Team Sunweb ensured that the first stage of the Eneco Tour came down to a thrilling finish, with Phil Bauhaus head-to-head with the world champion in the fast dash to the line. An incredibly close photo finish saw Phil finish the day in second place.
Formerly named the Eneco Tour, the BinckBank Tour got underway today with a 170 kilometre route from Breda to Venray. A group of four riders animated the race forming the day’s breakaway as soon as the flag dropped. The quartet were always within the peloton’s reach with their advantage never exceeding two and a half minutes. Team Sunweb remained tucked inside the peloton preparing for the fast finish.
As the race entered it’s final 10 kilometres team’s lined up across the road setting the tempo for their sprinters. Timing their catch to perfection, the break was swept up by the breakaway with just two kilometres to go. Team Sunweb remained in prime position at the head of the bunch, manoeuvring their way around the roundabouts on the final section of the course perfectly. Mike Teunissen was the last rider with Team Sunweb’s sprinter Phil Bauhaus, who propelled Phil to launch his sprint. It came down to a battle between Phil and the world champion and a photo finish to decide the winner between the two. A final bike throw from Phil’s opponent meant that the team’s German sprinter was to finish second, just millimetres separating him from the victory.
After the stage Phil said: “I felt really good from the beginning of the race and the team were really good around me. In all of the key moments I was right where I needed to be, after being positioned well by the team. I managed to hold Sagan’s wheel going into the finish and then we both started to sprint. I could sprint next to him and a final bike throw meant I lost by millimetres. I gave everything that I could for the sprint and everything went well beforehand so I can be pleased with a strong second place to open the race.”
Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers said: “With the break up the road we could take the day relatively easy inside the bunch. During the stage Phil was well protected by the team and was delivered to the final in as fresh as possible condition. We made a really good plan for the final and had strong riders there with Phil in preparation for the sprint. It was really close with Phil coming second, but we can be really pleased with the result because he did a brilliant sprint and gave all that he had in his legs.”