Ethan Vernon sprints to victory in final leg of the Challenge Mallorca

Brit sees off challenge from Biniam Girmay

Ethan Vernon
(Image credit: Dario Belingheri / Getty)

Ethan Vernon opened his account for the season by taking victory in a bunch sprint at the Trofeo Palma de Palma.

The British 22-year-old saw off Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Jame Van De Paar (Lotto Dstny) in the sprint, after a lead-out from his Soudal-Quick Step teammates in the final two kilometres left him ideally positioned following a tight corner 500 metres from the line.

The victory sees Vernon pick up from where he left off in 2022, a successful debut year as a professional in which he won a World Tour stage at the Volta a Catalunya.

Having been beaten into second three days ago by Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) at the Trofeo Port d’Alcudia., Vernon was relieved to take victory on what was the fifth and final day of racing of the Mallorca Challenge, a series of one-day races held on the Spanish island. 

“The pressure was on me to win,” he said at the finish. “We were so close nearly every day. I think the team has done really well this week, and everyone was in great shape. The luck hasn’t been on our side, but today everyone worked really hard and the win finally came.

“I’m really happy. It’s only my second year as a professional. To win already, in January, is a nice start to the year.”

Vernon had to negotiate a tricky course which featured many tight turns, one of which claimed several victims, including Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa Samsic), on the last lap in a crash.

“It was quite technical, the corner every two kilometres. It was a big road, and the guys were patient, and we still had five or six guys in the last few kilometres. We’d won the race already two kilometres out I think, when we had such strong guys still left in the race.”

Earlier in the week, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, winning Wednesday’s opener of Trofeo Calvia with Rui Costa, followed by back-to-back success for Kobe Goossens at Trofeo Port d'Andratx and Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. 

Goossens’ performances were especially impressive, taking the first from a long breakaway, and the second in horrible weather conditions that saw the race shortened due to snow. 

Girmay looked like he might add a fourth win for the team today, but, having been badly positioned heading into the final corner, was left with too much to do to pass Vernon in time. 

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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.