Tour de Hongrie closes with fast downtown sprint in central Budapest

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana:

“We had our fair share of misfortune this week. Crashes took out Mehdi and Andrea, sickness meant Charles couldn’t finish the race and we ended up with three guys on the start line for today’s last stage in Budapest.”

“It was always going to end in a sprint finish, 92 flat kilometers in and around Budapest and the overall was decided yesterday, so our only objective today was to try and get someone in the breakaway to show our jersey and try something in the final.”

“The breakaway went straight out of the start and we missed the move, all we could do from there was try to help Peter to a high finish. We placed in the bunch, behind the sprinters and now we need to recover for the Tours of Mirabelle and Estonia at the end of the month.”

Sam Brand:

“I came into the race not feeling 100%, I had some stomach problems, but gradually started to feel better each day, more like myself and able to do something to help the team. Today we really wanted to try and get in the breakaway and show ourselves at the front of the race.”

“The move went super early, four guys led by Astana and we weren’t there. We were surprised a little by how quickly it went, and the situation didn’t really change until the final lap when it really ramped up for the sprint.”

“We did the best we could without a sprinter today and both David and Peter were flying with the group at the end, but we weren’t able to finish higher than in the middle of the pack. I’m looking ahead to Estonia now and some of the other guys to Mirabelle, it will be important to recover and regroup as we have goals we want to achieve.”

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Tour de Hongrie Queen Stage the decider ahead of Sunday’s finale in Budapest

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana

“Everyone was waiting for today to see the race explode for the GC battle on the climbs and it happened. After the early break was caught the main contenders started to move. We wanted to try and stay with the front group with David and Peter, but after Mehdi not starting due to a broken collarbone and Andrea feeling the effects of yesterday’s crash, it was difficult to give them full support.”

“Nevertheless, the guys gave it everything and it was only on the last climb that they lost contact with the leading group as the race split apart. Those moves by the overall contenders all but decided the GC and tomorrow’s short stage in Budapest will be a fast one, over pretty quickly and certainly end in a sprint.”

“It was hard for our guys today and Andrea went deep trying to help Peter on the last climb, so we will see if he can recover a little to try again tomorrow in the sprint.”

Peter Kusztor

To be completely open and honest…I couldn’t go with the last attacks. It was super-fast and aggressive. We were there going into the last 10 kilometers, but as soon as the gradient stiffened and the accelerations got stronger, we fell back.”

“I have to thank the guys, because they worked for me today, especially Andrea as he was there with me right until the end and our teamwork was very good, but we couldn’t do more.”

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Team Novo Novo Nordisk Budapest bound with Tour de Hongrie up next

Team Novo Nordisk is set to back to the Tour de Hongrie next week, carrying some bittersweet memories of 2020 after Spanish climber David Lozano’s near miss in the red king of the mountain’s jersey.

The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team took the race head on a year ago with Lozano claiming the mountains jersey on the opening stage and holding it all the way to the last day of racing only to miss out by one point and a time difference technicality.

While the heartache and disappointment may have passed, the memory lingers and Lozano alongside former Hungarian champion Peter Kusztor and puncheur Charles Planet will be looking to get in the mix again at the five-day race.

“For sure it’s something I think about from time to time,” began Lozano. “To win a jersey is a big deal and to come so close was really hard to take at the time, but we moved on as a team and need to use the memory and to a certain extent the frustration to motivate us this time around. It will be hard up against so many WorldTour teams this year, but we will try our best!”

After some strong performances in the breakaway at Milan – San Remo and in the sprints at the Tour of Turkey, Andrea Peron is on form and completes the line-up alongside French sprinter Mehdi Benhamouda and Brit Sam Brand.

“We love racing at the Tour de Hongrie,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “And after our strong performance there last year we are keen to reach that level again this time around, especially in a special year like 2021.”

“Charles, David and Peter both know what it takes to be up there in this race and with Andrea and Mehdi also achieving some good results lately we feel like we have some good options for this race. It will be hard, there’s a very strong field of competition here and stage four in particular will be brutal, but we are well prepared, focused on the task in hand and working towards our goals.”

Five days of challenging racing awaits with stage four’s Queen Stage the kicker, topping out at 3,221 meters of elevation over 204 kilometers and certainly set to be the deciding day. A short and fast criterium in Budapest closes proceedings, providing one last chance of glory for the sprinters.

“I always enjoy racing at my home race,” concluded Kusztor. “It’s something special and every year the Tour de Hongrie shows that we have some beautiful countryside to race across and the parcours always gets more interesting and more challenging.”

“I am feeling good after a solid block of racing recently at the Tour of Turkey and La Vuelta Asturias and we have been working well together as a team. We will see how it goes next week, but it would be great if we can perform as we did in 2020.”

Team Novo Nordisk at the Tour of Hungary, May 12th – 16th:

Mehdi Benhamouda (FRA, 26)

Sam Brand (GBR, 30)

David Lozano (ESP, 32)

Peter Kusztor (HUN, 36)

Andrea Peron (IT, 32)

Charles Planet (FRA, 27)


Wednesday May 12th, Stage 1: Siofok – Kaposvar, 173km (1280m)

Thursday May 13th, Stage 2: Balatonfured – Nagykanizsa, 183km (1648m)

Friday May 14th, Stage 3: Veszprem – Tata, 142km (1585m)

Saturday May 15th, Stage 4: Balassagyarmat – Gyongyos-Kekesteto, 204km (3221m)

Sunday May 16th, Stage 5: Budapest – Budapest, 92km (220m)

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com