Team Novo Nordisk return to Rhodes looking for stage and GC success
30 March 2021
Riding high after their exploits in the breakaway at Milan – San Remo, Team Novo Nordisk turn their attention to the International Tour of Rhodes with a desire to maintain the strong forward momentum.
After making their first appearance at the four-day race in 2020, the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team fell in love with the island and returned for a pre-season training camp last winter. They know the roads. They know the race and have dual objectives of stage results and a strong placing overall.
“We are definitely looking forward to going back to Rhodes to race at the Rhodes GP and also the International Tour,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “It’s no secret that it is a beautiful island, and we had such a great experience there last year that it was a no brainer to return in 2021 and celebrate the anniversary of 100 years of insulin by once more racing across the islands roads.”
“The shorter, punchy stages suit our style of racing and with the addition of an opening prologue this year, the race will provide a strong challenge for our guys and we are highly motivated to get a good result. There will be five opportunities including the Gran Prix, and we need to make them count.”
“April is a very busy month of racing for us, we have 23 race days in four weeks, and it is time for us to show the depth in our squad now and utilize all our resources. Gerd, and Mehdi and Sam are all set get their seasons underway
Milan – san Remo breakaway protagonist Charles Planet makes his debut at the race and he will be in stellar company as the experienced Brian Kamstra and Sam Brand also come into the team direct from La Classicissima along with Australian Declan Irvine who starts his second race of the season after GP Larciano.
Three riders are set to get their 2021 campaigns rolling with 23-year-old Aussie Sam Munday and French sprinter Mehdi Benhamouda both returning to the race and it was the Frenchman who came close to a stage win here last time around and will be looking to get his season underway in similar fashion, while Dutchman Gerd de Keijzer also makes his first appearance of the year.
“I am excited to be racing at the Rhodes GP and International Rhodes Tour for the first time,” said Planet. “I heard from my teammates last year that it’s a really cool race and it’s good that it comes so soon after we had a big day at Milan – San Remo. We want to carry that positive energy into these next races.”
“It’s going to be a tough race by the look of the parcours with some terrain that will be challenging, but also that could suit us, and I think that will be good for us as we go into a big block of Spring racing with back-to-back one day races in France coming straight after Rhodes.”
The Rhodes GP takes place first on Easter Sunday, covering 186.3 kilometers around the coast of the Island, cutting inland over the hills at the halfway point before barrelling in for what will be a fast finish by the ancient port.
This year’s edition of the Tour once more includes four days of racing, but this time it all kicks off with a short prologue ahead of three lumpy stages that criss-cross the island with the last stage the longest at 153.5 kilometers.
Team Novo Nordisk at the International Rhodes GP & International Tour of Rhodes, April 4th & April 8th-11th:
Mehdi Benhamouda (FR, 26)
Sam Brand (GB, 29)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)
Brian Kamstra (NED, 27)
Sam Munday (AUS, 23)
Charles Planet (FR, 27)
Gerd de Keijzer (NED, 27
International Tour of Rhodes Stages:
Thursday April 8th: Prologue – 1.9km
Friday April 9th: Stage 1 – 138.5km
Saturday April 10th: Stage 2 – 150km
Sunday April 11th: Stage 3 – 153.5km