Kaden Hopkins aiming to build on momentum in French Cup
Kaden Hopkins is aiming to build on a promising start to life riding for Vendée U ahead of the first round of the prestigious French Cup this weekend.
Having finished in 144th place after playing a vital role to help the French team clinch overall team classification victory in the season opener, the Circuit de I’Essor, at the start of this month, the 22-year-old enjoyed some individual success in the first round of the Plages Vendéennes race series.Again being deployed in a support role for the opening sprint race on Sunday, comprising of a 148.4-kilometre course, Hopkins finished 21st, with team-mates Benjamin Marais and Luca Boniface crossing the line in fourteenth and eighth respectively.
However, given more freedom by team coaches for the second sprint, on a 131.4km course, two days later, the Bermudian rider outsprinted the rest of the peloton to the line to clinch a seventh-place finish.
Boniface grabbed a place on the podium, finishing behind race winner Antoine Devanne, while fellow Vendée U team-mate was a place behind Hopkins, capping off another strong weekend for the team.
“I am incredibly happy with the start of the year with the team,” said Hopkins who signed a one-year deal with the development squad for one of the top European teams, TotalEnergies, in October.
“I was in really good shape after the team camp, but came down with a bit of sickness just afterwards, so my last week of preparation ahead of the season was a bit of a write off.
“I knew going into the first weekend that I would probably feel a little off my game, and I did. I committed to working for our other guys in those races and just get some race intensity into my legs.
“This week after was much better. I was feeling more like myself on every training ride and for the first stage of Plages Vendéennes I felt back to 100 per cent.
“On the second day, I was given some freedom and I was able to comfortably win the peloton sprint at the end.”
That latest performance has given Hopkins a major boost ahead of what he anticipates to be a major test in the French Cup opener.
“It was great to feel good legs again and it filled me with a lot of motivation going into this weekend at the French Cup,” he added.
“It is going to be an incredibly hard race, but I think we have a super-strong team and multiple options for different outcomes of the race whether it be breakaway or sprint.
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