The highs and lows of pro cycling
The day before Ascension Day put Team Bahrain Victorious through some emotional extremes. While Phil Bauhaus sprinted to his second personal win of the season in the first stage of the Tour d’Hongrie, a serious crash at the end of the 5th stage forced team captain Mikel Landa to abandon the Giro d’Italia due to injuries.
The five stages of the Tour d’Hongrie feature one uphill finish, but also plenty of opportunities for sprinters. For this reason, Team Bahrain Victorious selected a team in support of Phil Bauhaus for this race. The German sprinter can rely on the support of the likes of Marcel Sieberg, Heinrich Haussler and Fred Wright. As for the overall standings the team is betting on young Colombian Santiago Buitrago, and with Ahmed Madan the team also features a rider from Bahrain in its ranks for the first time ever. And the team did not have to wait for a first win for long: While the sprint train in red and black could not get into formation in the frantic finale of the first stage, Phil Bauhaus picked the right wheels and timed his acceleration perfectly to cross the finish line first and thus score his second personal win of the year.
At the Giro d’Italia, Team Bahrain Victorious lined up a seriously strong team in support of its designated captain Mikel Landa. With riders such as Damiano Caruso, Pello Bilbao, Gino Mäder, Matej Mohoric, Rafael Calls and Yukiya Arashiro, the team has some serious strength in numbers. And this showed in the finale of the fourth stage when the riders in red and black took over responsibility in the finale under pouring rain, setting the pace in the fast shrinking group of favourites and cutting down the lead of the breakaway before Mikel Landa himself attacked and split the group to pieces. While Jan Tratnik crossed the finish line in Sestola in 5th place after a day in the breakaway, Mikel Landa managed to put time into a number of overall rivals. More importantly, however, the Basque rider showed an excellent form which was very promising considering the mountain stages that were soon to come.
But all hopes were dashed brutally with 4 kilometers to go in what had been a mostly flat and uneventful fifth stage. One rider could not avoid one of the way too many dividers on the road, slamming into a steward and then bringing down two other riders, one of them being Mikel Landa. While two of the crashed riders could get back on their feet to finish the stage, Mikel Landa had to be brought to a hospital for further check-ups, effectively finishing his Giro d’Italia. Having taken over the lead in the team classification the day before, Team Bahrain Victorious will now focus on Damiano Caruso and Pello Bilbao who originally had been tasked with being Landa’s key lieutenants and who are still well in contention for this three-week race.
42ND TOUR D’HONGRIE
STAGE 1: SIOFOK - KAPOSVAR, 173KM
1. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:54.22 hours
2. Jakub Mareczko, ITA, st
3. Jordi Meeus, BEL, st