Romain Bardet hugged Thymen Arensman beyond the finish line at the Tour of the Alps, celebrating with his young Team DSM teammate and thanking him for helping to distance Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) over the final climb and then the ride to victory in Lienz.
Bardet started stage 5 of the Tour of the Alps two seconds down on the Bahrain Victorious rider but managed to distance him on the steep Stonach climb and then time trialed to victory with Arensman and Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ), who also worked hard to move up to second overall at 14 seconds. Arensman moved up to third overall at 16 seconds, with Bilbao slipping to fourth at 37 seconds.
Bardet could have tried to keep the race together and move past Bilbao by winning the final stage and taking a bigger time bonus. He preferred a more aggressive and more decisive strategy.
“We tried to focus on the GC battle and made sure nobody put us in trouble in the break, then we just had to focus on the last climb and open a gap on Pello Bilbao,” Bardet explained, his strategy far more difficult to execute than to elaborate.
“It would have been hard in the sprint so we wanted to gain time. It worked out better than expected. I had Arensman with me and so we were even able to extend the gap. It worked out pretty well in the end. It’s a nice win.”
Overall victory and third place gave Team DSM a haul […]