With the Giro d’Italia and a successful month in the books, stage racing continued in June with the national championships the pinnacle of the calendar at the end of the month.
At the beginning of the month, the Men’s program took on the famous Critérium du Dauphiné. After a hilly first day, Kevin Vermaerke made the jump into the break and put up a good fight as the attackers stayed clear by just five seconds to contest the win. It was close in the end, with Kevin finishing the stage in a solid 5th position, jumping into the white jersey as the best young rider. The rest of the week saw the team with an eye on breakaways and day results, but the GC and sprinter teams didn’t give them a real chance as they fought it out for the overall and the fast finishes.
Meanwhile, the Women’s program headed to the UK, hoping to continue its series of good results after a clean sweep from Lorena Wiebes at RideLondon. The first stage didn’t go as planned and in the wet weather, both Lorena and Charlotte went down in the last technical kilometre, unable to sprint for the victory. But the team came back in style, showing some great teamwork, especially on the harder profiles, leading out Lorena to two victories in the following two stages, and another one in the punchy finish of the final stage.
In Italy, the Development program lined up for one of their highlights of the season, the Giro d’Italia Giovanni U23, or Baby Giro. The team had a bittersweet start to the race and after coming close to the victory on stage one with a 2nd place, Casper van Uden abandoned the race on stage three. The climbers went on to show themselves on the hard mountain stages, with Hannes Wilksch and Oscar Onley finishing in strong 7th and 9th positions, a promising result in such a race.
In the meantime, the Men’s Program contested a windy edition of the ZLM Tour; a race for the fast men, and one generally filled with echelon action. The team took a nice mix of young and experienced riders from the sprint and the classics group, with the fast man Sam Welsford sprinting to a podium result and two more top 6’s. Over in Belgium stage racing continued with the team getting three nice top ten results; with Alberto Dainese finishing 6th and 8th in the sprints and Mark Donovan 7th on the hilly queen-stage.
WorldTour-racing resumed again in Suisse. After a punchy finish in stage one, the next day was one for the break and Andreas Leknessund made the jump on a hilly parcours. The peloton stayed in striking distance, but when Andreas made his final attack with 18.2 kilometres to go, he went solo all the way to the line, taking his first pro-victory outside the nationals. Two days later it was Søren Kragh Andersen sprinting into a strong second place after a tricky climb in the final. Again, two days later the teams’ colours were present in the break again and this time it was Nico Denz up there fighting for a nice result. On the last climb he showed his strong shape, suffering until the group was down to two. Even with three riders coming back, he stayed calm and sprinted to victory in a photo finish, the biggest win of his career so far.
The Tour de Suisse was also the next stop for the Women’s program and the team had a solid race, taking five top ten results in four days. On stage three Liane came close to her first win of the season but crashed with 3 kilometres to go. A great fight saw her make it back to the first rows of the peloton just before the punchy climb to the finish line. She sprinted to a strong third place, with Floortje Mackaij finishing the race in 7th place on GC.
Heading over to the Nationals the team took some solid results across all three programs. Pfeiffer Georgi finished second in the British elite road race and won the U23 TT. Over in Germany, Nikias Arndt took second in the men’s road race and finished the TT in a solid 7th position. Liane won the road race, getting her second title of the career and Hannes Wilksch took a strong third position in the U23 TT. Over in the Netherlands, Lorena Wiebes secured bronze in the road race.
Now a month full of important stage races is ahead as the Men’s program line-up for the Tour de France and the Women’s program face an exciting month of racing at the Giro Donne and Women’s Tour de France.