Season ends on a high in Croatia with Peron breaking the top ten

Sport director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“We ended on a positive note today and that’s satisfying. It was important for us to end the season in a good way and we’ve had some solid results in recent weeks with Andrea and David so to finish with top ten in eighth place on the final stage here in Zagreb is great and I’m happy with that.”

“The guys knew what was at stake today and they all worked hard for one objective and that was the sprint with Andrea and a top ten placing. To see them achieve their goal through unified and selfless teamwork definitely put smile on my face.

“Filippo has been very consistent in his first race with us and the guys have all embraced him as a teammate immediately and that bodes well for the future. It wasn’t an easy race for him to race as a stagiaire, but he has done well and quietly impressed. Now onwards to 2022, we have some work to do in the off-season, but we can now do that with some high aspirations after an affirming result to go home with.”

Andrea Peron:

“I was feeling really good today. Yesterday I tried to save some gas and take it a little bit easy and I think that paid off. It’s right at the end, but I’m back to where I used to be, in the top ten and smiling at the end of a race.”

“It’s definitely a good way to end the season and hugely important for us and our moral to get this result. This year has been so tough, and we have been banging on the door, coming close, but not quite getting there and today we managed to kick the door in and get the result we were aiming for.”

“I think we’re all tired now, but we go away happy and head into the off season ready for a break and with some things to work on as a team over the winter that will hopefully set us up for a good start in 2022.”

Filippo Ridolfo:

“It’s been a great experience racing with the professionals here at CRO-Race and even though it has been a shock to my system, I am happy that I came through and managed to finish the race and help the guys to a positive result to end the season with. The level is super high, there’s no doubt about that and having this race in my legs now will be a real benefit for me and my development.”

— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com

ICA ON THE RISE: Volta a Portugal “school” ended with high marks

When you are an Under-23 Continental team facing one of the toughest tests in racing and end up with a stage WIN, a 2nd place podium in another, many breakaways, and you reach the finish line with almost your full squad intact, it’s a first-rate encouraging sign that your boys are on the right track.

That is the story of the six Israel Cycling Academy “kids” (the seventh, Israeli Yuval Ben Moshe crashed and had to abandon) who surpassed all our expectations. Actually, here is the most revealing fact: the last three times the PRO TEAM raced in Volta a Portugal, they were never able to secure a win. “These kids certainly stepped up,” said ICA boss, Zak Dempster.

The young ICA team was directed by ISN’s sports director Cherie Pridham. She had praiseful words:

“We came to the Volta a Portugal under no illusions since it would be our riders’ hardest race in their young careers. We created a team spirit from day one, we worked together as one, and we never stopped believing.

“We took the biggest win for ICA with Mason Hollyman winning stage 6. An incredible day and one we won’t forget. Then, in less than 24 hours, we went close again, with Alastair taking a super 2nd [place finish]. Everyone played a part in a fantastic two weeks.”

For the three Israelis (Edo Goldstein, Oded Kogut, and Samed Abu Fares), those 10 days were like a boot camp. “I never imagined that I would go so deep in a race,” admitted Edo Goldstein. “And I am happy that I did not face any crises.”

For Israeli sprinter, Oded Kogut, it was the first serious stage race he faced, and the fact that he was able to overcome a pure mountain race was a source of great satisfaction. “I certainly moved up a level,” he said.

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com