Tour Down Under: #youngdudes stage four update

Three stages down, three to go, one of which is the other queen stage and includes the famous ascent of Willunga Hill tomorrow. Stage four is another one for the fast men and both our #youngdudes  Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) may well be working for their respective team’s sprinter. Before today’s stage, we caught up with them and discussed yesterday’s and today’s stages. 

Lennard Hofstede

Lennard ponders my questions (image: Richard Whatley)

Lennard loves Australia (image: Richard Whatley)

I asked Lennard how the sprint train was coming along as yesterday their team’s sprinter Nikias Arndt, who was sixth, seemed quite happy.

It didn’t work out quite well because it was a really hectic final – fast, high-speed, there was a crash, a bit of miscommunication with my teammates and then I managed to come back close but the sprint had already started so I was too late to help my teammates.

I still feel good and today will also be a hard day but there are some opportunities for our sprinter so we’ll see.

Arndt finished in the peloton on the same time as Caleb Ewan, and their GC rider Wilco Kelderman maintained his 16th position. Sunweb’s Team Coach Luke Roberts summed up the stage:

It was quite a difficult finish to today’s stage, we aimed to protect Wilco’s GC position towards tomorrow’s Willunga hill stage. Unfortunately Nikias was caught out of position for the sprint and could not ride a result, but we look forward to a good day out tomorrow.

I suspect Lennard will be riding to protect Kelderman tomorrow, ahead of trying to perfect the sprint train for the final stage. Sometimes, it’s tough being the new boy on the block.

Trying to get to know a bit more about him, and given that pros are away from home so much, I asked Lennard if there was anything in particular that he missed?

Since I’ve been here I don’t really miss a thing, I really love it here. Of course, maybe my family and my friends.

A lot of pros live in Girona or the Cote d’Azur, so I checked whether Lennard was still living at home and, yes, he lives in the centre of Holland, between Utrecht and Arnhem.

Ruben Guerreiro

A few last minute words of advice (and a banana) for Ruben (image: Richard Whatley)

A few last minute words of advice (and a banana) for Ruben (image: Richard Whatley)

Turning to the holder of the white jersey of Best Young Rider, I asked Ruben whether he’d planned to finish so high up in sprint yesterday.

No, not really. I expected to be in the group but I was up helping our sprinter who was perfectly placed and finished fifth, so I just carried on which made it easy.

Okay, so what was the plan for today?

Try to save energy as much as possible for tomorrow up Willunga Hill, where I’ll be up the front for sure. Today I’ll be working again for Edward Theuns and we shall see.

In the hectic sprint finish today, Ruben crossed the line in 15th place to ensure the white jersey will be on his back into Saturday’s critical stage five and he’s moved up to 10th on GC. Unfortunately, Theuns was blocked in the final stretch and rolled across the line with the bunch.

I asked Ruben what he was missing while away from home, which is 50kms from Lisbon, Portugal.

Now, the winter here is much better so … it’s not long that I’m here, it’s okay. I just take three weeks out from my home. I still think about my family but I’m focusing on my goals and my race, that’s the most important thing.

It’s clear talking to both of these young men that they’re really enjoying this trip to Adelaide and appearing in their first WorldTour race. It’s one that will stay long in their memories.

Look out for our daily updates from every stage of the TDU and follow their progress on twitter #youngdudes.

Header: Ruben, a man on a mission; TDU, Stage 4 © Richard Whatley

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