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Belgian adventure continues for Team Novo Nordisk at the Baloise Tour

The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team stay in Belgium this week for the five-day Baloise Belgium Tour looking for breakaway opportunities after a tough weekend of racing at Hageland and Elfstedenronde.

Australian Declan Irvine produced what could be considered a breakthrough performance in races he idolized as a junior rider, overcoming the challenge of being dropped on the cobbles in Elfstedenronde on Sunday to battle his way back in and finish just behind the sprinters in the peloton.

“Ah, I’m feeling pretty good after Sunday actually,” said Irvine. “I was happy to finish where I did, but straight after the race I was only thinking that we could have done better and that’s the main I thing I want to take into the Belgium Tour this week, that we can do better and keep improving every day and every race.”

French puncheur Charles Planet has struggled for some from recently and will be looking to change that situation this week and lead from the front alongside former Hungarian road champion Peter Kusztor and Brit Sam Brand with Irishman Stephen Clancy stepping in for the injured Andrea Peron.

“I think we learned some good lessons from the weekend’s racing,” said sport director Gennady Mikhaylov. “It was very hard for our guys, but no-one has ever said racing in Belgium is easy and we need these experiences to move forward and get this kind of racing rhythm in our legs.”

“We have five more hard days ahead of us now, with four road stages and four opportunities to get in the breakaway and show what we can do when we’re up the road. There’s been a couple of changes to the team due to Andrea still having a problem with his knee after Estonia, but we have the balance and versatility to achieve our goals.”

Swiss all-rounder Oliver Behringer returns after the recent Tour de la Mirabelle alongside American Logan Phippen who enjoyed his first outing on the Belgian cobbles and is looking forward to more action in the week.

“These first races in Belgium over the weekend were a great experience,” concluded Phippen. “It was an eye-opening experience for sure and surreal to be here in the bunch with the ‘Greats’ I have watched growing up, but a great experience nonetheless and I am happy to have these races under my belt and in my legs now that the Belgium Tour is upon us.”

“This week the priority for me is, for one, to deliver the job that is required of me for the team and the results we’re after and after that it will be continuing to gain the experience in the technical Belgian racing style and getting into the speed and flow of the Pro peloton. There is so much to learn and integrate into my own style and personality as a rider and I am looking forward to soaking those lessons up this week.”

The five-day race is made up of four classic road stages and one 11.2 kilometer individual time trial on the second day for a total of 693 kilometers. The race criss-crosses Belgium from the northern coast back inland to the finish in Beringen near the border with the Netherlands.

Team Novo Nordisk at the Baloise Belgium Tour 9th – 13th June:

Sam Brand (GBR, 30)

Oliver Behringer (SUI, 25)

Stephen Clancy (IRL, 28)

Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)

Peter Kusztor (HUN, 36)

Logan Phippen (USA, 29)

Charles Planet (FR, 27)

Stages:

Wednesday 9th June, Stage1: Beveren – Maarkedal, 175.3km

Thursday 10th June, Stage 2: Knokke-Heist, 11.2km (ITT)

Friday 11th June, Stage 3: Gingelom – Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, 174.4km

Saturday 12th June, Stage 4: Hamoir – Hamoir, 152.7km

Sunday 13th June, Stage 5: Turnhout – Beringen, 178.7km

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

One day double header opens Belgian adventure for Team Novo Nordisk

Team Novo Nordisk hit the North next week with back-to-back one day races in Belgium at Dwars door het Hageland followed by Elfstedenronde.

The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team return to the hard and unforgiving cobbles for the first time since last year’s Brabantse Pijl prepared for some tough racing to lead them into the fast-approaching Baloise Belgium Tour.

These two races open up a solid ten-day block of racing in Belgium for us,” said Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov. “With the Baloise Belgium Tour coming up a couple of days later, we are hoping that Hageland and Elfstedenronde will get us back into the hard northern European style of racing and ready to hit the cobblestones once again.”

“We’ll be ready to go on Saturday, it’s going to be an intense weekend of racing, but it will be a great experience for some of our guys who haven’t raced in Belgium before and that will be invaluable for them and the team.’

