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Teunissen and Groenewegen on the attack in Tour’s first Pyrenees stage

Teunissen and Groenewegen on the attack in Tour’s first Pyrenees stage

Mike Teunissen and Dylan Groenewegen have showed off their qualities in the first Pyrenees stage in the Tour de France. The Team Jumbo-Visma duo was part of a large leading group that coloured the twelfth stage and eventually competed for the stage win. Leader Steven Kruijswijk finished the stage in the group of favourites without facing any problems.

Logically, Groenewegen and Teunissen could not follow the pace on the climbs and were caught by the peloton.

With the time trial coming up, Kruijswijk remains fourth in the overall standings at 1.27 of the yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe and fifteen seconds behind Geraint Thomas.

The stage from Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, with the Peyresourde and the La Hourquette d’Ancizan along the way, was one of a very high average speed. After a very fast first hour, the large leading group got established. Kruijswijk was well protected all day and George Bennett and Laurens De Plus brought him in an ideal position at the foot of the final climb.

“I had expected that there was not much going to happen today”, Kruijswijk said. “It was a stage that was suitable for a breakaway group. The top of the last climb was quite far from the finish, so with tomorrow’s time trial in mind, that wasn’t really inviting to try something. The next few days, which contain two mountaintop finishes in addition to the time trial, will be very important and very tough. Today was a day that required you to be focused. The boys protected me well and brought me in an ideal position for the final climb. It was a matter of eating and drinking enough and trying to recover as much as possible, with an eye on tomorrow. It is a course that suits me and it is comparable to the time trial in the Dauphiné. We have done a recon of the time trial a few times and we worked really hard on this with the whole team.”

“The plan was to be part of the breakaway with Dylan, in case it proved to be a large group. We succeeded in that”, Teunissen said. “That way we could take a big enough advantage to take it easy on the climbs. I still felt good and I tried to follow as long as possible. That worked fine on the Peyresourde, but I already felt that it was going to be difficult to ride a good final. On the final climb I rode my own pace and afterwards I was able to do my work for Steven.”

Groenewegen concurred with Teunissen. “Normally, the time limit is not a problem, but if you can make it easier for yourself, you should. In such a large leading group you don’t have to work too much which makes it easier to divide your strengths. I felt great and I was able to ride my own pace.”

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