Cycling | 9 juni 2018

Tolhoek climbs towards top ten in Dauphiné

In the sixth stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné, Antwan Tolhoek showed that he’s among the best riders in this stage race. The 24-year-old Dutch climber was in a group that battled for the eighth place, and eventually came in eleventh. In the overall standings, Tolhoek is approaching the top ten. He is now thirteenth. Tomorrow is the final stage with the finish in Saint Gervais Mont Blanc.

The stage to La Rosière, with four tough Alp climbs including two of the hors category, is an exact copy of the stage that will be challenged in the Tour de France in about one month.

Neilson Powless was part of the breakaway of the day, while Tolhoek was supported by Sepp Kuss all day. He was dropped off in an ideal position at the foot of the final climb.

“It was a very tough day, but it went very well. I’m happy with how things are going”, Tolhoek said. “It was a race from the start. As a team, we did a good job having Neilson in the leading group. On the Col du Pré it went full throttle and then I knew it was going to be an epic day. But Sepp and me survived the battle. It was really great to be there with the two of us. He supported me very well. It was very hard to survive the final climb. Fortunately, I was able to rejoin a group that was battling for eighth place with two kilometres to go. Tomorrow will be another tough day. I’ll give everything I have and then we’ll see where we end up.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann was particularly pleased with the performance of his young riders. “It was a good day for us. The young guys showed themselves well in the front of the race. That’s beautiful to see. Neilson is getting better every day and was part of the extensive early breakaway. Behind them, it was full throttle all day. On the Col du Pré, perhaps twenty, twenty-five riders were left at one point, including Antwan and Sepp. Sepp has done a good job. Unfortunately, Antwan had to let go on the final climb, but he came back to the group that sprinted for eighth place. Tomorrow, we’ll have another tough day. Hopefully we can hold onto this.”