It’s my first jersey as a pro, so I’m over the moon! I followed my DS’s advice to focus on the KOM fight. After getting second through the initial KOM and with the peloton catching up to us, I knew I had to go. They chased me for two or three minutes, but I put my head down and continued solo. After the climb, I was so happy because I knew I had taken the jersey,
Team Novo Nordisk Takes Two Podiums in One Day at Tour of Estonia
Team Novo Nordisk laid down a memorable performance at the Tour of Estonia on Friday with two podium placings on the same day, a new milestone for the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team. Andrea Peron (ITA) sprinted to third place while Sam Brand (GBR) raised his arms by stepping into the leadership of the King of The Mountains classification.
Today was a great day! We executed our game plan for the stage to perfection. Sam made the break and took the [King of the] Mountains jersey. The rest of us rode together in the peloton without any stress. I was feeling good but got boxed in a bit until 150 meters to go. When I found the space, I was able to pass several riders and take the podium,
Cold temperatures and constant downpour set the tone for Friday’s stage, which took the peloton from the capital of Tallinn to Tartu over a mostly flat but rain-drenched parcours that included two intermediate sprints and two KOM’s.
Team Novo Nordisk wanted to race aggressively and was committed to placing a rider in the break. After several attempts, it was Isle of Man native Sam Brand who forged ahead with three other riders. The quintet rode strongly, and after 30 kilometers their advantage over the peloton stretched to two and a half minutes.
Brand, who last week clocked over 1300 km in the saddle during the Amgen Tour of California, made the most of his form and got in the mix for the two jerseys up for grabs. The 28-year-old was second on the first KOM of the day and outsmarted his breakaway companions launching a fierce attack and going solo for eight kilometers to score maximum points on the second categorized climb. The move helped secure his lead in the King of the Mountains Classification, his first jersey as a professional cyclist.
“It’s my first jersey as a pro, so I’m over the moon! I followed my DS’s advice to save my energy and focus on the KOM fight. After getting second through the initial KOM and with the peloton catching up to us, I knew I had to go,” said Brand. “They chased me for two or three minutes, but I put my head down and continued solo. After the climb, I was so happy because I knew I had taken the jersey.”
In the final stretch, Peron sprinted to an impressive third place on the wet roads of Tartu. Less than a week after scoring team’s first Top 10 placing at a World Tour race, the 30-year-old secured Team Novo Nordisk’s first stage podium of the season.
To conclude a day of stellar teamwork, Frenchman Charles Planet crossed the finishing line in 10th and sits fifth in the overall classification, just 10 seconds off race leader Matthias Brändle (Israel Cycling Academy). Peron moved into seventh overall.
Tour of Estonia ends on Saturday with Stage 2, a 172.8-km race in Tartu where another bunch sprint finale is anticipated. Team Novo Nordisk will start the day with Sam Brand in the red jersey.
Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes UCI Professional Continental cycling team. In 2012, Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of the team, and global healthcare company Novo Nordisk, came together to create Team Novo Nordisk, based on a shared vision to inspire, educate and empower people around the world affected by diabetes.
For more information, go to www.teamnovonordisk.com.
All images are ©EveTome.