It gives him goose bumps when he sees the footage again. Tour debutant Joris Nieuwenhuis sees during an interview how team mate Søren Kragh Andersen is soloing for the stage win, the second one already for his team Sunweb in three days time.
After Marc Hirschi, who saw a solo of almost thirty kilometres being awarded, Kragh Andersen also finished on his own.
“We knew that this final would be very good for us and went all the way with the whole team,” says Nieuwenhuis. “It doesn’t matter who wins, as long as we win”
Van Avermaet says ‘chapeau
Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, usually made for this kind of arrivals, takes off his hat for racing Sunweb.
“Yes chapeau, they have the strength of the team. If Hirschi doesn’t do it it will be Tiesj Benoot or Kragh Andersen. That’s quite a punishment as they can play it, with us we have a little less strength to carry out that tactic”
Without buttock catchers Wilco Kelderman, Sam Oomen and Michael Matthews Sunweb started the Tour. There was no outspoken frontrunner and that’s not at all necessary to be successful.
Sprinter Cees Bol hardly looked up to the fact that one of his teammates triumphed in Lyon. “The atmosphere is super good and so are the legs.”
“They are all riders who can fly in on such a day”, Bol continues. “I’m very happy, but not really surprised. Not that we assume that we will win, but I’m not surprised that a good team performance has been achieved”
Watch the summary of the stage here:
Not only did Sunweb cause a stir in the final, the riders also stood out in the opening phase of the stage. Bol attacked early on and seemed to be heading for a day in the breakaway, but nothing was further from the truth. He dropped back not much later and returned to the peloton with teammate Casper Pedersen.
“The enthusiasm for the early flight was not as great as I had thought. It was said, take it easy, because this is not the right flight. We’re driving for victory, not to be in the race.”
That tactic worked perfectly, because no less than three riders from Sunweb were able to make an attempt to win the stage. In front of Kragh Andersen, Hirschi took a shot at victory, then Benoot was caught up again. “It’s very nice that we can beat the competition in this way and that Søren can finish it,” he said.
The team’s strategy resembled a preconceived plan and that was it, says Benoot. “At Sunweb little happens without a plan”, he laughs. “You have to have the cards to be able to play and we had those cards”
“Great,” beams team manager Marc Reef. “We have worked very hard with the whole team, there are so many people who have a part in this. That pays off.”
The question of what the next goal of the team will be is not crazy, but Reef doesn’t have a ready-made answer. “I think we’re going to enjoy this first, it’s already a wonderful Tour in which we show ourselves almost every day. Tomorrow is going to be very difficult, on the rest day we’re going to look ahead quietly”