Race report

Nico Denz sprints to his first victory for Team Sunweb at Tour of Slovakia

Tour de Slovaquie

Photo credit: Jan Melicher and Igor Stancik

After close calls on the opening day of racing at the Tour of Slovakia, Nico Denz sprints to his first victory for Team Sunweb in the streets of Banská Bystrica. Denz’s success is Team Sunweb’s 11th victory of the season and fourth since the restart.

Following a remarkable performance from Team Sunweb in yesterday’s individual time trial, the riders set off for the longest stage of the 64th edition of the Tour de Slovaquie. The 210 kilometre south-easterly ride from Žilina to Banská Bystrica consisted of no less than ten categorised climbs as well as a modest paved ascent to the finish.

Denz was on the offensive from early on, picking up maximum points at the first intermediate sprint of the day pipping compatriot Jannik Steimle to the line, edging him closer to the overall lead. Little did they know that the sprint in Považská Bystrica was a sign of things to come. With the morning breakaway on the verge of being caught, Thymen Arensman and Robert Power decided to try their luck on the final climb. Despite brdiging the gap to the front group, their attack was ultimately neutralised by the peloton.

The race was set to be decided by a reduced bunch sprint. Just as he did a few hours previously, Denz beat Steimle to the line, taking as a consequence, his second pro victory and his first in Team Sunweb colours.

“I’m so happy about my first win in Team Sunweb colours,” declared an ecstatic Nico Denz at the finish. “I worked really hard in the past weeks. I invested a lot of time and effort to get in top shape. I’m really happy the hard work paid off. I owe a massive thanks to the team. They were so good today. We made the race really hard. At one point we had all seven riders in the front group and in the final we played all our cards right. We made some stinging attacks that put a lot of pressure on Quick-Step. They were panicking and struggling to bring them back and I took profit out of this. I asked Chad to chase Leknessund in the final as I felt really good for the sprint. It’s such a great feeling to have won for the team.”

Team coach Arjan Ribbers added: “The guys performed really well as a team. I feel that we were always in control of the race situation. The team split the group apart on the first climb, reducing the peloton to 40 riders. However, it was too early to go full gas. Then at 40 kilometres to go, we made the plan to make the final hard and the guys started to attack. This gave Nico a confident position, he just had to follow the chasers, which gave him the power to win the sprint.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DENZ Nico Team Sunweb 5:01:41 14
2 STEIMLE Jannik Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 5
3 DRUCKER Jempy BORA - hansgrohe ,, 3
30 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team Sunweb 0:01 -
32 HAGA Chad Team Sunweb ,, -
37 POWER Robert Team Sunweb ,, -
48 STORER Michael Team Sunweb 1:06 -
49 VAN WILDER Ilan Team Sunweb 0:01 -
56 ARENSMAN Thymen Team Sunweb 4:21 -