9200 kilometres lay between the headquarters of the team from Saarland and the small island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, which was the host of the Tour de Maurice 2023. In the meantime, the prestigious ZLM Tour in the Netherlands was more or less the home race for rider Wesley Mol. On the island, which is known for its beautiful beaches, the goal was none other than the yellow jersey. At the 2nd Pro race in the Netherlands, the BIKE AID riders wanted to mix up the race in the breakaway; the yellow jersey was utopian here.
One day before the action started in the Netherlands, Dawit Yemane rode to third place at the first stage of Tour de Maurice and Team BIKE AID went straight in to the lead of the team classification. In the team time trial the day after, they extended their lead and only had to admit defeat to a team with complete time trial equipment. On stage three Pirmin Eisenbarth then rode to third place and on the final day to second place. So close to victory and yet it was not to be for the Saarland team after four days of racing. The final result was remarkable nevertheless: winner of the team classification with a 17-minute gap, Eric Muhoza became the best young rider, Pirmin Eisenbarth finished third in the general classification and Dawit Yemane became the most combative rider of the tour. A yield that is absolutely noteworthy. However, a victory or the yellow jersey remained elusive so far.
After a day away from racing, there was one last chance with the one-day race Classique de l'île Maurice. The perfect end of the trip to Mauritius was confounded by a hair's breadth for Dawit Yemane in the sprint finish. Another second place on the island of Mauritius.
At the ZLM Tour, the first thing was to get a feeling for the race against teams like Jumbo-Visma or Alpecin-Deceuninck. Especially the echolons taught the riders a lesson straight away. But they learned quickly and already on the following day the former mountain bike pro Vinzent Dorn showed a strong performance in the breakaway. Despite crashes, punctures and an extreme race intensity, the boys rode more and more intelligently and held their own against the really big ones. On the last stage, Frenchman Léo Bouvier also put on a great ride in a small three-man breakaway that was only caught shortly before the finish. Even though not everything went according to plan in this tour, the boys showed that they can also keep up at the highest level.
"Especially Vinzent Dorn has impressed me over the last five days. It's his first season on the road and it's amazing how quickly he's learning and knows how to use his strengths properly." Said Director Sportif Anton Wiersma after the race.
Photos by Daphney Dupré and ZLM Tour