Race report

Nico Denz finishes 8th on final stage and secures 2nd on GC in Slovakia

Tour de Slovaquie

Going into today’s final stage at the Tour of Slovakia Nico Denz sat in second place, on equal time with race leader Steimle. Hatching a plan in the morning meeting, the team had their eyes on splitting the race on the opening climb for Denz to take some bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint.

With everyone working hard, that’s exactly what happened with Denz sprinting to second place and vaulting into the virtual race lead. As expected, Steimle’s team then held the race together for the next intermediate sprint where unfortunately the man in the yellow jersey pipped Denz to first place, reverting the team’s previous efforts.

Regrouping, the team switched focus to the final sprint where they aimed to take the crucial second they needed. After working well to move up towards the front of the bunch where they needed to be, the finale became hectic and Denz lost his position coming into the last corner. In the end, he sprinted to a good eighth place on the cobbles with Steimle finishing behind him, although there was no time gap on the line.

Overall, it has been a great week of racing for the team in Slovakia; with a stage win and second on GC for Denz, plus fifth and sixth on GC for Jasha Sütterlin and Chad Haga respectively.

“Like the stages before, the team did an amazing job and put me in an incredible position to fight for the GC,” explained Denz. “I took the first bonus second in front of Steimle and I moved into the virtual yellow jersey but I knew it would still be difficult to keep it because there were still more seconds to be won. Then in the next sprint he took it back. In that sprint I had to dig really deep but I was able to recover it. The team was really impressive all day and all week. The work they did, and the sacrifices they made for me, it was just amazing to see. I feel really honoured to have a team like this on my side. In the sprint I finished eighth and I think I could have done better but it was difficult to hold a good position in the final. Overall though, I’m really happy with the performance here and looking forward to the coming races.” 

Team Sunweb coach Arjan Ribbers added: “Today we took the virtual yellow in the first sprint, but unfortunately Steimle took it back after the second sprint. We then decided to go all-in for final sprint. It was a bit hectic and Nico wasn’t placed well going into the last corner, so we didn’t get the second we needed, with Nico finishing in eighth place. Overall the guys did an amazing job this whole week. We saw really good teamwork, with everyone working together to get the best possible result. As a result of that we took a stage win and came away with second on GC, plus Jasha and Chad also finished in the top six. Also our young guys Ilan, who crashed in the opening stage, and Thymen did a strong performance this week – which is great to see.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BARBIER Rudy Israel Start-Up Nation 3:56:37 14
2 HODEG Álvaro José Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 5
3 LAAS Martin BORA - hansgrohe ,, 3
8 DENZ Nico Team Sunweb ,, -
12 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team Sunweb ,, -
36 POWER Robert Team Sunweb ,, -
39 VAN WILDER Ilan Team Sunweb ,, -
40 HAGA Chad Team Sunweb ,, -
83 ARENSMAN Thymen Team Sunweb 2:11 -
84 STORER Michael Team Sunweb ,, -