First Tour stage win by Dylan Teuns
The Tour de France is the most important race of cycling’s calendar. At this year’s first, demanding mountaintop finish at la Planche des Belles Filles, Dylan Teuns turned a strong performance into the first stage victory both for him and for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM.
For this year’s Tour de France the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM sent a strong team in support of its designated overall captain Vincenzo Nibali. Rohan Dennis and Damiano Caruso bring a wealth of experience, Jan Tratnik is a powerful engine for the team time trial, Sonny Colbrelli and Ivan Cortina can try their hand at the sprint finishes and Dylan Teuns and Matej Mohoric are free to hunt a stage win when the opportunity arises. In the opening stage held in Brussels, Sonny Colbrelli sprinted to a 5th place, and on the next day, the team managed to keep the time loss to most teams within a narrow margin in the test against the clock. The best result throughout the initial five stages was a 4th place by Colbrelli at the end of stage 5 in Colmar.
The sixth stage had been marked by many overall contenders long before the Tour de France set off as it was the first mountaintop finish of this year’s race: But while previous stages to la Planche des Belles Filles had finished at the parking lot at the end of the paved road, this year the stage continued for another kilometre on an unpaved road that maxed out at gradients of 24 per cent. About 15 kilometres into the stage, a group of 14 riders went up the road with Belgian Dylan Teuns representing the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. Amongst those attackers the motivations were pretty diverse: While some were hoping for a prestigious stage win in the Vosges mountains, others wanted to collect as many points as possible in the fight for the best climber’s jersey. As for Dylan Teuns, he was clearly aiming for a stage win in what was his first-ever participation at the Tour de France, but he was facing some strong climbers.
A series of categorized climbs shrank down the lead group bit by bit, and when the climb to la Planche des Belles Filles started, there were only four riders left upfront: Dylan Teuns, his compatriots Tim Wellens and Xandro Meurisse and Giulio Ciccone. With about four kilometres to go both Wellens and Meurisse lost contact, so Teuns had one rival left in the fight for the coveted stage win: The winner of the climber’s classification at the most recent Giro d’Italia. To keep the chasing overall contenders at bay the duo cooperated nicely all the way to the final kilometre and the brutally steep, unpaved ramps. Then Dylan Teuns showed his class: While his rival almost came to a standstill on the steepest sections, Teuns managed to keep his momentum, distancing Ciccone and scoring his first stage win at the Tour de France, which was also the first win for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM at «la Grande Boucle».
Eleven days earlier Domen Novak had scored the only win for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM on a weekend when many national federations held their national road championships. His win crowned his comeback from a serious injury and the resulting break. The race was held on quite a tough circuit. Novak set off early with a bunch of other riders. In the finale, the group had shrunk to three riders and Novak was facing two riders of the pro continental team Adria Mobil. He solved this challenging situation by attacking with 15 kilometres to go, leaving the other two riders behind and riding to an undisputed solo victory and the Slovenian national championship title. On the same day, Sonny Colbrelli had to settle for 2nd at the Italian national championships as Davide Formolo had managed to stay out of the reach of the chasing peloton. Yukiya Arashiro also finished the championship race in Japan in 2nd.
106TH TOUR DE FRANCE, STAGE 6: MULHOUSE - LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, 160.5KM
1. Dylan Teuns, BEL/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 4:29.03 hours
2. Giulio Ciccone, ITA, + 0.11
3. Xandro Meurisse, BEL, + 1.05
SLOVENIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, RADOVLJICA - RADOVLJICA, 149.8KM
1. Domen Novak, SVN/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 3:49.03 hour
2. Gasper Katrasnik, SVN, + 1.09
3. Marko Kump, SVN, st
ITALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: BORGO VAL DI TARO - COMPIANO, 226.9KM
1. Davide Formolo, ITA, in 5:35.23 hours
2. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, + 0.23
3. Alberto Bettiol, ITA, st
JAPANESE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: FUJI - FUJI, 227KM
1. Shotaro Iribe, JPN, in 6:12.27 hours
2. Yukiya Arashiro, JPN/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, st
3. Kohei Yokotsuka, JPN, + 0.08