TDF Daily | Stage 5 | Marijn van den Berg goes for it in his debut Tour de France sprint

Our favorite Dutch Tour rookie finished tenth on stage 5

July 3, 2024

Marijn van den Berg seized his first chance to sprint against the world’s best at the Tour de France today and finished tenth at the end of a historic stage.

Our favorite Dutch Tour rookie braved the fast and chaotic final kilometers of stage five with his teammates alongside him, guarding his spot at the front of the peloton as the bunch raced towards the finish line in Saint-Vulbas.

Marijn was not daunted by the sprinting legends around him. He’d already shown that he belongs at the front of the pack after the flamme rouge when he led Richard Carapaz through the bunch sprint on stage three and into the yellow jersey. Although he had lost his final leadout man Stefan Bissegger in the mayhem of the final kilometer, Marijn kept his hands off the brakes and the power on the pedals, focused on keeping his spot until the group rounded the final bend with 250 meters to go and he saw the finish. He kicked with the best. Sprinting from behind, he ended a very respectable tenth, behind one of his childhood heroes, the day’s winner, Mark Cavendish, who today set the record for most Tour de France stage wins ever.

Marijn still hopes to get his first Tour de France victory this year. He is not a pure sprinter and was actually hoping that the race would open up on the Côte de Cheval Blanc and Côte de Lhuis, so he could make his dash for the line from a smaller group, as the race sped from the the Alps to the rolling fields near Lyon. But today, he showed that he’s got raw power too.

Marijn is excited to mix it up in more Tour de France sprints. Being up there in such a special one today has made him hungrier than ever.

Marijn van den Berg

It went okay. It was a lot more nervous out there than I had expected, but I felt good for the sprint. I tried to push forward a couple of times. I couldn’t quite get a clean sprint, but it was good to be up there and a part of it. I saw that Cavendish won. I hadn’t expected that, but find it very impressive. I doubted whether he could do it, but that he did is great. You always know that if he is up there, he is going to be in it for the win. I didn’t see him go. I was mostly making sure I wasn’t going to fall, if I’m honest. For the coming sprints, I learned above all that I just need to stay calm. With two kilometers to go, a bunch of riders swarmed past and I thought it was over, that I was too far back, but you can get back up to the front if you have the legs here. That’s my main takeaway.

Charly Wegelius, Sport Director

Well, the race didn’t really pan out as we’d hoped as nothing opened up on the small climb with about 30k to go. Smartly, the teams of sprinters who were weaker climbers basically blocked the road so the race was closed. I think that the pace of the day meant that it came to the end with a messy bunch of people really fighting for position with relatively fresh legs. Marijn did great. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find Stefan. They were a little bit separated. But Marijn did very well. He just ran out of legs because he was a little bit too much in the wind in the last 50 meters or so, but I think tenth is a good sign for things to come on stages that suit him a bit better.

I’ve got nothing but respect for Cav and how he’s fought over the years, but also over the last days, struggling through the mountains. Fair play to him

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