Racing recap

In the mix on a variety of terrain | Tour de France Week 1 racing recap

Tour de France

The opening week of racing at the Tour de France has come to an end; with the team in the mix over the variety of terrain that has laid ahead of them. The opening three days of racing for the Grand Départ in Denmark saw the team get through the opening rainy TT safely before bad luck befell them on the second day with crashes for Kevin Vermaerke, Martijn Tusveld and Alberto Dainese. The third stage saw Alberto finish fast in the sprint after starting from further back in the technical finale, picking up a solid seventh place.

Returning to France after the transfer day (which is not actually an official “rest day”), the team took on the another sprint before the highly anticipated cobbled stage. Riding well throughout the day, John Degenkolb and Romain Bardet were well positioned heading into the finale but after being involved in a crash they ultimately ended the day in the main peloton, alongside Alberto. Stage six saw the peloton enter into Belgium where Romain took tenth on the punchy finish, which was followed up by a good eighth place on the tough La Super Planche des Belles Filles the next day. Heading into the weekend, a large crash unfortunately forced debutant Kevin Vermaerke to abandon the race – a real shame as he was riding strongly in his first Tour appearance. The crash also saw Romain and several of the other guys take a tumble, but they were all able to finish the stage. Yesterday’s action saw the team ride aggressive in the start, trying to make the break with Andreas Leknessund, Chris Hamilton or Martijn but eventually the break went and with all Team DSM riders in the bunch, focus shifted to keeping Romain safe for the mountain finale. Navigating the day well, Romain finished in the reduced “peloton” after another fine display by the team.

Stage 1: Copenhagen – Copenhagen (13.2 kilometres TT)

The opening day saw the peloton take on a technical and twisting, but predominantly flat time trial route around the streets of Copenhagen. The day was made more treacherous by heavy rain that made the city streets slippy but thankfully all of the team came through the day unscathed.

Speaking after the stage Romain said: “The conditions out there were pretty exceptional. I just didn’t have the speed in the corners. I was feeling good out there though and I’m happy. I didn’t crash but others were more unlucky.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 LAMPAERT Yves Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 15:17 120
2 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma 0:05 50
3 POGAČAR Tadej UAE Team Emirates 0:07 25
37 BARDET Romain Team DSM 0:45 -
39 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 0:47 -
41 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 0:48 -
73 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 0:59 -
77 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 1:01 -
80 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
103 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 1:13 -
107 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 1:14 -

Stage 2: Roskilde to Nyborg (202 kilometres)

The ever looming threat of crosswinds made for a nervous day out where the peloton was always on edge. The crosswinds never materialised but unfortunately the nervousness caused several crashes in the bunch with Alberto, Kevin and Martijn all involved in the various incidents. With sprint finisher Alberto unable to contend the finish, the team looked to set up Nils for the hectic finale.

“It was a long day but with a great crowd of spectators,” explained Nils Eekhoff. “With the wind, small roads and the bridge in the end it was a nervous stage all the way. We rode super well together in the front to stay out of trouble. This went well for a really long time but unfortunately we had some guys get caught in different crashes. We lost Alberto on the bridge in the final 25 kilometres. From then we had to switch plans and try go for the sprint with me. We had a good position on the bridge but got boxed a couple of times so in the last kilometre we were too far back to go for a good result.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 JAKOBSEN Fabio Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 4:34:34 120
2 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma ,, 50
3 PEDERSEN Mads Trek - Segafredo ,, 25
25 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -
35 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
45 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
69 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
96 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
141 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
173 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 11:04 -
174 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -

Stage 3: Vejle to Sønderborg (182 kilometres) 

The final day of racing in Denmark saw a slightly more relaxed stage and a big bunch sprint finish. Working well together throughout the day, the team moved forward en masse for the finale to position Alberto towards the front of the peloton. Sprinting full gas to the line after being boxed in, Alberto finished fast to take a solid seventh place on the stage – a result that left him wanting more.

“It was a bit more relaxed day than yesterday but in the final it became chaotic again,” explained Dainese after the finish. “We were together with the whole team and the guys rode really well. In the last kilometres we were really in the front and avoided the crashes, so it was a good job. Romain, John and Nils brought me into a good position in the last corner. Then I waited a bit too much behind Jakobsen and couldn’t really launch the sprint but the feeling is good so next time we’ll go for a better result.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GROENEWEGEN Dylan Team BikeExchange - Jayco 4:11:33 120
2 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma ,, 50
3 PHILIPSEN Jasper Alpecin-Deceuninck ,, 25
7 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
41 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -
45 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
47 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
68 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM ,, -
75 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
144 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 0:39 -
170 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 3:27 -

Stage 4: Dunkerque to Calais (171 kilometres) 

With the travel day behind them, the race returned to French soil and another potential sprint finish; albeit with a short and sharp climb in the finale. The yellow jersey’s team took onus on the climb and ripped the bunch to shreds with Van Aert taking the win, while in the sprint from the peloton that was eight seconds behind, Alberto got up for 11th after being blocked in the finale.

Alberto said: “The guys did a really good job all day and then to position me and Romain for the bottom of the last climb. Then of course Van Aert did a super big attack. It was crazy how he could stay away; we were going pretty fast in the peloton. Then I did the best sprint I could, I had to stop a few times and was out of legs by the finish.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma 4:01:36 120
2 PHILIPSEN Jasper Alpecin-Deceuninck 0:08 50
3 LAPORTE Christophe Jumbo-Visma ,, 25
11 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
32 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
48 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
89 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
103 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
152 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 5:25 -
153 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -
170 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM ,, -

Stage 5: Lille to Wallers-Arenberg (157 kilometres) 

The much anticipated cobbled stage saw all-out racing and some really good teamwork from the squad. Working well together to be in position for the key opening sections, from that point on the race was on and full-gas. John and Romain were well to the fore in the reduced “peloton” of around 30 riders with just over 35 kilometres remaining but unfortunately both were held up or involved in the crash which split the group. Nonetheless, alongside Alberto, they managed to return to what was the main group while ahead the breakaway fought it out for the win and Pogacar gained a handful of seconds.

