27 Aug - 1 Sep 2022

TEAM Pro Team



Kopecky blasts off to brilliant start in Bulgaria with second in prologue

Czech first-year professional Matyas Kopecky came within seconds of his first senior victory for Team Novo Nordisk at the Tour of Bulgaria today with the 19-year-old finishing in second place in the prologue. The ride also earned him the White young riders jersey.

The short one-kilometer course was perfect for an explosive rider like Kopecky and teammate Hamish Beadle who narrowly missed out on the podium, finishing in 5th place.

Matyas Kopecky:

“I was looking forward to this race after the big races we just completed. This technical prologue suited me and I had my eye on it. It’s a pity I was beaten by the last rider to start but second is a good place and I’m happy with my performance and form. To start in the white jersey is super exciting and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We will keep fighting the next days.”

“To achieve a second podium in my debut season is just unbelievable and to do out while we’re out here Driving Change in Diabetes and trying to inspire people makes it even more special.”

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana:

“We knew that Matyas had a great chance of a good result on the prologue today and maybe even the victory, so to come so close is not a surprise and it’s a fantastic start for us.”

“Matyas is still developing, but we know all about his ability and his cyclocross background means he is suited very well to this kind of short, explosive effort. Hamish also produced a very good performance and you could say we’re off to a dream start for our first appearance in Bulgaria.”

Kopecky salvages top 10 on chaotic stage 1 in Bulgaria 

The first road stage in the Tour of Bulgaria was an eventful one as the day’s only major climb had an impact on the peloton. With the early break up the road, Team Novo Nordisk tried to keep safe in the peloton. A crash on the descent split the peloton with riders finding themselves in various groups. Eventually, 3 riders survived out front and the peloton regrouped for a sprint for 4th position. The leader in the young rider competition, Matyas Kopecky continued his fine form, sprinting to a top 10 on the stage. 

Matyas Kopecky: 

“The breakaway went before the climb which came at 50 kilometers. The descent was pretty dangerous and I started it in the first five riders. There was a crash behind me and it split the group. Our guys worked really hard to bring things back together and we had a regroup of the race except for a few guys who remained out front from the break. In the end, we were sprinting for fourth place. We have no regrets and we will fight another day.” 

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana:

“The guys knew they needed to pay attention today, especially through some dangerous sections in the race where the road surface was a hazard. We came through that stage relatively ok and with another top 10 result so we can be happy. This is a long tour and I told the guys this will be a race of attrition so today was another box ticked for us. We have a young team here and it’s all about helping them develop into that next level of stage racing.”

Stage two climb splits the peloton as Beadle & Kopecky try to survive

Hamish Beadle:

“We had a good briefing before the stage and everyone did their jobs pretty well when things got underway. We covered the right moves. There were some dangerous attacks going and we were onto it, making sure there were two to three guys in most of the moves.”

“Going into the climb we were aiming to get me and Matyas [Kopecky] in the front which we were able to do at first, but then it split on the climb and we were part of the second group going up to the summit. Matyas was feeling good and attacked two or three km from the peak and managed to make up some time.”

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana:

“We knew the climb would be pivotal today so it was all about being smart until we got there. We did all the right things up to that point. The guys didn’t have the legs to make the front group when things really kicked off but were able to limit their losses while for the rest of the team it was just about getting another day of racing in the legs before tomorrow’s double stage.”

“Looking ahead to tomorrow, with two stages in the morning and evening, it’s possible that fatigue will set in in the peloton and we will all get to see how we’ve managed our reserves so far.”

Double day in Bulgaria as Ceurens finds his legs and Kopecky fights strong

The Tour of Bulgaria served up two stages today with a fast and flat stage 3a followed by a longer mountainous stage 3b. The opening stage saw the first bunch sprint of the race with Robbe Ceurens mixing it up for 12th place. 

Matyas Kopecky fought strongly on the second stage that saw the peloton battle three major climbs. The 19-year-old finished 12th, a result that moves him up 12th overall. 

Robbe Ceurens:

“There were so many attacks at the beginning of today’s first stage because everyone knew it was a short one. The peloton wouldn’t let any moves go so we knew it would come down to a sprint. We moved forward as a team to prepare for a leadout where I would be the guy going for the sprint. We came back from a little too far back but I still got 12th place. Personally, it’s nice to be in the mix again and find form in this race. I feel like I have good legs and it’s really nice to contribute to the team’s plans here.” 

Matyas Kopecky:

“The second stage today started with the first climb coming early in the day. The pace was all out and I managed to make the front group as the peloton split into 1000 pieces. We managed to quickly open up a gap of three to four minutes on the peloton. I tried to save energy on the flats because I knew the climbs that were coming would be hard. I survived the next climb then on the final one, the front group split into two and I lost contact. I was the last rider not to follow the 10 riders in the front and from there it was about preparing for the sprint from my group.”

TNN trio in the mix on the penultimate stage in Bulgaria

Team Novo Nordisk kept the momentum in the Tour of Bulgaria on the second last stage with a strong presence in the sprint. Matyas Kopecky lead the team home in seventh followed closely by Robbe Ceurens in ninth and Mehdi Benhamouda in 11th. 

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana:

“Today we were very prepared for the finish as we knew it was a technical one. Positioning was also going to be key. After the peloton decided to chase the day’s breakaway, it caused splits thanks to the crosswinds. We were always represented in the front so I am happy with that. In the main peloton coming into the finish, we had Matyas who is going really well upfront together with Mehdi.”

“Inside 10 kilometers, another group came back containing Robbe. The guys started positioning in the technical final. In the end, two other teams made some strong leadouts stringing out the pace in the front. Our guys were just behind that and managed to slip into the top 10 once again. Tomorrow we finish is the final day and it will be another long one with 160 kilometers with 4 climbs inside the last 60 kilometers. We want to see if we can finish this tour on a high note as it’s been a good week here.” 

An eventful stage brings the Tour of Bulgaria to a close

Matyas Kopecky lead the team home on the final stage of the Tour of Bulgaria, finishing 15th on the hilly final stage. The 19-year-old says he is happy to get another stage race in the legs as he continues to gain experience in the pro ranks.

Matyas Kopecky (CZE):

“There was a crash three kilometers into the race today. I avoided it but got hit from the back and my handlebars went into my legs. My muscles were stiff for the rest of the race but got better and better. The race had a couple of restarts after that due to missing some junctions. In the end, the race came down to power when the climbs started.” 

“Hamish [Beadle] and I were in the front all day, riding really well as a team and saved a lot of energy. When the attacks started on the penultimate climb, I had to drop the pace and settled into a group and finished fifteenth. I didn’t quite have the legs I had from the previous stages but it’s good to get another stage race in the legs. I’ve done a lot of stage races this year and it seems I recover quite welll over multiple days so it feels good to have done another race with the team.” 

Head sports director Massimo Podenzana:

“We can be proud of what we’ve achieved here. We had a young group at the race so it was all about chasing our daily goals and then discussing in the team meeting afterwards how we did. This process helps the riders develop tactically. We leave the race with a podium on the first day, a day in the white young rider’s jersey and a number of top 10s. We have a one day break now before starting the two-day race In the Footsteps of the Romans so we will look to take this momentum in that race.”