Phil Bauhaus wins in Salon-de-Provence
At the Tour de la Provence as its first race, Team Bahrain Victorious performed impressively as a team. By winning the conclusive stage in a bunch sprint, Phil Bauhaus crowned this performance and made sure that the team lived up to its new name.
After the cancellation of the Tour Down Under, the four-stage Tour de la Provence was the first race of the season that Team Bahrain Victorious competed in. As for the overall standings, Rolf Aldag as the sports director at this race relied on three co-captains with Wout Poels, Jack Haig and Dylan Teuns. The latter was also free to chase success in the uphill finish of stage 2. As for the sprint finishes, the team’s protected rider was Phil Bauhaus, who could rely on the support of Heinrich Haussler and Fred Wright. As the seventh rider in the line-up, newly signed Gino Mäder raced in a supporting role in Southern France. The first stage served up quite a hilly course and with more than 50 kilometers to go, three strong riders went clear and gave the peloton a really hard time to pull them back in the final hour of racing. But with 1.8 kilometers to go they were caught anyway, setting the stage for a bunch sprint. Some crashes in the finale complicated things, and Phil Bauhaus found no free space to accelerate, crossing the finish line in 8th.
One day later, the stage came down to an uphill sprint. Dylan Teuns had positioned himself well, went hard on the right side of the road and crossed the finish line in 4th, scoring a first top5 result for the team. Finishing at Chalet Reynard, stage 3 was to shape the race’s overall standings. As soon as the riders had passed Bédoin and the road started to rise, the speed went up drastically. Some earlier attacks were brought back, and the pace set by Team Ineos thinned out the group of favorites. Dylan Teuns lost contact with a bit over 5 kilometers to go. When Ivan Sosa attacked, World champion Alaphilippe was the only one to react, with Egan Bernal following him. But in a great display of determination, Wout Poels accelerated from the chasing group and made it back to Bernal and Alaphilippe. Poels crossed the finish line in 4th place, scoring another top5 for the team. With Jack Haig in 9th and Dylan Teuns in 16th, Team Bahrain Victorious moved up to 2nd in the team classification.
The fourth and final stage served up the lowest amount of ascending, but a strong lead group posed a serious challenge for the plans of the sprinters. After a lengthy chase, the peloton managed to bring them back, and Team Bahrain Victorious could be seen forming a four-rider train to bring Phil Bauhaus into a promising position - after all, the race had already passed the finish line earlier on and riders had time to check out the layout of the finish straight. «I knew I needed to be in front with 600 meters to go, and the lads did a perfect job to get me onto the right wheels. From there I waited for the right moment to accelerate - and I opted for the right hand of the road», Phil Bauhaus said after the race. With a series of powerful pedal strokes, the German sprinter got to full speed and managed to beat Davide Ballerini and Nacer Bouhanni in the dash for the line. «This win is important, not just for me but for the whole team. An early win takes the pressure away», Phil Bauhaus added.
With the stage win by Phil Bauhaus, a 2nd place in the team classification, two top5 results in stages and Wout Poels in 4th and Jack Haig in 7th in the overall standings, the Tour de la Provence was a full success for Team Bahrain Victorious, living up to its new name.
6TH TOUR DE LA PROVENCE
STAGE 4, AVIGNON - SALON-DE-PROVENCE, 163.2KMS:
1. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:47.01 hours
2. Davide Ballerini, ITA, st
3. Nacer Bouhanni, FRA, st
1. Ineos Grenadiers in 51:03.44 hours
2. TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.44
3. AG2R Citroën Team, + 3.29