Race: Tour of Estonia, Stage 1
Start/Finish: Tallinn/Tartu, Estonia
Distance: 187 kilometers
Tartu, Estonia — Team Novo Nordisk put up a memorable performance this Friday at Tour of Estonia with two podium placings on the same day, a new milestone for the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team.. Andrea Peron sprinted to an impressive third place in Tartu while Sam Brand raised his arms by stepping into the leadership of the King of The Mountains classification.
Cold temperatures and constant downpour set the tone for a hard stage 1 that led the peloton from the capital Tallinn to Tartu over a mostly flat but rain-drenched parcours that included two intermediate sprints and two KOM’s.
Team Novo Nordisk wanted to race aggressively and was committed to have at least one rider at the front of the race and after successive attempts it was Isle of Man’s Sam Brand who managed to forge ahead with four other riders. The quintet rode strongly and after 30 km their advantage over the peloton had stretched to two and a half minutes.
Sam Brand, who last week clocked over 1300 km in the saddle during the Amgen Tour of California, made the most of his good form to get in the mix for the two jerseys up for grabs. The 28-year-old was second on the first KOM of the day and outsmarted his breakaway companions launching a fierce attack and going solo for eight kilometers to score maximum points on the second categorized climb and secure the lead in the King of the Mountains Classification, his first jersey as a professional cyclist.
With his mission accomplished Brand negotiated the descend safely and was was eventually swept up by the charging peloton with a little over 12 km to go. Soon after a flurry of attacks ensued from the bunch but Team Novo Nordisk was attentive and covered all the critical moves, particularly Charles Planet who rode strongly at the front.
Following the cue from his teammates Brian Kamstra played his card just inside the last 10 km and attacked off the front. Our Dutchman put his head down and opened a decent gap between himself and the bunch, riding solo solo for nearly six kilometers before being caught inside the city limits.
In the end the stage was decided on the final stretch with Andrea Peron sprinting to an impressive third place in the wet roads of Tartu. Less than a week after scoring his and the team’s first Top10 placing in a World Tour race, our 30-year-old Italian secured the first for Team Novo Nordisk stage podium this season. With this result Peron climbed from 11th to 7th in the General Classification Standing.
To conclude a day of stellar teamwork Frenchman Charles Planet crossed the finishing line in 10th and sits now in the 5th position in the GC, just 10 seconds off the race leader Matthias Brändle (Israel Cycling Academy).
Tour of Estonia ends this Saturday with the 172.8km stage 2 in Tartu where another bunch sprint finale is expected. Team Novo Nordisk will start the day with Sam Brand in the red jersey, symbol of the King of the Mountains classification leader.
“Today was a great day! We executed our game plan for the stage to perfection. Sam made the break and took the (King of the) Mountains jersey. The rest of us rode together in the peloton without any stress and in the end I tried to get the best possible result. I was feeling good but was boxed in a bit until 150m to go but when I found the space I was able to pass several riders and take the podium”
“Following my DS’s orientation I tried to save my energy in the breakaway and not go full gas with the KOM fight in my head. I went for the sprint in the first KOM and came second. I felt good and thought why not go again. The peloton was catching up to us and about eight kilometers to the final KOM I said I have to go now as we only had about 20 seconds advantage at that point. They chased me for two or three minutes but I put my head down and continued solo. After the climb I was so happy because I knew I had taken the red KOM jersey. It’s my first jersey as a professional cyclist so I’m over the moon!”
1st: Rudy Barbier (Israel Cycling Academy): 4:23:49
2nd: Daniel Babor (Tufo – Pardus Prostejov): “
3rd: Andrea Peron: “
(Photos: ©René Vigneron)