15 May - 19 May 2024

TEAM Pro Team

STAGES 4

TEAM Pro Team STAGES 4

Positive double opening stage at Tour of Hellas for TNN

Team Novo Nordisk navigated well the currents of the double headed opening stage of the Tour of Hellas as the race got underway with an initial prologue followed by a short road stage around the ancient port of Thessaloniki.

21-year-old Czech sprinter Matyas Kopecky returned with a bang after recovering from a recent illness and after placing 14th in the mornings time trial, sprinted to his eighth top ten of the season in the early evening finale.

General manager Vassili Davidenko:

“That’s a good start for us, all the guys came through the prologue ok and then watching the team do a great job of working together for Matyas in this afternoon’s stage was very pleasing.”

We were well organized and the work Umberto and also David did in helping bring back the breakaway was key to us having the chance to sprint in the end. Another opportunity tomorrow and we’ll recover and look to build on today’s positive start.”

Matyas Kopecky:

“Absolutely amazing job by the guys today, that’s maybe the best we’ve ridden as a unit this season and I’m sorry that I couldn’t finish it off with a better result. I was looked after all the way through and after some impressive work by the guys bringing back the breakaway Andrea left me in a great position with around 250m to go and eighth was the best I could do today.”

“I know I’m missing some top end after being sick for a few weeks, but I also know that I’m not a pure sprinter, so my chances are greater if I come from behind and carry the speed with me. Going up against someone like Jakub Mareczko in a finish like todays is always going to be a hard one win.”

Breakaway steals a march on the peloton on stage 2 in Greece

What was set to be a second sprint opportunity for Team Novo Nordisk on stage two at the Tour of Hellas turned into frustration in the finale as the breakaway spoiled the party by holding on to contest the stage.

A hilly opening half of a wet second day of racing saw a leading quintet gain over a minute on the peloton on the first ascent with everything seemingly under control. 

“I don’t think anyone was worried at that point,” said team captain Andrea Peron. “They went quite early and most of the bunch seemed to think that would be plenty of time to bring them back.” 

But that’s often the thing with breakaways, they can prove to be stubborn and willfully disobedient. As the group reduced to three riders late in the stage, the peloton struggled to organize itself in time and the trio still held a minutes advantage going into the final ten kilometers.

“Even though they never had a massive gap,” continued Peron. “The attacks that split the lead group upped the ante and the pace, and that gave them confidence. We should have collaborated better in the bunch and obviously left it too late to get ourselves organized with the other teams.

“Those last 10km were pretty frantic and in the end they won by 25 seconds and we had to settle for 12th with Matyas. It’s frustrating for sure, but some guys learned a good lesson today and we can’t let this happen again….and if it does well then we need make sure we’re in the breakaway!”

Heavy fog neutralizes early part of tough queen stage in Greece

After an early neutralization due to heavy fog atop the first climb of todays queen stage at the Tour of Hellas, the racing gradually got back underway with Italian rouleur Filippo Rodolfo active in the first breakaway attempts for Team Novo Nordisk.

The 22-year-old from Udine was not to have his day today however, with three riders eventually going clear and subsequent attacks splitting the field on the approach to the Hors Categorie final climb to Velouchi, close to 2,000m above sea level.

“We knew it was going to be a tough stage,” said Ridolfo. “The first climb was a cat 1 and came a few kilometers out of the neutral zone and I tried hard to get a move going immediately. But the conditions were not ideal and as soon as we started to climb heavy fog descended and the race was stopped.

“The organizers did a great job neutralizing the race for our safety as the visibility was extremely low, but it was shame to miss the break. We came here for the breaks and the sprint stages, so we tried to conserve as much energy as possible and survive throughout the rest of the stage. We made it and we’ll be all in tomorrow for Andrea and Matyas.”

Kopecky breaks out of the traps to take 5th on stage four in Greece

Budding classics specialist Matyas Kopecky broke free of the frustration of the first few stages today at the Tour of Hellas, sprinting into fifth place for Team Novo Nordisk after a strong lead out by captain Andrea Peron.

“The first two stages didn’t go how we wanted them to,” began Kopecky. “But we believe in ourselves and knew we would get back in the top results if we stuck to the plan, and everyone did a great job today. Real teamwork and Andrea executed a perfect lead out for me at the end, so good that he almost went top ten himself.”

After some early splits in the peloton over the days only climbs, things finally settled down as the race headed south and a small breakaway group was allowed a slender lead over the bunch. A regrouping came with 10km to go and despite a couple of late attacks the sprint was on. 

“The approach was super fast,” continued Kopecky. “There was a short descent to the last kilometer and we carried a lot of speed into the sprint, we were flying. For the first time since I came back from illness my legs felt really good, almost back to normal and with one more stage to go we desperately want to get on the podium. I’m not satisfied with fifth place and we’ll do our best to nail it tomorrow.”

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