cycling news / Very active Leopard Pro Cycling impresses at Tour of Rhodes
After a fifth place for Carmelo Foti at the International Rhodes Grand Prix last Sunday, the peloton on Rhodes was already looking forward to the three-day International Tour of Rhodes. A very active Leopard Pro Cycling was able to obtain some great results on the Greek isle.
Where one would expect sunshine and temperatures of around 20 degrees, the International Tour of Rhodes was ravaged by heavy rainfall and strong winds all race long. Despite the fact that the first race day consisted of only 156 kilometres, no more than 136 riders made it to the finish in Rhodes-City. Due to the bad weather conditions, the Leopard Pro Cycling team was not able to be part of an attacking group of four riders that made it to the finish. However, in the bunch sprint Estonian Aksel Nõmmela took second place, which made him sixth of the day.
On the second day, the queen stage of the Tour of Rhodes was planned. In this stage with steep and difficult climbs, both Carmelo Foti and Aksel Nõmmela were part of strong attacks, but it was a group of around 30 riders that rushed to the finish line. Then, with about 15 kilometres to go, Leopard’s time trial specialist Szymon Rekita went for a solo attack and no one saw him back again. Later that evening, the first win of the season and the resulting fourth place in the GC for the Pole was celebrated with champagne.
In the final stage, the Luxembourg based UCI Continental Team went all in to improve the fourth position of Rekita and to support young Luxembourgish talent Tom Wirtgen in winning the U23 leaders jersey. Carmelo Foti attacked for the second day in a row and the Italian was joined by two fellow attackers. In the difficult middle part of the stage, the speed was really high, leaving only about 35 riders in the front once the three leaders were caught. In an all-or-nothing attempt, Rekita went away with four other strong guys. Logically, this group was very dangerous for the overall ranking, so the lead never went above a one minute advantage. A bunch sprint was inevitable, in which Wirtgen and Nõmmela finished ninth and sixteenth. With this result, Tom Wirtgen secured the U23 leaders jersey and also the fourth place of Rekita was out of danger. A result of which the entire Leopard Pro Cycling team can be proud.
Szymon Rekita: “The second stage was again a hard and rainy day. However, we managed to be in the front all race long. With about 15 kilometres to go I was in the front of the race and decided to attack and try to win the stage, which I did. Big thank you to all the guys and the staff for some excellent work. It’s nice to be part of such a strong team and we will now continue to have more successes.”
Aksel Nõmmela: “We did really well here in the International Tour of Rhodes. We managed to get ourselves a stage win and we also have Szymon in fourth in the final general classification, which is great! Szymon was super strong, but actually the whole team was riding perfectly. We always had a man in the right breakaways and we were always there to work for each other. Chapeau to all the guys here for such a great performance. May it go even better from here on!”
Markus Zingen, DS: “As a team we can be really proud on what we reached here at Rhodes. Not only the results themselves, but also the way in which we were able to obtain those results deserve to be praised. We showed strong team performances in every single stage and I am sure that this gives us confidence for the upcoming challenges that are approaching quickly.”