A review on the 6 stage race of Olympia's Tour
Day 1: Prologue
Rainy conditions, a technical challenge in the first half and strong headwinds in the 2nd half of the race, meant that this 4.5 km race befits only a very specific type of cyclist. Team3M participated in the prologue , but chose to focus their efforts and concentration on the following days of the race.
Day 2: 1st stage
In the debrief following the prologue, the strategy was decided upon : in the smaller roads in the German part of the race , our riders would go for an attack and then form a closed, impenetrable unit at the front of the peloton.
The strategy worked perfectly : 3 riders, including Christophe, executed the strategy flawlessly, and quickly gained a 3 minute gap. It was the biggest escape of this day’s race. The peloton failed to close the gap, and at the finish the riders had a 35 second gap with the peloton. Christophe finished 3rd and with bonus seconds, came in 3rd in the overall classification. In the group sprint, Gerry came in 9th.
Day 2: 2nd stage Team Time Trial (TTT)
Team3M had little preparation for this circuit, as it only had the chance to ride it twice before the race. This tricky 14.7 km circuit was a challenge as our riders had never trained with their current line-up for a TTT. This race would be a test for the team-spirit of our riders.
Team3M ended in 7th place, which was a very good result, considering the lack of practice they had on this circuit compared to the other teams. Teamwork was excellent as they crossed the finish line with all 8 riders together. This result brought Christophe into the 9th place of overall classification.
Day 3: 3rd stage
In spite of the windy conditions and the road obstacles, Team3M was again in good shape to go at it again. All early attacks included at least one Team3M rider, and the biggest escape of the day turned out to be a 2-man break including Melvin.
This was Melvin’s first big stage race of the year, after having won two U23 six-days. His actions ensured the rest of the team a place towards the sprint finish. In the spring E.J. came in 8th, with a good placing from the others.
Team3M scored a 3rd team-place for the day.
Day 4: 4th stage
With the wind not in our favor, Team3M’s strategy was to break out of the race right from the beginning. Gerry and Joren made some strong efforts, but did not manage to attack. Halfway into the race, it became clear that a group sprint would decide on the victory.
The tactic for this situation was that Egidijus en Timothy would agree , during the race and between the two of them, on who would take the lead and which one of them would provide support. Small mistake were made during the group sprint but our riders still managed to do good as E.J. arrived in 8th place and our team came in 3rd.
Day 5: 5th stage
With E.J.’s form growing, Team3M had a two-fold plan for the 5th stage. The plan was to gain points for Timothy for the intermediate sprint-jersey and a day victory for E.J. Timothy would join the 30-35 men break and finish with 4-5 Team3M riders, including Timothy and E.J.
The race started according to plan, with a 14-men break including Timothy, but unfortunately it became clear that the other teams were not cooperating hereby disabling Timo from getting those points. Under the impulse of the Australian team, a 17-headed group, including E.J., broke out to chase the leaders, who were 2 minutes ahead. The break was successful and managed to catch up with the leaders. At this point the lead group contained 31 riders, including Timothy and E.J.
Our team-manager decided that this was not enough and ordered the 6 riders in the peloton to close the gap. 7 kilometers later they succeeded and joined the lead group. At the finish line, Timothy came in 4th place, E.J. came in 6th and Gerry 13th. Team3M was the best team of the day.
Day 6: 6th stage
As the board of 3M Benelux came in as VIP-guests to provide extra support of the riders during the race,Team3M was even more motivated to set a good results. Under a Dutch sunny sky and barely any wind, the strategy was the same as the day before.
In the early stage of the race some small attacks were made and Team3M was well represented throughout. In the 3rd lap, team Spring-king Stroetinga broke out from the peloton with a 30-men lead group, including 4 our riders: Gerry, E.G., Timothy and our workhorse Christophe Sleurs. In the final sprint Timothy came in 3rd, E.J. came in 4th and 12th position for Gerry ensured that Team3M was again the best team of the day.
Looking back at the whole stage-race, all 8 Team3M riders made huge steps forward. With their progress, they proved to themselves and everyone else that there is more to come.
Stay tuned for more progress!
Pictures made by Ron Hoeson, Hans Vlaminck and Mark Sleurs. For more pictures see: www.alphenphoto.nl.