TNN looking to keep it consistent at Rhodes GP & Rhodes Tour
18 March 2022
Team Novo Nordisk start the second part of their Greek adventure at the weekend with the one-day Rhodes GP coming up first followed by the four stage International Rhodes Tour next week.
After a pair of positive results with Spanish climber David Lozano and sprinter Andrea Peron at the inaugural South Aegean Tour, the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team will look again to Peron to lead from the front alongside the experienced former Hungarian champion Peter Kusztor.
Czech U19 road champion Matyas Kopecky is set to make his professional debut with the team as Australian Declan Irvine and Kiwi Hamish Beadle both return to racing after starting their seasons in Turkey at the Tour of Antalya.
“We had a good start last weekend at the South Aegean Tour,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “Both Andrea and David showed positive signs of form and it’s important that the guys coming in start on the front foot and use these last performances as motivation to pick up where we left off on Sunday.”
“It’s exciting for Matyas to be making his professional debut and it is always nice for young guys to come in and get their first taste of racing with the team, but Matyas is very young, and we won’t be putting any pressure on him in terms of results. These first races will be about gaining experience and doing a job for the team and his teammates, and I think the Rhodes GP and International Rhodes Tour are the perfect races for him to do that.”
French sprinter Mehdi Benhamouda is set to make his first appearance of 2022 and returns to a race where he placed fourth back in 2020 and Dutchman Gerd de Keijzer hits the road after a block of solid training since the Tour of Oman back in February.
While the experienced and versatile Peron shoulders the responsibility of leadership, debutant Kopecky is looking to learn as much as he can and enjoy the moment of pinning on his first professional race number.
“My debut is getting closer,” began Kopecky. “And I am really looking forward to it. Team Novo Nordisk is a special team, and it is an amazing thing to be starting my professional career with this team.”
“I’m not setting myself any goals in terms of a result just yet. I only hope to be of good service to the team and my teammates and that together we can achieve a good result with one or more guys. Of course, in my head I dream of some good result, but this level is unknown to me, so I really don’t know what to expect. My form feels okay, so I hope I can give it my all and try to show myself wherever possible.”
The Rhodes GP is a one-day lap of the whole Island covering 186km and following a counterclockwise route around the coast. Next up is the four-day tour, beginning with a sharp uphill prologue followed by three lumpy road stages that crisscross the rugged terrain of the island’s interior.
Team Novo Nordisk at the Rhodes GP_& International Rhodes Tour, 20th & 24th to 27th March:
Hamish Beadle (NZ, 23)
Mehdi Benhamouda (FR, 27)
Gerd de Keijzer (NED, 28)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 23)
Matyas Kopecky (CZ, 19)
Peter Kusztor (HUN, 37)
Andrea Peron (IT, 33)
Sunday 20th March: Rhodes – 186km
Rhodes Tour Stages:
Thursday, 24th March – Prologue: Lalyssos, 3.8km
Friday, 25th March – Stage 1: Rhodes – Kalamonas, 138.5km
Saturday, 26th March – Stage 2: Rhodes – Afandoou, 153.5km Sunday, 27th March – Stage 3: Rhodes – Maritsa, 150.2km