Team Novo Nordisk to make first appearance at Belgrade Banjaluka
19 April 2021
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team is set to make its debut at the 15th edition of the Serbian stage race Belgrade Banjaluka this week with a strong team looking for stage results.
Irishman Stephen Clancy will make his first appearance of the 2021 season after recently becoming a father and will be joined by French fast men Charles Planet and Mehdi Benhamouda fresh from the International Tour of Rhodes and buoyed by Planet’s top ten finish on the last stage.
“It feels so good to start racing again after a year of waiting,” said Clancy. “It’s super motivating to train towards an event and to be able to put the hard work into action.”
“My wife and I recently had a baby, so the last month has been a whole new experience which I’m loving, and I think I’m just about getting the hang of the balancing act. Let’s see if these so-called ‘dad watts’ really exist!”
Also coming into the team from racing on the roads of Rhodes will be Brit Sam Brand and young Australian Decan Irvine who is also starting to find some form after over 12 months without racing.
Stepping off the overnight sleeper from the Tour of Turkey will be Italian breakaway specialist Umberto Poli and American first-year pro Logan Phippen.
“This will be our first time racing in Serbia at Belgrade Banjaluka and we’re really looking forward to it,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “With the exception of Stephen, all the guys have some solid racing in their legs now and we’re hungry to race and get some good results.”
“The last block of racing in Greece and Turkey has been very positive and has definitely set us up well for a few good days of fast racing in Serbia, the stages are a little shorter and flatter than our recent races and that will suit Mehdi and also Charles. It’s going to be tough the competition is very high everywhere this year, but we are aiming for a positive result and the guys are well prepared.”
Covering a total of 505 kilometers from the capital Belgrade to Banjaluka in Bosnia Herzegovina, this is definitely a race suited to the sprinters and puncheurs among the pack. Three out of the four stages are flat finishes with stage three the odd one out and characterized by a couple of sharp climbs ahead of a steady drag all the way to the line.
Team Novo Nordisk at Belgrade Banjaluka April 22nd-25th:
Mehdi Benhamouda (FR,26)
Sam Brand (GB, 30)
Stephen Clancy (IRL, 28)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)
Logan Phippen (USA, 28)
Charles Planet (FR, 27)
Umberto Poli (IT, 24)
Thursday April 22nd, stage 1: Belgrade – Sabac, 96km
Friday April 23rd, stage 2: Obrenovac – Bijeljina, 122km
Saturday April 24th, stage 3: Bijeljina – Vlasenica, 124.1km
Sunday April 25th, stage 4: Prijedor – Banjaluka, 163.5km