Race report

Bad luck for the team in crash-marred and chaotic opening stage at the Tour

Tour de France

As the peloton rolled out of Brest this afternoon they were faced with a challenging and testing 197 kilometre long parcours, finishing in Landerneau, for the opening stage of La Grand Boucle. It was a fierce start to the stage with numerous attacks at the front of the bunch, with Joris Nieuwenhuis riding well and marking the early moves. Eventually a five-rider breakaway group got clear, building up a three minute advantage, with all Team DSM riders in the bunch.

With the rolling kilometres ticking by, the breakaway split up and Schelling went solo. Behind in the peloton, things grew increasingly nervous on the narrow and twisting roads, with Casper Pedersen involved in a crash at around 80 kilometres to go. Pedersen got back on his bike and returned to the peloton okay, with the pace in the bunch remained steady as they slowly clawed back the lone leader.

Unfortunately, at 45 kilometres to go, a big crash saw around 80 percent of the peloton involved; either by being taken down or held up in the incident. Jasha Sütterlin was ultimately forced to abandon the race for the team after he went down in the crash. Proceedings then calmed somewhat before there was yet another big accident inside the last ten kilometres. Thankfully the team avoided that crash on the other side of the road, as they looked to set up Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen for the finish. In the punchy and steep run to the line it was chaotic, with Benoot leading the team home on the day after a touch of wheels in the final few hundred metres saw him unable to compete for a result on the stage.

“It was quite a chaotic stage over the roads of Bretagne,” said Tour debutant Nils Eekhoff. “We started pretty fast and the fight for the break was quite hard actually, the pace was high. We then had a long section where the bunch was pretty controlled, but it was still quite nervous. Then when the final began with around 80 kilometres to go it got even more nervous again. On top of a small climb with around 50 kilometres left, I think all of us were almost involved in the big crash there. Luckily for me it was nothing bad but it’s really gutting to lose Jasha because of that crash. Then towards the final we tried to bring Tiesj and Søren into a good position but it was tough in the chaos and we couldn’t drop them off right at the front.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “It’s always a big spectacle when it’s the first stage of the Tour de France. Racing in Bretagne can always have some stressful moments and it’s unfortunate today that those couple of big crashes happened. We got affected by it, and we unfortunately lost Jasha from the race in the big crash. Casper and Tiesj also were also caught up in crashes too, and Tiesj then got unlucky in the final as well. It was a really tough stage to fight through, to pick a result up in, and it didn’t happen for us today. It’s really unfortunate that we’ve lost Jasha already in the race but we’ll keep on fighting with the rest of the seven guys here.”

An update on Sütterlin will follow when available.


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Deceuninck - Quick Step 4:39:05 120
2 MATTHEWS Michael Team BikeExchange 0:08 50
3 ROGLIČ Primož Team Jumbo-Visma ,, 25
26 BENOOT Tiesj Team DSM 0:16 -
35 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM 1:49 -
51 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
52 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM ,, -
54 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 1:57 -
155 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 9:19 -
158 BOL Cees Team DSM 9:47 -
1005 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team DSM -04:39:05 -