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Hopkins finishes well in Dominican Republic

Impressive displays: Kaden Hopkins

Kaden Hopkins climbed up the standings to finish 43rd overall after a strong finish to the Vuelta Independencia Nacional in Dominican Republic yesterday.

Hopkins, representing a Caribbean select team, finished 45 seconds behind the final stage winner, Sebastian Monroy, of Colombia, and in a group of 15 riders with the twelfth fastest time.

It was Hopkins’s first seven-stage race, with the 18-year-old among 88 riders out of a field of 143 to complete the 930-kilometre competition.

“I’m very happy with where I finished,” said Hopkins, who stepped in to race at just two days notice.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming into the race. I knew it would be one of the hardest races I have done and it definitely proved to be just that.

“The longest race I had previously done was a four-stage race and it was nothing like these distances. I just pushed through until the end.”

Hopkins, who attends Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, admits he felt anxious about finishing the seventh and final stage.

“The last time I did this course [stage seven] I ended up crashing,” he said. “You don’t want to make it to the last day of the competition and crash and not end up getting a final placement.

“On the fourth lap a crash piled up in front of me and I got stuck behind. I managed to stay up and chased back on to the group and sat in while I recovered. I tried to move up the pack a bit more until the finish.”

Hopkins, who won the time-trial at the XL Catlin Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships in Bermuda last summer, will now turn his attention to qualifying for the Collegiate National Championships.