American first year pro Logan Phippen returns for his first races since Belgrade Banjaluka with French puncheur Charles Planet and experienced teammate Joonas Henttala all coming straight from the recent Tour de la Mirabelle.

“I was a little bit disappointed with missing out on a top ten stage result at Mirabelle,” said Planet. “It’s my home race and I desperately wanted to do well there, but I struggled with some sickness after the Tour de Hongrie and that affected my preparation.”

“I’m over that now, recovered and fully focused on Belgium and these next races. We have a good team lining up and we’re motivated to make the most of the opportunities we will have throughout the three races.”

An untimely crash at last week’s Tour of Estonia makes sprinter Andrea Peron a doubt whilst 22-year-old Australian Declan Irvine put in a strong performance in Estonia last week and will be joined by Irishman Stephen Clancy and Italian all-rounder Umberto Poli.

First up is the 18th edition of Dwars door het Hageland on Saturday and a 180 kilometer parcours peppered with short, sharp bergs and closing with what are set to be very fast finishing circuits.

Rounding out the weekend is the 38th edition of the one-day semi classic Elfstedenronde, first held way back in 1943 and formerly known as the Bruges Cycling Classic. The race covers 193 kilometers and traditionally favours the sprinters.

Team Novo Nordisk at Dwars door het Hageland and Elfstedenronde, 5th & 6th June:

Stephen Clancy (IRL, 28)

Joonas Henttala (FIN, 29)

Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)

Andrea Peron (IT, 32)

Logan Phippen (USA, 29)

Charles Planet (FR, 27)

Umberto Poli (IT, 24)

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Team Novo Nordisk kicks off Tour de la Mirabelle with solid prologue

Charles Planet (FRA)

“This Tour de Mirabelle started with a short, very fast prologue. I was one of the last ones to go, and I gave everything I had. The result was not the one I expected, but in fairness we were all very close to each other, which gave me confidence for tomorrow stage.”

“It is very exciting to be here, I had so many emotions today! Firstly, the excitement of racing at home, for the first time in eight years as professional cyclist. Plus my entire family and my girlfriend are here to support and cheer for me and for the team. It’s an extra motivation to push harder and show what we are capable of.”

Hamish Beadle (NZL)

“Today I felt like being the new kid at school again. But it’s such a good feeling to be back in the mix!
The course suited me quite well: it was short, technical and punchy. I really enjoyed it.”

“It’s unreal being back with the guys and the team. It’s going to be a good week.”

Photo Credit: Rene’ Vigneron; Alice Podenzana

— Alice Podenzana to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Team Novo Nordisk Looking East to Estonia

The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team returns to the Tour of Estonia at the end of the month, with Isle of Man native Sam Brand looking forward to returning to the scene of one of his breakthrough races.

Back in 2019, Brand put in a strong ride in the prologue and the day after on stage one, went on the attack from the breakaway taking points to climb into the mountain’s jersey. Proudly wearing in stage two, the Briton went deep, but narrowly missed out on bringing the jersey home, coming second in the final classification. 

“I have good memories from the Tour of Estonia,” said Brand. “That is one of my best performances since I became a professional, everything almost came together, and we were really close to winning the mountains jersey. I’m looking forward to racing there again and it would be great to deliver the same level of performance.”

Joining Brand will be Italian sprinter Andrea Peron who’s searching for that elusive top ten finish after coming close at nearly every race he’s lined up at in 2021 and compatriot Umberto Poli with Dutchman Brian Kamstra returning to the fold after putting in some hard work training in Italy and fine tuning his position.

Australians Declan Irvine and Sam Munday complete the team alongside the calm presence of Irishman Stephen Clancy.

“It’s only two days of racing, but it won’t be easy,” said Sports director Gennady Mikhaylov. “At this stage of the season many riders are flying and keen to take every opportunity on offer. We need to be smart, follow our race plan and work together to achieve our objectives.”

“We have a good team with speed and balance, but these stages in Estonia will be fast from the flag drop and if we can support Andrea in numbers going into the finals, then I think we can get the top ten result that we’re aiming for.”

The two-day race covers 355 kilometers and starts in the historic capital Tallinn on the Baltic Sea with a road stage that heads southeast to the prestigious university town of Tartu for a downtown Grand Prix finale comprised of 16 circuits.

