Date: March 01, 2020
Race: International Rhodes Grand Prix
Start/Finish: Rhodes/Rhodes, Greece
Distance: 186 kilometers
Umberto Poli (ITA)
Today was the first of race of the season for me and the rest of the guys here in Rhodes. Initially, the plan was to work for Mehdi and Declan for the sprint, but Mehdi lost contact on the first climb, so we shifted the focus to Declan, who was feeling good, and we went from there.
We worked really well together all day. The last few kilometers were very fast with a lot of tight corners, and I was trying to keep Declan in a good position at the front, but we lost each other a little, so I tried my best to sprint well and I’m happy with how it turned out. A top ten in the first race is pretty good!
We have a few days in Rhodes now to train ahead of the International Tour of Rhodes on Friday. It’s good going into the next race after a positive start.
Declan Irvine (AUS) – neo-pro
The biggest thing today was the main climb, which came around 50 kilometers in and was ten kilometers long. We had a clear plan and knew from previous editions that the first climb was where we needed to be attentive. I managed to make it over in the front group that split to around 60 riders and that was the group that made it to the finish.
It worked out really well for us because Peter attacked and set the pace on the climb and tried to take a group with him. They gained about a minute and that meant that we could sit on and wait for the sprint. Peter’s group ended up coming back together and we knew then that it was going to be a sprint finish.
It was super hectic going into the last few kilometers. It had been windy on the coast and it was fast as we hit the old town of Rhodes. The finish was quite cool because it’s right in the heart of the town and you’re weaving in and out of these ancient stone walls and flying around the corners.
I lost Umberto’s wheel slightly through the last couple of corners and fought to come back, but I didn’t have enough left to come around. Umberto did well in what ended up being a messy sprint. For the first race of the season, it was awesome.
The International Rhodes Tour, a three-day stage race taking place on the island of Rhodes, Greece, begins on Friday March 6th. Covering 458 kilometers of rolling terrain with 5,196 meters elevation, it is set to be a challenging race.