A hot and hilly opening stage of the International Hellas Tour traversed the ancient Island of Crete from the capital Heraklion to the picturesque port of Chania where a technical finish awaited on the seafront.
Italian sprinter Andrea Peron and Spanish climber David Lozano produced a good showing for Team Novo Nordisk, forming part of an elite reduced group that formed over the climbs and tried in vain to chase down the remnants of the breakaway.
“I felt a lot better today than in Turkey that’s for sure. It was hot, straight onto a climb and the pace was high from the start, but we did a good job today. The guys supported me and Andrea really well and to be honest everyone in our group thought the breakaway was already caught.”
“We hit 2,900m elevation in 179km and the group of four guys were really moving out front. Andrea and I were in the reduced favorites group and we collaborated well together. When we hit the descent to the finish, it was technical and we thought we would be fighting for the stage result, so to find out at the finish that one guy remained and he won…was a bit deflating. But we’re in good shape and we go again tomorrow.”
Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov:
“That was a good start from us today. The guys followed instructions and worked hard with both Andrea and David right up there with the favorites group.
“The race was split very early because we were straight onto the climbs and I was surprised that one guy from the break managed to stay out front, but that’s the race today and we showed good signs. So that’s what we will carry forward into tomorrow’s stage two.”
— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com