Three podiums in the Tour’s first week
Nine stages into this year’s Tour de France, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS is still waiting for that precious stage win. But with a 2nd and 4th place, respectively, for Phil Bauhaus in bunch sprints and another 3rd place for Matej Mohoric, the team has already scored three podium results, and it also goes into the first race day leading the team classification.
The Tour de France is rightfully considered the highlight of professional road cycling. From the perspective of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, this year’s 110th edition of the race is being overshadowed by the deadly accident of Gino Mäder. After all, the young Swiss rider was scheduled to be part of the team’s selection for the Tour de France. For this reason, Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao, Jack Haig, Wout Poels, Matej Mohoric, Fred Wright, Nikias Arndt and Phil Bauhaus have decided to „ride for Gino“ at this year’s edition, wearing special outfits that honour the importance of the pearl farming and trading for the kingdom of Bahrain. For this reason, the team’s MERIDA BIKES also stand out from the Tour de France peloton with their pearl white and gold paint job.
As this year’s Tour de France departed from the Basque Country, the first two stages featured plenty of steep climbs. While Mikel Landa managed to limit the time loss to the race leaders, Pello Bilbao scored the first good result for Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS by finishing stage 2 in 5th place after a late attack of his would not stick. But things were only to get better as Phil Bauhaus as, the team’s protected sprinter, managed to latch onto the wheel of later stage winner Jasper Philipsen, both in Bayonne and Nogaro, sprinting to a 2nd and a 3rd place respectively from there in stage 3 and 4.
As for the two Pyrenees stages, neither Pello Bilbao nor Mikel Landa managed to keep up with the pace of the best climbers, and Jack Haig missed out on a top 10 result narrowly after having spent a day in a large breakaway. But on the Sunday before the first rest day, Matej Mohoric managed to get into a 14-rider breakaway. The Slovene kept his cool, was part of a strong three-rider chase group of race leader Matteo Jorgenson on the approach to the final hard climb up the Puy de Dôme and, after an impressive performance, crossed the finish line in 3rd at 35 seconds of stage winner Michael Woods.
After nine of a total of 21 stages, Pello Bilbao sits in 11th place on GC, with Mikel Landa following in 14th. More importantly, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS has taken the lead in the team classification before the first rest day. As for the two weeks ahead, the team’s focus is likely to shift to chasing stage wins - keeping their late teammate Gino Mäder on their minds.
110TH TOUR DE FRANCE, STAGE 3: AMOREBIETA-ETXANO - BAYONNE, 193.5KM
1. Jasper Philipsen, BEL, in 4:43.15 hours
2. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st
3.Caleb Ewan, AUS, st
STAGE 4: DAX - NOGARO, 181.8KM
1. Jasper Philipsen, BEL, in 4:25.28 hours
2. Caleb Ewan, AUS, st
3. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st
STAGE 9: SAINT-LÉONARD-DE-NOBLAT - PUY DE DÔME, 182.4KM
1. Michael Woods, CAN, in 4:19.41 hours
2. Pierre Latour, FRA, + 0.28
3. Matej Mohoric, SVN/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.35
TEAM CLASSIFICATION AFTER 9 OF 21 STAGES:
1. TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, BHR, in 116:11.17 hours
2. Ineos Grenadiers, GBR, + 0.44
3. Team Jumbo-Visma, NED, + 2.07
Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency