The opening stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt would come down to a bunch kick which Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon) would snap up. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was 2nd fastest with John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) in 3rd.
A lot would go on before the final sprint for the line, particularly for our MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung boys. Louis Meintjes would go on the attack in the opening stages of the 221km stage with 5 other riders. Their break was able to push out a lead of just under 5 minutes while a number of teams were interested in the chase. There were 2 category 1 climbs on route and Louis would crest both summits in 2nd place to leave him 2nd in mountains jersey at the end of the day.
It was Louis surge on the final cat 1 climb that saw 3 of the original breakaway riders losing touch at the head of the race. While our African champ pushed on in the trio, team captain Steve Cummings unfortunately had to abandon the race due to pain in his knee. Losing Steve is a big blow as he was a rider who could have fared well in the decisive stage 4 TT at the weekend.
With 50km to go the chase from the peloton intensified and the break were under pressure to hold their gap after a long day in the move. With so many teams interested in making the day a sprint, their majority rule would reign and with 10km to go it was all together. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg would come to the fore during the sprint for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and the South African crossed the line 8th.
Today was super, super hard. There was a headwind for most of the day and the peloton didn't give us much of a lead at all, we had to work for it all day. I was just happy to be out front, visible and taking some pressure of the rest of the team in the bunch.
Louis Meintjes - Rider
It was quite a hectic last few kilometers, all downhill into the last corner with 500m to go. I was in a good position but then lost a few places through the turn and it was pretty much over. I was feeling really good so I'm a bit disappointed with the result.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg - Rider
We had Louis in the break for over 190km today. Initially it was a 6 rider breakaway but for the final hour there were only 3 guys in the break. Louis would sprint for the 2 GPM's but on both occasions he took 2nd behind the Colombian rider. When the bunch reeled him he was unable to keep in contact after a hard effort out front. We lost Steve Cummings today after around 180km due to knee problems. Louis had a good ride and Reinie also rode well to finish 8th in the sprint but in the end losing Steve, our captain was really disappointing.
Jens Zemke - Head of Performance