Søren Kragh Andersen sprints to beat Mont Ventoux time cut and keep his Tour de France alive
Team DSM rider finishes three seconds inside the 47:39 time limit
Søren Kragh Andersen lived on to fight for another day at the Tour de France, sprinting to the line in Malaucène to finish just three seconds inside the time limit after a day of suffering on the two climbs of Mont Ventoux.
The 26-year-old Dane won two stages of the 2020 Tour de France with audacious solo attacks but faced a lonely battle for survival on Wednesday after losing contact with the last gruppetto that included Mark Cavendish and three of his protective Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates.
Cavendish's group finished 40:40 down on stage winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) but were seven minutes inside the 47:39 time limit, calculated at 15 percent of van Aert’s winning time.
Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) sprinted in to finish alone at 43:25 but there was a long tense wait to see if Kragh Andersen could make it to Malaucène.
He seemed to be facing a lonely battle at the top of the second climb of Mont Ventoux but dived down the fast descent and sprinted into Malaucène, stopping the clock on 47:36 - three seconds inside the time limit.
"I had to go all out, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it," he told ITV television before the start of stage 12.
"I’m happy I made and today is a new day."
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The UCI race commissaries drew a line under Kragh Andersen’s name, with Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers) deemed to be outside the time limit and seven other riders failing to finish the stage, including Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) who crashed out, and Kragh Andersen’s teammate Tiesj Benoot who had been suffering with his early Tour crash injuries.
"Søren had a hard fight today and he’s paid the price for being active a lot last week," Team DSM directeur sportif Luke Roberts explained.
"He put up a great fight and an awesome final downhill to keep himself within the time limit. It was a tough fight again. There were quite a few factors that made for an extremely hard race. We had warmer temperatures and a sudden jump up to over 30 degrees.
"The race was pretty much out of control in the beginning, with a lot of attacks going over those category four climbs and towards the first big climb, where the race was really fast. Our guys gave it everything, pacing their race to the finish. Unfortunately, we lost Tiesj who was struggling after the crashes he had last week and he had to step off."
Teram DSM have been trying to set up Cees Bol in the sprints and plan to follow a similar tactic on Thursday on the fast ride to Nimes. The Dutch sprinter has secured four top-10 placings so far in this year’s Tour de France.
Bike throw means Søren Kragh Andersen made the cutoff by 1 second, stays in Tour. pic.twitter.com/n4vrknBVhWJuly 7, 2021
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.