In the first race of the 2021 season, the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team earned its first victory when Sean Quinn launched a late attack on the final climb at Clássica da Arrábida (1.2) to take the win. It is the first win in his professional career.
“I felt good heading into the race today,” said Sean after the race. “It was a nice course for us and immediately off the start line my legs felt pretty good. I expected to be fighting for the victory in the final, but didn’t put much pressure on myself. I just wanted to give my best effort and see how I was feeling ahead of Algarve.”
And quite the effort it was after 181.2 km of racing. Teammate Jarrad Drizners had been working hard in a breakaway of five riders. When the pace picked up, Sean went across to work with Jarrad and for a chance to ride for the win.
“We hit the final climb for the first time and I felt really good following some moves,” said Sean. “I could see that the guys around me were suffering and that’s when I knew I had a really good chance. With about 5km left, Jarrad went on the front to close the gap to the last two breakaway survivors and I was on his wheel. We went around a roundabout pretty fast and I looked back and saw that we had a gap. I told Jarrad to just go full gas into the final climb and from there I just ripped it as best I could to the finish and never got caught.”
The soon-to-be 21-year-old has been living and training with Axeon teammates in Girona, Spain. Sean spent the last couple weeks fine tuning his form with Axeon teammates racing a series of one-day races in Italy with USA Cycling. Afterward, the riders appeared focused and looking to see what they could do at the season opener.
19-year-old newcomer Matthew Riccitello was 16th, finishing in the small group after the leaders. Jarrad was 33rd.
“The last win with the team was a while ago so of course I'm happy that we won today,” said sport director Koos Moerenhout. “It is definitely a good morale boost for Sean and the other riders. They worked well together and earned the win. They are on the right track.”
Next up for the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team, the 47th annual Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (2.Pro) on May 5.
Photo: Joao Fonseca (@joaofonsecaphotographer)