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Sonny Colbrelli tops Benelux Tour GC as Matej Mohrič took the final stage and made the overall podium in 2nd

1-2 for the second consecutive day at the Benelux Tour on the stage and the final general classification, with Sonny Colbrelli defending the GC leadership and Matej Mohorič as runner-up. Bahrain Victorious concluded the 7-day WorldTour stage race across Netherlands and Belgium countries impressively.

Benelux Tour ended today with stage 7 (Namur-Geraardsbergen, 181.8km), featuring the traditional Flanders climbs as the Bosberg, the Denderoordstraat and the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen.

On the paper, it was a day that could upset the general ranking. But Bahrain Victorious started the stage with two riders in first and second place overall: Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohorič, both heavily favoured to take the stage and defend the leadership, as the course suited them.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 7th stage Namur – Geraardsbergen 180,9 km – 05/09/2021 – Matej Mohoric (SLO – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

After a very fast start and several unsuccessful attempts, a breakaway of four riders was established. 7 further men then managed to join them. But none of the guys in the front group was a threat to the GC. 

Once the breakaway was caught back, Asgreen, Mohorič, Campenaerts and McNulty formed a new leading group. Then the Slovenian Champion attacked again on ‘De Muur’ before the final lap to repeat a solo success as his teammate did the day before. On the legendary ascent, Colbrelli came in second place, 11″ adrift, with Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma) in 3rd place (+15″).

Matej Mohorič: “It was like a dream for us today. It’s a super proud moment for the team and one of the most significant victories for us.

The first goal of today’s stage was to defend the GC. I also was second overall, so we were thinking about that as well. The stage win was a goal too, but it was not likely.

We took control immediately after the breakaway was established. We worked super good as a team in front. In the final, Asgreen attacked, and I immediately followed with Campenaerts, and we bridged over to the breakaway. I wanted to save my legs to the finale also to help in case of need for Sonny. Then when I saw the opportunity on the last climb of the Muur I tried to go for the stage win. Sonny protected me from the back”.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 7th stage Namur – Geraardsbergen 180,9 km – 05/09/2021 – Matej Mohoric (SLO – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

Sonny Colbrelli: “1-2 in the stage as yesterday and 1-2 in the general classification. Something we can be more than proud of! Today, I had to defend the leader jersey, but we were also trying to go for the stage as a team. When Matej was leading, I controlled from behind, always trying to follow the various attacks. In the final, Dumoulin accelerated, and I must admit I struggled a bit to follow him. In the end, we managed to realise our plans, and that’s amazing”.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 7th stage Namur – Geraardsbergen 180,9 km – 05/09/2021 – Sonny Colbrelli (ITA – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com

Sonny Colbrelli sprints to second on stage 5 Benelux Tour

Bahrain Victorious took another second place at Benelux Tour. After Phil Bauhaus was runner-up on opening day, Sonny Colbrelli was close to the victory on stage 5 (Riemst-Bilzen, 192km), with Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) beating the Italian Champion on the slightly uphill finish.

Today’s course, rolling in the Belgian provinces of Limburg and Liège, featured a hilly section, including 15 côtes, but a finale that could represent the last opportunity for pure sprinters to shine at this year’s edition.

An early breakaway of 3 riders formed after 28km, but it was always kept under control by the peloton, which closed the gap before the last lap of the final local circuit, with riders crossing the finish line 3 times before the finish.
Bahrain Victorious sprinter Phil Bauhaus wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t keep pace with the main group. With the German rider out of the game, it was then up to Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohorič to play their cards. A series of attempts of attacks enlightened the finale, including those of the Slovenian Champion, who tried to jump clear with about 5km to go. But with sprinters teams controlling the race, it was clear that a restricted group of fast men would fight for the win. The Italian Champion was the one who opened the sprint after a perfect leadout of his teammates with Mohorič as the last man, but the Australian Caleb Ewan put on a powerful acceleration to outsprint him.

Sonny Colbrelli: “It’s a pity not to have finalized with a victory the excellent job done by my teammates. We raced well, and I’m confident ahead of the last two stages. I will try again, that’s for sure”.

Benelux Tour 2021 – 17th Edition – 5th stage Riemst – Bilzen 192 km – 03/09/2021 – Heinrich Haussler (AUS – Bahrain Victorious) – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhotoå©2021

Rolf Aldag, Bahrain Victorious SD: “It was a pretty intense stage since the beginning, as it was the last chance for sprinter’s team to take a win. We adjusted our strategies during the race, as our initial plan was to win the stage with Phil Bauhaus, but we knew that the race might be harder than on paper, so we left it open for Colbrelli and Mohorič. Moreover, Phil didn’t feel good today. He’s struggling a bit with his health since the Deutschland Tour. So we made the race for Sonny, with also the option to a late attack from Matej. Everybody executed his job excellently, keeping the guys on the front. Haussler kept the pace high and was still there in the leadout as Wright did. Before that, Milan and Sieberg positioned the team on the narrow roads. So all in all, we are satisfied, although it’s a second place again, and only again a matter of some metres. Anyway, we must accept that we can be beaten by someone who is in perfect shape.”

Benelux Tour continues tomorrow with the final two stages. A very demanding weekend, with a climbing stage 6 and the cobblestones on the last day.

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com

Astana – Premier Tech to play several cards at the Benelux Tour – Astana

Astana – Premier Tech to play several cards at the Benelux Tour

While the last Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana will see its final showdown, the stage race campaign continues in Belgium with the seven-stage race, the Benelux Tour, where Astana – Premier Tech arrives with several cards to play.

After a less than ideal Tour de France racked by stomach issues, Jakob Fuglsang returns to the start line to get back into the race rhythm.

“The final part of the Tour de France wasn’t what I was aiming and hoping for. I felt better at the Olympics but of course I had different results in mind. But that’s in the past, I had some great days with my family, could charge the batteries and trained for the final part of the season. The Benelux Tour will be my first race after the Olympics, therefore I need to see day by day, getting back into the race rhythm first, but if there are chances and my condition is good, then of course I will try something”, – says Jakob Fuglsang.

The seven stages offer something for different rider profiles with Astana – Premier Tech bringing a squad built for almost every day.

Italian ITT Champion, Matteo Sobrero, who finished inside the top 15 in the Tour de Pologne time trial, will be the man for the second day in Belgium, where a 11-kilometre, short but intense, time trial stage will be on the menu.

Samuele Battistella, who will also race at the Bretagne Classic before heading to Belgium, will be a card to play during the seven days of racing, while Hugo Houle can take his chances in different breakaways, and Fabio Felline and Yevgeniy Gidich will try to sprint in the fast stages.

“We will try on the stages which suit our riders to perform well, for example the time trial with Matteo. Jakob returns to racing after the Tour de France and Olympics, which took their toll after stomach problems, so we need to see how he feels being back in race mode. Samuele showed his condition at the Arctic Race of Norway by finishing fourth in the overall. He will for sure be a rider we can count on. We have a well-structured team but we are lining up among strong teams, which are preparing for the European and World Championships, so it won’t be an easy week of racing”, – says Sports Director Giuseppe Martinelli.

Benelux Tour (30 August – 5 September).

Rider roster: Samuele Battistella (ITA), Fabio Felline (ITA), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Yevgeniy Gidich (KAZ), Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ), Hugo Houle (CAN), Matteo Sobrero (ITA).

Sports Directors: Giuseppe Martinelli, Stefano Zanini (both ITA).

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com