While the cycling season in Europe is on its winter break, our professional team from Saarland is getting into the swing of things in faraway Thailand.
Unpredictable weather and inadequate road signs
The first stage of the Tour of Thailand started this morning at 9 am local time in clear weather in Songkla. From the beginning, the team worked well together and took control of the peloton in many situations. At kilometre 75 the weather changed abruptly, and heavy rain and flooded roads dominated the next kilometres. This was also the undoing of our rider Nikodemus Holler, winner of last year’s Tour of Thailand. A lack of traffic markings and the weather conditions obscured his view of a road barrier that divided the lane. Niko drove straight into the crash barrier and crashed badly at the front. After a brief check with the tour doctor and the team car, he shelved his own expectations and joined in with the teamwork in pain.
Closer to the finish, the rain stopped, the temperatures rose, and the nervousness increased. A breakaway group, which was joined by Adne van Engelen, was caught by the peloton 5 kilometres short of the finish. Wildlife Generation (USA), Sapura Cycling (Malaysia) and BIKE AID controlled the race from the front from then on. The teams gradually lined up to prepare their sprint moves. In a perfect manoeuvre, Jasper Pahlke and Leo Bouvier dropped Lucas Carstensen in the last few metres and the whole team celebrated the victory afterwards.
“I have worked so hard towards this goal after the whole season had not really gone smoothly so far. We are very relieved and can now enjoy the next stages to the full. My teammates came through for me perfectly, and I’m incredibly grateful to them for that,” explains Lucas Carstensen.
More good news
Nikodemus Holler had to go to hospital for an X-ray after crossing the finish line. Thankfully, however, the suspicion of a broken toe was not confirmed.
Stage with a monumental length
“We are mindful of what a great privilege it is to compete in a cycle race right now. There is a lot at stake for our team at the Tour of Thailand. This makes us all the more relieved about the opener, as it allows us to pay back our Thai sponsors Kaze and F2P for their support,” says Matthias Schnapka.
Tomorrow’s longest stage of the Tour of Thailand, covering 230 kilometres, will be contested by Lucas Carstensen, wearing the yellow jersey of the overall leader.
This article was submitted by: BIKE AID