Gregor Muhlberger (BORA – hansgrohe) took his first WorldTour victory in Sittard-Geleen yesterday after an impressive ride on the sixth stage of the Binck Bank Tour.
The penultimate stage of the race was like a miniature Spring Classic race with numerous climbs to be tackled in the Limburg region of the Netherland and the profile of this 182.2 km long stage listed no fewer than thirteen ascents.
Four riders – Matthias Brändle (Trek-Segafredo), Nick van der Lijke (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) – escaped and built today’s breakaway of the day gaining a maximum lead of around four minutes. The peloton pulled hard and with 85 kilometres to go the gap had decreased to two minutes.
The peloton had just closed the gap with 45 kilometres remaining, when BORA – hansgrohe rider Maciej Bodnar launched an attack from the main field and pulled away with Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo).
After a few kilometres Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) were able to join the new breakaway.
But the reduced bunch increased the pace and several riders including Wellens and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) attacked but were unable to stay clear. With 5 kilometres to go it was Gregor Mühlberger who made the final move and managed to open a gap. The Austrian flew to his first WorldTour victory and took an impressive stage win ahead of Wellens.
“All my team mates did a stellar job today, Rudi, Jay and Maciej are in a really good shape, as you could see during the race,” said Muhlberger.
“My victory was a surprise even for me, because the course, especially the finale, would fit Jay more actually. But as there was nothing to lose, I just grabbed the opportunity with both hands and fought for the win. I more than happy it worked out so well, and to celebrate my first WorldTour victory together with my teammates.”