felt in control so far in the Giro – the guys have rode amazingly well. Of course today there is a bit of frustration because I would liked to have won but there are still plenty of stages left and for sure we are a good position so we can end the first week on a high note.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 HINDLEY Jai BORA - hansgrohe 5:34:44 100
2 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, 40
3 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers ,, 20
10 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 0:58 -
30 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 9:26 -
44 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 17:36 -
50 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 21:11 -
81 DENZ Nico Team DSM 33:15 -
154 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 44:58 -
165 BOL Cees Team DSM 45:46 -

Reflecting on week one as a whole we caught up with Chris and Team DSM coach Matt Winston for their thoughts.

“We go into the first rest day in a good place,” expressed Chris. “I think we really showed everyone that we’re one of the strongest teams here so that’s nice to see and that gives a lot of motivation for the guys in the coming parts of the race. We have a nice group here and everyone’s clicking along really well. Some of us have already spent a lot of time together, like Thymen, Romain and myself have spent a lot of time at altitude so you get to know these guys really good. Everyone’s just having a laugh, making some jokes with each other, so there’s a good environment. Today I hoped to sleep for as long as possible, ride as easy as possible and I actually have a Spanish class in the afternoon so will do that to keep the brain ticking over.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “I think we’ve done a really good week of teamwork which has brought us into this position. We’ve rode in a really controlled way, been in the front when we needed to be for the important moments. We’re in a really nice position in the race with second yesterday and third on GC; for sure we would have taken that at the start of the race going into the first rest day. Going into the next week it’s about holding position in the first four days and getting through them in a good way together, before the GC action kicks off again next weekend.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed the opening nine stages and are taking a well deserved rest day yourself. We’ll see you back on the road tomorrow as we get week two underway!

Team DSM