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Kaden Hopkins determined to cap season off on a high in Guadeloupe

Exciting opportunity: Bermudian rider Kaden Hopkins, who accepted an invite to guest ride for Dominican team Inteja in the Tour of Guadeloupe, which starts today (Photograph courtesy of Kaden Hopkins)

Kaden Hopkins will be aiming to end his season a high when he takes to the start line of the Tour of Guadeloupe today.

Having enjoyed a number of strong performances over the past six months, including a strong display at the prestigious UCI Road World Championships, as part of the Bermuda team, in Belgium last month, the 22-year-old looks set to bring his season to a close.

However, a chance invitation to guest ride for Dominican team Inteja, across the ten-day 1,200-kilometre event proved too enticing an opportunity to turn down for Hopkins.

“The guy who helped to get me over to Spain to join Equipo Essax, Diego Milán, rides for Inteja and he reached out to me to say there was a spot on the team and would I be interested,” he said. “It’s a big race, so I thought it was an exciting opportunity.

“My season was supposed to be coming to an end but I still felt good and motivated. It was a case of having another two weeks of training prior to the event and I’m really looking forward to testing myself again.”

Much like the Vuelta Independencia event – in which Hopkins previously won the under-23 division title – riders must complete each stage, within a designated time of the race winner, to progress to the next day’s stage.

While conceding to not having any concrete expectations going into the event, Hopkins is feeling confident of building on recent form.

“It’s hard to have any real expectations,” he added. “All I know is that it will be a high level of competition, but I’ve been enjoying some good form and so that’s exciting.

“I feel like I’ve been getting stronger, the results have been consistently positive and I’ve been hitting new personal bests in training over the last two weeks which is also really encouraging.”

As well as enjoying strong preparation, the Bermudian rider will also take great confidence from his steady progression since relocating to Spain to sign for Equipo Essax – the elite under-23 team of the illustrious Spanish Sax Cycling Club – at the end of last year.

Among his progress has been crucial development in his climbing, a key component of allowing Hopkins to become a more versatile rider across all formats and disciplines of road racing.

“Hopefully, I should be comfortable enough across all of the different disciplines in Guadeloupe,” Hopkins said. “I’ve definitely developed over the past year in Spain.

“It’s funny because I never used to focus on the event as a whole and looked more at the sprint races. However, I’m a lot more comfortable with the hill climbs now and so I think I’m capable of performing well in all the formats.”

While the first stage today is conventionally a short introductory time-trial, Hopkins is determined to lay down an early marker to his rivals, particularly with the incentive of claiming the winners jersey for the stage two road race.

“It’s a chance to feel each other out and the winner of that first introductory race gets to wear the winner’s jersey in the first road race on day two,” he said.

“That’s a big incentive for everyone; I’m definitely going for it and will give everything. It could be the only chance for a lot of the field to be able to wear that winner’s jersey.

“You also can’t take that first day for granted because you could end with a huge deficit straight away to have to try and make up across the rest of the event.”

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Published October 22, 2021 at 11:49 am (Updated October 22, 2021 at 11:49 am)

Kaden Hopkins determined to cap season off on a high in Guadeloupe

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