Race report

Søren Kragh Andersen and Tiesj Benoot impress on the attack in Tour de France mountains

Tour de France

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

With yesterday’s day in the hills behind them, the peloton made the full transition to the mountains and the Alps today, with an incredibly challenging 150 kilometre long stage from Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornand to contend with under challenging rainy conditions. It was a fierce start to the stage as the bunch were immediately met with an uncategorised climb where an infernal pace was set on the front.

As a result, the bunch was in pieces over the top and the pace remained on for the next hour of racing. The attacks kept coming with Mark Donovan, Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen riding well to cover the moves from the now drastically reduced peloton.

Eventually after an incredibly intense 75 kilometres of action and with the race reaching the halfway point, a large 18 rider group broke the elastic with Benoot and Kragh Andersen making the move for the team. Their gap quickly ballooned out to over five minutes where it stabilised, and a few teams in the chasing peloton began to set a steady tempo.

On the wet descent of the Côte de Mont-Saxonnex, Kragh Andersen and Benoot took advantage of their bike handling skills by pushing the pace, getting a gap over their breakaway companions. Benoot buried himself at the front on the flat valley roads, before Kragh Andersen went solo on the difficult Col de Romme, leading the pursuers by 30 seconds. The strong climbers in the chasing group made their moves on the stinging gradients, bridging to Kragh Andersen who dug as deep as he could before having to let go of the wheels. With the chance of the stage win or a surprise move up on GC gone, Benoot and Kragh Andersen rode at their own tempo as much as possible over the tough final climbs, crossing the finish line together.

“We tried our best to get the best possible result today,” explained Kragh Andersen at the finish. “We knew that there were some strong climbers there so we tried to go out front on the descent with Tiesj ahead of the Col de Romme. I’m not a climber though so in the end they caught me pretty fast on the climb, but I was happy to be there and fighting for it again today.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “It was a really intense race today. Directly we had a five kilometre uncategorised climb from the beginning of the stage and it completely shattered the bunch. From that moment on there was no team that could really take control of the race. We even saw at one point there was a 21 rider group that Pogacar was in, and it was pretty desperate times for a lot of teams at that moment. We aimed to be in the break with Mark, Tiesj, or Søren and all three were part of that first peloton. We were well represented in that group of 21 with two guys [Tiesj and Mark] and made sure we could move to be a part of the next group that went, with both Tiesj and Søren in there. All three of them did a really good job today, to try and see what they could do out there for us. When we hit the big climb of the Col de Romme we tried to get a jump on the better climbers but there were just stronger guys on the climb today in that group. In the end we got no top result, but it was great to see the way the guys fought for it today.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 TEUNS Dylan Bahrain - Victorious 3:54:41 120
2 IZAGIRRE Ion Astana - Premier Tech 0:44 50
3 WOODS Michael Israel Start-Up Nation 0:47 25
32 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM 17:00 -
33 BENOOT Tiesj Team DSM ,, -
46 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 23:18 -
108 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 35:01 -
119 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -
162 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM ,, -
168 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -