Australian criterium champion Kaden Groves gave Team BikeExchange a dream start to the Tour of Slovakia with a victory in the day one prologue.
The 22-year-old sprinter was the last rider down the start ramp for the squad and he stormed around the short 1.6km course in Košice in a time of 1:50.46 to go fastest.
With just a handful of riders left to start, Groves had a brief wait to see if his marker was enough to walk away with the opening day victory. Last year’s overall winner Jannik Steimle went agonisingly close to edging out the Australia, but it wasn’t enough to stop Groves from taking his first professional European win.
“It’s a big relief, it’s been a long day today waiting for my turn, I was the last to go in the team. I just listened to the guys who had gone before, did what they said and I’m very, very happy to come away today with the win.
The start and the corner [were the trickiest parts of the course], kicking out of the last corner you needed to save a little bit from the start just to come home strong and I did that and held on.
The parcours suit me very well this week and we have a good team for the sprints and for sure we will defend and go for the stage tomorrow as well.”
Gene Bates (Sports Director):
“We are very happy with today’s result, Kaden has had a rough year for many reasons, and it makes this victory even sweeter. He has worked hard in this last period preparing for this race and the upcoming races, so it is a great start for the team here in Slovakia.
“We came here hunting for stage results, so already it’s a great start to the week for us.”
2021 Tour of Slovakia Stage 1 – Results:
1. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange) 1’50.49
2. Jannik Steimle 1’50”78
3. Marceli Boguslawski 01’51”37
Photo Courtesy of Igor Stancik.