Multiple names return to the start line for Team Novo Nordisk at the Tour of Estonia this week with injuries and sickness overcome for some and the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team looking for breakaways and stage results.
Italian stalwart Andrea Peron leads from the front after a season so far packed with top 10’s and podium placings with Czech U19 road champion Matyas Kopecky back racing for the pro team after a third-place stage finish on his professional debut of the Tour of Rhodes in late March.
French sprinter Mehdi Benhamouda also comes into the team after last racing on Rhodes and recovering from a crash in training. The list of crash victims was seemingly endless at the start of the season, one of the unfortunates was Dutch neo pro Jan Dunnewind now ready to race after breaking his collarbone at the Tour of Oman in February.
“Firstly, it’s great to be racing again at the Tour of Estonia,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “We always enjoy racing here and we’ll be looking to show ourselves and our jersey. It’s good to have a few of the guys returning after injury, hungry and ready to race and we’ll do our best to support Andrea and fight for stage results.”
“It will be important for us to try and create and make the most of the opportunities on both road stages as the prologue will be more of an all-out effort for the more powerful riders, but a positive opening result would be nice so let’s see.”
Australian rouleur Declan Irvine missed the Tour of Hellas in April due to sickness and is back alongside Irishman Stephen Clancy and American Logan Phippen.
“I was gutted to miss the Tour of Hellas,” began Irvine. “And getting sick set me back a couple of weeks, but I’m excited to be back in Estonia and looking forward to racing with the guys again.”
“It will be cool to start with a good hit-out in the prologue to get the legs going and then put our focus on working for Andrea and making sure we’re together as a team going into the finals.”
Peron has been ever present for Team Novo Nordisk in 2022 and will be looking to maintain his consistency from Tallinn to Tartu.
“I enjoyed racing in Estonia the last time we were here in 2021,” said Peron. “It’s not so easy and the Tartu circuits are tough with a steep cobbled section up to the line and once you’ve covered it three or four times it can be fatiguing. It’s like a mini classics course and for sure we’re going to some action there.”
The ninth edition of the mini-stage race covers close to 400km of racing over three days of competition that heads south from the capital Taliinn in the North to the beautiful university city of Tartu in the southeast.
Team Novo Nordisk at the Tour of Estonia, 26th – 28th:
Mehdi Benhamouda (FR, 27)
Stephen Clancy (IRL, 29)
Jan Dunnewind (NED, 23)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 23)
Matyas Kopecky (CZ, 19)
Andrea Peron (IT, 33)
Logan Phippen (USA, 30)
Prologue: Tallinn – Tallinn, 3.7km.
Stage 1: Tallinn – Tartu, 192.6km
Stage 2: Tartu – Tartu, 175.3km
— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com