After a crash took out both Edward Theuns and Phil Bauhaus, Team Sunweb’s Mike Teunissen took his chances in the final and finished 5th on the opening stage of Paris-Nice.
Team Sunweb took to the start line of Paris-Nice today, for the first of eight stages in the upcoming week. A three-rider breakaway jumped clear of the bunch in the early stages of the race, opening up a gap of three minutes. With 45 kilometres to go they came within reach of the bunch as their lead dropped to 40 seconds, but the peloton released their grip and allowed their advantage to go back out to one minute and a half. The catch was eventually made with 14 kilometres to go and the peloton responded with a surge of speed, resulting in the bunch lining out across the road. With three kilometres to go, and just over one until the start of the climb to the final, Team Sunweb’s Edward Theuns and Phil Bauhaus were brought down in a crash, taking them out of contention for the finale. Still in the front group, Mike Teunissen followed the best through to the finish and took a 5th place on the stage.
After their crash Phil and Edward have sustained road rash, alongside pain to their neck, back and hip. Assessments from today show no serious injuries and the overnight period goes well, both will start at stage two tomorrow.
Mike said: “We were all really dedicated towards bringing Eddie towards the bottom of the climb, then Phil and Eddie went down. The crash happened just behind me and then I saw that we didn’t have any sprinters with us. I was feeling ok so I gave it a shot. I ended up being in the mix with one of the best finishers on this level, which I’m quite happy with.”
After the race, Team Sunweb coach Morten Bennekou said: “It was a short stage today but with bad weather and a hectic final, it wasn’t an easy one for the boys. With 3 kilometres to go Eddie and Phil were involved in a crash which foiled our plans for the final with Eddie. Mike then had a free hand, a chance that he grasped with both hands, finishing 5th in a decimated sprint. Sam was also caught up behind the crash and ended up losing around 30 seconds.”