Marijn van den Berg raised his arms for the first time in his career at the age of 23. The Dutchman, from Education First, shone in the rainy final in Alcudia to win the Ses Salines Trophy, the second of the five to be held this week in the Mallorca Challenge. In an arrival after a left-hand curve, which surprised some runners, Van den Berg revealed one of the great reasons for his success: “I recognized this finish twice during the preseason,” he highlighted to AS after receiving the award as the winner of the day. On the podium he was escorted by the British Ethan Vernon (Quick Step), who crossed the finish line lamenting, and third was the Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermaché), who opened the season with a podium in a date in which he won last year.
At sunrise the sun appeared, although the runners were reticent: rain was expected during the day, and so it was. The little ones from Ses Salines would go out to the school gate to cheer and applaud the runners in the 158 km they had to face with two ascents and one that was expected to mark the race: Sa Batalla (2nd). “Last year we only had 40 in the lead”, said Iván Cortina at the start (he was 18th), and this time there was not so much sieve, but they did finally reach the finish line in that quarantine in the lead after a complicated and technical descent with wet ground. Another Van der Berg, Julius, also Dutch… and also from Education First (he’s not Marijn’s brother) He was on the run with Luis Ángel Maté, unable to arrive. Once neutralized, 20 kilometers from the reduced peloton, the German champion Nils Pollit jumped, a trotter who rolls with great force and who had his options. He couldn’t either.
In this way, the race was going to be decided in a group next to the medieval wall of Alcudia. An outcome that slightly stung up within the final kilometer and with a decisive curve that Van den Berg took in the leadwith sufficiency and conviction, and in the final 50 meters they could not even put a wheel on it. In a Spanish key, Soto (5th) and Canal (7th) put together a great performance for Euskaltel. At the finish line, Van der Berg smiled: “It’s a great day. The team worked perfectly and I am very proud of this victory after recovering well from the effort of the previous day (I was 12th in the Calvià Trophy). Hopefully more will come.” And, fighting (and winning) with the best, what kind of racer does he consider himself? “I’m not sure. A pure sprinter would say no. I defend myself well on hard and demanding days and I have a good speed for arrivals in small groups”, he recounted after finishing his participation this week in Mallorca. A definition that practically defines the outcome of the Trophy this Thursday. On Friday it will be the turn of the Andratx–Mirador des Colomer Trophy with the passage through the highest point of the Balearic Islands: Puig Major. The rain threat with continuing to be seen.
Classification of the Port d’Alcudia Trophy
1st Marijn van der Berg (PBa/Education First) 3h 37:31
2nd Ethan Vernon (GBR/Quick Step) mt
3rd Biniam Girmay (ERI/Intermache) mt
4th Axel Zingle (Fra/Cofidis) mt
5º Carlos Canal (Euskaltel) mt
6th Max Kanter (ALE/Movistar) mt
7º Carlos Canal (Euskaltel) mt