Bol powers to fourth overall in Bretagne and Kooistra takes third in Frankfurt
It was an action-packed day for the team as aside from the last stage in the week-long Tour de Bretagne, seven of our talents were in the start line of Eschborn-Frankfurt U23. In Bretagne, a 145 km long stage with a tough and hard parcour was awaiting the riders before wrapping up the 2018 edition of the race, and it did not disappoint. 

The stage was off to a really fast start, with the bunch completing almost 47 km in the first hour of racing. A lot of attacks took place from early on, but Ide Schelling and Daan Hoole kept our colors well-represented at all times. Eventually, an 8-man breakaway went up the road with our riders sitting on the wheels saving energy for the latter part of the course. With 50 km to go, Julius van den Berg launched his attack and broke the peloton down into pieces, and as soon as the U23 Dutch National Champion was brought back it was Edoardo Affini the one who moved away from the main group alongside four other riders. All those moves pressured the peloton to pick up the pace, and the gap to the leaders was quickly reduced. Following the intense teamwork that our riders put on all day long, it was Stevie Williams the one who did the last push and set the pace for Cees Bol with two laps to go. The strong Dutchman continued the rhythm of the Welshman and joined the leading group. That leading group entered into the last lap with 20 seconds to the chasers, and in the slopes of the second-to-last cobbled climb the race broke apart. Cees Bol rolled in seventh position, which powered him to fourth overall at the same time that he secured the points classification, with Julius van den Berg finishing seventh in the GC. We wrap up a great week for the team, racing aggressively and showing the true fighting spirit of the Academy, all these efforts took the team to the top of the overall team’s classification. 

Cees Bol, fourth overall in Tour de Bretagne:
“Today’s goal was to fight to win the stage and bring a big jump on the overall classification along the well. We worked really well as a team with Julius (van den Berg) and Edo (Affini) attacking an opening the final. Later Stevie (Williams) went on the attack and I bridged to him and he helped me to join the race leaders. In the last lap, I could not follow the best, it was an honest lap with two really hard climbs, but I am happy with how we rode not only today but all week long. Personally, I am really satisfied as I come home with a stage win, a fourth place overall, the points jersey and six Top 10 finishes out of seven stages”. 

Meanwhile, in Germany the race started in the wrong way as a big crash marked the first kilometers of the day. Luckily no Academy riders were involved. The peloton was together for the most of the part leading up to the climbs, and it was in the slopes of those mountains where a group of 10 riders went away, including our Marten Kooistra. The good cooperation made it a hard chase for the bunch, the could chase down that group. However with 30 km to go some counter attacks took place, with Thymen Arensman eventually making his way to the leading group with 25 km left. The front group kept the distance all the way to the line, with our two riders working together ahead of the final reduced bunch sprint. Marten Kooistra, Ronde van Zuid-Holland winner, sprinted to third in the day. 

Marten Kooistra, third in the reduced bunch sprint in Frankfurt: 
“The race plan was to stay together all the way to the climbs and the try to follow moves and attack in when the race was going uphill. I knew that I had the legs to go over the climbs without problems and give it a go in the final reduced sprint, so that was what I did and it worked out well. After the climbing section, I went away with 10 other riders and we got a good gap. With around 25 km left a group with Thymen (Arensman) which made it a great situation for us. In the final sprint I tried to start from the best position possible and I ended up in third. I am really satisfied and I can’t wait to race again”