Alex Hooper: stepping up

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June 28th, ’14. We were privileged to catch up with talented young Kiwi cyclist Alex Hooper, who like compatriots Nick Bain and Matt Zenovich, lined up for the Belgian one-day race Internationale Wielertrofee Jong Maar Moedig. He raced as part of the New Zealand national team but it was more than that fact alone that made his race significant.

June 28th, ’14. We were privileged to catch up with talented young Kiwi cyclist Alex Hooper, who like compatriots Nick Bain and Matt Zenovich, lined up for the Belgian one-day race Internationale Wielertrofee Jong Maar Moedig. He raced as part of the New Zealand national team but it was more than that fact alone that made his race significant.  “I raced IWT [Internationale Wielertrofee Jong Maar Moedig] on Wednesday with the Mens Endurance Track Team as their final road race before they head into their final track phase before Comm Games. It was the biggest race I had ridden only being first year out of Under-19 so it was a huge step up from any race I had ever done.”

Alex’s tactic was simple, “I basically just stayed in the bunch trying to stay out of trouble. The pace was hot but wasn’t too hard in the bunch until we hit the races main climbs the Bosberg and the Muur where the race really heated up.” Going over climbs and cobbled sections that have been used on Tour of Flanders races in the past didn’t seem to phase Hooper, but unfortunately for him it was the bottom of a descent that saw him hit trouble. “Although it wasn’t those climbs that got me it was one at the bottom of the decent after the Muur where I dropped and was quickly pulled out of the race. I wasn’t too bothered about it though as I hadn’t done to much road work the past month.”

Hooper is currently still in Belgium where he has been fortunate enough to sign for one of the Continental teams there. He explains, “I have been lucky enough to sign with a Belgium Continental Team ‘Morgan Blue’ until I fly home at the end of July. I will be racing a couple of kermesses and two big races, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on the 5th of July and Tour of Liege on July 14-18. Although the next month will be more about training and getting ready for the track season which starts in September.”

We look forward to seeing Alex Hooper progress in the next month or so before he heads home and look forward to some great racing for his Morgan Blue team. Keep an eye open for developments here.

 

By: Ed Wright

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