Tour de France: Teuns continues Bahrain Victorious’ remarkable run at Le Grand-Bornand
12 victories in 35 days as squad claim second stage win in succession
Bahrain Victorious’ moment continues. After notching up just a single victory in the opening three months of the season, the squad has suddenly happened upon a rich seam of success since the calendar flipped into summer.
Dylan Teuns’ lone triumph on stage 8 of the Tour de France was the team’s second in as many days and their twelfth victory in the past 35 days alone. That sequence began with Damiano Caruso’s win at Alpe Motta on the penultimate day of the Giro d’Italia, gathered momentum with a hat-trick of stages on the Critérium du Dauphiné and continued at this Tour with Matej Mohoric’s success in Le Creusot on Friday.
“I think we are on a good level at the moment,” Teuns said in Le Grand-Bornand on Saturday evening. “In the spring, it was all a little bit waiting and then from the Giro on, the success came. And I think you’ve seen this also before in past years, when a team is on a good level, it lifts up everybody and I think that’s maybe also the process we went through now. We worked hard the last couple of weeks with this group for the Tour, especially. The success came and that’s what counts.”
Teuns, for his part, had expected rather more from the early part of his season, but though he showed plenty of enterprise at Paris-Nice, on the cobbles and in the Ardennes, he came away with little tangible reward. He had begun the year with designs on a place in the Belgian team at the Tokyo Olympics but he acknowledged that he had no complaints at being overlooked by national coach Sven Vanthourenhout.
“The fact that I’m not selected, it’s something I knew was coming because I didn’t perform in the spring like I wanted to. I didn’t put the results on the paper that I was aiming for, so I think it is what it is, no?” said Teuns.
“I always was there in the Spring, but I never came close, I just had a lot of disappointments. But I kept working and I kept believing in myself, and finally there is a victory for me, so I’m super happy with that.”
Teuns dedicated his victory to his late grandfather, whose funeral took place just before the Tour. “When I won on the Tour two years ago [at La Planche des Belles Filles], the newspaper came to visit my grandparents and they were super proud,” he said. “I hope my grandmother is not suffering too much to be alone in this moment.”
The 29-year-old was part of an 18-rider move that forged clear midway through stage 8 and ahead of the day’s trio of category 1 ascents. Distanced on the first, the Côte de Mont-Saxonnex, Teuns recovered on the second, the Col de Romme. On the final ascent of the Col de la Colombière, he managed to bridge across to the lone leader Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) before dropping him a little under 2km from the summit.
“The group exploded on the first of three first category cols, and I struggled to follow, so I decided not to blow myself up and find my own rhythm,” he said. “At the top of the second col I was able to re-join a group just behind Woods. On the last climb, I heard that Woods’ lead was coming down so I did everything I could to make it across.”
By then, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) had attacked alone from the peloton and he was picking his way through the remnants of the break. By the summit of the Colombière, he was in second place on the road and had closed to within a handful of seconds of Teuns.
The Belgian began the descent to Le Grand-Bornand under the impression that his buffer was around a minute, and he acknowledged that the garbled information might have been a blessing rather than a curse.
“There was also a lot of noise from the spectators so it was quite hard to hear the radio. But maybe I was lucky I didn’t hear it was 12 seconds,” said Teuns.
“I was very careful on the descent, because it was very wet and slippery, and I could feel my wheels drifting a lot of times on the corners. I was only sure, only really, really sure, at the moment when I looked back at 1km or 1.2 and I saw the team car was still behind me. I knew if I kept continuing to the finish line the victory was mine.”
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.