Team Novo Nordisk head to Holland and Belgium for early spring racing
10 March 2023
Three early spring semi-classic challenges await Team Novo Nordisk next week as the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team head to Holland for Albert Achterhes Profonde van Drenthe followed by back-to-back Belgian races Nokere Koerse and Koksijde Classic.
The combined skills and experience of versatile sprinter Andrea Peron and former Hungarian champion Peter Kusztor will be key to good team performances and with the youthful talents of Matyas Kopecky and Declan Irvine in support, the balance of the squad is in line.
“I know I’ve said this before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time I say it, there are no easy races at this level,” began General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “But our three upcoming races starting in Holland at Ronde van Drenthe on Sunday and then the two following in Belgium will be very tough and we need to be focused and ready to work.”
“It’s a special thing for a cyclist to be racing these old one day Northern European events in early spring, the conditions are always unpredictable and the racing is always exciting. For our younger guys like Matyas and Declan this is a formative experience and here is where they need to be learning how to handle themselves in classics style racing.”
American Logan Phippen and local hero Gerd de Keijzer both pin numbers on for the first time this season and complete the team alongside 2021 Finnish road champion Joonas Henttala.
“There are times when I really love racing the early spring semi-classics,” said Peron. “The style of racing is always explosive and hard, unpredictable, and challenging. It’s part of why you want to become a cyclist when you’re young. Then you look at the weather forecast!”
“Joking aside, it’s good to be back racing a block of back-to-back semi-classics like Ronde van Drenthe, Nokere Koerse and Koksijde Classic. It’s going to be difficult to assert ourselves here and it will be important to be switched on from the very beginning because there is no lull in these races and if it is windy… then anything can happen at any time.”
The proceedings begin on Sunday with the 62nd edition of Ronde van Drenthe, mainly flat until the closing laps and multiple ascents of the “Vam-berg” which peaks at 20%. Afterwards the team will head straight to Belgium and the cobbles for Wednesday’s 76th edition of Nokere Koerse before wrapping things up at Koksijde Classic on Friday.
Team Novo Nordisk at Ronde van Drenthe, Nokere Koerse and Koksijde Classic (12th, 15th & 17th March):
Gerd de Keijzer (NED, 29)
Joonas Henttala (FIN, 31)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 23)
Matyas Kopecky (CZ, 20)
Peter Kusztor (HUN, 37)
Andrea Peron (IT, 34)
Logan Phippen (USA, 30)