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"That left me with the idea like I had ruined an opportunity, and that feeling kept me awake all night. This time, I think I’ll quickly fall asleep and that I’m going to have some sweet dreams."

Photo: John de Jong






11.08.2015 @ 23:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mike Teunissen triumphed in the prologue of the Tour de l'Ain today and is the first leader of the French stage race. The 22-year-old Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was the fastest man on the 3.8-kilometer course in Bourg-en-Bresse. The difference with runner-up Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) was minimal, just six-hundredths of a second.


Teunissen was not the only Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider punching into the top of the ranking. Trainee Twan Castelijns recorded the fifth-fastest time, while Timo Roosen was good for 12th.


“I got it and nobody can take this from me now,” Teunissen said after his winning effort. “My advantage was that I started as second-to-last. The other boys had already set good times, and so I knew what I had to do.”


With a time of 4’31”, Teunissen, who finished second in the Prudential RideLondon & Surrey Classic last week, broke Wilco Kelderman’s mark set in 2011.


“I needed an average speed of more than 50 kilometres per hour, and that’s not easy on a course with two sections with tricky corners. But London went well, and I knew that my shape should still be there.”



Teunissen, still a neo pro, expects to have a good night of sleep.


“After London, I made a mistake by going back to watch the final kilometres before I went to bed. That left me with the idea like I had ruined an opportunity, and that feeling kept me awake all night. This time, I think I’ll quickly fall asleep and that I’m going to have some sweet dreams.


"This is my first professional victory so it's been very fun. I knew I was in shape and I had a goal in this prologue. It was very stressful, but fortunately it ended well.


"I saw the time and guys like Lemoine and Engoulvent had averaged 53 or 54 km/h. Geniez had gone two seconds better and I thought it would be difficult to improve that performance. My teammates had set good timed so I knew what I had to do. I made a difference in the end. But when you know you fight for victory, it gives morale.


"For me, such a short prologue is perfect. In the bends in the end, I could use my experience from cyclocross and my explosiveness. It gave me a little advantage.


The yellow jersey will hang around Teunissen’s shoulders during the first road stage tomorrow, and the youngster will do everything to retain the jersey.


"I want to get involved in the sprints during the stage, and take bonus seconds. In the bunch sprints, Nacer Bouhanni will certainly be a problem, but if I’m well-placed, I can do well. And we have some guys here who know what’s required in a sprint.


"I will try to defend my jersey as long as possible, but the sprinters are not far behind . If they take bonuses tomorrow and after tomorrow, I might lose the jersey. Then I'll try to hang in the mountain stages to finish in the best possible overall position. To keep this yellow jersey until the end will be complicated. The last two stages are too hard for me. We have Steven Kruiswijk as leader. 


"Last year, I had already taken the yellow jersey in the Boucles de la Mayenne due to my regularity. But to take it by winning is even more special. Now that I have the jersey on my shoulders, I'll enjoy my day in yellow."



Erik Dekker was delighted with the performance of his team.


“The guys really rode on their limits today. They really went for it,” the Sports Director said.


“At the start, I was able to look them in the eye, and I really saw that they wanted to fight. In the end, we did great as a team. We’ve won the teams classification, just as in the prologue of the Tour de France. With the arrival of the new time trial bike, confidence has returned.


"We came for the yellow jersey. Guys like Engoulvent are specialists, but we knew that Mike was in shape. We had decided to make him go last because I trusted him. I knew he could give us a good start. We have the jersey and we shall enjoy in. If Bouhanni wins and takes bonus seconds, he can dethrone us. But who knows?"



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