Race report

Attacking Kragh Andersen punctures before Bol digs deep in finale

Paris-Tours

The final European race day of the season saw the team take on a difficult edition of Paris-Tours, with the main obstacles along the route being the hills and tricky gravel sections that littered the final quarter of the day. However, it would be the wind that instigated an exciting and constantly evolving final two and a half hours of racing.

An early breakaway was able to establish itself at the head of the race but the peloton kept them close, with their gap not increasing much further above five minutes. Heading towards the middle point of the race, the pace suddenly increased as the peloton turned away from a headwind into a crosswind and the peloton blew to pieces. Active at the front, the team were well represented by Asbjørn and Søren Kragh Andersen, Cees Bol, Roy Curvers and Max Walscheid in the front split.

With just under 70 kilometres to go, last year’s winner [Søren] Kragh Andersen attacked out of the group before he was quickly joined by one other rider. Extending their gap, as they hit the first climb and gravel section with 55 kilometres to go, Kragh Andersen went solo at the head of the race. Leading the peloton by around 40 seconds, eventual race winner Wallays launched an attack in an attempt to bridge to Kragh Andersen. However, disaster struck on the next gravel section as Kragh Andersen suffered a puncture and dropped back from the lead of the race.

Walscheid and Curvers did their best to position Bol in the chase group and the Dutchman fought hard as the climbs and gravel sections ticked by. As the numbers in the chasing group whittled down, Bol was still present at the front going into the last 20 kilometres but the relentless nature of the short and steep climbs would prove difficult. He dropped back but managed to return to the group after fighting hard before the final climb of the day with around 12 kilometres to go would see more riders push on once again. Coming into the finishing straight Bol would win the sprint from his group, ending the day with a respectable 15th place after a hard day in the saddle.

“It was a super hard race today,” expressed Bol at the finish. “It was a slow start with the headwind but after the feed zone there were echelons and we were with five guys in the front. Søren then went on the attack but unfortunately once he had the puncture it was race over for him. I tried to hang on for as long as possible and the boys did well to position me, which went well for a long time, but I just couldn’t follow the best. The first time I got dropped I was able to make it back but couldn’t manage it the second time. In the end I won the sprint for 15th place, which isn’t a big result, but it was nice to show myself in the finale of a hard 200 kilometre plus classics race. I’ll take that feeling into the offseason and work towards next year. Also I’d like to give a special mention to Roy who on his last day in the peloton did a very good race for the team; I’m happy I got the chance to learn from him this year.”

Team Sunweb coach Michiel Elijzen added: “It was a hard race with the wind and gravel sections. We were really attentive when peloton split up and present with five riders in a smaller peloton. Søren attacked but suffered a puncture at a critical moment and we lost control of the race. Cees did a good final on the tricky parcours but it wasn’t enough for a top result in the end.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 WALLAYS Jelle Lotto Soudal 5:34:20 200
2 TERPSTRA Niki Team Total Direct Energie 0:29 150
3 NAESEN Oliver AG2R La Mondiale 0:30 125
15 BOL Cees Team Sunweb 1:43 10
34 WALSCHEID Max Team Sunweb 4:14 3
38 CURVERS Roy Team Sunweb 4:21 3
DNF KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb - -
DNF EEKHOFF Nils Team Sunweb ,, -
DNF KRAGH ANDERSEN Asbjørn Team Sunweb ,, -
DNF SALMON Martin Team Sunweb ,, -