My debut for Lotto Dstny: GP de la Marseillaise and Etoile de Bessèges
Last week the time had come. My first cycling races as a professional cyclist were on the agenda: the one-day race GP de la Marseillaise and the Tour Etoille de Bessege in the south of France.
Since we had the top favourite in the team with our sprinter Arnaud de Lie for the one-day race, it was up to us to control the race. So I had to spend a long time at the front of the field to keep the breakaways at bay. After the work was done and a few minutes behind at the finish, I learned that my teammate Brent van Moer was third. A great success about which we could be very happy.
After two days of rest with some coffee rides, we went to the Etoile de Bessege. Conveniently, this tour took place in the same region as the one-day race, so we didn’t have long transfers ahead of us and could always sleep in the same hotel.
The tactics during the five-day stage race were similar to the race before. We wanted to win stages with Arnaud de Lie. My task was to pick up the pace again. Especially on the second stage, I was fully challenged and spent almost three hours alone at the front of the field. Unfortunately, this stage was cancelled due to some falls. Two of my teammates also got it. Fortunately, they did not have to suffer any broken bones.
Arnaud was able to win the first and third stages in the sprint, which was celebrated extensively in the hotel in the evenings. The mountain stage on day four was marked by a lot of wind. Behind a wind relay with 17 men, which had formed in the course of the race, I went into the 5 km long final climb in the main field. I wanted to test my form again and finished in 28th place that day. Not a top result, but a hint that the form is going in the right direction.
The final time trial on day five of the tour was less pleasant for me. 500 m before the finish I had a defect. The escort vehicle was already discharged. Despite a solid time trial, I was unfortunately unable to reach the finish line within the time limit.
Nevertheless, I went home with a good feeling and two stage wins by Arnaud in my luggage. The days were a lot of fun, I was integrated very well into the team and I’m already looking forward to the next races.