Tour Down Under: #youngdudes final stage update

It’s the final stage, a criterium around Adelaide and we’re already on our way to Portland but, never fear, we have our final update on our two young neo-pros, #youngdudes  Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb). 

Lennard Hofstede

Because you can never have too many photos of riders with joeys (image: Richard Whatley)

Because you can never have too many photos of riders with joeys (image: Richard Whatley)

Given Lennard’s comments yesterday, I assumed that the Sunweb team would be working hard to protect their GC rider Wilco Kelderman’s top 10 position. According to the team,  the riders displayed good teamwork in the final kilometres to protect his GC position. He crossed the line in 12th position and took 9th overall. Team coach Aussie Luke Roberts said:

We tried to go for a bonus second in the sprint in order to move Wilco further up into the GC, unfortunately it didn’t work out. We are satisfied with 9th in the GC from Wilco and it’s been a good experience here integrating the new guys into our team.

It’s obvious the team feel Lennard is on track and performed as anticipated in his first WorldTour race.

Now let’s pose a few more personal questions. You may recall, Lennard followed his father and older brother into cycling. I asked him if he’d always wanted to be a professional cyclist and how his family feels now that he’s in the WorldTour:

To be honest I never expected it but, yeah, it was always a dream. They’re very proud and my father, he loves cycling and so to see his son doing that, I think he’s really happy.

Aside from his father and brother, I wondered which if any professional riders had inspired him.

I don’t know about that. There were some riders I liked to watch. It’s hard to say. Maybe Oscar Freire, I was always a fan of that guy. The Rabobank team was always the team where I wanted to go and I did. [Lennard raced for the Rabobank Development squad].So the guys from Rabobank were always my idols.

Now that he’s joined the professional ranks, Lennard confessed he always dreamt of riding in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, his favourite race and he hopes to ride it this year – understandable, since he lives close by and it’s one of the Monuments. Of course, to ride and finish the Tour de France is another of his dreams and once that goal’s achieved, the next goal would be to win a stage of the Tour.

These are all admirable ambitions and I hope we’ll see him achieve them. But whatever he achieves in his career, VeloVoices will be watching and cheering him from the sidelines.

Ruben Guerreiro

Wonderful memories - three days as Best Young Rider (image: Richard Whatley)

Wonderful memories – three days as Best Young Rider (image: Richard Whatley)

After a difficult day on Willunga Hill yesterday, Ruben lost the Best Young Rider Jersey and slipped out of the top 10 overall. If I’d seen him this morning, I might have been tempted to give him a quick hug, tell him to focus on the positives from this race – three days as best young rider and a top 20 finish in his first WorldTour race. But it strikes me he’ll have already thought about what he can learn from this experience and go forward even stronger.

Team director Kim Andersen was obviously pleased with the new recruits:

We saw two young riders, Mads and Ruben, coming into the team and immediately fit in well, and for sure we will see a lot of good things from them in the future. No results, but we saw some good things we can take away – a positive start to the season.

I posed the same questions I’d asked Lennard to Ruben. Had he always wanted to be a professional rider? He was adamant:

For sure since I was a kid I wanted to be a pro. My parents said “are you crazy or what? Why don’t you choose football as a career?” But since I was young, I always watched the Tour de France and rode my mountain bike. And, that was nice.

I asked if he’d been inspired by any of the riders while watching the racing.  He said:

When I was watching the Tour, it was Armstrong and then afterwards Contador and Valverde.

And what races did he dream of winning? Ruben shot back:

Liege-Bastogne-Liege, World Championships, Tour de France but I’ll just have to take it day by day.

Indeed, you will Ruben!

Just think we might one day see our #youngdudes duking it out on the famous cotes of La Doyenne, the oldest and most arduous of the Monuments.

Look out for our next update from next weekend’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and follow their progress on twitter #youngdudes.

Header: Lennard Hofstede answers VeloVoices’s questions © Richard Whatley

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