Mikkel Honoré claims KOM jersey at the Tour Down Under
Dane wraps up a strong week of riding for the whole team and perfect start with the team
Mikkel Honoré claimed the king of the mountain jersey on the final stage of the Tour Down Under, concluding a fantastic opening race with the team and a solid week of racing by the entire squad.
“It feels amazing,” Mikkel says. “First race here with the team. I am so proud to ride with these guys. We had an amazing race. It's a super good group and we put in a lot of hard work together from the start until the end. Personally, I really suffered out there today but we won the jersey so that's the most important thing.”
It’s been a really solid opening week to the 2023 WorldTour season for the team. It had its ups and downs, but the team showed time and time again its resilience and camaraderie.
Mikkel came into the final stage of the Tour Down Under with a mere one point lead in the king of the mountain classification. While the race organizers did not include the traditional finale atop Willunga Hill there were still plenty of points on offer as the peloton took on Mount Lofty five times.
Attacks came thick and fast in the opening laps of the race, with numerous riders going up to the road. The team did a fantastic job covering moves and being at the front when it mattered in order to protect the jersey and in the end it proved to be enough to seal the green polka dot jersey for Mikkel.
The team experienced mixed luck in the race but, as sport director Tom Southam notes, the riders supported each other from the beginning.
“We had mixed fortunes in the prologue. We had two guys crash who were hoping for the GC. They all got behind Alberto and defended him as long as they could in the jersey. When things changed, the guys went straight back into the race. They went on the offensive and got the mountains jersey. We did the stage yesterday with Alberto and got second. Today they were active. Every time we wanted to try something in the race, the guys had the courage to do it. It shows really good intent for the rest of the season. They did good teamwork. They’ve got new guys in there like Mikkel and Sean hasn’t raced that much with the guys. The group felt really cohesive and yesterday we had six riders in the front group of 55 so that just shows how well they were committed to each other.”
From Alberto Bettiol claiming the first leader's jersey on the opening prologue, to the entire team defending the jersey together, to then shifting focus to stage wins and the KOM jersey, the team showed grit and perseverance through it all.
If week one taught us anything, it’s that there is a whole lot to look forward to in 2023. We can’t wait to see where the road takes us.
Thank you Adelaide for your hospitality and kindness. It was so good to be back.