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Coming off the Dutchman’s wheel, Bauhaus beat Hofland and Bennati in a photo finish on the final stage of the Tour of Denmark; Valgren took the overall win for the second time

Photo: Sirotti
















31.07.2016 @ 16:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Phil Bauhaus (Bora-Argon 18) took the biggest win of his short career by beating the big-name sprinters on the final stage of the Tour of Denmark. Coming off the Dutchman’s wheel, he beat Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) in a photo finish while Michael Valgren (Tinkoff) finished safely to top an all Danish overall podium that also included Magnus Cort (Denmark) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Virtu Pro).


In 2014, Phil Bauhaus proved that he is a German top sprinter in the making when he won two stages at the Volta a Portugal. Of course he was a hot prospect on the transfer market and it was no surprise that he was picked up by one of the two biggest German teams, Bora-Argon 18.


The first year at the pro level didn’t work out as he had hoped but this year he has proved his class. He win a stage at the Tour d’Azerbaijan and a stage in Oberösterreichrundfahrt and he was close to the biggest win of his career on the first stage of the Tour of Norway.


Today he got what is probably an even bigger win when he came out on top in the traditional bunch sprint on the final stage of the Tour of Denmark. After a great performance by his Bora-Argon 18 teammates, he was perfectly positioned on the wheel of pre-race favourite Moreno Hofland and with a well-timed jump, he just managed to come around to pick up the biggest win of his career. Michael Valgren finished in the top 10 and took the overall win for the second time in his short career.


After yesterday’s time trial, the sprinters were expected to shine in the final stage which brought the riders over 183km from Karrebæksminde to Frederiksberg in the centre of Copenhagen. There eas an early climb but otherwise the terrain was flat and it all ended with 10 laps of a 6.7km circuit in the capital. There was a very small climb that is used for the KOM competition on three occasions but it was not expected to trouble the fast finishers.


It was a sunny day in Denmark when the riders gathered for what was a very aggressive start. Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) was the first to attack and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty), Nicolai Brøchner (Riwal), Michael Reihs (Stölting) and Alex Rasmussen (ColoQuick) were also active in the opening phase. The latter was the first to get a small gap but his move was neutralized.


Gatis Smukulis (Astana) was the next to try and his move was followed by one from a group of riders that included Michael Gogl (Tinkoff) and Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18). Mads Pedersen (Stölting), Brøchner and Silvio Herklotz (Bora-Argon 18) were also very aggressive.


A five-rider group with Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff), Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Alex Kirsch (Stölting), Brian Van Goethem (Roompot) and Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Argon 18) got a small advantage after around 20km of riding but Virtu Pro and Riwal had both missed the move so they started to chase hard. That spelled the end for the move and even though Kirsch tried to keep it alive, it was all back together at the 24km mark-


Pedersen tried again and he created a small geoup that also included Ivar Slik (Roompot). The next group included Frederik Backaert (Wanty), Rasmussen, Pedersen, Kasper Asgreen (Virtu Pro), Simone Velasco (Bardiani) and Tom Leezer (LottoNL-Jumbo) and they worked hard to push their gap out from 10 to 30 seconds. However, the Danish national team were chasing hard and Roompot soon joined them.


Pedersen beat Asgreen, Backaert and Velasco in the first KOM sprint while the group battled to maintain their advantage. The Danish national team and Roompot then brought the gap down to 10 seconds but then the escapees started to win the battle. After 45km of fast racing, the gap was 35 seconds. It even went out to 45 seconds before Bora-Argon 18 joined forces with Roompot and the Danes and as Pöstlberger took some huge turns, the gap again started to come down.


Novo Nordisk were also keen to bring it back together. Slowly, the balance tipped in favour of the peloton and when the gap was down to less than 101 seconds, Sterbini and Backaert tried to keep the break alive. A few riders, including Slik and Pedersen, bridged the gap but it all came together after almost 50km of racing.


The Danish national team wanted to set Magnus Cort up for the first intermediate sprint so they kept riding on the front. Everybody knew that it made no sense to attack so the group stayed together during the final 10km leading to the battle for the bonus seconds.


Disaster struck for the national team when key lead-out man Søren Kragh Andersen punctured just before the sprint and they missed his horsepower when Brian van Goethem (Roompot) attacked. The Dutchman built an advantage of a few seconds but Cort’s team managed to catch him in time for the sprint.


The Danes did a full lead-out for Cort but briefly ran out of power, allowing Bora-Argon 18 to take over. However, Asbjørn Kragh Andersen managed to deliver the captain perfectly and he easily beat the Tinkoff pair of Daniele Bennati and Michael Valgren.


