#youngdudes May update: California Dreamin’

While we’ve all been in thrall to the Giro d’Italia, our three #youngdudes Owain Doull (Sky), Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) have  been racing in a variety of other races but they all raced the Amgen Tour of California. Let’s see how they’ve fared over the past month.

Owain Doull

Owain was disappointed not to race the Tour of Yorkshire but was delighted to have an opportunity to ride for Chris Froome in the Tour of Romandie:

My schedule was a little up in the air – Romandie or Yorkshire? Romandie had always been on my plan, and in the end we decided on that. There are pros and cons. I would have loved to race on home soil, with it being my first race for Team Sky in the UK, and my friends and family could have come up to watch.

But on the flip side Romandie was a slightly higher calibre race and racing in Switzerland for six days was great for my progression and getting the opportunity to race with Chris is quite a big deal as well. It’s something I want to make the most of. I really wanted to support him because realistically it’s the only chance I’ll get to race with him this year.

Thereafter, Owain headed for the Amgen Tour of California where Team Sky won the stage six ITT with Jon Dibben, Ian Boswell was third on the queen stage and finished fifth overall, David Lopez was runner up on the final stage and the team won the Overall Team Prize. Not a bad week’s work where Owain was undoubtedly one of the team’s hard men – someone who could be relied upon to protect its leaders, tap out a tempo on the front of the peloton and steer a sprint train.

Next up for Owain is the new Hammer series where he’ll be able to put his track skills to good use.

After ATOC I’ll head to the Hammer Series in Limburg. It’s going to be fun! It’s completely different, the stages are short and should be exciting, and I can’t wait to get stuck into it. In my mind, it’s similar to the Revolution series on the track – something new and exciting.

Ruben Guerreiro

Ahead of ATOC, Ruben raced in the Rund um den Finanzplatz, animating the race with our Giro #youngdude Mads Pedersen, and finishing just outside the top 20. Next Ruben headed to California where he rode in support of team leader Haimar Zubeldia who finished 10th overall. Ruben’s contribution was recognised by directeur sportif Alain Gallopin who confirmed that “Ruben is back on his level, he was good.”

Ruben then raced in the Baloise Belgium Tour where he was just beaten to the line by breakaway compatriot Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin) on the queen stage. It was a fantastic effort from Ruben, who had joined a strong 12-man breakaway, then later attacked and instigated a five-rider selection that held off a furious chase from behind.

On the last climb, when Lammertink went, I managed to go with him but I was at my limit, so I waited until the last 200 meters to try. But when I started my sprint I felt immediately that I couldn’t come round him. I was very happy to be able to race for the win today. I was believing that I could win until the last kilometres. I am a little disappointed to come so close, but I am very happy with second place.

Ruben’s team said that sometimes coming that close to victory is hard to stomach, but for a neo-pro like him, it was a fantastic day. There are those who view second place as the first loser, but today for Ruben, without a doubt, he was the second winner.

Like Owain, the next stop for Ruben is the Hammer series in Limburg.

Lennard Hofstede

I think it’s fair to say that Lennard has had a cracking month starting with a ninth overall in the Tour of Yorkshire. A pretty impressive result given Team Sunweb had been reduced through illness to just three riders! On the last stage, those three managed to remain in the final lead group, then as the attacks came and splits followed, just Lennard remained out front in a group of nine. One rider went clear in the closing kilometres to take the win while Lennard dug deep to finish with the group.

Post-race, Sunweb team coach Tom Veelers said:

It was a tough stage with 4000m of climbing, and a lot of climbs in the final 20km. It was good to have all three guys up there in the select group towards the end and Lennard rode well to stay up there at the end. It was a strong show of teamwork and Lennard was pleased with his feelings on a tough day like this.

When I checked in with Lennard, I got a typically modest response:

Was an amazing experience and the crowds were also cool! Would love to come back next year!

Buoyed no doubt by his experience in Yorkshire, Lennard shone on stage four of the Tour of California, which took riders over four categorised climbs. Lennard got into the day’s break, stayed away to contest the sprint for the line, and took third place, his first top three placing in his WorldTour career with the team. Post-stage Lennard said:

Today was a day that we knew a break could stay away so we wanted to get me into whatever went up the road. The break happened on a difficult moment and it took us some time before we managed to get a good gap. During the day we extended our lead right up, and it started to look more and more like we were going to make it. In the end it came to a sprint between the break. I made a small mistake and ended up coming third, a result I am still really pleased with.

When I spoke to Lennard this week, he was training in Chambery for the forthcoming Criterium du Dauphine. After his recent successes, he said his feet were firmly back on the ground and, of course, he and the team were thrilled by Tom Dumoulin‘s amazing victory in the Giro d’Italia.

We’ll  continue to keep a close eye on Owain, Ruben and Lennard’s progress during the season. Keep a look out for our race updates and follow their progress on Twitter #youngdudes.

Header image: Ruben Guerreiro, ATOC © GETTY/ Corbis Sport/JD 

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