The riders are overwhelmed and start to celebrate. Shortly after the finish of the sixth stage the official results get announced. Team BIKE AID won the team GC, the green points jersey, the polka dot jersey and on top of that they won five out of six stages in total! With a gap of only seven seconds Adne van Engelen becomes second place overall and Lucas Carstensen becomes fourth overall. Leo Bouvier misses the top 10 by only three seconds and becomes 11th in GC. No one predicted such an amazing result!
Press and fans rushed over to the riders who didn’t even have time to realize what just happened. After a hard week of racing with temperatures over thirty degrees, days with rain, thunder and exhausting heat this years Tour of Thailand ends. In the end the result of the team from Saarland exceeds all expectations. At the closing ceremony the riders from BIKE AID step on the stage several times to receive one trophy after the other.
The last stage was 160 kilometers long and went from Satun to Hat Yai. Due to the small gaps in GC it was obvious that the day will be packed with attacks and breakaways. Everyone was fighting for the last points and seconds for the final ranking. Despite Lucas Carstensens spectacular four wins in five racedays it was the featherweight Adne van Engelen who was in the spotlight today. Highlight of todays stage was the the three kilometer ascent that leads to the finish line. Almost the whole peloton reached the start of the climb together and attacks started quickly. BIKE AIDs climber was able to jump in to a small breakaway and took over control. Shortly after he was able to leave his oppenents behind. He kept on going all on his own and won the two mountain KOMs with a big gap. Just before the finish line the dutch turns around to see that the gap is still increasing. He punches his fists in the air and shouts in disbelief. Adne van Engelen wins the stage with an advantage of six seconds which puts him in second place for the GC. On top of that he earned himself the polka dot jersey as the best climber of the tour.
„It’s always complicated to talk in superlatives. But this was by far the greatest success and the best team performance since the founding of BIKE AID. I think it will take a few days to realize what we have accomplished.“ Matthias Schnapka after the race.
2021 could not have ended any better! Asian media showed each stage in full length on TV and as a stream on the internet. Hundreds of thousands of people were watching the event live every day. Photographers were crowded at the start and finish line and BIKE AID was in the focus again and again. People also lined up on the side of the track to cheer on the teams. On the other hand immense attention and the big interest by the media can also generate pressure. However, in the meetings, at dinner or breakfast, you noticed how well the riders handled it. The mood was exuberant, there was a lot of laughter and no one let themselves get nervous.
„The final result is incredible. We worked together extremely well and were almost always able to implement our strategies and tactics. It was great to give everything we have day after day with five other riders who all have the same attitude. The atmosphere in the team is great and a finish like this is simply indescribable“ The French Leo Bouvier.
One day after the end of Tour of Thailand, five of the six riders continue to Chiang Mai. The region around the big city is ideal for training. Spectacular nature, mountains and the good climate make this place a paradise for cyclists. The timing is perfect to escape the cold and rainy winter in Germany. In addition, the team will personally meet our partner KAZE, which has its headquarters here. You can see the Thai bike manufacturer's joy about this. They have planned a big announced ride with BIKE AID, a factory tour and much more.
The Tour de CMU will then finally close the year 2021. It is a three-day open race, where everyone can sign up in their preferred race category. The start is on December 17th and it includes a short prologue, a 135 kilometer stage and a 65 kilometer stage.
Pictures by Akekyz Treentworak and Thai Cycling Association