Mike Teunissen took a top 20 for Team Sunweb at Ronde van Vlaanderen today, despite suffering various spots of bad luck being caught up behind crashes as the race headed towards it’s final.
The 102nd edition of Ronde van Vlaanderen got underway today, with 265 kilometres to contest between Antwerpen and Oudenaarde. As soon as the flag dropped multiple groups of riders went on the attack, but no rider could open up a gap over the peloton. It wasn’t until 70 kilometres had been covered that a group of 11 riders went clear with the peloton eventually easing up behind them. The group quickly opened up a five minute gap, staying together until the Kapelmuur where only the strongest went forward.
Accelerations on the hellingen scattered across the pointy end of the race reduced the peloton significantly, and Team Sunweb remained with Mike Teuinssen and Søren Kragh Andersen in the first chasing group behind the break. The break were eventually reeled in as attacks from the chasing group went forward. As the finish line edged closer one rider managed to snap the elastic, jumping clear of the chasing group. The injection of pace once again split the chase, with Mike Teunissen first on the road for Team Sunweb inside the second chase group. Whilst the late-attacker rode solo to take the win, Mike finished the day inside the top 20.
“I had to come back to the front group quite a few times after I was caught up behind crashes heading towards the final,” said Mike after the finish. “This cost me a lot of energy but from then I could still follow the first guys. I knew that for the Kwaremont that my best legs were gone and from then it was just suffering. I was in the second group but I knew that in the front they wouldn’t drop the pace and that I wasn’t going for a top 10 result from there. If I had some more luck then maybe I could have done more but we will try again next week and see what happens.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “Today was a tough race, it was really cold and the start was challenging having lost four guys early on. Despite this the team really pulled together and continued to work to the plan, always in position on the important moments. On the last time up the Kwaremont Søren and Mike were still there, but Søren cramped and it was Mike who went forward. With the four who we had in the race we did a good job. The team are strong heading into next week and we hope that Edward will be back feeling 100 percent for the race.”