Rally Cycling’s Robin Carpenter moved into a commanding lead in the King of the Mountains competition at the Deutschland Tour today. The Philadelphia native infiltrated the early breakaway in the 177 km third stage to the Saar River town of Merzig and bested his breakaway companions on all five KOMs during the escape. As the peloton closed the gap to under 30 seconds, Carpenter attacked the front group on a solo bid for stage honors. However, defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) led the peloton to catch Carpenter with eight km remaining.
After being caught only 50 meters from the finish line on stage three of the Arctic Race of Norway last week, Carpenter was on a mission to not come home empty-handed in Germany.
“It’s very nice to be able to wear a jersey at a race in Europe this year,” said Carpenter. “Also nice to have something to show for my efforts in the breakaway. It was a very hard effort from the start and we had to ride full gas to keep a small gap. Eventually, we were able to settle down but I knew the chances for the stage were slim so I made sure to get as many KOM points as possible.”
Part of Carpenter’s success is due to team tactics from Friday’s stage two. On the final climb of Petrisburg, Carpenter dropped off of the back of the peloton after helping team leader Colin Joyce to the front. Carpenter lost over three minutes to the overall favorites.
“I lost time on purpose yesterday so that I could go in the break and not worry about the GC teams trying to chase me,” said Carpenter. “When a rider within a minute or two goes in the break they keep that gap much smaller. But if there is no one close they almost always let the break have more time and then you have more to play with and possibly trick the peloton into giving you too much.”
Nearing the finish today, Joyce was in prime position for the sprint, and possible podium result, when a crash within the reduced group of 30 riders also took him down. Joyce was uninjured but disappointed to not have a shot for the win. Nevertheless, he was still in high spirits, high-fiving new KOM leader Carpenter following his successful outing.
Sunday’s final stage covers 207 km between Lorsch and the German manufacturing hub of Stuttgart. With nine points on offer in the KOM competition, Carpenter’s only challenger to his jersey is Gaëtan Pons (Leopard Pro Cycling) who needs to win all three climbs. Despite Joyce’s crash in stage three’s finale, Rally Cycling will support the 24-year-old’s bid to improve on his eighth place on stage one.
KOM standings after stage three
1 Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling 15 pts
2 Gaëtan Pons (Lux) Leopard Pro Cycling 6
3 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal 5
4 Juri Hollmann (Ger) Heizomat Rad-Net.de 4
5 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 3
6 Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy 3
7 Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert 3
8 Patrick Haller (Ger) Heizomat Rad-Net.de 3
9 Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij 3
10 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 2