Race report

Attacking Martijn Tusveld claims KOM jersey

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var

Saving the toughest day for last, today the peloton were faced the queen stage of the race at Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, with over 3500 metres of climbing crammed into just 131 kilometres of racing. As expected the racing was fierce from the gun, with multiple attacks flying from the peloton, including several from the team.

Eventually a move stuck, with Martijn Tusveld riding strongly to make the group of 16 that formed at the head of the race. Working well together, and despite a committed chase by those behind, the breakaway extended their advantage to over three minutes at one point.

The break and the gap thinned down though as the kilometres ticked by, with Tusveld riding well to be in contact with the group as it reduced to single figures in size as they hit the last categorised climb of the day – the Col de la Madone de Gorbio. Tusveld dug deep, fighting to hold onto the wheels of the fast-moving breakaway but he eventually had to let go and was caught by the peloton just before the summit.

Within the now reduced peloton, Michael Storer continued his good early season form by staying with the group for as long as possible before having to relinquish contact just before the summit of the climb. Powering on, he rode home solo to collect 13th place on the stage for the team, a result that was mirrored in the final GC standings. Tusveld’s efforts out front weren’t in vain either as he collected the KOM jersey for the team too.

“Today it was an all or nothing stage for a lot of teams and at only 130 kilometres in distance, it was clear that it be full gas from the start,” explained Tusveld. “On the first climb I attacked with a small group and later on a lot of guys joined us which included some GC threats. That caused the peloton to not give us too much space. Although there were a lot of strong guys in the break I tried to go for the mountains jersey and got second on the first Cat-1 climb and first in the second Cat-1 climb. That gave me enough points to win the mountain jersey. Personally, the first two days I didn’t have the best legs but I’m happy the feeling improved today and we could take a nice prize home for the team.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen continued: “I haven’t experienced a race like this for a really long time. It was full on racing for the 130 kilometres and only up or down; there was no flat. The guys did well in the start to try and be in the breakaway and Martijn did well to be in there for us. The goal to go for the KOM jersey wasn’t there at the start but he picked up some points so then we went for it. We were able to get the jersey in the end which was a nice bonus, but we fell just short to follow the very best in the break. In the peloton, Michael did a good job to stay with the best guys in the race but had to let the top favourites go on the last climb. Overall, I think we did a good last day with some aggressive racing. It was a really hard three days, and we lacked the top shape that the top GC guys here have to go for a really big result, but in the end we showed a good fighting spirit as a team and it’s a nice start to our year.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BRAMBILLA Gianluca Trek - Segafredo 3:43:32 14
2 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao INEOS Grenadiers 0:13 5
3 O'CONNOR Ben AG2R Citroën Team ,, 3
13 STORER Michael Team DSM 3:06 -
35 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 9:31 -
90 HEINSCHKE Leon Team DSM 22:08 -
91 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM ,, -
99 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 25:43 -
115 SALMON Martin Team DSM 36:17 -
1005 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM -03:43:32 -