Today, Team BIKE AID from Saarland started off the new season in Side near Antalya, Turkey. It was not the first time that they were guests in the ancient city of Side, which is surrounded by historic temples.
This time, however, it was a special start for the team. "We have so many new riders and of course it is a challenge with uncertain outcome whether we will be able to regroup the team. To be honest, that made me nervous," says Matthias Schnapka.
Even though Léo Bouvier, Enzo Decker, Pirmin Einsenbarth and Jasper Pahlke were fast riders, the team decided to make an unusual move. Adrian Zuger, the newcomer from the BIKE AID Development Team, was to go into the final sprint. A big responsibility for the young rider in his first professional race in his new jersey. But in the final the whole team found together and did a good leadout.
At the finish line, Adrian was only beaten by the Russian Sergey Rostovtsev, but thus also won the junior classification. With further top ten finishes by Enzo Decker and Léo Bouvier, BIKE AID was also the most successful team of the day.
"It feels like a victory for us to finish the race this way and it proves the concept of our development team. Of course, I am also very happy for Adrian, who absolutely deserves such a result", says Patrick Lechner, Head of the Development Team.
With the Tour of Antalya, a much bigger challenge is coming up next week. The race has grown steadily in recent years and is now a popular one among some of the big teams to start the season. Whether Mathieu van der Poels Alpecin-Deceuninck Equipe or Groupama - FDJ with top sprinter Arno Demare. The competition is of high quality.
"For us it was ideal to compete in a smaller race beforehand. With this result, it has immediately taken off pressure and gives the whole team self-confidence. I'm also very pleased that Philip Meiser was able to deliver a good result right in the first race. For him, too, today's race was something completely new," said Matthias Schnapka about the rider from Hierzweiler, who made his debut at a professional road race.