Race report

Kevin Vermaerke 12th as climbers do battle on summit finish in Hungary

Tour de Hongrie

Today saw the peloton take on the queen stage at the Tour de Hongrie, with a difficult 15 kilometre climb to the line in Gyöngyös-Kékestető. It was a cagey start to the day with several failed breakaway moves before a group of four was able to establish itself at the head of the race. With all Team DSM riders in the bunch, focus stayed on saving as much energy as possible for the tricky finale.

The peloton were always in control, catching the breakaway before the final climb started. Riding well as a group, the team moved up en masse towards the front of the bunch, looking to protect Romain Combaud and Kevin Vermaerke for the finish. As the kilometres on the climb ticked by, the pace ramped up and after making a sharp turn at three kilometres to go the riders hit the steepest gradients. Both Combaud and Vermaerke dug as deep as they could, with Vermaerke riding impressively to hold onto the coattails of the ever reducing peloton until just outside the flamme rouge. Riding at his own tempo all the way to the line, Vermaerke ended the stage with a good 12th place finish, while Combaud was not too far behind either.

“It was a pretty long day today at 200 kilometres,” said Vermaerke at the finish. “The start was pretty easy and a small break went, with everyone saving energy until the last climb. We stayed really well together and we were right up at the front going into the final 12 kilometres. The guys did a good job to keep us there. Then in the final three kilometres the race kicked off and I did the best I could do, and there’s not much else you can do on a stage like this. We’ve been working well together all week and tomorrow’s a final chance for us to win a stage with Alberto.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “Stage four today was the queen stage of the Tour de Hongrie. We went twice up a 12 kilometre long climb and on the second time continued another tough three final kilometres to the finish. It took quite some time for a break to go away and then the race was put under control. As we came to the final climb the break was caught back. We hoped to set up Romain and Kevin to let them test their legs and see how they went on the climb. Kevin put up a great fight, hanging onto that front group until very late. I think in the end he finished just outside the top ten, but it was a good fight from him. It was a good performance from the guys today, it wasn’t our major goal for the week, but it was good to see them up there fighting. We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s final stage in Budapest where it will hopefully be a sprint and we’ll aim to go for another top result.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 HOWSON Damien Team BikeExchange 4:55:50 14
2 HERMANS Ben Israel Start-Up Nation 0:09 5
3 TIBERI Antonio Trek - Segafredo 0:15 3
12 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 0:56 -
22 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM -03:58:42 -
68 MÄRKL Niklas Team DSM 10:21 -
74 MAYRHOFER Marius Team DSM ,, -
84 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 12:33 -
1006 KRAGH ANDERSEN Asbjørn Team DSM -04:55:50 -