Kaden Hopkins back on track with encouraging Spanish Cup ride
Kaden Hopkins believes he is finally on the right path after a highly encouraging performance in the latest round of the Spanish Cup Series, in Beasain, on Saturday.
Having endured a difficult outings in his previous two races, the 87th Santa Cruz Cycling Classic and in the previous round of the Spanish Cup in Vigo, where he failed to finish in both, Hopkins gave a determined ride over the challenging 121-kilometre road racecourse to cross the line in 2hr 54min 37sec for 75th position.
The 21-year-old looked to have been on course for a stronger finishing position, having broken away early and challenged the more established teams, only to fall away on the fourth excruciating climb to ultimately finish a little over 6½ minutes adrift of race winner Igor Arrieta Lizarraga, who finished in 2:48:59.
However, having managed to finish the race, and been the first on Equipo Essax to do so, Hopkins finally feels his fortunes are turning since relocating to Spain to sign a one-year deal with the team, the elite under-23 outfit of the illustrious Spanish Sax Cycling Club, at the end of last year.
“I finally feel I’m on the right path so hopefully thing will keep getting better,” Hopkins told The Royal Gazette.
“I tried to get in the early breakaway following the move that had three or four riders of the Lizarte and Euskadi teams. They are two of the biggest teams around.
“In one of the breaks I looked back and I was alone. I tried a similar move as in the Dominican Republic [victory in Stage 3 of the Vuelta Independencia in February] where I went alone.
“I was away for about 15 kilometres before I was caught, then I went straight back to the front. I was strong during the first three climbs, but the fourth was 20 per cent gradients for the first 300 metres and I could not follow the guys at the front.
“I ended up in a group of about 20 guys and when we arrived at the last climb, the group exploded and I went away with the first give or six guys.
“In the end I finished a little over six minutes down, but I felt very good throughout the day and I was able to be in the front until I was dropped.”