Before today’s stage three sprint to Victor Harbor, we spoke to our neo-pros Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) about yesterday’s queen stage to Paracombe, where one of them donned the white jersey of Best Young Rider. We also posed a few general questions to get an idea of how the #youngdudes are settling into their new teams.
This morning I gently teased Ruben about his and the team’s success on stage two, where he was their best placed finisher (7th) and picked up what is surely going to be a hotly contested Best Young Rider Jersey. He told me:
The team was trying to get a top ten finish to remain in contention. We’re the second placed team overall and that’s great!
I asked him to talk me through that final climb as the television cameras had focused on stage winner Richie Porte (BMC).
Izagirre and Chaves were behind Porte and after that I was with Pozzovivo and Kelderman until the last 300 metres when we were joined by a big group, so I sprinted for fourth in the group.
Of course, I had to ask him how he felt when he pulled on his first ever WorldTour jersey! Was he aware that there were three other riders on the same time and it was likely to be very competitive.
It is nice because it was a goal for us and me. I want to do well in this race and now I’m 14th on GC but I hope to be top 10. These days everything can change, it depends on result [placement] at the finish if it’s the same time.
Ruben demonstrated today the importance of where you finish in the bunch. Coming in ninth today, he’s distanced one of the three other pretenders to his crown. He’s also edged closer to that final top ten finish, sitting 11th overall. He’s having a cracking debut!
It’s a big step up from under-23 races to those of the WorldTour and I wondered what assistance the team had already provided to Ruben and whether or not he was being looked after by one of the more senior riders on the team.
For sure! For example, in the first training camp my position on the bike changed a lot and I can now do more power and I’ve changed a lot more things. I’m still developing, I think the team is one of the best.
Ruben said he was being mentored largely by his more experienced compatriot Andre Cardoso who, at 32, has many grand tours under his belt, along with Basques Haimar Zubeldia and Markel Irizar. I think it’s safe to say he’s in very good hands. Meanwhile, there’s only one more stage until the next summit finish on Willunga Hill. He’ll need to stay vigilant, if he’s to hang on to that white jersey and his overall placing.
Lennard’s role in Sunweb is very different to that of Ruben’s, as he explained when talking about Stage 2:
Yesterday was quite good. I had to help our GC guy (Wilco Kelderman) and all day long we could protect him until the final climb. He was up there in the final, in 7th position before the last corner of the climb. So that was quite good. The last bit was quite steep but for me the race was already over and I could go quite easy and save some energy for today where I have to put the lead-out and GC guys into a good position for the sprint.
Looks as if that Sunweb sprint train is coming along nicely!
When asked about what assistance and guidance he was receiving from the team, Lennard said:
I think we have a special team compared to some other teams. I think it’s a really friendly team, we do everything together and we have good meetings. While we’re here in Australia, guys like Johannes Fröhlinger and Simon Geschke, they really try to make a team of it.
Both riders appear to have chosen wisely and are getting plenty of support and encouragement from their respective teams.
Look out for our daily updates from every stage of the TDU and follow their progress on twitter #youngdudes.
Header: Hofstede works on the front for his team; TDU, Stage 2 ©GETTY/Corbis Sport/KT