Juul-Jensen makes the front split on a hectic stage at the BinckBank TourSat 18 Aug 2018
Tour de Suisse stage winner Chris Juul-Jensen made it into today's front split on the sixth stage of the BinckBank Tour as the race entered the hilly Ardennes.
Due to the nature of the course, it was an aggressively raced final 50kilometres with numerous riders off the front of the bunch.
In the end, Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) jumped ahead to claim the stage victory in front of a chase group with Juul-Jensen moving up to 20th place overall with one-day remaining.
In the early stages of the hilly sixth day, the peloton allowed a breakaway of six riders freedom and ride out to an advantage of over six minutes.
Unlike the previous stages were a breakaway has survived to the line, the peloton took no chances and began to chase hard and reeled the group back with 50km to go.
Once the peloton regrouped, the race lit up over the short sharp climbs and the peloton strung out and eventually split with a hard pace being set.
With 30km to go two riders, Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacked away from the group and quickly established a gap of over thirty seconds.
By this point a chasing group had formed made up of around 30riders and included Juul-Jensen for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
Changes at the front
Despite a hard chase behind along technical undulating roads, the duo increased their advanatge to one minute before the more climbs began.
The active chase group drew closer to the leaders inside the final 20km and once they were within striking distance, three more riders bridged across. This didn't last long as the catch was made and more attacks came.
With six kilometres to go Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) attacked away from the front group and looked like a potential winner however more attacks came leaving splits in the peloton. The victory went to Muhlberger with Juul-Jensen taking 25th spot.
Caleb Ewan was able to hold on to the red points jersey with just one more stage remaining.
"Today was a very fast and hectic stage. We knew beforehand that the profile would encourage an Amstel-Gold style of race and that's exactly how it unfolded.
"We entered the local circuits with 100km to go, Lotto-Soudal and Quickstep-Floors took advantage of their position at the front and really forced the tempo. The narrow roads and short sharp climbs meant that the bunch was strung out immediately.
"I was feeling good early on in the stage and with the help from Mathew Hayman and Roger Kluge I was able to maintain a good position near the front and stay out of trouble when the bunch started to reduce in size. Luckily I was able to stay with the front group all the way to the finish.
"Hopefully I’ll be able to finish off with another good day tomorrow and try to climb further up the GC. It was unfortunate that Durbridge didn’t have the legs to finish in the group with me but it can be a bit of lottery coming out of a such a hard Tour de France as to how the body responds. I’m sure he will be motivated to finish off with a bang tomorrow as well.
BinckBank Tour stage 6 results:
1. Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:05
2. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) +0:03
3. Stybar Zdenek (Quickstep-Floors) ST
25. Chris Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:11
General classification after stage 6:
1. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) 10:34
2. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +0:30
3. Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot) +0:32
20. Chris Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 1:19
Photos courtesy of Getty Images