Some years ago at the Tour Down Under, the Port Adelaide Cycling Club would get behind one of the neo pros and give them some love to welcome them to the peloton. Sadly, they’ve discontinued the practice so here at VeloVoices we’ve picked up the baton and we’re going to be following two 22-year-old neo pros throughout the race: Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb). Sheree caught up with both before the start of their first WorldTour race …
Our first neo-pro hails from Portugal but Ruben is an alumni of the US-based Axeon Hagens Berman U23 team that has successfully developed many young cyclists for the WorldTour. He began riding mountain bikes when he was seven, making the switch to road racing some ten years later. He first caught the attention of Trek in 2014 when he won Volta a Portugal do Futuro and continued to progress, notably adding a third place in under-23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 13th overall in the Tour of California. He’s also added the Portuguese under-23 National Championship to go with his earlier junior one. He looked remarkably relaxed ahead of stage one and told me he was enjoying his maiden visit to Australia, particularly the summery weather.
While chatting with Lennard this morning, he told me this wasn’t his first visit to Australia as he’s been to Perth to visit his uncle a few years ago. Lennard’s father was a promising amateur road racer but it was when his older brother started riding that Lennard felt compelled to follow him. Our young Dutch rider also comes from a well-regarded development squad, that of Rabobank, where he won the Rhone-Alpes Isere Tour and finished third in the Tour of Bretagne. He’s delighted to have joined Sunweb, attracted by the team’s culture and vision. He said he was super motivated and excited to be starting his first pro race.
Here at VeloVoices, we’re looking forward to watching these young men develop and we’ll see how they go every stage of the TDU so look out for our regular updates.
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