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