The 16th stage of the Tour de France saw MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung right in the thick of the action as Daniel Teklehaimanot eventually finished the stage in 7th position. Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) would be the rider to take the stage win.
The stage would see another large breakaway group successfully going clear, this time consisting of 23 riders. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were in a great position by having Edvald Boasson Hagen, Serge Pauwels and Daniel as part of the lead group. The peloton allowed the leaders to gain as much as 20 minutes advantage and so it was clear that the break would easily make it today.
The big lead group arrived at the foot of the final climb with 19km to go and this is where misfortune would strike our African team as Serge punctured. The timing couldn’t have been worse as the accelerations started immediately. Edvald would be put into difficulty on the gradients as the smaller riders kept the pressure on. Daniel showed fine form though by marking the lead riders on the climb.
When Plaza attacked there was no initial response and the Spaniard went all out to open an advantage. By the summit the lone leader had a minute on what was now only 9 chasers, including Daniel. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) would put his descending skills on show as he clawed back 30 seconds on the 8km drop but it was not enough to win the stage.
A few seconds later Daniel crossed the line in 7th while Serge managed to recover somewhat from his flat, to finish 13th. With Edvald finishing 19th, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung comfortably won the team stage classification again and in the overall team standings our African team moved up to 2nd place. Serge would also move up to 18th on the general classification to complete another great day for our African team.
Daniel Teklehaimanot – Rider
It was a really good day for our team with 3 riders in the break. We were working really hard all day and unfortunately we lost Serge at the bottom of the climb. Obviously it was also quite difficult for Eddy on the climb so it was up to me to follow the wheels on the final climb. For me I think 7th at the Tour de France is a good result.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
Our team is on a high and they all want to take their chances. When the 24 rider break split we had Serge in the front and Edvald and Daniel in the chase group. When it came back together there were 23 riders leading and we were in a luxurious position to have 3 riders in the front group. In less than a minute the situation changed though when Serge got a flat and Plaza then attacked. Daniel followed in a small group and ended 7th. We moved up to 18th with Serge and we also won the stage team competition again. It was a pretty exciting day for us as we moved up in several classifications.