Team Novo Nordisk made a big first impression on its opening day of racing in Canada when sprinter Martijn Verschoor finished second on Stage 1 of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay on Thursday. Today’s result marks the sixth top 10 finish for Team Novo Nordisk this season.
“The team worked really well together all day today and I’m thankful for the support of my teammates, “ said Verschoor. “The finish was uphill and we were well positioned for the win until the last kilometer. I was in fifth position going into the final sprint and managed to get second. I’m very happy with the result and looking for more wins this week.”
The stage consisted of 11 laps of 15.1-km with a steep short climb on each lap. Team Novo Nordisk riders spent most of the day in the breakaways. Verschoor and Nicolas LeFrancois escaped into a break on the first lap that was caught after 45 kilometers. A smaller breakaway, including Spainard Javier Megias, then formed and stayed together until they were caught on the seventh lap. But it was the final lap where Team Novo Nordisk really shined, creating a solid lead out for Verschoor leading into the finish.
“The most exciting part of the race was the final 5 kilometers, when I saw a train of white jerseys on the front in the first position, leading Martijn to the finish,” added Team Novo Nordisk Sport Director, Pavel Cherkasov. “I’m proud of all our riders today and the hard work they put in. We’re looking forward to more big finishes.”
On the final sprint, Verschoor was edged out by Eric Young of Optum-Kelly Benefits, who took first. Canadian Pierrick Naud of Garneau-Quebecor finished third.
The world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team continues racing at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay on Friday with Stage 2. The 170.4-km race includes several climbs throughout the La Baie area.