Race report

Andreas Leknessund on the attack in final day of action at Provence

Tour de La Provence

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The final stage of racing at the Tour de La Provence saw the peloton come out flying as they left the start town of Avignon, with an early intermediate sprint tempting numerous attacks from the bunch. The team were incredibly active, following a lot of dangerous moves with Romain Combaud in a notable group that was brought back. On passing through the intermediate sprint the elastic finally snapped, with Team DSM debutant Andreas Leknessund riding strongly to make a break of four.

The quartet worked well together over the rolling terrain, building up an advantage of over four minutes, before the peloton started to slowly reel them back in throughout the afternoon. Holding off the peloton for a while, Mas attacked from the breakaway group with around 20 kilometres to go but Leknessund showed his strength and alongside Gallopin and Laveneau they were able to bring him back. The four then cooperated again, with Leknessund impressing after being the last rider caught in the closing three kilometres.

Meanwhile back in the bunch, the rest of the team worked well to bring sprinter Max Kanter towards the front of the peloton for the fast finish once the race entered the final ten kilometres. Unfortunately on the technical and hectic run in, Kanter lost the wheels of the sprinters and wasn’t able to compete for a top result come the end of the stage, but the team can be applauded for the commitment and good teamwork towards their goals in their first race of the season.

“It was a good way to finish off the race by being in the breakaway,” explained Leknessund at the finish. “At first I wanted to be there for the experience and the training, but when we came closer to the end it also became exciting to see if the peloton was going to catch us or not. But in the end we got caught with approximately two kilometres to the line. I also think this last stage was good for the whole team, as we improved through the race physically, and also in the way we worked together as a group.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen continued: “Our goal was to be in the breakaway today. The guys fought really hard to do so and Andreas managed to get in there for us. We went for the mountain jersey as well but in the end got second in that classification, which is still a nice result. The break stayed away for a long time in the end and went pretty far and close to the finish. Behind, the guys were working for Max to put him in a good position for the sprint. There was good commitment and that’s all that we can really ask from them at this stage of the season in our first race. It was a good final day here in Tour de La Provence and we did a good job I think.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BAUHAUS Phil Bahrain - Victorious 3:47:01 20
2 BALLERINI Davide Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 10
3 BOUHANNI Nacer Team Arkéa Samsic ,, 5
27 KANTER Max Team DSM ,, -
35 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
48 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team DSM ,, -
75 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
88 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
129 ROCHE Nicolas Team DSM 0:51 -
132 MÄRKL Niklas Team DSM 3:13 -