Kaden Hopkins Named Vendée U Team Leader

January 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Kaden Hopkins said he feels like a much-improved cyclist compared to 12 months ago after being named as a team leader of Vendée U.

Hopkins will have a greater licence to pursue victories this season, guiding the strategy and making critical decisions for his team-mates, who will ride in support of him and, if necessary, sacrifice their prospects.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a successful debut campaign for the French development outfit – a feeder squad for Team TotalEnergies – claiming four wins, including the second and eighth stages at the Tour of Guadeloupe in August last year.

Hopkins, who is busy preparing for the upcoming season in Calpe, Alicante, said he is relishing the extra responsibility as a team captain.

“The team has assured me that I will have the freedom to target races for my own results,” Hopkins told Bernews.

Photo courtesy of Vendée U

Kaden Hopkins Bermuda Cycling January 2024

“As one of the older members in the team, I will act as a leader in some of the bigger races. This was a position I did not have last year, as it was my first year on the French cycling scene, and I had a lot to learn.

“The team believed by the end of the season I had the growth necessary for me to have more of a leading role.

“Being in such a strong and successful team and being told I will have a role like this is a massive motivation. I will also focus throughout the season on helping the younger riders on the team.

“I believe we have a team full of potential and is capable of having a very successful season.”

The Bermudian starts racing competitively next month as he builds towards his first significant challenge in April at the Circuit des Ardennes, which is part of the UCI Europe Tour and historically showcases developing talent.

“I’ll target certain races on the calendar,” he said. “I hope to peak at the Circuit des Ardennes. You will get some attention from the professional teams if you claim a stage win.”

Although Hopkins can continue riding for Vendée beyond this season, he hopes to attract interest from Team TotalEnergies, one of Europe’s top professional teams.

“If I’m able to obtain the results at these bigger races, it will be a good pathway for me to make the step up to the professionals,” added Hopkins, who hopes to represent Bermuda at the UCI Road World Championships in Zurich, Switzerland, in August and September.

“I can continue with Vendée, but the team management hopes I don’t need to. The Vendée riders are developed for Team TotalEnergies; it’s where I’d like to be.”

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