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Tour de France stage winner Teunissen weighing return to cyclo-cross

Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) leads the Tour de France

Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) leads the Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mike Teunissen, the first stage winner and first leader of this year's Tour de France said he is considering a return to his roots and race a few cyclo-cross events this winter.

According to Limburger.nl, Teunissen, the 2013 Cyclo-cross World Champion in the U23 ranks could tackle his first off-road race in three years.

"I still have to put together my winter program, but I like it," Teunissen said after taking 18th at the UEC Road Championships on Sunday.

His trainer Tim Heemskerk thinks it will be good for Teunissen. "I think cyclo-cross riding is an ideal training incentive in the run-up to the Spring Classics. We still need to coordinate the exact period in which we will do that, but it seems like a very good idea."

Teunissen mixed road and cyclo-cross throughout his early career but leaned more toward the road after joining the Rabobank Development team in 2013. He signed with the WorldTour team LottoNl-Jumbo in 2015 and only raced two cyclo-cross events after jumping to the highest tier on the road. His last 'cross race was the Dutch championships in 2016.

After two seasons with Sunweb in 2017 and 2018, Teunissen rejoined Jumbo-Visma this season with great success. He won two stages and the points classification in the 4 Days of Dunkirk and the overall ZLM Tour before taking out the opening stage sprint over Peter Sagan in Brussels to take the first maillot jaune of the Tour de France. He led for two days.

Cyclo-cross racers have enjoyed plenty of success at the top level of road racing this year, with Wout Van Aert winning stages in the Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de France and the Belgian time trial title.

Former 'cross World Champion Zdenek Stybar took wins in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the E3 BinckBank. Tim Merlier won the Belgium road race championship, and Mathieu van der Poel won De Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race in addition to two UCI MTB World Cup cross country races. 2019 Cyclo-cross Worlds bronze medalist Marianne Vos has won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Tour de Yorkshire, five stages of the Giro Donne and La Course by Tour de France.