Teunissen celebrates birthday with queen stage win in Geraardsbergen

Mike Teunissen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) claimed Friday’s third stage in the Renewi Tour. Teunissen handed himself an unforgettable birthday present by winning in Geraardsbergen with a late attack. Tim Wellens was second, taking over the leader’s jersey from Joshua Tarling.
In the queen stage between Aalter and Geraardsbergen the peloton allowed a six-man breakaway to form, but kept the group within three minutes.
The race came alive on the local circuit around Geraardsbergen, home of the famed Muur. The first ascent of the Bosberg saw an initial impulse, but one lap later Wellens duly uncorked the finale with a big acceleration.
Behind the two-time Renewi Tour winner, an elite group formed featuring Marc Hirschi, Florian Vermeersch, Yves Lampaert and Fred Wright.
Wellens pushed on after the Muur, looking for bonification seconds in the race’s unique Green Kilometre. Despite slowly suffering a flat tyre, the UAE Team Emirates leader snatched the eight seconds on offer before being caught by the other favourites.
In the final kilometre birthday boy Teunissen picked the right moment for a searing attack. The Dutchman soon secured a decisive gap to take the stage win. Despite losing tyre pressure Wellens still grabbed second to take over the leader’s jersey from time-trial winner Tarling.
Teunissen: “I might be getting older, but I’ve still got it.”
“Last year I turned 30 and that hurt a bit,” said Teunissen. “You’re starting to get older, at least as a rider. I couldn’t have dreamed of taking the queen stage of the Renewi Tour in Geraardsbergen just a year later. I showed that I might be getting older, but I’ve still got it.
“I was really finished, but I hoped they would hesitate behind me. They did and that worked out for me. Taking a victory on your birthday is fun, but I still think there are probably more relaxed ways to celebrate it…!”
Wellens: “Changing bikes not an option”
Wellens spiced up the finale, but missed out on the stage win due to his flat tyre. “After the first passage on the Muur I knew I had the legs to win,” Wellens said.
“I was planning to go flat out on the final passage of the Muur and I did. Everything was going to plan and I had a nice gap towards the Green Kilometre and the Bosberg, until I felt the pressure in my front tyre starting to get lower and lower. I was glad to still get the bonification seconds.
“I was thinking about changing bikes, but I would have lost too much time and ended up in the second group. Then it would have been game over completely, so I made the right choice by not changing and I was lucky that the sealant in my tyre did its job.”


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