Great start of the season for NTT Pro Cycling
NTT Pro Cycling opened the season at the infamous Tour Down Under in Australia, in January. On the fifth stage of the race, the team performed a perfect lead-out which resulted in a stage win for the Italian sprinter, Giacomo Nizzolo. While the season continued in Australia, the NTT Pro Cycling riders were racing all over the world.
Max Walscheid showed top form at Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia when he sprinted to victory at the opening criterium and won two stages of the race. With these victories, Walscheid also secured the overall lead in the points classification, and in the end, he could claim the green points jersey.
Meanwhile in France, the NTT Pro Cycling squad showed off the blue colours at Etoile de Bessèges when Ben O’Connor soloed to victory on stage four after a solid and impressive team effort.
“We got the stage win. It was awesome teamwork from the boys, they really took the race on. I was upfront early and then Michael (Valgren), Eddy (Boasson Hagen) and (Michael) Gogl came across and really took the race on. We gave it our best shot and blew it to pieces. In the end, I was able to finish off their work, so it was a team win today. It was absolutely perfect, what we were able to do. It gives us confidence for the upcoming races, that we can be up there with the best in the world,” says Ben O’Connor.
New national champ
While the season was fully underway in Europe, the South African national championships were held in Limpopo province. After a solid support from the NTT Pro Cycling riders, Stefan de Bod and Marc Pritzen, Ryan Gibbons was able to finish off the race with the victory and could therefore claim the title as the new South African road race champion.
“I feel so privileged to be able to wear this jersey,” says Gibbons.
Off to a good start at the spring classics
The Belgian races, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne started off the season of springs classics. Giacomo Nizzolo could claim the second place at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, when he won the bunch sprint.
Nizzolo was satisfied with his performance:
“It’s never nice when you win the sprint for second place but overall, I felt good today so we can be happy about the performance and we’re looking forward to the next races now. I felt good all day so that’s definitely a good thing and there was another rider stronger than us today, but we will keep going”.
Last week, NTT Pro Cycling participated in Paris-Nice, which is often affected by bad weather and cross winds. The bad weather conditions were no exception on the second stage of the race, and the peloton split to pieces in the cross wind with almost 30 km to go. Giacomo Nizzolo was at the front throughout the race and in the end, he could claim the stage victory.