Kaden Hopkins determined to succeed with new team
Kaden Hopkins admits there will be no excuses if he fails to thrive in his first season with a new French team.
The 22-year-old signed a one-year deal in October with Vendée U, a development squad for one of the top European teams, TotalEnergies, and over the past month has spent time bonding with his team mates in the south west of France. He has also participated in a training camp in Alicante, Spain, in preparation for the start of a hectic campaign in two weeks.
With a greater support network now in place, the Bermudian rider concedes he has greater expectations of himself, even if there is no added pressure from his new team.
“It’s been going incredibly well. I’ve had so much support already and the set-up within the team and the organisation is beyond anything I expected,” said Hopkins on his initial experience since joining the team.
“This is definitely a step up in terms of support on offer and those things just make life as a rider so much easier because the stress is taken away and you can focus purely on the riding.
“It also helps that there are more English-speaking staff and riders so communication has been a lot easier. I’m still trying to learn the language but it has helped because you don’t feel like an outsider not understanding people.
“Everyone has been really welcoming and from the first day I’ve just felt a part of the team. I’m just really happy to be here and with what I’ve experienced so far I definitely feel as if I can thrive here.
“With everything in place and with my past experience, I’m definitely putting bigger expectations on myself.
“I don’t have any excuses not to succeed because the team gives me all the support I could dream of. I know it’s down to me to get my head together and focus purely on my racing.
“The nice thing is that there has been no pressure from the team or coaches heading into the start of the new season. They have a plan that they want us to stick to and they know that we will be capable of doing that.”
While there may not be any excess pressure coming from the powers that be, Hopkins believes he has made a good impression on his coaches already after performing strongly throughout pre-season.
“From what I’ve been told the coaches have been really happy with me throughout testing and I’ve been posting some good results, which is pleasing,” he added.
“I’m feeling fantastic on the bike and I’m just ready to go for the new season. It’s quickly approaching but I’m feeling confident and ready to race.”
As well as being in peak physical condition, Hopkins also believes he is better mentally in advance of the upcoming campaign, with valuable lessons learnt from his past experience of riding in Europe.
“It has definitely been an easier transition than when I moved overseas to join Equipo Essax and that experience has definitely helped me a lot,” he said.
“It’s not an unknown any more and I know what to expect from racing in Europe. This team also has so much experience and so I know going into each race that we will have everything we need in place to be fully prepared.
“Obviously there are still some slight nerves, as there is going into any new season, but while there’s that slight edgy feeling, I’m really looking forward to get going.”