A long-awaited chance
Equipo Kern Pharma to make World Tour debut at Volta a Catalunya
The world’s youngest UCI ProTeam, Equipo Kern Pharma, will make its World Tour debut the upcoming week at the Volta a Catalunya. The Spanish outfit will first showcase its green colours on cycling’s top-tier in the seven stages of the Catalan race, which holds its 100th edition this year.
Equipo Kern Pharma is the professional incarnation of Equipo Lizarte, the historical amateur team that developed the prospects of Joseba Beloki, Richard Carapaz, Marc Soler or Andrey Amador, amongst many others. This sporting project is carrying this philosophy to the pro ranks, as its full roster for this Volta a Catalunya is below 25 years of age.
The backbone of the line-up deployed by Juanjo Oroz, former Euskaltel-Euskadi rider and Team Manager of Equipo Kern Pharma, is indeed as pink as the Equipo Lizarte outfit: Roger Adrià, Urko Berrade, Jaime Castrillo, Kiko Galván and Martí Márquez all raced together as U23s at Equipo Lizarte, and come to this Volta a Catalunya after three weeks training together in altitude at Sierra Nevada.
Roger Adrià, Kiko Galván and Martí Márquez all hail from Barcelona, and therefore will be racing in home turf. Márquez is a team player and breakaway specialist who already counts many miles at the head of the race as a pro, while Galván is a versatile maverick and Adrià seems born for stage racing and punchy efforts.
After his two-year spell in the UCI World Tour, former Movistar Team rider Jaime Castrillo has rediscovered his passion for racing over the last few months and is now on an excellent shape he might show on the summit finishes of Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé – both long, steady climbs that suit his capabilities. Urko Berrade is an all-rounder and future grand tour contender, able to be a player in every terrain as he showed recently on the Étoile de Bessèges.
Two international, under-23 talents complete Equipo Kern Pharma’s roster for this Volta a Catalunya. Russia’s Savva Novikov proved his talent last week at the Istrian Spring Trophy by claiming a stand on the overall podium. Colombia’s Daniel Méndez is an excellent climber who completed a more than decent neo-pro season in 2020.
“This week will become part of the history of Equipo Kern Pharma”, says Juanjo Oroz, Equipo Kern Pharma’s Team Manager and Sports Director on this race. “It’s a long-awaited chance – the consequence of many years of hard work. We have done our homework coming into this race. We expect to feature every day and collect great experiences for our young riders.”
Equipo Kern Pharma will offer cycling fans the chance of partaking this Volta a Catalunya with the team with a recon ride of the race’s ITT at Pla de L’Estany. This Monday March 22nd at 7.30pm CET, time trial specialist Diego López Fuentes will ride the course on Bkool along with every fan that may want to join. One Zycle Smart ZPro home trainer will be raffled amongst the participants.
Volta a Catalunya (Spain, UCI 2.UWT, 22-28/03)
Line-up: Roger Adrià, Urko Berrade, Jaime Castrillo, Kiko Galván, Martí Márquez, Daniel Méndez, Savva Novikov
22/03 – 12:25 – 16:45. 1st Stage: Calella, 178,5 km
23/03 – 13:30 – 17:00. 2nd Stage: Pla de l’Estany (Banyoles), 18,5 km ITT
24/03 – 11:35 – 16:50. 3rd Stage: Canal Olímpic de Catalunya – Vallter 2.000, 203,5 km
25/03 – 12:20 – 16:45. 4th Stage: Ripoll – Port Ainé (Pallars Sobirà), 166,5 km
26/03 – 12:05 – 16:45. 5th Stage: La Pobla de Segur – Manresa, 201,5 km
27/03 – 12:10 – 16:50. 6th Stage: Tarragona – Mataró, 194 km
28/03 – 10:45 – 14:05. 7th Stage: Barcelona, 133 km