Without logistic expert and DS Anton Wiersma, it would probably have been unthinkable to ride one stage race after the other in such a short time. However, with a perfectly thought-out plan and long working days, also in between the races, it became possible.
The start of the Tour de la Mirabelle was a 2.6 kilometre short prologue near Nancy. With the best time in the team, ex-runner Sebastian Niehues once again showed his talent. On the following day he proved this once again. Together with Adne van Engelen he made the first stage hard and fast. A good starting position for Léo Bouvier, who sprinted to ninth place!
The second stage was to be one for the climbing specialists Dawit Yemane and Adne. Together with four other riders, they managed to gain a good lead over the peloton in the mountains. Despite a strong performance, they were caught on the last climb, just before the finish, and thus finished the stage in a large first group. The tour ended with a rather unspectacular stage for the team. Nevertheless, Léo Bouvier's top 10 place and a strong performance in the mountains can be taken away from the four days of racing. Furthermore, the race was a very good, developmental experience for the young riders Enzo Decker and Sebastian Niehues!
Only four days later, the team started in France again, although with a different line-up. On the first stage, Jesse de Rooij was quick to react and only a few minutes after the start of the 67th edition of the Ronde de l'Oise, he was riding in the group of the day! Even though the breakaway was caught on the finishing lap, Jesse collected some points in the sprint classifications.
The team performed well in the following three stages. But here, too, the race became very fast on the finishing laps, so it was not easy to set up a sprint. On the second, 206-kilometre stage, Sebastian Niehues unfortunately had to abandon the race because he was struggling with respiratory symptoms. And also on the last stage another BIKE AID rider had to drop out. 60 kilometres before the finish, Jesse crashed. Despite wounds that needed stitches, he seemed to have escaped with a black eye!
On June 8th, the team will start at the prestigious ZLM Tour. Teams like INEOS, Jumbo-Visma or Team DSM will compete here with their best sprinters. Moreover, it is Wesley Mol's home race and he is especially looking forward to the upcoming five stages!
Pictures by Kévin Saguez