I’ve been dragging my heels over writing this, most probably because I’m still in denial about the end of the season. But with the Saitama Criterium done and dusted, I have to face up to reality. Our #youngdudes Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb), Owain Doull (Sky), and Trek Segafredo’s Ruben Guerreiro had a busy end to their successful first seasons as pros before heading off for well-earned breaks. So let’s look at their final few races of a packed debut season where they all distinguished themselves.
After the Tour of Britain, Owain and teammate Geraint Thomas returned to their roots to inspire the next generation of Welsh riders.
Owain was part of Sky’s bronze medal winning time-trial team at the World Championships in Bergen where he also took part in the road race representing GB, though who knew Bergen was so difficult to get to?
Owain’s last race of the season was the new Tour of Guangxi, but he had a pretty hectic schedule beforehand where he was taking part in valuable promotion work for the team’s sponsors.
You might suppose that Owain’s now lazing somewhere on a beach, enjoying the off-season, but no, it appears he never stops!
If we look back on Owain’s season, where he’s ridden in support of his teammates, two top ten places on GC (Tour of Britain and Tour du Poitou Charentes), plus the aforementioned bronze in the World Championships is a pretty impressive haul for a debut season on the road which started with an appendectomy. If you want to hear more about Owain’s thoughts on his first season, head on over to the Sky site where they have a review of his first year.
Ruben also took part in the World Road Race Championships, followed by the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race. These end of season races in the Far East are important for the globalisation of the sport and for the teams’ sponsors.
Ruben’s back home in Portugal recovering from an operation which took place at the CUF Hospital in Porto, presumably to sort out one of the health issues which derailed part of his season. He too can look back on two top ten GC places (Baloise Belgium Tour and Bretagne Classic) though I’m sure his proudest moment was when he won his national championship. Heal up quickly, Ruben!
Lennard finished fifth overall in the Tour of Denmark, followed by sterling performances in Milano-Torino and Il Lombardia. In the latter, he was once again in the break of the day, as per team plans, laying the groundwork for his teammates, particularly second-year pro Sam Oomen, who finished 11th.
I caught up with Lennard after the race, he must have been worn out but nothing could dim his enthusiasm and he credited his better than anticipated first season as a pro to the support of his team. Two top-ten places on GC (Tours of Yorkshire and Denmark) and third place in the Vuelta opening TTT was a very respectable haul from a rider who spends his time riding in support of his teammates.
Then it was off to the Far East where, like Owain, he took part in the Tour of Guangxi, and once again was in one of the breaks. That’s one sure way of getting your face and name known!
#Giroyoungdude Mads Pedersen
Mads, the 21-year-old Danish national champion, also took part in the World Championship Road Race but it was in his preceeding race that he made his mark. A practically clean sweep of the Post Nord Tour of Denmark where he won the overall, the points and young rider jerseys, plus a victory of stage three. Unsurprisingly, this made him Trek-Segafredo’s Rider of the Month for September. He’s had a truly amazing debut season, winning not only his national championships but also taking two overall victories (Tours of Denmark and Poitou Charentes) plus completing his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia.
We hope all our #youngdudes enjoy the brief off-season and we wish them all the best and much success in future seasons. We won’t be following them but somehow I think we’ll still probably be keeping a proprietal eye on Owain, Ruben, Lennard and Mads in seasons to come.
Header image: Lennard Hofstede leading the break in Il Lombardia ©Cor Vos