Two becomes three! We’re still keeping tabs on our two young neo-pros, #youngdudes Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) and they’ve now been joined by Sky’s Owain Doull. As the cycling season ramps up, all our #youngdudes have been in action during April, particularly in the Ardennes Classics.
I had hoped to catch up with Ruben at one of my favourite races, Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He was there but I wasn’t, courtesy of my husband’s broken leg – a cycling accident! Undeterred, friend of VeloVoices, photographer Susi Goetze, kindly quizzed Ruben for me at the start of the event:
I’m nearly okay after my teeth problems and I will do my best here. I’m very proud to race in the Basque country and afterwards I’ll be racing in the Ardennes.
Sadly, Ruben’s adventure in the Basque country was rudely interrupted by tummy troubles!
Fortunately, he recovered in time to take part in Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, where he rode in support of his teammates finishing 43rd, 75th and 88th respectively while helping Michael Gogl finish eighth in Amstel and Fabio Felline 16th in Liege. Finishing all three races is an achievement in itself and he generally came in with the bunch.
Next up for Ruben is a return to the Tour of California, where he previously rode for Axeon Hagens Berman and finished 13th overall in 2016. I’m sure he’ll want to improve on that position but given his performance in this year’s Santos Tour Down Under he’ll no longer be riding under the radar.
Lennard recovered quickly from the shoulder luxation suffered in March’s Nokere Koerse and was soon back in action at Scheldeprijs, Brabantse Pijl, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Like Ruben, Lennard was riding in support of his Sunweb teammates who recorded some impressive results: Ramon Sinkeldam ninth at Sheldeprijs, Michael Matthews 4th in LBL, and Warren Barguil sixth in Fleche. Again, Lennard is to be commended on finishing all those races in his first year as a professional road racer.
When I caught up with him, he said this about the Classics:
I enjoyed them very much! These are the races I like the most, especially Liege, which went very well. I could do the job the team wanted me to do and I could quite easily finish my first Monument!
Lennard is now in God’s own country, racing in the Tour of Yorkshire. Be sure to keep a look out for him.
Owain has had a very hectic schedule in April, riding in support of teammates in both the Cobbled and Ardennes Classics. He rode in the Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold and Fleche Wallonne where his team picked up some impressive results: Elia Viviani runner-up at Sheldeprijs, Gianni Moscon fifth at Roubaix, Michal Kwiatkowski runner-up at Amstel, and Sergio Henao fourth at Fleche. Owain finished the first three races, although he was outside the time limit in Paris-Roubaix and was a DNF in the remaining two.
It’s worth remembering Owain rode for Team Wiggins before he was signed to Sky. In a recent interview, Bradley Wiggins spoke highly of the young Welshman:
He reminds me of the young Geraint Thomas and that shows how much potential he has as Geraint is now one of the best road cyclist in the world. He can achieve great things like Geraint Thomas has, and has got time on his hands.
Owain had a brief respite before heading to the Tour de Romandie with Chris Froome.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Ruben, Owain and Lennard’s progress during the season. Keep a look out for our race updates and follow their progress on Twitter #youngdudes.
Header image: Team Sunweb at Amstel Gold ©Team Sunweb