Kopecky shines with third on stage two in Rhodes and the future looks bright
26 March 2022
Neo-pro Matyas Kopecky fulfilled his dream on stage two of the International Tour of Rhodes, sprinting into third place in his first professional race for Team Novo Nordisk.
After another hilly and windy stage, the Czech U19 road champion was set to lead-out teammate Andrea Peron in downtown Afandou, but a technical corner filled with road furniture saw Peron lose position and left Kopecky with the chance to sprint on the wide straight and take third place. Capping off a solid all round team performance.
“I said coming into this race that I didn’t know what to expect from this level of racing because it was unknown to me, and it has been really hard so far. But I also said that I dreamt of a getting a good result on my debut, so to be able to achieve that today is just amazing and I want to thank all the team for believing in me and giving me the chance to be part of this special family.”
“Racing with these guys over the last few days has been a real eye opener and I’m learning so much, especially from Andrea and Peter who both are a great teachers during the race and when you see Peter moving on the climbs, you know you need to go. Sharing a room with Andrea has been good for me and we’ve been alongside each other each day in the bunch too, so getting a result today is the best way I can say thank you.”
“I didn’t expect to have the chance to sprint today, but after the last corner I saw that Andrea had slipped back so I kept looking back with 300-400 meters to go to see if he was coming back up, but it was too fast, and I thought ok I’ll have a go. The wind probably helped me out in the sprint because most of the guys were too the right and I was able to sprint up the left.”
Head Sports Director Massimo Podenzana:
“The stage played out well for us today, apart from an early breakaway on the climb, there wasn’t so many attacks, and everything felt more controlled. For sure the headwind on the climbs kept the pace down and played a big role in the race situation and it wasn’t until the last climb that the pace went up and we saw some splits, but Andrea, Matyas and Peter were all well positioned and made it into the front.”
“Our plan was to go for the sprint with Andrea, but the last corner saw some riders lose position and that left us with Matyas up there and the kid did a fantastic job. It’s important to not put unnecessary pressure on Matyas and his job here was to learn and work for the team but he took his chance today and really lifted the spirits of the guys who all did a great job.”