12 Jun - 16 Jun 2024

TEAM Pro Team



Top ten for Kopecky in first sprint of Belgium Tour

An uphill finish by the sea in Knokke-Heist was the scene of the 12th top ten finish of 2024 for Matyas Kopecky with the versatile Team Novo Nordisk sprinter taking on the big names on stage two of the Baloise Belgium Tour and yet again holding his own.

“I had really good legs today,” said Kopecky. “Which surprised me after yesterday’s time trial because I remember last year suffering the day after, but today went better than expected.”

“I caught some wind in the final 500m and expended more energy than I needed too considering the ramp up to the finish, but against this field of the worlds best sprinters I’m happy with tenth”

The first road stage of this year’s race got underway close to Gent and set out north over the open tiaras towards the coast and the punchy finishing circuits of Knokke-Heist.

With the days breakaway forming in the first hour of racing and the anticipated crosswinds never really materializing, keeping the race under control was never really a problem for the sprinters teams and as the race hit the first of two local laps the bunch was altogether and heading to a fast finale.

“As we hit the circuits me and Andrea were together and positioned quite well near the front,” continued Kopecky. “But we lost each other on the last lap and I knew I needed to try and move up to try and get the best position for the sprint, so went my own way for the last couple of kilometers.”

“It’s a nice start to the race and showing what we can do against top competition is always a good feeling and a strong motivator.”

Photo credits: Sprint Cycling Agency

Peron crashes out on stage 3 in Belgium as Kopecky pushes on

A day of mixed fortunes unfolded for Team Novo Nordisk on stage three of the Baloise Belgium Tour with team captain Andrea Peron crashing heavily and Matyas Kopecky missing out on the top placings despite a strong ride.

Not much action occurred in the first half of the stage with the peloton content to hold a steady pace behind the seven rider breakaway and until the first passage of the finish line with 90km to go.

“We were altogether, riding well until the finishing circuits in Scherpenheuvel – Zichem,” said Kopecky. “Then as expected the race came alive and the pace almost doubled. I felt really good again today, great legs and on the second lap and had to control myself to not make any stupid mistakes like trying to attack and then blowing up.”

“On the last cobbled sections some guys were trying to go and I was third wheel with a very strong impulse to go, but the group was still big and with 12km left to race I knew it was too far out. In the final I was ok, but I knew it would be a hard one for me and  I was just outside the ten.”

Peron was sitting further back from Kopecky on the final lap, making his way back towards the front when he was caught in a seven rider, high speed pile up and hit the deck hard.

“I couldn’t do anything about it, especially at that speed,” said Peron. “There was a movement to avoid what looked like a hole in the road and I moved too and the next thing I’m down and sliding with some other guys.”

“It’s never good to crash, but I’m lucky to have not broken anything. I’m banged up, lots of road rash, but the recovery should be quick and fingers crossed I’ll be ready for Slovakia.” 

Photo credits: Sprint Cycling Agency

Smith makes the break on Queen stage in Belgium

British neo pro Nathan Smith found his breakaway legs once again for Team Novo Nordisk making the move of the day on the Queen stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour.

After a period of recovery following a fractured elbow the 23-year-old achieved his goal of getting out front for the worlds first all diabetes professional cycling team, even if he did choose the hardest stage of the race to do it!

“It feels good to get up the road again,” said Smith. “I’m not quite back to the level I had before the crash, but being out front in a good group working together is always a nice sensation and I’m proud to be able show off our jersey in a race like the Belgium Tour.”

“We wanted to get in the break since the second day and it turned out that the Queen stage ended up being the easiest day to make the right move. It wasn’t planned this way. I was close to the front and saw three guys attack and I thought why not…then on the first climb some more WorldTour riders bridged across and that gave us more momentum”

Smith played his part well alongside the leaders for close to 100km before the repeated punishing ascents of the Mur de Durbuy took their toll and he dropped back to join his teammates in the bunch.

“I would have liked to have hung on there until the last lap,” concluded Smith. “But I was already suffering on the climbs, dropping and then making it back in on the downhills and as we got deeper into the race the group split and four of us lost contact. We’re looking forward to a nice finale in Brussels tomorrow and then some recovery.”

Photo credits: Sprint Cycling Agency

TNN wrap up Belgium Tour with another top ten for Kopecky

Team Novo Nordisk signed off from the Baloise Belgium Tour with Matyas Kopecky tenth on the fifth and final stage for his and the teams second top ten of the race.

As is traditional for the climax of the Belgium Tour, the last stage finished with a tough test around the capital city of Brussels, this time made up of five punchy circuits before a fast and slightly uphill sprint by the legendary Atomium landmark.

“We did a great job as a team today,” said Kopecky. “The guys supported me really well and we definitely improved when it counted at the last opportunity. Finishing off a hard week with a top ten here in Brussels is great.”

It wasn’t the most ideal of starts as the wind whipped and rain swirled around the King Baudouin Stadium, with the early breakaway split into two small groups as it tried to go clear, battling against the tight leash of the peloton.

The weather finally cleared and two hours into the stage the sun decided to come out to play, drying out the tarmac and bringing out the smiles. That warmth did nothing for the efforts of the breakaway though, with the bunch taking control before the final lap and the stage set for the expected sprint finish.

“I had Alessandro with me up until 5km to go,” continued Kopecky. “He’s learning really fast and did great work today, he tried his best to keep me sheltered at the front for as long as possible and as the pace and stress heightened he didn’t let it phase him.”

“I’m really comfortable with this type of final now, I feel confident moving with the sway of the bunch and the last few kilometers I managed to avoid some of the chaos and a late crash to time my sprint pretty nicely and achieve the goal of getting into the top ten again. Two top tens is positive for us here, especially since we lost Andrea on stage three and I’m looking forward to the Nationals now in the Czech Republic.”

Photo credits: Sprint Cycling Agency