Race report

Nico Denz stays within touching distance of race lead heading into final day in Slovakia

Tour de Slovaquie

Photo credit: Igor Stancik

The riders picked up where they left off yesterday in Banská Bystrica to complete a 181 kilometre undulating route including three passages of the finish line in Žiar nad Hronom.

With the aim of putting their rivals under pressure, Team Sunweb set a ruthless tempo on the climbs. The unforgiving pace succeeded in putting many riders in difficulty and formed two large groups. Even the yellow jersey found himself on the wrong side of the split after suffering a puncture. Further ahead, Nico Denz attempted to seize control of the virtual lead of the race and consolidate his lead in the points classification by taking his chances in the first intermediate sprint. Despite his efforts, Denz came up short in his hunt for yellow finishing one position from the bonus seconds on offer.

Upon regrouping with the yellow jersey, there was a brief hiatus in terms of speed as five riders were given the green light to form a breakaway. Their margin never exceeded the five minute mark and the remnants of the move were brought back by the peloton commanded by Team Sunweb with just over ten kilometres to go.

With all six team mates in the front group, Denz looked set to deliver on another good result but couldn’t quite match the burst of speed of the top sprinters and had to settle for minor places, still on the same time as the leader going into the final stage.

“The team was so strong today,” reflected Nico Denz after the stage. “We put a lot of pressure on Quick Step. Steimle even got dropped. We went full gas to the intermediate sprint with the intention to get some bonus seconds and move into the lead. I tried my best, I was so close, but it just wasn’t enough, which means I’m still on the same time as Steimle. After that, it was still very intense. Towards the end, Chad and Jasha attacked and countered. The bunch sprint was simply about who had more reserves. Bora profitted from our work and attacks and took the stage honours. I expected bigger time gaps in the final to be honest. We tried our best but just lacked that end result. We will try again tomorrow, that’s for sure!”

Team coach Arjan Ribbers said: “The guys did some nice racing from the first climb on. They managed to reduce the group to around 35 riders for the sprint. Unfortunately Nico missed out on the bonus seconds so will have to wait until tomorrow to have another go at seizing the jersey. Towards the final, there was a group of five which got a hugh gap. This cost the guys a lot of work to bring back. In the bunch sprint Nico didn’t have the legs, but the guys performed very well as a team. For tomorrow we still have three guys in the top ten so we’ll try and make it hard again.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 LAAS Martin BORA - hansgrohe 4:12:24 14
2 DE BIE Sean Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles ,, 5
3 VAN DER POEL David Alpecin-Fenix ,, 3
14 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team Sunweb ,, -
15 DENZ Nico Team Sunweb ,, -
42 POWER Robert Team Sunweb ,, -
44 HAGA Chad Team Sunweb ,, -
54 STORER Michael Team Sunweb ,, -
68 VAN WILDER Ilan Team Sunweb 2:28 -
69 ARENSMAN Thymen Team Sunweb ,, -