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Like many cycling professionals, 28-year-old Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren) should have been on the roads of southern France during the opening week of the 2020 Tour de France at this point in the season. The Tour is etched in his heart after his memorable stage win on La Planche des Belles Filles last year. But like everyone in the pro peloton, he has had to put his Tour ambitions on hold due to COVID-19, and he will not actually start the Tour until August 29.
“My stage victory was a turning point in my career,” Teuns told the Belgian HLN news service. Teuns drove the early morning break all day on the Tour’s first mountain stage, along with Tim Wellens, Xandro Meurisse, and the Italian Giulio Ciccone. As the race hit the final climb, he dropped them all one by one. Only Ciccone — who raced into the yellow jersey — managed to hold on until the final meters before Teuns powered away for an epic stage win on the steep dirt road to the finish.
“The last kilometer was purely on adrenaline,” says Teuns. “I have thought about that day regularly in recent days. Either people speak to me about it, or I see it on videos of that day. Those are nice flashbacks.”
Teuns will be back at the Tour in September with his Bahrain-McLaren team. And while he hopes to have another shot at a stage win, Teuns knows that he will not have the same freedom this year, as the team has real overall ambitions with Basque rider Mikel Landa. “The team has a lot of ambition for the rankings with Landa and we intend to help him,” Teuns explains. “Maybe I’ll get some freedom here and there, but the initial intention is to ride in support.”
And while he may not have the freedom he had last year in the Tour, Teuns knows he will have other opportunities in the classics as he is scheduled to do Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the Amstel Gold Race. “My stage victory in the Tour was a turning point in my career. My status in the team has increased enormously. Also among the fans, I notice that something has changed. I am recognized more often. People who do not normally follow bike racing [may now] watch the Tour.”
Like many, Teuns struggled with motivation as the cycling season came to a halt due to the coronavirus crisis. But in addition to discovering new training roads, he was also happy to have time to devote to farming, another passion of his. “I helped a lot at a friend’s potato company. I like to drive the tractor: plowing, preparing the field, spraying, and so on. [It’s] ideal for clearing your head.”
For Teuns, the biggest drawback of the global pandemic has nothing to do with his cycling career — he may well have to postpone his wedding that was scheduled for the end of the current year.
“We would like to make it a real party and you [can’t] do that if everyone has to stay a meter and a half apart,” he said. “Normally we would get married after the season, but there is a good chance that it will be 2021. ”