On the podium in France and Italy
This Wednesday, two riders of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS rode to podium results in the World Tour. Phil Bauhaus sprinted to a 2nd place at the end of the third stage of Tirreno Adriatico. Less than one hour later, Gino Mäder crossed the finish line in 3rd in what was the first mountaintop finish of Paris-Nice, moving into 5th on GC.
In the month of March, pro cycling’s race calendar really picks up steam. Hot on the heels of the Strade Bianche one-day race, where Matej Mohoric and Pello Bilbao had shown strong races and finished in 6th and 7th, respectively, the Paris-Nice stage race started in the suburbs of Paris. This prestigious race to the Mediterranean Sea features eight stages, mixing crosswind-swept flat stages, short stages with a steady up and down, two mountaintop finishes and a team-time trial for good measure. For this race, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS lined up with a trifecta of Jack Haig as GC captain and Wout Poels and Gino Mäder as his back-ups. Add to that Jonathan Milan for sprints, Fred Wright for breakaways and Kamil Gradek and Filip Maciejuk in supporting roles.
Throughout the first two stages, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS focussed on avoiding time losses due to cross winds and keeping its key riders out of trouble, and they largely succeeded in doing so. As for the team time trial ridden under new regulations, the team finished in 9th place out of a total of 22 teams - a solid effort. The next day saw the first mountain top finish of the race. Due to the high pace of the main bunch, the remnants of the breakaway were brought back early on. On the final climb to La Loge des Gardes, the most recent winners of the Tour de France went for it a first time before slowing down again. While Jack Haig could not keep up with the fastest climbers, Gino Mäder paced his effort perfectly. The Swiss rider managed to make the jump from the chasing group to Jonas Vingegaard and to leave the Dane behind in the fight for 3rd in this stage.
The second stage race to take place this week is the Tirreno Adriatico. With an individual time trial, three mostly flat stages for sprinters and three uphill finishes, this race offers opportunities for many riders. Having finished last year's edition in 3rd on GC, Mikel Landa is the captain of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS for this race. In the mountains, he can rely on the help of Damiano Caruso and Santiago Buitrago. Phil Bauhaus is the man for the bunch sprints, with Nikias Arndt as his lead-out. With Fran Miholjevic and Andrea Pasqualon, one young talent and a vastly experienced rider complete the team's line-up. As for the entirely flat individual time trial that kicked off things, the riders in orange, red and black decided not to risk too much on the wet roads and thus conceded some time.
Meant to attract a strong field of sprinters, the next two stages did not dish out too many climbs. Still, the finale of the second stage was a nail-biter, as many twists and turns on the conclusive kilometres made for frantic racing. In the end, Phil Bauhaus found no gap to slice through and had to settle for 6th place. The next day the breakaway got caught with 70 kilometres to go. Deep into the finale Team Jumbo Visma tried to force an echelon to form in the crosswind, but after some kilometres, the teams of the sprinters managed to neutralise this attack. In the end, it all came down to a bunch sprint in Foligno. Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS had successfully piloted its sprinter Phil Bauhaus onto the rear wheel of Jasper Philipsen and contributed to up the pace. As for the sprint, Phil Bauhaus found no way past Philipsen but still crossed the finish line in 2nd.
58TH TIRRENO ADRIATICO, STAGE 3: FOLLONICA - FOLIGNO, 216KM
1. Jasper Philipsen, BEL, in 5:19.08 hours
2. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st
3. Biniam Girmay, ERI, st
81ST PARIS-NIZZA, STAGE 4: SAINT-AMAND-MONTROND - LA LOGE DES GARDES, 164.7KM
1. Tadej Pogacar, SVN, in 4:01.17 hours
2. David Gaudu, FRA, + 0.01
3. Gino Mäder, SUI/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.34
Photos: Sprint Cycling Academy