Taking his fourth top 10 in five days, Mike Teunissen today sprinted to 8th place on the 5th stage of Paris-Nice, racing for 3rd behind two escapees who held off the peloton to the finish.
Mike’s strong race continues with today’s result after placing strongly on the opening three stages of the race, and today’s result was another show of strength and nerve from the young Dutchman, avoiding a late crash at the front of the peloton to contest the placings.
The race got off to a fast start with the fight for the breakaway seeing just four riders go clear eventually. Their lead grew to up to 5′, but the peloton seemed to have them under control for much of the rolling stage that included four categorised climbs. The gap fell in the second half of the stage but a valiant effort from two remaining riders at the front of the race saw the peloton miss out on the chance of a stage win, coming to the finish just a few seconds behind the two leaders.
Unfortunately, Edward Theuns retired from the race during the stage, suffering from accumulated fatigue from the past few days of racing.
After the stage, Mike said: “After Edward abandoned we focussed on supporting Sam, so in the final we still had some guys left. Sam stayed out of trouble, even though there was a crash in the final, then I tried to do the sprint. I had to brake and didn’t do the best sprint but another top 10 finish is not bad.”
Team Sunweb coach Morten Bennekou added: “It was a nice and exiting race today on a challenging parcours. We came with a bit of a conservative approach believing it to be the best chance of a result. The plan was to wait for a possible sprint with Eddie, while at the same time getting Sam safe home to the finish. Unfortunately Eddie had a very bad day feeling completely empty which meant that he had to leave the race halfway. Under those conditions I gave the call to let Mike do the sprint after doing his part of the job in securing Sam. In the end he sprinted to eighth position. Now we’re getting closer to the decisive GC stages our optimism is growing as Sam is looking better and better day by day.”