4 ascents of the tough 20% climb on the finishing circuit in Vejle saw the strongmen to the fore on the 3rd stage of the Tour of Denmark. And the strongmen were mainly Danish. The home riders showed their class and hunger for success on the Queen stage – a tough course that started and finished in Vejle. The undulating terrain had many Mountain classification points on offer, so it was no surprise to see a break form early, containing some strongmen like Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) and Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka). But it was Danish team Trefor-Blue Water’s Patrick Clausen who skipped away at every climb to snatch valuable points and finish in the climbers jersey at the end of the stage.
It was clear Tinkoff Saxo Bank were eager for the stage win, amassing at the front and driving hard in the crosswinds, splitting the race to pieces and forming an elite front group, that contained yellow jersey Lars Boom. However the steep climbs took their toll on Boom, the Dutchman yoo-yooing off the back. It didn’t look good for him with the steep finishing climb to contend. As it was, with Lars Bak in the front group, and the Dane only lying 9 seconds off Boom, Lotto Soudal took up the momentum into Vejle enabling a springboard for an elite group including Bak, Matti Breschel, Gerald Ciolek, Marco Mercato and Christopher Juul Jensen to launch an attack on the initial slopes of the brutal finishing hill. Behind, Boom struggled, the previous days longest stage taking their toll, but he battled on, eventually finishing 2mins 30 down.
This group of 9 strongmen contained no fewer than 6 Danes and forged ahead with 3 more finishing laps remaining. On the final lap young Dane Alexander Kamp took off and at one point looked like he might bag a big win for Continental squad Team Coloquick, but the experienced Matti Breschel overhauled him on the final climb and sprinted away for the win by 1 second.
The Queen stage always looked likely to shake the GC up, and so it proved with all leaders jerseys changing hands. It was a superb day for the home nation, not only getting the Stage win, but with Lars Bak finishing 4th the yellow jersey was theirs too. And to cap a beautiful sunny Danish day, Alexander Kamp donned the Young Riders jersey.
1.Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal
1.Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
1.Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor – Blue Water
Young Rider Classification
1.Alexander Kamp (Den) Team Coloquick
A full stage report can be read here.