Simon Geschke had broken into the top-10 earlier in the week when he finished 8th on Stage 3, a tough day that ended with a 1.7km climb to Paracombe. Riding his TCR Advanced SL team bike with a CADEX WheelSystem, the German showed off his climbing form as he defended his GC position over the next few days. Then, on Sunday’s decisive Stage 6, Geschke held strong on the final showdown up Willunga Hill to finish the day seventh and move up to third overall at the season opening race of the UCI WorldTour.
“It was a super positive surprise for me coming here as a helper and suddenly being in the role of a GC card,” Geschke said. “After Paracombe I was seventh, so that was already more than I expected before I came here.”
Coming into the final stage, the team had dual objectives. In addition to Geschke’s GC standing, they would ride in support of Joey Rosskopf’s bid for the King of the Mountains classification. The American started the final stage with a lead of 9 points in the KOM competition.
“We were a bit nervous because Joey was not safe for the mountains jersey [at the beginning of the day], Geschke said. “So we could have lost both of our goals, the top-10 and mountains jersey.”
Instead, everything went perfectly. Rosskopf was again aggressive in the breakaways, as he had been all week, and Geschke put himself in position to battle for the final podium.
“The jersey is a really good reward because it took a lot of work to get it, a lot of days in the breakaway,” Rosskopf said. “You set out with a goal and you start chipping away at it from day one and to be able to actually achieve it, it’s always super rewarding.”
For Geschke, it was his best-ever result in a WorldTour race. “I had a super good day and I thought I did a good ride but finishing third is definitely a surprise,” he said. “In the end, we can be super happy with how we rode together as a team all week. Joey, in particular, in the breakaway almost every day fighting hard, so I am happy that he got what he deserved. For me, personally, last year I broke a lot of bones in the beginning of the season, so it is super nice to start this season much better.”