ALCUDIA, Spain (VN) — Lost in the shuffle Monday in the wake of the Alberto Contador ruling was the second consecutive victory of Andy Fenn at the Mallorca Challenge.
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider kicked his way to another hectic sprint victory in a windy race that saw some big names crashing in the 171.1km Trofeo Migjorn, including teammate Tony Martin.
“Today the race was very difficult,” said Fenn in a team press note. “There was a lot of wind and we also raced for a few kilometers under the rain. When the group broke up into three parts at about 40 kilometers from the arrival I got caught off guard in the second group. I was lucky I found a great wheel.
“Kevin De Weert who helped me catch up to the leaders. Kevin put in a great effort and I thank him. Without him today I never would have made it,” he continued. “I want to thank the entire squad. In the final everyone did what they had to do. It’s a team victory, as was yesterday’s, too. The group here is fantastic and it feels like I’ve always been riding with this team.”
The two wins mark a huge start for his first season among the elite pros. Last year, he raced with An Post-Sean Kelly, getting a taste of some European racing as well as riding well on the espoirs circuit. A bronze medal in the U23 world road cycling championships helped open doors to the top European pro teams.
At just 21, Fenn has already proven he can do well in wide-open sprints. Even though it’s early season and not everyone is firing all cylinders, a win is a win at any level in Europe.
Fenn’s victories are the seventh and eighth, respectively for Omega Pharma-Quick Step on the very young 2012 season, a number that already matches the wins garnered by the team during the entire 2011 season.
With victories by Tom Boonen in Qatar and Argentina and Levi Leipheimer and Francesco Chicchi in Argentina, the Belgian-based team is off to a roaring start to the 2012 campaign.
“We’re having a great start to the season, there’s not doubt about that,” sport director Brian Holm told VeloNews.com. “The ambiance on the team is very good right now. Everyone is working together and when that happens, the wins come. These victories are very sweet, especially for me because at Highroad we were getting too used to winning. Here, you can see how much it means to these guys. I am excited about this season.”
Martin, meanwhile, was not seriously injured in a fall in what was his season debut. The reigning world time trial champion fell about 40km from the finish line.
“Due to the fall I broke a pedal and had to change bike,” Martin said. “At that point all I thought about was crossing the finish line. Fortunately in the fall I didn’t suffer any serious consequences.”