Race report

Nicholas Roche in the break, Romain Bardet 8th in tough Tour of the Alps stage

Tour of the Alps

The penultimate day of racing at the Tour of the Alps saw the bunch take on the longest stage of the week and arguably the toughest with almost 4000 metres of climbing across the 168 kilometre long route. Like in previous stages, it was a fierce start to the day with numerous attacks where the team were present but it took until the 40 kilometre mark and the climb for a nine rider group to go clear which featured Nicholas Roche.

Roche and his breakaway companions worked well together and extended their advantage to almost three minutes but with several riders close on GC, their gap wasn’t allowed to go out any further and the peloton started to work on bringing them back. Despite their best efforts, Roche’s group were caught as the bunch charged onto the final climb of the day.

The rest of the team did a good job to bring Romain Bardet and Jai Hindley into a position towards the front of the peloton as the pace ramped up. As the climb ticked by, the pace remained on and it became a race of attrition as riders were dropped from the group. At around 4 kilometres from the summit the attacks began, with Hindley and Bardet responding well, with Hindley riding well to make it into a group of eight riders at the front while Bardet rode at a steady and measured effort just behind.

Going over the top of the climb just nine kilometres of the day remained, with a descent all the way to the finish. Unfortunately, Hindley crashed on the downhill but managed to remount and finish the stage. Bardet led the team home at the finish, crossing the line in a solid eighth place on the stage.

“I think it was a pretty hard stage and there was a lot of action from the beginning,” explained Bardet. “We managed the first part of the race well with Nico in a really strong group of riders. Then we did a really good job together in the final to tackle the last ascent. We were there with three kilometres to go in the front group, where the race exploded a bit and we were unlucky with Jai’s crash. For me, I’m still building my shape nicely and I’m confident for what’s to come.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “The guys rode a good stage, with Nico in the break and then showing good teamwork to bring Jai and Romain into position for the final climb. Over the top Jai was racing for a good result on the descent but unfortunately he crashed at five kilometres to go. He got back on the bike but lost time running into the finish. Romain was able to round out a solid top ten on the stage for the team though.”

After his crash in the finale of today’s stage, Jai suffered abrasions and required stitches after the finish. The team will monitor the situation overnight.

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BILBAO Pello Bahrain - Victorious 4:39:42 20
2 VLASOV Aleksandr Astana - Premier Tech ,, 10
3 YATES Simon Team BikeExchange ,, 5
8 BARDET Romain Team DSM 1:16 -
18 HINDLEY Jai Team DSM 2:19 -
42 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 5:15 -
67 STORER Michael Team DSM 9:31 -
83 ROCHE Nicolas Team DSM 14:32 -
108 HEINSCHKE Leon Team DSM 24:20 -
124 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM 30:34 -