Alvaro Hodeg won yesterday’s opening stage of the Deutschland Tour which marked his fourth victory of the season and also netted him the lead in the overall, points and youth classification.
The Colombian came from a long way back, squeezing through some incredibly tight gaps and unleashing a late burst of speed, before throwing his bike over the line and capturing a memorable victory in Bonn, where the opening day concluded after 157 kilometres in the saddle.
“I want to thank the team, because they gave me another opportunity to show what I can do against many of the world’s best sprinters. It was important for me to repay their trust and confidence and prove again that I can beat the best. I came here in good shape after racing Poland a few weeks ago and getting the maximum out of this stage gives me huge joy and satisfaction”, Hodeg said after collecting Quick-Step Floors’ 56th UCI win of the season.
Returning on the calendar after a ten-year absence, the Deutschland Tour started from Koblenz, one of the oldest cities of the country, and headed north, in what was expected to be the sprinters’ sole shot at glory. For that very reason, it became clear soon after the flag was dropped that the six riders who went in the breakaway didn’t stand a chance of denying the peloton’s fast men, who each sent a delegate at the head of the bunch to control the gap and make sure everything came back as they approached the outskirts of Bonn, Germany’s former capital.
Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors) did much of the work at the front of the bunch, to help bring back the escapees, who got pegged back with ten kilometres to go. Guided in through some tricky corners and roundabouts by the experienced Iljo Keisse, Hodeg navigated through a nervous pack, before finding himself boxed in with 400 metres left. That didn’t stop the young Colombian from moving up, find a small space and open his sprint 200 metres to the line from fourth position, thus powering to a photo-finish victory, ahead of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida).
“We did a recon of the final yesterday, so I knew all those corners in the last kilometres and where I had to be going into them. Fortunately, I had Iljo by my side, who put me in the wheel of Greipel inside the closing 500 meters, from where all I had to do was find my line and wait for the best moment to kick out. Tasting victory for the fourth time this season feels amazing, but this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my team, that’s why this result is for them.”
Only the second Colombian to win a stage at the Deutschland Tour, the 21-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider leads three classification going into stage 2 (Bonn – Tries, 196 kilometers) – overall, points and youth: “I’m proud to wear the first red jersey of this race. It’s my first time in Germany and I really love it. The fans were superb, they gave us a warm welcome at the team presentation and again today, so I’m looking forward to the remaining of the week here.