Race report

Strong team ride after carnage on the cobbles at the Tour de France

Tour de France

The much anticipated cobbled stage awaited the peloton today, with 18 kilometres of pavé, spread over 11 sectors and packed into the latter third of today’s 157 kilometre long route from Lille to Wallers-Arenberg. It was a feisty start with a fight for the breakaway before eventually a six rider move snapped the elastic and went clear, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton. Working well as a group, the team stayed out of trouble and towards the front as the kilometres ticked down towards the first section and the nerves went up.

Upon hitting the first pavé sector things calmed down but from the second sector onwards the race was chaos. The team worked well together, moving up for the key moments with Romain Bardet, John Degenkolb, Andreas Leknessund and Alberto Dainese well to the fore, after some good work by the rest of the team. As the peloton surged over the cobbles mechanicals and bad luck befell many in the bunch, with Bardet and Degenkolb making the reduced peloton of around 30 riders with 35 kilometres to go. Unfortunately a crash saw both riders held up as the group split, and eventually they were caught by the yellow jersey group which included Dainese.

A fierce chase ensued over the remaining parcours, with Dainese and Degenkolb helping to contribute to the chase as they caught some groups in front of them. Ultimately, the original break would stay away to fight it out for the win with Dainese leading the team home in the “peloton” for 11th place, with Bardet and Degenkolb following in behind him within the group.

“It was a special day like expected,” explained a smiling Degenkolb as he warmed down. “I have to say a big thanks to all the guys, even those that have never done a stage like this before, they were there when we needed to be. They did their job phenomenally and it was a pleasure to ride like this, approaching the first sector with full focus. We were out of trouble going into that first sector and that saved a lot of energy and stress. In the end unfortunately we were stuck behind a big crash before the pavé in Erre. We were chasing back really hard alongside some of the other teams and we could come back to the first big group. We had three guys in there with Romain, me and Alberto, and in the sprint Alberto took fourth from the group. It was pretty special to race my cobbled section at the Tour de France. It was too full gas to take it all in but for sure there were lots of great fans cheering on the side of the road.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “It was a busy day but I think we came through it in a good way to be honest. We rode really strong before the first sector of cobbles as a team and looking for each other, really guided well by Chris there. on the cobbled sections we focused on regrouping. John and Romain were really in the front of the race and looking good but they caught up behind a crash though and ended up dropping back a group. Alberto came back in that group which was racing for seventh place, so it was a pretty good day to be honest. Alberto finished off 11th but we can be happy with the way we rode today and when we continue like this we have a good Tour de France.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CLARKE Simon Israel - Premier Tech 3:13:35 120
2 VAN DER HOORN Taco Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux ,, 50
3 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald TotalEnergies 0:02 25
11 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 1:04 -
21 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
28 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
65 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 2:59 -
138 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 11:42 -
140 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
160 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 14:40 -
167 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 18:32 -