As soon as the sprint was out of the way, the attacking started again and it was a Roompot rider who kicked off the action. Pedersen. Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani), Gogl, Veuchelen and Lars Boom (Astana) were also very active.


Finally, a quintet with Boom, Leezer, van Goethem, Rasmus Guldhammer (Stölting) and Aime De Gendt (Topsport Vlaanderen) escaped and when the peloton sat up, they quickly got a decent solid advantage. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani) and Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen (ColoQuick) were a little late but after a hard chase, they made it across at the 90km mark where the gap had gone out to 1.20.


Tinkoff started to control with Michal Kolar, allowing the gap to go out to 1.45. However, with 90km to go, Riwal took over with their entire team and immediately accelerated hard. During the next 20km, they brought the gap down to 1.05.


At the first passage of the line, the gap was 1.10 and it was still 1.05 at the end of the second lap where De Gendt won the KOM sprint. Tinkoff and Virtu Pro were now contributing to the pace-setting as Manuele Boaro and some of the young Danes were trading pulls with the Riwal riders.


De Gendt accelerated to win the KOM sprint on the third lap and then the group again started to cooperate. Further back, the chase got more organized as Virtu Pro and the Danish national team were now doing most of the work in the peloton. It had a big effect as the gap quickly came down to around 30 seconds.


De Gendt also won the final KOM sprint before the chase started to tire and the gap stabilized at around 30 seconds. The Danish national team went all in to try to bring the break back before the sixth passage of the line where the second and final intermediate sprint was located. The Tinkoff riders tried to disrupt the chase but they could prevent the gap from coming down steadily.


Entering the final 35km, the gap was down to just 20 seconds but it was too late. Leezer led Boom and Tonelli across the line to take the bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint and it was the Virtu Pro which had taken control when the peloton arrived 25 seconds later.


Virtu Pro didn’t get much help and so the gap had gone out to 45 seconds at the end of the sixth lap. At the same time, the fight for the stage win slowly started as Boom tested his rivals by making a brief acceleration but that move didn’t work out.


Things were much better for the Dutchman moments after the next passage of the line. After Guldhammer had made a first attack, he and Tonelli and this time no one could follow. The pair quickly got a big advantage and even though Boom briefly hesitated and fell off the pace, they soon started to cooperate.


The five chasers were brought back before Boom and Tonelli started the penultimate lap with an advantage of just 19 seconds. With Leezer back in the peloton, LottoNL-Jumbo had now taken full control, with Martijn Keizer leading his teammates across the line.


Bram Tankink, Keizer and Leezer chased hard and so Tonelli and Boom had no chance. Just after the passage of the 10km to go mark, it was all back together and set for a big bunch print.


Under an untimely shower, Keizer led the peloton across the line to start the final lap. Leezer took one final turn and then it was left to Tankink and Keizer to set a fast pace as they entered the final five kilometres.


Tankink, Keiser, Jos van Emden, Dennis van Winden, Tom Van Asbroeck and Moreno Hofland were lined out for LottoNL-Jumbo as they entered the final 3km, with Andrea Guardini (Astana) on the back of the train. Marco Marcato made a big surge to try to bring the Wanty train for Roy Jans to the front but the LottoNL-Jumbo team won the battle.


Van Emden took a massive turn as the peloton entered the final 2km, leading van Winden, Van Asbroeck, Hofland and the Tinkoff pair of Gogl and Valgren. Hence, they stayed out of trouble when a big crash split the field, with Arman Kamyshev 8Astana) among the riders to hit the deck.


Gogl briefly hit the front but van Emden was back in control when the peloton passed the flamme rouge. Van Winden launched the lead-out and led Van Asbroeck, Hofland, Bauhaus, Bennati and Valgren through the final turn.


Hofland launched the sprint from the perfect position but Bauhaus had done a great job to pick the Dutchman’s wheel. The German, Hofland and Bennati battled it out in a close photo finish and it was the Bora-Argon 18 talent who came out on top.


Valgren finished safely in and so took the overall win with a 10-second advantage over Cort. Mads Würtz Schmidt (Virtu Pro) completed the podium.


Bennati could console himself with the win in the points competition and De Gendt won the mountains jersey. Würtz Schmidt was the best young rider and Tinkoff was the best team.


With the Tour of Denmark done and dusted, the attention in Scandinavia turns to the Arctic Race of Norway which is the first of two Norwegian stage races during the month of August. The four-day race starts on August 11.



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