TOM DUMOULIN, SØREN KRAGH ANDERSEN AND THE WHOLE OF THE TEAM SUNWEB TEAM RODE A SOLID RACE TO MAINTAIN GC POSITIONS THROUGH WHAT WAS A CHAOTIC AND CRASH-FILLED NINTH STAGE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE OVER THE COBBLESTONES OF PARIS-ROUBAIX.
The race got underway with an expected hard fight for the breakaway and Team Sunweb were keen to be in the mix. When a group of 5 finally pulled clear, Chad Haga was quick to react, jumping clear with four others and eventually making the junction to make it 10 out front. The day’s break was formed.
Behind it was a game of cat and mouse and the bunch accelerated for each of the day’s 15 cobblestone secteurs, before relenting after each to see what damage was caused. From early on there were crashes in the nervous peloton, with Laurens ten Dam and Nikias Arndt involved in the first half of the race.
Up front, Tom, Søren and Edward Theuns were riding well in the thinned out front group as riders continually lost contact. The day’s break was eventually brought back into the fold in the final 25km, sparking a series of attacks from both GC favourites and stage hopefuls.
A split of three eventually went clear with Tom and Søren both trying their luck to bridge across behind but that was to be the situation to the finish, with both riders finishing safely in the GC group 27″ down on the stage winners.
After brushing the dust off from the day, Søren maintains his lead in the white jersey classification, sitting 11th overall, while Tom moves up to 15th ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.
After the stage, Tom said: “I was one of the strongest of the GC guys today and so I hoped for more differences on GC. There was a lot of head wind out there so it came back together all the time. I started with hoping to make differences today, but that didn’t work out.”