Team Novo Nordisk at the Tour of Estonia, May 28th – 29th:

Sam Brand (GBR, 30)

Stephen Clancy (IRL, 28)

Brian Kamstra (NED, 27)

Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)

Sam Munday (AUS, 22)

Andrea Peron (IT, 32)

Umberto Poli (IT, 24)

Stages:

Friday May 28th, Stage 1: Tallin – Tartu, 193km

Saturday May 29th, Stage 2: Tartu – Tartu, 162km

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Planet leads Team Novo Nordisk on home roads at the Tour de la Mirabelle

The most combative rider at the 2019 Tour of Poland Charles Planet, will lead Team Novo Nordisk proudly at his home race this week, the Tour de la Mirabelle.

The 27-year-old Frenchman will be looking to perform on home soil at the 18th edition of the four-day stage race (the third as the Tour de la Mirabelle) and if insider knowledge holds any benefit then Planet will certainly be looking to exploit that.

The prologue passes three kilometers from Planet’s home, stages one and three criss-cross his training roads and stage two passes through Vagney where his parents live. How’s that for local!

“I always love racing in France,” said Planet. “I feel a lot of pride wearing the Team Novo Nordisk jersey on home roads, especially that pass so close to where I live and train. It’s a special feeling and I’m super excited to race at the Tour de la Mirabelle.”

“I’ve recovered quite well after suffering from some sickness in Hungary and I am happy to say that the training has been good, so I feel like I’m on the right track. I’m looking forward to the prologue, the course suits me, and I like stage races that begin this way.”

A strong and versatile team line up in support with Spanish climber David Lozano and experienced Hungarian Peter Kusztor returning to France after a packed racing schedule.

Both Joonas Henttala and Switzerland’s Oliver Behringer come in after a solid block of training and Kiwi Hamish Beadle is finally set to make his full debut for the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team.

“We know it’s going to be a tough race,” continued Planet. “But we have a strong team, and it would be amazing if we can get a good result here, we keep working hard and coming very close and it’s only a matter of time before we make the breakthrough.”

Four days of racing across Lorraine from Moselle and into the Vosges will cover 529 kilometers and include 5780 meters of elevation, making for a challenging, but scenic route stacked with opportunities.

We are really pleased to be making our first appearance at the Tour de la Mirabelle and be back racing in France,” said General manager Vassili Davidenko. “It will be great for Charles and the guys to be competing in an area where there will be a lot of local support for the team and the message we carry.”

“It will be a tough four days of racing, but we like the structure of the stages and the terrain and we have a good team lining up to try and make the most of the opportunities and get in the thick of the action.”

For Beadle, his first appearance as a fully-fledged professional has finally arrived, after coming through the Team Novo Nordisk development pipeline the 22-year-old turned pro in 2020 only to see the racing calendar slashed and his chances of pulling on the jersey on hold for another 12 months.

“It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure,” began Beadle. “Last year was lost due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions and then this year, after making the move full time to Europe from New Zealand I spent the early months getting back into a solid training routine and trying to reach a level where I felt ready to race and now I feel like I’m there.”

“I can’t believe how much time it’s been since I last raced, I can’t wait to get stuck in with the boys. My goals will be pretty simple, do as much as I can for the boys, whether it be sprints, bottle boy or just getting in amongst it. It’s been a bit bumpy the last couple months with some health problems, but I’m back on track and keen to get into it.”

Team Novo Nordisk at the Tour de la Mirabelle, May 27th – 30th:

Hamish Beadle (NZ, 23)

Oliver Behringer (SUI, 25)

Joonas Henttala (FIN, 29)

Peter Kusztor (HUN, 36)

David Lozano (ESP, 32)

Charles Planet (FR, 27)

Stages:

Thursday May 27th, PROLOGUE: Tomblaine – 3.1km

Friday May 28th, Stage 1: Pont-a-Mousson – Lesmenils, 158.8km

Saturday May 29th, Stage 2: Neufchateau – Saint Amarin, 177km

Sunday May 30th, Stage 3: Chateau de Luneville – Damelevieres, 189.5km

— 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)

Stages:

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