Race Recap

Race Recap: Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var – On the attack

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var

After an attacking display at the recent Tour de la Provence, the team were once again in action in France, this time at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var where they would look to continue their aggressive style of racing. Faced with three days of hilly and rolling terrain, only the opening stage looked suitable for a semblance of a sprint finish, while days two and three offered the climbers and puncheurs favoured terrain to attack on.

Stage 1: Saint-Raphaël to La Seyne-sur-Mer (176 kilometres)

The opening day of racing at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var was a stormy one, with four breakaway riders going up the road and getting a maximum advantage of three minutes and 30 seconds. However, they were reeled back in just before the final climb of the day, where the peloton splintered and Mark Donovan took advantage of the situation attacking, with ten kilometres to go. Despite his best efforts, Mark was caught by the teams with sprinters, as Martijn Tusveld brought us home in 11th place on the day. Stage two should see more of the same attacking racing!

”Today was the first stage but it was a good and hectic day,” explained Donovan. “It was hard to stay together on the run-in to the final climb but the guys managed it perfectly. We tried to make it hard for the sprinters and we did some good attacks and it almost split and I gave it a go on one of the kickers. It was soon obvious I wasn’t going to make it but we gave it a try just to see what would happen. There are two more good days to come with plenty of attacking opportunities for us.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal 4:14:44 14
2 TURGIS Anthony TotalEnergies ,, 5
3 BOUHANNI Nacer Team Arkéa Samsic ,, 3
11 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
35 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
40 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 0:08 -
43 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
78 MILESI Lorenzo Team DSM 1:15 -
84 WILKSCH Hannes Team DSM ,, -

Stage 2: Puget-Théniers to La Turbie (149 kilometres)

The second stage of the Tour des Alpes Maritmes et du Var was a very nervous and hilly one. With several climbs on the parcours including the Col d’Eze it was to be a hard day out on the bike. The team worked together well to be in a good position at the bottom of the climbs and on the final ascent the race exploded. Pushing all the way to the line Romain Combaud finished 11th on the day, with Mark Donovan just a few places behind for us.

Speaking after the stage Combaud said: “Our goal was to get in the breakaway. Mark and Martijn did a very good job in the first part of the race but a small group went clear. Then we stayed all together in the bunch but it was a very nervous day and it was hard to get to and stay at the front. At the end Mark tried to follow the very first group on the last climb and I followed the small group behind him and together we pushed up to the finish. Tomorrow we will try again as a team to do something on the last stage.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 WELLENS Tim Lotto Soudal 3:46:00 14
2 QUINTANA Nairo Team Arkéa Samsic ,, 5
3 MADOUAS Valentin Groupama - FDJ 0:25 3
11 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 1:33 -
20 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 1:38 -
35 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 6:57 -
46 MILESI Lorenzo Team DSM 8:47 -
60 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 11:41 -
94 WILKSCH Hannes Team DSM 19:53 -

Stage 3: Villefranche-sur-Mer to Blausasc (112 kilometres)

It was full gas racing from the start today in France, with the guys and seemingly the rest of the peloton going all out to make the break and make the stage as hard as possible. Donovan and Romain Combaud were on the move of 13 for us but they were brought back by a very reduced bunch on the last big climb. The Team DSM duo were joined by Chris Hamilton in the diminished peloton, with Combaud sprinting to a respectable 10th on the stage in Blausasc.

“It was a good day to finish off Haut Var for us,” expressed Donovan. “We were very active at the start, covering all of the breaks. After quite a fight it ended up with me and Romain in the main group that went away. Unfortunately, they didn’t give us too much of an advantage so it was hard but it meant we started the last climb with a bit of a head start so us both and Chris were together going over the top of the final big climb. In the end we could only fight for a top ten but we’re really happy with how we rode; we had some nice days racing and we’re looking to what’s next.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 QUINTANA Nairo Team Arkéa Samsic 2:55:17 14
2 MARTIN Guillaume Cofidis 1:21 5
3 PINOT Thibaut Groupama - FDJ 1:30 3
10 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 2:25 -
23 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
27 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
40 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 5:58 -
55 MILESI Lorenzo Team DSM 11:25 -
1005 WILKSCH Hannes Team DSM -02:55:17 -

Reflecting on the race as a whole:

Chris Hamilton: “It was a good three days with the team and I think it was a nice experience for Lorenzo and Hannes to join us as well. On each of the stages we were on the attack to try and upset the other teams and go for a result, with Romain up in the mix on a few days. We can be happy with how things were here, particularly with how we went for it on the last stage, and we’re looking forward to our next races.”

Team DSM coach Pim Ligthart added: “Even though we leave without that top, top result, I’m super happy about the performance of the guys. Especially on the last stage as we did great to always be present in the action and in the dangerous moves. I think we can look back on a good race and build on that towards the next one.”