Good learning experience for Team Sunweb in the mountains at Tour de l’Ain


A tough day in the mountains lay ahead of the bunch on the final day of racing at the Tour de l’Ain, with a parcours that featured two difficult climbs in the middle of the stage and a summit finish atop the famous Grand Colombier.

Before the start of the stage there was a feeling in the peloton that the breakaway could make it all the way to the line, which resulted in an incredibly fast opening hour of racing. The team were very active at the front of the bunch, ever present in any dangerous attack. Eventually after 45 kilometres of racing a group of 12 riders broke clear, with Sam Oomen riding well to make the move.

Initially building up an advantage of three minutes, that gap then soon tumbled as the peloton dramatically increased the pace on the first categorised climb of the day, blowing the bunch to pieces. Thymen Arensman and Ilan Van Wilder dug deep and stuck with the peloton over the opening climb. However, the infernal pace continued on the following climb as a dramatically reduced bunch of around 20 riders crested the climb, with Arensman and Van Wilder in a chasing group behind.

The duo worked well in the chasing group and paced their way to the Grand Colombier climb. It was at that point that after discussion with the team car, Van Wilder gave Arensman the nod to give it his all on the climb – with the Dutchman forging on and crossing the line first for the team on the day.