Denver, Colorado — Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team’s Jhonatan Narvaex capped off a successful four days of racing at the inaugural Colorado Classic by securing the overall HELIX Best Young Rider. The jersey serves as a successful farewell to the Ecuadorian rider who will race with the WorldTour team, Quick-Step Floors, in 2018.
The 20-year-old first earned the jersey following a resilient ride on the mountainous Stage 2 around Breckenridge. He held it through the remaining stages.
“I am very happy to return to my home not empty-handed. The best young rider jersey adds to my confidence and serves as proof that these have been some good races,” said Narvaez. “I am also pleased with how all of my teammates raced together starting two weeks ago at the Tour of Utah. It has been an incredibly challenging but successful few weeks of racing, and I’m grateful to the team for this opportunity.”
For Axeon Race Director Jeff Louder, the final day served as bittersweet. Christopher Blevins bridged up to make the day’s main breakaway, which gave the rest of the team the chance to relax and wait for the inevitable sprint finish, but then sprinter Logan Owen had a mechanical on the last lap and was unable to take on the finish.
“Jhonatan gave it a shot, but it was a pretty hectic finale and didn't work out as well as we hoped. It would have been great if Logan could have been up in the sprint,” said Louder.
For the Axel Merckx-led Under 23 development program, experience is vital and serves as a victory on its own, especially at a race of this caliber and against so many WorldTour squads.
“The boys raced hard all week and gained a lot of invaluable experience during this very difficult race,” concluded Louder. “It was nice to have a final podium result for the team with Jhonatan taking home the best young rider jersey. It was definitely well earned.”