One of the team’s greatest successes
The BIKE AID cyclists are overcome and erupt into cheers. The official results came in shortly after crossing the finish line of the final stage. They won the team title, the polka dot jersey, the mountain jersey, and a total of five of the six stages! In addition, Adne van Engelen was the runner-up at just seven seconds behind the leader, and Lucas Carstensen – who wore the yellow jersey for three days – came fourth in the individual overall rankings. Leo Bouvier missed being in the top ten by just three seconds and finished in 11th place overall. No-one could have expected such a fantastic result!
A crazy week
The press and the fans pounced on the riders, who still had not quite realised what they had achieved. After nearly a week of hard riding with temperatures far exceeding thirty degrees and weather encompassing the full range from heavy rain and thunderstorms to oppressive heat, this year’s Tour of Thailand had come to an end. The end result achieved by the Saarlanders exceeded all expectations, as all could see. At the closing ceremony, they were all called up in turn to receive a trophy.
Epic mountaintop finish
The last of the total of six stages ran for nearly 160 kilometres from Satun to Hat Yai. The extremely small differences in the times for the overall rankings meant that this would definitely be a day of overtaking manoeuvres and attacks. And it was: the field fought relentlessly for every point and every second in the overall rankings. Following an unbelievable four victories in five days by Lucas Carstensen, today all eyes were turned towards the featherweight Adne van Engelen, The highlight of the sixth stage was the climb in the final kilometres to the finish line, where the entire field of cyclists arrived together. The climbing specialist quickly fought his way into a small breakaway group and took control. Not long after he was able to leave his opponents behind and further increase his lead. Shortly before the finish line, the Dutch cyclist looked behind him, saw the distance, and threw his hands into the air. He won the stage by six seconds, moving him up into second place in the overall rankings and winning him the mountain jersey. ‘It is always hard to throw superlatives about. But this was by far our best team performance ever. I think it will take a few days for it all to properly sink in’ – Matthias Schnapka after the race.
Constantly in front of the camera
There could be no better end to 2021! The Asian media showed each stage in full on the television and streamed them online. Hundreds of thousands of people followed the progress of the race live on a daily basis. Photographers jostled at the start and finish lines, and BIKE AID was constantly in focus. People also lined the race route and cheered for the teams. However, this huge level of attention and media interest can also create pressure. Nevertheless, at meetings, dinner and breakfast, it was obvious how well the cyclists were handling it. The mood was high-spirited with lots of laughter, with no-one provoking nerves. ‘The end result is unbelievable. We worked together extremely well and were virtually always able to implement our strategies and tactics. It was great to spend each day giving my all with five other riders who share the same mindset. The atmosphere in the team was fantastic, and an outcome like this is just incredible’ – French cyclist Leo Bouvier.
Spending the winter in Thailand
One day after the Tour of Thailand came to a close, five of the six cyclists travelled on to Chiang Mai. The region around this city is a perfect place to train: spectacular nature, mountains, and good weather make this a paradise for cyclists – and it is a perfect time to escape the cold, raining winter in Germany. In addition, the team will be personally getting to know our partner KAZE, which is based here. The Thai bicycle manufacturer is clearly delighted about the trip, and has planned a widely announced ride with BIKE AID, a factory tour and much more for the cyclists.
The Tour de CMU will then finally bring 2021 to a close. This three-stage race begins on 17 December and includes a short prologue, a 135-kilometre stage and a 65-kilometre stage.
This article was submitted by: BIKE AID