“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.”

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 -
22 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
29 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
66 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 2:59 -
139 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 11:42 -
141 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
161 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 14:40 -
168 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 18:32 -

Stage 6: Binche to Longwy (219 kilometres) 

The longest stage of the race, rather aptly so given the finish town, it was a punchy finale with several short climbs on the run-in to the line; which itself was a hill-top finish. After a big fight for position and what was an infernal pace set in the peloton, Romain led the team home in tenth place on what was a deceptively difficult day in the saddle.

Romain commented after the stage: “It was a super had day, a typical Tour de France stage full gas from start to finish. I think we did a good job in the beginning covering the moves, but lactic started to build in the legs of everyone so we focused on positioning for the finish. Otherwise though, it was the first really hard stage of the Tour so it’s a good step forward.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 POGAČAR Tadej UAE Team Emirates 4:27:13 120
2 MATTHEWS Michael Team BikeExchange - Jayco ,, 50
3 GAUDU David Groupama - FDJ ,, 25
10 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
46 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 1:14 -
47 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 1:17 -
91 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 5:37 -
92 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 6:10 -
121 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 7:28 -
148 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 10:24 -
163 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 11:28 -

Stage 7: Tomblaine to La Super Planche des Belles Filles (176 kilometres) 

Following on from the previous day’s hill-top finale, the peloton would be faced with the first mountain top finish of the race on La Super Planchce des Belles Filles. Despite a strong breakaway going clear, the yellow jersey set out their stall, working to set up a finish between the peloton. On the steep slopes the team worked well to position Romain, who then fought as hard as he could as the gradient began to bite. Pushing all the way to the line, he took a strong eighth place at the end of the stage.

Romain said: “Today was a pretty good day, the guys put me in a good position at the bottom of the last climb then I just tried to follow the best as much as I can. I’m pretty happy with the day, we worked well throughout the stage and will look to carry on like this.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 POGAČAR Tadej UAE Team Emirates 3:58:40 120
2 VINGEGAARD Jonas Jumbo-Visma ,, 50
3 ROGLIČ Primož Jumbo-Visma 0:12 25
8 BARDET Romain Team DSM 0:21 -
49 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 5:22 -
52 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 6:17 -
53 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 6:20 -
55 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 6:25 -
106 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 12:49 -
165 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 20:10 -
169 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 22:40 -

Stage 8: Dole to Lausanne (186 kilometres) 

Visiting the fourth country of the race, stage eight would end in Lausanne, Switzerland – the home of the IOC. Unfortunately, it would be a day marred by a large crash in the opening 15 kilometres of the stage which saw Romain and Kevin go down. As a result of his injuries from the crash, Kevin was no longer able to continue the race – and we all wish him a speedy recovery!

As for the rest of the racing, the team regrouped well and with the breakaway trio established out front – they looked to protect and position Romain for the uphill finale where he safely came home within the peloton.

Road captain John explained: “First of all it‘s a shame that we lost Kevin in a crash today. I hope he is doing okay. It’s a big loss for the team, because he was really strong the last days. About the stage itself, we were a bit surprised that only a small break went clear, as we also had an eye on a bigger group for a possible day result if it went. After that we tried to stay together as a team and position Romain for the uphill sprint in the final.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma 4:13:06 120
2 MATTHEWS Michael Team BikeExchange - Jayco ,, 50
3 POGAČAR Tadej UAE Team Emirates ,, 25
20 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
69 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 3:29 -
70 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 3:33 -
74 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 3:47 -
124 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 6:16 -
133 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 7:07 -
137 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 7:35 -
1005 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM -04:13:06 -

Stage 9: Aigle to Châtel les portes du Soleil (192 kilometres) 

Yesterday’s action saw the race head towards the mountains once more. It was a fierce fight to get in the day’s breakaway with Andreas, Martijn, Chris and Nils all present in moves that were brought back before eventually the break of the day went clear. With all the guys in the bunch, focus was on looking after Romain as well as possible throughout the day. Heading onto the final ascent, Chris did one last pull to position Romain, who then finished in 12th place amongst the reduced group of climbers after the break held on to fight it out for the win.

“With the yellow jersey wanting to keep the race under control it was a a pretty hard speed all day,” expressed Romain after the stage. “I didn’t feel too much pain after yesterday’s crash so hopefully it stays like that in the next days. We tried to get in the break earlier then the guys looked after me well, and Chris was with me all the way until the final climb. I think it was a good day to end week 1.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 JUNGELS Bob AG2R Citroën Team 4:46:39 120
2 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan INEOS Grenadiers 0:22 50
3 VERONA Carlos Movistar Team 0:26 25
12 BARDET Romain Team DSM 0:52 -
41 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 10:58 -
68 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 16:02 -
69 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
105 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 27:35 -
109 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
129 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -

Reflecting on the opening nine days of racing as a whole, we caught up with Team DSM coach Matt Winston.

“We’ve made a good start to the race,” explained Matt. “We missed a couple of the breakaway opportunities that we were hunting for but I think we also rode pretty smartly together on the road. As a group, we’ve been really finding each other well in the key moments of the race. We’ve not yet pulled off that top result we’re looking for but I think when we continue working in this way; keep fighting for each other and keep that focus to find each other in the deep finals – then I think we should have a good second and third week of the Tour.”

We hope you’re all enjoying the rest day yourselves and we’ll see you back on the road tomorrow!

Until next time,

Team DSM