Race report

Romain Bardet sprints to 3rd in Tour of the Alps opening stage

Tour of the Alps

This morning saw the riders roll out of Cles for the opening stage at the Tour of the Alps, faced with over 3000 metres of climbing throughout the 131 kilometre long route as they made their way to San Martino di Castrozza. Rolling roads in the opening part of the day made for a fast start and after 40 kilometres a break of six eventually formed out front, with all Team DSM riders in the bunch.

Those ahead managed to quickly build up a lead that almost peaked at eight minutes, before the peloton slowly began to close the gap. Heading onto the major climb of the day Marco Brenner, Max Poole and Pepijn Reinderink did well to position Thymen Arensman, Romain Bardet and Chris Hamilton; with the latter trio making it over the top in the reduced bunch of around 55 riders. Out front, now lone leader Bouchard put up a valiant fight and ultimately holding on for the win, ensuring that the pace in the peloton remained high for the closing 30 kilometres as they looked to chase him down.

Coming into the final few kilometres, Hamilton helped to close down some attacks before Arensman dragged the peloton over the last wall, leading out Bardet through the last corner. Kicking all the way to the line, Bardet sprinted to a fine third place from the bunch, with Arensman finishing on the same time as the peloton split on the run-in to the line.

Bardet said: “It’s nice to be back racing after a good camp with the guys. We did a good job as a team during the stage to keep a good position, and in the final, it was a sprint that suited me well so we went for it and I managed to come third. We have four hard stages to come where we will look for new opportunities to go for nice results.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “I’m really satisfied with the start to the week. The guys looked after Romain in a good way. When it was clear that it looked like the break might not come back; we looked to set up as best as possible for the finish, which we did in a really good way. Thymen did a really good lead out and brought Romain around the last corner right at the front of the peloton, after good support from Chris. Romain was then able to sprint for third place so I think it’s a really nice start to the race.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BOUCHARD Geoffrey AG2R Citroën Team 4:12:22 20
2 BILBAO Pello Bahrain - Victorious 0:05 10
3 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, 5
13 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
50 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 0:34 -
90 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 9:55 -
99 REINDERINK Pepijn Team DSM 11:10 -
110 POOLE Max Team DSM 14:15 -