Set to be one for the history books, Team Sunweb have gotten their 2020 Tour de France campaign off to a great start, using their collective, versatile strengths to be up there fighting for a result each day.
Stage one showed that the team were to be taken seriously in the sprints as Cees Bol powered to a strong third place, after carefully navigating his way through a day that was marred with crashes and bad weather. The second day was debutant Marc Hirschi’s turn to thrust the team into the limelight after an explosive final saw him take second place on the stage and move into the white jersey as best young rider – a classification he would lead for two days. Talk of the town then turned to the team’s lead out for Cees on stage five, where their preparations primed Bol to unleash his phenomenal power to perfection, with a photo finish ultimately awarding him second place.
Up there in the breakaways, the team placed Tiesj Benoot, Nicholas Roche, Søren Kragh Andersen and Marc Hirschi in the breaks on stages four, six, eight and nine. Tiesj’s efforts were ruined by an unfortunate crash with a somewhat lucky escape, whilst Roche was awarded the most combative rider award and Søren took home a respectable eighth place finish after his day out in the mountains.
It was Hirschi’s foray out front on stage nine that exemplified the team’s performance in the opening week. After a ding-dong battle over the first 50 kilometres where every rider on the team was rotating on the attack, including a moment where three riders escaped the bunch together, Hirschi skipped away from the peloton in pursuit of a group that had gone clear on the tough climb. Riding straight past them, Hirschi set out on a daring 90 kilometre solo raid in the Pyrenees, where he was ultimately caught two kilometres from the line. Unwavering, Hirschi tightened his shoes for the sprint finish, almost catching everyone off guard with his sprint for the line and taking an incredibly hard fought third place.
With the first week now under wraps, motivations and ambitions in the team are higher than ever. The boys in France take their fighting spirit into the second week, continuing to hunt down that coveted stage success.