Race report

Team DSM claim stage and overall victory with Michael Storer at Tour de l’Ain

Tour de l'Ain

Photo Credit: Elise Chauveau / Tour de l’Ain

After being set up well and protected by the team, Michael Storer attacked solo and triumphed over the climbs at the Tour de l’Ain for Team DSM today. 

The final day of racing at the Tour de l’Ain saw the peloton take on the queen stage of the race, with around 2800 metres of climbing packed into 120 kilometres of racing. It was a fast start with multiple attacks at the head of the peloton before eventually a large group escaped, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton.

With some dangerous riders in the breakaway group, the team came to the front of the peloton and started pacing, looking to reel in the break. The group ahead splintered, leaving a now seven rider group out front, leading by 50 seconds with 35 kilometres to go. Tackling the penultimate climb of the day, and the last categorised one of the race, the team did a good job to keep Michael Storer safe before the pace increased at the front and the group thinned down as riders dropped one-by-one.

Approaching the top of the climb, the yellow jersey was dropped and Storer found himself in an elite group of six. Sensing a lull in pace, Storer launched a well timed attack over the top of the group, forging on clear at the front of the race alone. With the five chasers looking at each other, the Team DSM rider managed to build up a 20 second gap going onto the descent, an advantage he held starting the uncategorised climb to the line.

Riding a steady tempo for the final 12 kilometres of uphill, Storer continued to increase his lead over the chasers as they squabbled behind. Having enough time to sit up and celebrate, Storer raised his arms aloft, celebrating a well-earned win for the team; securing the GC victory at the same time too.

“I can’t believe it,” beamed Storer at the finish. “Coming across the finish line I was very emotional. I’ve been waiting four years for a victory. I’ve worked so hard for the past four years, improving every year and the team has been behind me all the way. It’s a long process and we always knew it was possible, but to make it happen on the day is a whole other thing. We had a really good plan, had really good discussions with the guys and we knew exactly the way to win this bike race – it went perfectly. The guys went completely full in for me. We have a super young team here, with two guys from our Development program, and I’m so so happy to win today and finish it off for the team.”

Team DSM coach Wilbert Broekhuizen added: “At the start of the stage, just after the first downhill the bunch split in two. There were 22 guys up the road and we were not there. It was a really dangerous breakaway so Felix, Florian and Marco brought back the group so the race started again. From that point it was all in control with Henri and Michael. We made the plan that Michael should attack on the first category climb, and he attacked at two kilometres from the top, just like our plan. From there he just kept pushing and brought it home to the finish. I’m really proud of how the guys worked today, pulling back that dangerous group and then riding to the plan well. In the end it’s a great and well deserved victory for Michael and the team.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 STORER Michael Team DSM 3:02:46 14
2 BAGIOLI Andrea Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:43 5
3 SKJELMOSE JENSEN Mattias Trek - Segafredo ,, 3
52 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM 13:23 -
81 GALL Felix Team DSM 21:29 -
98 STORK Florian Team DSM 27:16 -
1007 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 43:55 -