Race report

Tiesj Benoot 7th and Nicholas Roche 8th after another impressive breakaway display

Tour de France

Racing at the Tour de France resumed today after yesterday’s rest day, with the stage almost guaranteed to be decided from the breakaway. As a result, there was an incredible battle at the start of the day to make the elusive move that finally stuck.

As always throughout the Tour de France, the team were very active at the head of the race with Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Marc Hirschi and Nicholas Roche infiltrating a very large group that managed to get 50 seconds over the bunch. However, they were soon brought back and Roche attacked alongside Carapaz, with the duo soon joined by a gaggle of more riders and the gap began to grow.

On one of the next drags, Casper Pedersen and Tiesj Benoot followed a counter attack from Rolland, and the trio worked well to bridge to the head of the race on the first category climb of Col de Porte. From that point their advantage ballooned out and it was clear the break would decide the stage win.

Coming into the final 35 kilometres it became very tactical in the front group, with a few probing attacks. Pedersen rode strongly in support of the two climbers, setting a steady pace before more attacks flew from the group. Benoot and Roche initially followed on the climb but as the stinging pace continued, they had to relent and ride at their own tempo. Sticking within their group all the way to the finish, Benoot crossed the line in seventh with Roche just one spot behind in eight – two very solid results after yet another good display in the breakaway for the team.

“In the neutral zone we started on the wheel of the yellow jersey but by the time the race started we were around 40th wheel – maybe we’re too old for the neutral zone,” laughed Roche at the finish. “The race went and we had a great group with four of us in there, but Martin was too close on GC so I thought that might not work. I just kept going so when Carapaz went, I went with him, and we rode well together hoping that a bigger group would come from behind. Three more groups then joined us and we had three of us in the front. Casper did quite a lot of work for us, going for bottles, keeping us in safe positions and making sure that the pace was always correct. Then it was only about having the legs on that first category climb and there were just some guys stronger than us today.”

Benoot continued: “Initially we only had Nico in the break that. From race car we got the message that we could keep trying. Together with Casper, we jumped away and managed to bridge to Nico’s group. I felt really good. As expected on the longer climbs I came up a bit short as I’m still suffering a bit from the back issues. It’s a step forward after the rest day, though and the feeling is positive.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston added: “The goal of today’s stage was to try and get a good composition in the breakaway. I think we did that and gave ourselves some really good options from the break with Nico, Tiesj and also Casper in there. Tiesj and Casper did a really nice job to jump across when the break was going so we had options in the final. Coming into the finish there were some real strong attacks and the guys kept chasing. They did a good job chasing behind but didn’t quite close the gap. We’ve got another two guys in the top ten on the stage so overall another solid performance.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 KÄMNA Lennard BORA - hansgrohe 4:12:52 120
2 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers 1:27 50
3 REICHENBACH Sébastien Groupama - FDJ 1:56 25
7 BENOOT Tiesj Team Sunweb 2:41 -
8 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb 2:47 -
19 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb 16:09 -
83 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team Sunweb 25:17 -
84 HIRSCHI Marc Team Sunweb ,, -
91 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 27:27 -
134 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb ,, -
150 BOL Cees Team Sunweb 28:08 -