On paper, stage eight was one for the breakaway so, it was important for the team to have a rider in the key moves and be aggressive in the opening kilometers and after being one of the most active teams in the early part of the stage, CCC Team’s effort paid off.
After 19 kilometers of racing Koch was able to jump into the right 21-group, which was able to open a gap. The leaders’ advantage continued to increase and with 50 kilometers to go, when it was at six minutes, it was certain that the peloton was going to let the breakaway go all the way to the line.
On the approach to the only categorized climb of the stage, the category two Puerto de Ponseratt, the rain started to fall and it was in these conditions, with wet and slippery roads, that the riders started the 7.7-kilometers climb, which had an average gradient of 6.6 percent.
Koch stayed attentive and patient as he was aware of the strength of his sprint and wanted to wait until the finish, where he could show his power. He was not responding to the attacks, keeping his own, strong pace and arrived at the top with the strongest.
The dangerous descent towards the finish line saw a few attacks but none of them stuck and eventually the winner came from the 14-man group. Koch was right up there and gave his all in the sprint to finish in fifth place, behind the winner, Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb).
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“The goal for today was to make it into the breakaway and finish in the top three. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but, I’m still happy with the legs and my fifth place. In the end, it was very chaotic with many attacks and you had to be patient, look for the right wheels, at the right moment. It was not an easy task to pick the key moves but I was able to arrive with the best and contest the sprint. After spending all day in the breakaway my legs were tired but I still gave it all and hopefully that performance will bring the team’s morale up after some bad luck in the first week. There are still many stages ahead and we will keep trying and fighting.”
Stage 8: Valls > Igualada (166.9km)
Top 3: 1. Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) 2. Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) 3. Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal)
CCC Team Top 3: 5. Jonas Koch 59. Francisco Ventoso 74. Patrick Bevin
Another Solid Performance From Simon Geschke at Deutschland Tour
Another aggressive day at Deutschland Tour saw Simon Geschke continue to show that he ready to fight for top honors after finishing just outside the top ten in a select group of favorites that went on to race for the win on stage three.
After a three-rider breakaway, which went away early and opened up an advantage of almost eight at one point, was pulled back a new race began with those riders interested in both the stage win and overall title starting to attack off the front of the regrouped peloton.
Geschke, who is motivated about racing on home soil, proved that he is still in strong form at this late point in the season and was able to follow all of the dangerous moves and make it into a competitive group of around 20 riders.
Despite the best efforts of many of the riders, including CCC Team’s German leaders, the group was still all together heading into the final couple of kilometers before a stinging move from two riders saw them go clear under the flamme rouge and hold on to take first and second place.
Behind them, Geschke continued to fight hard as part of the chasing group which eventually came across the line just 17 seconds back and heading into tomorrow’s final stage he sits in 12th place overall and, with less than a minutes separating the top 16 riders, the race should be in for an exciting and dramatic finale.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“The stage today was a bit more controlled than yesterday but, the finale was ridden very hard and I think it was an important day for the GC. The speed was really high on the final hills and we saw that Kristoff, the race leader at the start, was dropped as the pressure started to rise. I had the legs to follow and I did what I could, attacking twice at the end but, luck was not really on my side which is a bit frustrating because when the legs are good, I always want to have a good result. I am sitting in 12th place overall but, that’s not where I want to be. It came down to seconds at the end and I couldn’t make a difference with my attacks and after those efforts, I was pretty empty for the sprint. I was happy to stay in front though and tomorrow there is a one last chance but, it will be hard as the guys in front of me will be difficult to drop. Nevertheless, I will try to see what is possible and try to do something.”
Stage 2: Marburg > Göttingen (202km)
Top 3: 1. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 2. Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) 3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida)
CCC Team Top 3: 12. Simon Geschke 39. Joey Rosskopf 49. Riccardo Zoidl