Team Novo Nordisk Set for Season Opener in Mallorca at Playa de Palma Challenge
19 January 2017
Race: Playa de Palma Challenge (January 26-29)
Total Distance: 629km
Race Class: 1.1
On Thursday, Team Novo Nordisk lines up for four days of early season racing on the Spanish island of Mallorca for the Playa de Palma Challenge.
“The 2017 season is kicking off with Team Novo Nordisk racing in two places at the same time – Dubai and Mallorca. These races are great prep for the many months of racing ahead,” Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko said. “We’ve raced at the Playa de Palma Challenge before and are very excited to be back to test our riders on the Spanish island. These four days serve as an excellent foundation for the season and our riders will start each day looking to gauge their fitness levels and be active and aggressive from the start.
The Playa de Palma Challenge is four consecutive one-day races in and around Mallorca. The first and final days are mostly flat and expected to test the sprinters. Days two and three feature some of the spectacular coastal mountains and will see climbers come to the front.
Twenty-one professional cycling teams will start the Playa de Palma Challenge, with a maximum number of 10 riders each day. Unlike a stage race, where cumulative time is recorded and an overall General Classification determines the winner, the Playa de Palma Challenge is a series of connected but separate one-day races. Additionally, teams are allowed to switch rosters from day-to day.
Team Novo Nordisk is taking a 10-man squad that includes three riders making their pro debuts, Romain Gioux (FRA), Reid McClure (FRA) and Rik van IJzendoorn (NED). Van IJzendoorn raced as a stagiaire for Team Novo Nordisk at the end of the 2016 season. In addition to these new riders, Team Novo Nordisk’s roster features Fabio Calabria (AUS), Corentin Cherhal (FRA), Mehdi Benhamouda (FRA), David Lozano (ESP), Javier Megias (ESP), Brian Kamstra (NED) and Martijn Verschoor (NED).
“Each rider for Team Novo Nordisk begins this year on a new page, with a full off-season of preparation and rest, and a full team behind him at the start,” Davidenko said. “Brian Kamstra did a mountain bike marathon at his home in the Netherlands in December, and we have held training camps in the Dominican Republic, our home state in the US, Georgia and most recently on the Costa Blanca in Spain.”
The 23-year old Kamstra begins his second year as a professional cyclist with open expectations at the Playa de Palma Challenge.
“The speed and intensity at the first race of the season are always a shock to the legs and lungs,” Kamstra said. “Training can prepare your fitness, but the intensity and unpredictability of a peloton on the road is its own special challenge. I’m really looking forward to the start line in Mallorca.”
The four races kick off on January 26 with the 168-kilometer Trofeo Porreres, Felanitx, Ses Salines, Campos. Next is the 140-km Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, then the 160-km Trofeo Andratx-Mirador des Colomer. The final race is the 161-km Trofeo de Palma-Palma.
Team Novo Nordisk PLAYA de PALMA CHALLENGE (January 26-29):
Fabio Calabria (AUS), Corentin Cherhal (FRA), Mehdi Benhamouda (FRA), Romain Gioux (FRA), David Lozano (ESP), Reid McClure (CAN), Javier Megias (ESP), Brian Kamstra (NED), Rik Van IJzendoorn (NED), Martijn Verschoor (NED)
Sport Directors: Pavel Cherkasov (USA), Lionel Marie (FRA).