We’ve left Adelaide and are now in Melbourne following the fortunes of our two young neo-pros, #youngdudes Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, one of the new WorldTour races. We’re going to check how they’re feeling after the Santos Tour Down Under and their team’s (and their) aspirations for this race. As usual, we’ll be asking a few personal questions so we can get to know them better.
Ruben had an initially exciting but ultimately bitterly disappointing debut in the TDU when he lost his top 10 position overall and the white jersey of best young rider on Saturday’s demanding Willunga Hill stage. He completed the race but fell ill afterwards and was unable to take part in the Australia Day criterium race Towards Zero [road accidents involving cyclists] in Melbourne’s Albert Park where teammate Edward Theuns finished fourth.
Fortunately, he’d recovered sufficiently to take part in today’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. I asked him how he was feeling:
I wasn’t too good because last week I suffered a little bit with my teeth so I didn’t have the legs that I wanted but I did my best to help the team.
I speculated that the illness had most likely affected his performance on Saturday’s stage.
Yes, probably because it started mid-week during TDU. I suffered a bit and tried to recover for the next day, but …
It was good he’d had a week to recover. Ruben thought:
I’ll try to do my best today. The plan today is to save Edward Theuns as much as possible and try to put him in the last sprint. The second option is Jarlinson Pantano, so we’ll see.
I asked Ruben how he liked to relax post-race.
I relax like everybody. In the peloton we do normal life, stay in the room, go to the coffee, or talk with the families, listen to some music.
Ruben seemed to have gotten over his disappointment of last week but he’s shown us a little bit of what he’s capable of achieving and we’ll be following his progress throughout the season.
I asked Lennard how he’s been enjoying himself since TDU:
Good, very good. I enjoyed Adelaide a little bit more than Geelong, but it’s also nice here. We’ve trained here and today’s parcours is also good for me. So I’m happy.
Had he managed to see much of the beautiful Great Ocean Road while out training?
Yes, we did the parcours so I’ve seen a bit of the Great Ocean Road – the parcours in town is nice, particularly on the last laps.
I’d seen Lennart at the criterium in Albert Park on Australia Day and asked him how the sprint train had worked out.
Yes, it was a nice race, really hard, but I felt really well. It was our plan to have a lead out for Nikias Arndt our sprinter but, five laps before the end, I got a flat and I almost went out at the corner. I managed to get back in the pack which took a lot of power but I came back and could still do good work. But I was a little bit disappointed that I had a flat tire, otherwise, who knows, we might have been even more in front.
So what were the team’s plans for today?
Yeah, today is probably for Wilco Kelderman, it’s his type of parcours. But it also suits Simon Geschke, he’s maybe the man for this parcours. It also suits me and I hope I can be able to help them deep in the final.
An elite group of 29 riders contested the victory and Lennard’s teammate, Nikias Arndt, who’d been knocking on the door during the recent races, finally nailed it.
I predict champagne corks will be popping later!
I also asked Lennard how he relaxed after a race.
I think I just like to chill, listen to music, FaceTime with my friends, and especially relax with the boys from the team. We’re a friendly team and we hang out together, have a coffee…
So what music does Lennard enjoy?
It depends on my mood maybe. Sometimes easy music, sometimes rap, pop, Dutch hip hop. My roommate listens to a lot of rock music and now I also like that.
We’ll be keeping tabs on Ruben and Lennard’s progress during the season. Keep a look out for our race updates and follow their progress on Twitter #youngdudes.
Header: Ruben Guerreiro before start of CEGORR © Richard Whatley