Stage one climbs keep Kusztor at the front in Rhodes
25 March 2022
Veteran Team Novo Nordisk climber Peter Kusztor pulled out another impressive performance on the opening road stage at the International Rhodes Tour with the 37-year-old in the mix in the leading group after the race split to pieces on the main climb of the day.
Holding position as the closing kilometers unfolded over a lumpy circuit, Kusztor rode intelligently, knowing his chances in the sprint would be limited and deciding to try to maintain position. The former Hungarian road champion finished just outside the top ten in 12th place with Andrea Peron and neo-pro Matyas Kopecky close behind also in the top 25.
“I am happy again today, I felt good after yesterday’s prologue and I just tried to ride at the front, be well positioned and alive to any significant action. When the bunch split on the steepest climb I was up there and able to stay there. So as the time gap went out, I thought ok, I need to try and stay here and see how it unfolds.”
“There was close to 15 guys and the gap held at around a minute after the descent and we hit the closing circuit. I know I’m not a sprinter and that the finish didn’t suit me, but with the gap between the groups being what it was I also knew that it was very unlikely that the group with Andrea and Matyas would come back. So, I tried to give it my all and have a go in the final.”
Head Sports Director Massimo Podenzana:
“Peter rode well again today and we can see that he’s coming into some decent form now, the altitude and tough racing at the Tour of Rwanda has clearly done him some good. How the race unfolded over the climbs dictated how the tactics would be in the final and once the splits went out to a minute it was always going to be hard for the two front groups to come back together.
“We spoke at the start about the importance of having someone at the front if a large group went clear and Peter made sure we got that today, so it gives us another positive result and a small advance on the general classification.”
Photo: Nassos Triantafyllou