Jasper sprints to 3rd from the chase group in a tough Stage 6 in the Benelux Tour and is ready to play for it all on the final day
The Benelux Tour has hit the hills for its final three days, and Jasper Stuyven, the final leadout for Mads Pedersen in the earlier stages, has switched gears and is now playing in the thrilling game for stage wins and the overall classification.
In Stage 5, Stuyven admitted his aggressive tactics maybe took something from his legs in the final sprint where he finished in 5th place, but he added, “No regrets. It’s our way of racing, and we will do the same thing Saturday and again Sunday.”
In Stage 6, he did just that, sprinting to 3rd place from the small chase group behind solo winner Sonny Colbrelli. And Sunday, he’s ready to go for it all in a final challenging stage.
"I’m happy with the day, happy with 3rd, and I think tomorrow will be another super hard day. Anything is possible, even for me. I’m 8th now – it could go in a good direction, but it could also go in a bad direction. It’s always a big shakedown.” – @Jasperstuyven pic.twitter.com/TezPB3J6sc
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) September 4, 2021
I was expecting to start the race immediately from when we reached the circuit. Although I was a bit surprised that the group was so small after the first time, the race was just full-on. Then, a bigger peloton came back, but you know that the next time you go on the Côte Saint-Roch just after the finish line that it would explode again. It was quite hard, and on the steep parts, I could feel that I was one of the heavier guys up there, so I had to pace it. I really suffered today, but I think everyone did. I think it’s part mental to keep fighting and not give up.
In the Golden Kilometer, I thought I had a good moment to go and surprise them a bit, but then instead of taking the seconds, I was countered just before. From there on I was lucky that Hirschi and Benoot didn’t have the legs anymore to sprint for the Golden Kilometer, so I was with them to keep fighting and come back.
I think it was obvious that Colbrelli was the strongest. It’s a big pity that in our group, we didn’t commit 100% because now the group behind only lost about 35 seconds, so they’re still in the game, while we could have put them out of the game.
We were turning, but more like on 80% whereas behind they were pulling full gas with Küng and Asgreen, who were trying to stay in the GC, so they gained some time back on us. I’m not going to say we would have caught Colbrelli [if the group was 100% committed], but we would have been able to finish within 30 seconds of him and then put some more time into the group behind. Then, there would have been more to play for tomorrow, but it is what it is.
But yeah, I’m happy with the day, happy with 3rd, and I think tomorrow will be another super hard day. In the past years, it has always been a hard last stage in Geraardsbergen that often sees a lot of long-range attacks. There have been guys who won the GC who started the final stage two minutes back.
With Colbrelli and Mohoric, [Bahrain-Victorius] has two really good guys, but to control around 15 guys who are within the range of two minutes is not easy. Anything is possible, even for me. I’m 8th now – it could go in a good direction, but it could also go in a bad direction. It’s important to keep an eye on how the race goes. It’s always a big shakedown.