Vernon gets his first podium of the year
For the second day running, Soudal Quick-Step was in the spotlight at the Challenge Mallorca, and just like Tuesday, one of our riders finished in the top three. The first part of the day belonged to a four-man breakaway, which was nullified on the first of the two classified climbs that were crammed in the last 40 kilometers of Trofeu Ses Salines-Alcudia.
Soudal Quick-Step assumed responsibility in the peloton, setting a tempo that saw the field claw back time on the hills before making the catch on the descent. Our team remained in firm control of things also on the flat and wet roads to Alcudia, bringing back a late attack and setting up Ethan Vernon for the mass gallop.
In the end, a series of tricky corners, the last of which came just 50 meters from the finish, decided the day’s winner, and this was Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), who was the first to round out the last bend and managed to keep off the pure sprinters. Ethan – who had the speed, but ran out of road – concluded runner-up and racked up his seventh podium since turning pro with the Wolfpack at the beginning of 2022.
“That corner was a bit dangerous and because of it we didn’t have a proper sprint today. I had the legs to win and was really confident, that’s why I am so disappointed. I felt good on that long climb and believed in my chances, especially with this great team around me, who worked tirelessly and protected me the entire day. Hopefully, on Sunday, when there’s another opportunity for the fast men, luck will be on our side”, Vernon explained after the race.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images