Sebastian Schönberger hit the ground running in stage races for Human Powered Health, riding into the lead of the points jersey classification on stage 2 of O Gran Camiño.
Having been present in the breakaway during a shortened stage a day prior, the Austrian once again infiltrated the day’s move, scoring points at the Moańa, Gondomar and Baiona sprints to take his total to 71.
Confusingly, the 28-year-old was not presented with the jersey on the podium afterward and it was instead given to stage victor and overall leader, 2022 Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).
Despite the clerical error, Schönberger was still in high spirits at the finish. “It was a very good day for me,” he said. “I really like to race aggressively, I really enjoy it, that’s my style,” he adds on his 284 breakaway kilometers over the past two days.
The attacking nature of his racing also means that Schönberger is well in contention to battle for the KOM jersey. Having scored 6 points on stage 1, Schönberger added an additional three by leading over the San Esteban de Negres climb, drawing him level with standing leader Francesco Gavazzi (EOLO-Kometa Cycling Team).
“Even though I didn’t win the mountains jersey too but tomorrow’s another day so I keep on going,” he said.
It has been a stressful period for Schönberger who has taken all adversity in his stride ever since falling victim to the breakup of the B&B Hotels – KTM team at the end of 2022. He started his season with three races at the Challenge Mallorca but succumbed to a bout of COVID-19 soon after.
“I worked really hard at home and with strong legs behind me from training camps I was ready,” he explained of his recovery process that included skiing with his dog Monte. “It helps me a lot to be out there in the winter and not always on the trainer. I really like to be out on the skis and to enjoy nature with my dog and my wife and it’s really good training for me.”
The post-race jersey malfunction wasn’t even the height of the drama at O Gran Camiño. Spain had a little taste of Upper Midwestern weather on day one with snowy conditions creating a complete whiteout.
“Yesterday the stage was not too bad for me,” Schönberger about the conditions. “When it started snowing, I spoke to Gianni Moscon (Astana Qazaqstan Team), and I said we need to go full gas on the downhill.
“We went full gas and then the last climb was just a small road but then we got confirmation two kilometers from the KOM that the race was canceled. Unfortunately, I couldn’t win the KOM because they stopped us. I tried not to think about it but it’s okay now I could score points today too,” he added on using the previous day’s disappointment as motivation.
The race continues to climb throughout the week with more chances for Schönberger to solidify his position in the points standings while also racing for the KOM jersey.
“Tomorrow we will race aggressively with the same tactic, be in the front and go in the breakaway,” he explained.
O Gran Camiño continues through the weekend and is viewable on GCN+/Eurosport.
So @schoeni1994 mathematically has the @ograncamino_igt points jersey but was not awarded it on the podium.
We love our podium shots! Do your best, wildest, weirdest internet!@BenjiNaesen @AugustBembel #HumanPoweredHealth pic.twitter.com/RJ0rHSheZO
— Human Powered Health Cycling (@HumanPwrdHealth) February 24, 2023
O Gran Camiño points standings after stage 2
1 SCHÖNBERGER Sebastian – Human Powered Health 71 pts
2 ROPERO Alejandro – Electro Hiper Europa 60
3 VINGEGAARD Jonas – Jumbo-Visma 50
4 IZAGIRRE Ion – Cofidis 39
5 ETXEBERRIA Josu – Caja Rural – Seguros RGA 30
O Gran Camiño KOM standings after stage 2
1 GAVAZZI Francesco – EOLO-Kometa 9 pts
2 SCHÖNBERGER Sebastian – Human Powered Health 9
3 VINGEGAARD Jonas – Jumbo-Visma 5
4 FERNÁNDEZ Delio – APHotels and Resorts – Tavira 3
5 GUERREIRO Ruben – Movistar Team 3