Team Novo Nordisk to start 2022 season at Tour of Antalya
07 February 2022
After a winter of hard work, training camps, adjustments to new bikes and gear, Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team is ready to start the 2022 season. Beginning in Turkey at the Tour of Antalya.
Seven riders will take on the four-day stage race with young Briton Nathan Smith stepping up in a stagiaire role from the Team Novo Nordisk development team after impressing at the recent January training camp.
30-year-old Sam Brand takes on a mature role for the race with Belgian sprinter Robbe Ceurens making his return after crashing out of the tour of Denmark back in 2021 and looking to be protected for the flat finishes Australian Declan Irvine also comes back for his first race since August.
“We are very excited to be coming back to Turkey to start our 2022 season,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “We’ve got a good team of young guys raring to go and we will be looking for Robbe and Declan to pick up where they left off at the Tour of Denmark last year.”
“I’m very happy to say that we have Nathan Smith coming up from the Devo team, Nathan really impressed during our recent training camp and it’s great that we can give him this opportunity to show what he can do this early on and the best way that we can highlight our development program and carry our message to help drive change in diabetes by showing what’s possible.”
Kiwi Hamish Beadle and American Logan Phippen will be in support with Smith and 25-year-old Frenchman Lucas Dauge the team’s designated climbers.
“This is a tough race for us to begin with,” continued Davidenko. “But also a race where we have objectives that we want to realize, not only with Robbe in the sprints but also an opportunity for Sam to show his experience and his maturity and try to step up into a captain’s role to help the young guys.”
Ceurens was unfortunate with his first pro races last year and will be looking to stay out of trouble this time around. With sprint opportunities likely on three out of the four stages, the 20-year-old from Brussels has only one thing on his mind.
“I’m super excited to get my season going,” said Ceurens. “It was quite disappointing to end my season early last year due to crashes after racing as a stagiaire with the ProTeam in Denmark and also racing on home roads in Belgium. But thankfully I’m fully recovered now we had a great block of winter preparation in really good company at camp in Spain and I feel ready and focused to give it a go in the sprints.”
For 21-year-old Smith the familiar sight of Ceurens alongside him will make for a slightly easier transition to the senior ranks after racing together on the Devo team. The young climber wasn’t expecting his chance to come so soon but is determined to take it and make the most of the opportunity.
“I’m super excited to be starting my 2022 season as a stagiaire with the pro team at the Tour of Antalya,” said Smith. “For sure it’ll be a tough race, but I’m relishing the opportunity and I just can’t wait to get stuck into the racing.”
“The call up came completely out of the blue while we were at team training camp in Spain last week. I did some good training and test results, so was on good form, but didn’t expect to get this chance so soon in the year.
My goal is to finish the race and learn from the experience of racing with the pro team. As well as helping the rest of the guys the best I can throughout and doing what is required of me. Overall, I aim to enjoy it!”
Team Novo Nordisk at Tour of Antalya, 10th – 13th February:
Hamish Beadle (NZL, 23)
Sam Brand (GBR, 30)
Robbe Ceurens (BEL, 20)
Lucas Dauge (FR, 25)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)
Logan Phippen (USA, 29)
Nathan Smith (GBR, 21)
Thursday, 10th February, Stage 1: Side – Antalya, 144.5km
Friday, 11th February, Stage 2: Kemer – Antalya, 183.3km
Saturday, 12th February, Stage 3: Aspendos – Termessos, 110.6km
Sunday, 13th February, Stage 4: Antalya – Antalya, 162.1km