Søren Kragh Andersen led a successful weekend for Team Sunweb’s young talents at the fall classics over the weekend, sprinting to a podium finish in Sunday’s 111th Paris-Tours in France. On Saturday, Kragh Andersen’s 22-year-old teammate Sam Oomen had a strong ride to finish 11th at the Tour of Lombardy in Italy, the last of five “monument” races of the 2017 season.
The 23-year-old Kragh Andersen has had an impressive 2017 season and saved perhaps his best performance for one of the last major European road races of the season. The 234km Paris-Tours is known as a sprinters’ classic and typically ends in a bunch sprint at the finish.
After several breakaways on the mostly flat course, the Dane made the key move of the day, a six-rider break that escaped with 10km to go. That group managed to build a 15-second gap over the charging field and held it to the finish, with Kragh Andersen sprinting to second place on his TCR Advanced SL team bike.
“Today was a great day for the team,” said Kragh Andersen, who also wore the Giant Pursuit aero road helmet to help him secure the podium. "We had a plan, which we completely followed and executed to perfection. I am really happy for the amazing support the boys gave me and they definitely made it possible for me to fight for the win. It’s a great feeling to end my season like this, and for the whole team. I’m already looking forward to coming back next year for a new season!”
The team’s young riders also shined at Saturday’s Il Lombardia, a grueling classic that tackles 247km of hilly terrain of northern Italy. The key early breakaway contained six riders, including 22-year-old Lennard Hofstede for Team Sunweb. That group gained a maximum advantage of 12 minutes before the main field closed in on them over a series of climbs including the famous Madonna del Ghisallo.
A series of attacks took place in the final 50km, and Oomen made an aggressive move to chase. That put him in position to fight for a high placing at the finish in Como on his TCR Advanced SL.
“Today we were great as a team with Lennie in the break and the other guys protecting Warren [Barguil], Wilco [Kelderman] and me for the finish,” Oomen said. “In the final it was a man-to-man battle and I tried to attack on the second-to-last climb and managed to go clear. On the last climb I was maybe a little too excited and I just missed out on the group that raced for second place. It’s a pity because I still had a good sprint, but on the other hand I can be satisfied with how I rode today. I want to thank the team for their support and the opportunities.”