Race report

Andreas Leknessund fights to 8th place in Megève breakaway

Tour de France

After yesterday’s rest day the peloton were back in action at the Tour de France this afternoon, faced with 148 kilometres from Morzine to Megève where a mountain top finish awaited them. With a downhill start it was a fast and frenetic opening to the day and that continued on the flat valley roads and following ascents. The team were active in trying to make the break, following several moves that were reeled back in, with Martijn Tusveld and Andreas Leknessund particularly active.

Eventually the proverbial elastic snapped and a large 25 rider move went clear, with Leknessund there to represent Team DSM. With the peloton slowing in pace, the break would build up enough of an advantage where it was clear that they would fight it out for the stage win heading into 40 kilometres to go. A flurry of attacks followed with Bettiol going solo, before the race was neutralised due to a protest. When proceedings got back underway the gaps were reestablished and hitting the lower slopes of the climb the lone leader still held onto a 30 second advantage at 20 kilometres to go; with Leknessund biding his time in the group.

It became a tactical affair combined with a race of attrition as the pace in the group surged and stopped, reflecting the multiple attacks. With the kilometres ticking by a strong move of eight riders went clear and sensing the danger Leknessund put in a powerful attack to bridge with a few others. The stop-start attacking continued all the way under the flamme rouge, with Leknessund digging deep and clawing his way back to the front as they fought it out for the win. Pushing all the way to the line and giving everything, Leknessund crossed the finish for a strong and well-earned 8th place – his first ever Grand Tour top ten result.

Speaking after the finish Leknessund said: “It was a hard start and took quite a long time for the break to go away, but as a team we did our best. Me and Martijn were active following attacks and in the end I was the guy in the move. From there it was about saving as much energy as possible for the last climb. I think I did my best and tried to play it smart. In the end I think I got the most out of my legs today. It’s a special feeling to be racing for the win in a Tour de France stage and it’s a nice experience. I’m looking forward to the days to come.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “The goal was to be in the break with Andreas and he made it which was great. I think it cost him quite a lot of energy to get there as it was a really big fight. He battled really hard in the breakaway but unfortunately wasn’t able to sprint for that top result but still a nice eighth place. The rest of the guys then looked after Romain really well in the bunch, bringing us safely through the day with two big stages to come next.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CORT Magnus EF Education-EasyPost 3:18:50 120
2 SCHULTZ Nick Team BikeExchange - Jayco ,, 50
3 SÁNCHEZ Luis León Bahrain - Victorious 0:07 25
8 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 0:20 -
26 BARDET Romain Team DSM 8:54 -
57 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 9:40 -
60 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 9:46 -
97 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 17:22 -
100 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 17:41 -
112 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 23:07 -