14 Sep - 17 Sep 2023

TEAM Pro Team



TNN concludes Tour of Taihu Lake opener with top 20 result

Team Novo Nordisk returned to Tour of Taihu Lake for the first time since 2019. With the stage 1 distance of only 88.8km race, the race unfolded as predicted – a fast one. The race final was contested in wet conditions, came down to a bunch sprint with Declan Irvine leading the team home in 20th place.

Sports Director, Massimo Podenzana

The race was very fast right from the start, there were many attacks but no major breakaway. In the last 2 kilometers there was a big crash, luckily none of our riders were involved.

We had Declan and Umberto in the mix in the front. The big positive is we were not involved in the crash and can now focus on stage 2 which will be the longest of the race over 141.8km.

Declan Irvine

“It was good to get the legs going again. A short stage meant it was always going to be fast. We tried to be attentive in case any moves went and in the end the speed was too high for that to happen so we prepared ourselves for the sprint. Umberto and I were both up there although the final result wasn’t as high as we would have liked. We have three more chances so we’re ready to go again.”

Photos: Santic

Taihu Lake Peloton contests bunch sprint in wet conditions

In a repeat of stage 1, today’s stage of the Tour of Taihu Lake was contested in a bunch sprint in wet conditions. However, in contrast to the opening stage, the peloton had a breakaway to keep in check and eventually reeled them in on the final lap of the circuit. Declan Irvine narrowly missed out on making it two top 20s in a row when he completed the stage in 22nd place.  

Sports Director, Massimo Podenzana:

“Today’s stage was a flat circuit of 14 km which was to be repeated 10 times but due to the heavy rain, one lap was removed. After 30 km, a breakaway of 6 riders got away. They seemed to work well together and were only caught on the last lap. Our riders tried to go in the breakaway but no one succeeded, unfortunately. The whole group arrived together for a sprint finish.”

Declan Irvine:

“Stage 2 came down to a bunch sprint once again. Our first plan was to try to get a rider in the breakaway but when we didn’t achieve that, we turned our attention to staying safe throughout the stage. The rain was quite heavy which made the circuit a little more stressful. We managed to stay out of trouble and Umberto and I were well positioned in the final and just slipped outside the top 20.

Irvine fast again and notches a top 20 on stage in Taihu Lake

Declan Irvine was Team Novo Nordisk’s fastest finisher again on stage 3 of Tour of Taihu Lake. With another circuit format to the racing, the stage was a fast one at an average speed of 48,4 km/h. Irvine earned his best result of the race so far, leading the team home in 16th place.  

Sports Director, Massimo Podenzana:

Today’s stage was on a circuit stage once again with 10 laps of 11.2 km for a total of 116 km. Like yesterday, the race was very fast again. There was a small breakaway of only 3 riders which was easier to control. They were caught on the last lap.

There was a big crash after the last km but luckily none of our guys were involved. The race came down to a sprint finish and we got our best result so far with Declan finishing 16th.

Declan Irvine:

“We have been working really well together as a group. Today we got into the top 20 and it’s a reflection of how we’re progressing here. The racing and been really fast on the circuits and it’s been good to get the leg speed going again. After the small break went, we knew the chances were high it would be a bunch sprint so I set my mind on that. I’m happy to be a little further up towards the front today. The sensations in the legs are good and I’m looking forward to giving it a real crack on the final day tomorrow.”

TNN looks to take Taihu Lake momentum into future races

Team Novo Nordisk made a promising return to Chinese racing at it concluded Tour of Taihu Lake. It was the first return to the race since 2019 for the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team. Umberto Poli and Declan Irvine have been sharing leadership responsibilities and both riders narrowly missed out on a top 20 on the final stage.

Sports Director, Massimo Podenzana:

“Today was the last stage and the shortest one of 72 kilometers.  We had two laps of 36 kilometers. It was a very fast stage. With it being so short, the peloton didn’t want a big breakaway so only two riders go away. They were caught 20 km from the finish and the bunch arrived for a sprint.”

“It’s been a good week of racing for us. The racing was really fast here which should set the guys up for a strong end of season performance. We’ve got some tough stage races coming up but we’ve seen some very positive signs here.”

Gerd de Keijzer:

“Today was a short finale but constant full gas. There where 3 teams within 2 seconds of winning the overall GC so no break really got away because every second counted in the bonus sprints. It was a really technical course with lots of up and downs on narrow roads so you really had to keep your focus. Eventually two guys got away and we focused on the sprint. Unfortunately lost each other in the sprint and Declan just finished outside of the top 20.”

“It was great to be back racing and to be in the mix again, it’s good to have some really fast kilometers back in the legs which will help towards my last race of the season in Hainan.”