Human Powered Health™ wasted no time in its podium pursuit during their debut race of the 2022 season with Ben King riding into the climber’s jersey on stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
The American began the five-day event by scoring points over the Alto de Costur and El Remolcador climbs, to lead the classification with 12 points, four more than stage winner Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team).
“We were all hands on deck for the breakaway today,” he said after the podium presentation. “Taking a jersey home was our pre-race goal, so it feels great to start the season on a positive note.”
The Virginian debuted his impressive climbing legs at the team’s recent Portuguese training camp by winning the coveted “camp champs” race. This proved to be crucial training for King to activate himself after the off-season.
“The first race of the season is always a shock to the system,” King explained. “I worked on punchy efforts and sprints in the off-season and it’s good to see that paying off. We’ll see how I respond to the load of the next few days.”
Unfortunately, Gavin Manion suffered from the effects of a mid-race crash and had to abandon the race to seek medical attention.
Stage 2 follows a rolling route from Bétera to Torrent and includes plenty of opportunities for King to defend the maillot líder.
“I’ll definitely look for more opportunities to pick up mountain points. If it’s not me, don’t be surprised to see one of us up there.”
Catch all of Thursday’s action from 10 am ET on the Eurosport Player and GCN+.