Mike Teunissen led a strong effort by Team Sunweb at the Paris-Roubaix spring classic Sunday, animating the race at the front of the field and finishing 11th at the end of the grueling 257km race from the outskirts of Paris to the north of France.
The 116th edition of the race known as the Queen of the Classics saw mostly dry conditions and a fast pace from the start, with plenty of attacks in the opening hours. With the help of his Team Sunweb squad, Teunissen fought hard to stay at the front of the action and cover all the key moves.
The 25-year-old Dutchman, a previous winner of the Under-23 Paris-Roubaix race, rode a special Defy Advanced SL bike with disc brakes to help him conquer the rough pavé that defines Paris-Roubaix. He also rode Giant SLR 42 Disc wheels and wore the Giant Rev helmet. Teunissen also wore a prototype Giant shoe being developed and tested with Team Sunweb riders. Like the current Surge model, it features Giant's Motion Efficiency System, with some added updates to optimize performance and comfort.
“I tried to anticipate through the whole day and be there for the important moments,” said Teunissen, who had the strong help of his Belgian teammate Edward Theuns for much of the day.
“Today was a combination of everything,” said Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef. “Muddy, dusty, sunny and cloudy. We were in a good position going into the first section, we already knew that it was really muddy there so we were prepared. The bunch split there because of a crash, but because we were in position we were where we needed to be.”
With an early break of nine riders out front, Teunissen launched his own attack from the group of favorites in the famed pavé sector of the Arenberg Forest.
“I was feeling good, so I went for it in the Arenberg, but the move didn’t stick,” he said. “When the big guys went, I couldn’t close the gap in front of me, but I still felt like I had good legs in the group behind. I had hoped for a different scenario and it’s too bad to not have finished in the top-10, but 11th is still a respectable result for a race such as this.”