Tour of Rhodos 2021
Last year the Tour of Rhodes was our first race of the season before the Lockdown started. This year it was already the second Tour of the season and a great success for our newly formed team. The highlight: Mikà Heming sprinted to third place in the first stage.
At the one-day race GP Rhodes ( UCI 1.2) Mikà Heming was able to achieve a respectable fifth place at the beginning. A leading group of 24 riders decided the race among themselves in a sprint. After Heming had started his sprint early, he had to let the later winner Tord Gudmestad from Team Coop and three other riders pass. The feedback of the sporting director Rupert Hödlmoser was nevertheless very positive: “This was a great start into the races on Rhodes for us. Mika did exactly what we had discussed in the sprint. So we were able to start the following tour with a prologue and three demanding stages in a relaxed mood.
In the 2.2km prologue along the coast, two Pushbikers finished in the top 20: Mikà Heming and Paul Taebling finished 17th and 19th, just 7 seconds behind; they were followed by Michal Galka in 25th. After the nearly 139 kilometres and two mountain classifications, the second stage saw an exciting German podium: Christian Koch (Lotto – Kern Haus) secured victory in a bunch sprint ahead of teammate Kim Heiduk and Pushbiker Mikà Heming.
After everything the team had planned for the first stage had worked out, the Pushbikers only managed to make it to the final the following day with Corey Davis in the favourites group. In the last stage, Mikà Heming was not able to launch his sprint in the best possible way. Overall, the Maloja Pushbikers with Corey Davis finished 17th in the overall classification, 7th out of 21 in the team classification, and 11th and 12th in the young riders classification with Paul Taebling and Heming.
Podium goal achieved
It was our stated goal to be on the podium at a UCI race this season. To achieve this so early in the season takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders and motivates us immensely. Both the 5th place at the GP Rhodes and the 3rd place in the first stage of the Tour of Rhodes allowed the team to collect valuable UCI points.
Miká Heming comments on his good performance in retrospect that he did not lose his nerve, drove more with an eye and could rely on his team. “I was able to concentrate on the final. It wouldn’t have been possible without the team, the guys brought rations, gave me slipstream and followed attacks.”
The new direction is right, and yet it is important for the Maloja Pushbikers Road to develop steadily and step by step in order to make successes like these more regular.
PULSE of 180 also as a supervisor in the support vehicle
First time as a physiotherapist: Beate Kretzschmar had never worked so close to a cycling team before. “I didn’t know what it meant to ride a bike race. All the organisation, the work in the background, the interaction with each other – I was fascinated. At Miká Heming’s 5th place at the GP Rhodes I was able to be there in the support car and I had a pulse of 180 for 190km. That was insane, how the athletes race like that. So much happens, you can hardly keep up. Crashes, defects, fetching bottles, tactical talks and all that under maximum physical performance”.
“I have always believed in the team”.
“In the end, you always have to believe in yourself” – that is Miká Heming’s conviction. If you are fresh in the head, if not everything in life revolves around cycling, and if you get used to being a team – these are important prerequisites in his estimation. “This will not remain our best result this year”.
The organisers of the Tour of Rhodes have once again done an excellent job with this tour, which we always enjoy coming back to. Our great praise also goes to the Lotto Kern Haus team, which won two stages and came second overall. An achievement that deserves absolute respect and was great to watch.
For the Maloja Pushbikers Road Team it’s now a few days of regeneration before they head to the Belgrade – Banja Luka UCI2.1 tour next week. Last year, the Pushbikers won the mountains jersey with Miká Heming. This year, the team will try to find and place themselves as a complete team. It is difficult to estimate the results in the strongly contested race. But one thing is certain: the Pushbikers are hungry and motivated. As a team, we are on the right track.
Overview of the results
Tour of Rhodos / UCI Europe Tour 2.2
17. Miká Heming
19. Paul Taebling
25. Michal Galka
3. Miká Heming
Overall Classification GC
07. Team classification
17. Corey Davis (25 seconds behind)
11. Paul Taebling (Young talent ranking)
12. Miká Heming (Young talent ranking)