This Santos Tour Down Under we’re following neo-pros Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) in their first WorldTour race and we’ll be talking to them about their experiences as the race unfolds. In Tuesday’s heat-shortened sprint stage 1, both riders had team-mates who placed in the top 10. And one of them donned the white jersey at the end of today’s stage 2!
I spoke with Lennard about the role he played in helping the team’s sprinter Nikias Arndt, who finished sixth on the same time as race leader Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott).
In the final, I had to put our lead-out guy into the sprint train in a good position. We lost each other a bit at 4km to go then the lead-out guy was on my wheel but our sprinter was in front. Then from 2km to 1.3km I managed to ride to the front of the peloton with the lead-out guy on my wheel and our sprinter behind.
We need to improve a bit more, it could be more perfect. The strength was there and the power. So, yeah, it was a good day.
We’ll see on Thursday’s Hansgrohe stage to Victor Harbor whether the Sunweb sprint train becomes more perfect.
I wanted to find out what Lennard’s race programme was likely to be for the first part of the season, and how often our paths were likely to cross at live races. Look out for him at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the Abu Dhabi Tour, Volta a Catalunya, and thereafter some Belgian races. I suspect those Belgian races will probably be Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem in March. [Hurrah! Can’t wait to see how he does in those races! – Ed.]
I asked Ruben how he’d found yesterday’s scorchingly hot stage where he’d finished with the peloton, and how he felt about today’s cooler weather.
For me it was one of my hottest rides, but Edward Theuns finished well [eighth] and today we’re looking for a stage win. For now, at the moment, it’s a little bit too cold for me and I hope it’ll be warmer during the stage and I hope I’ll be strong for the finish today.
Ruben certainly was strong! He finished 7th on the stage, which was the more difficult of the two summit stages this year, and lies 14th overall. That was enough for him to don the white jersey of the Best Young Rider [we know how to pick them here at VeloVoices Towers – Ed.]. This is going to be a tightly fought contest as Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors), Michael Storer (UniSA) and Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin) are on the same time as Ruben and breathing down his neck. It’ll be interesting to find out tomorrow how he felt pulling on his first WorldTour jersey.
Hoping to continue to follow Ruben’s exploits, I also asked him about his upcoming programme. He too is riding the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – VeloVoices will be there -–Volta ao Algave, Paris-Nice, Vuelta al Pais Vasco (where Ruben’s hoping it won’t rain), Ardennes Classics and Tour of California.
If you haven’t already done so, read our introduction to these two young riders, and look out for our daily updates from every stage of the TDU and follow their progress on twitter #youngdudes.
Header Image: Ruben Guerreiro, stage 2, white jersey presentation ©GETTY/Corbis Sport/KT