After a strong start in Brussels, where team leader Greg Van Avermaet wore the polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey for several days, the team settled into a consistent game plan to try and animate the three-week grand tour by being aggressive and opportunistic on every stage.
Week two highlights for the team included a top-10 finish for Joey Rosskopf in the Stage 13 individual time trial. The American rode his Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike with a CADEX Aero WheelSystem to 10th place on the 27.2km TT in Pau.
“I’m really happy with my top ten,” said Rosskopf, who is competing in the Tour for the first time. “It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the race.”
Following the time trial, it was two grueling mountain stages—and German rider Simon Geschke was on the attack both days. On Stage 14, a 117km day that finished atop the mighty Tourmalet climb in the Pyrenees, Geschke made a move to join a breakaway group of 17, but the GC teams took control before the decisive climbs.
The next day Geschke had better luck, attacking again early and putting himself at the front of the action on a critical day for the overall contenders. On the Mur de Péguère, the third of four Category 1 climbs in the 185km stage, he launched a solo move 5km before the summit.
Racing on his TCR Advanced SL team bike with a CADEX WheelSystem, Geschke built up a 30-second lead and over the top was joined by eventual stage winner Simon Yates. An attack by the Englishman proved Geschke’s undoing on the final approach to the summit, but the German was happy with his effort on the day.
“I had the legs so I enjoyed the stage,” Geschke said. “There was of course massive amounts of pain, on the second to last climb especially it was pretty steep. But when you are on the front you enjoy it and now I’m smiling because it’s a rest day tomorrow. I feel like my legs are coming back, which is nice.”
With six stages remaining, the team will continue to try and make the breaks and look for every opportunity. Stage 16 is a mostly flat day that will be a target for sprinters, followed by a hilly Stage 17 and then three consecutive Alps stages that will determine the overall. The race concludes Sunday with its traditional finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.