Wednesday, 31 December 2014

At the same time when European Championships were running, we had another stage race for juniors: Ain'Ternational-Rhône Alpes-Valromey Tour. French race always have pretty hard route with solid amount of climbing. 2013 edition won Mathieu van der Poel ahead of Eli Gesbert, big names. On the first of four stages Steff Crass from Belgium took a solo win, 13 seconds ahead of the bunch. The second stage was much harder with two first category climbs in the first part of the stage and a finish at the top of second category climb in Injoux. This time it was French climber Victor Lafay who took a solo win and also moved up to first place in overall. The next day riders had to pass famous Col du Colombier in the first part of the stage and it was again Victor Lafay who took the win, this time with over 1:30 ahead of Charlie Arimont who was second. The final stage was for sure the hardest one with four first category climbs. Aurelien Doleatto won the stage but Lefay controlled the gap and kept his big margin in overall classification. It was the only uci race that Lafay rode but if you read my blog you will probably remember that Lafay took a win in Tour du Léman where he also showed his climbing skills.Curious how he develop in u23 where he will have more chances to ride in mountains for sure.

Victor Lafay solo win (photo: leprogres.fr)

Just a few days later another stage race started in Austria: Oberösterreich Juniorenrundfahrt. If you ask me, this race really improved in case of the field since 2013. If you check the top 10 you will find pretty long list of successful juniors. First two stages were fairly mountainous but with more or less flat before the finish line but in junior category it's usually more then enough to create solid gaps. First stage finished in Marchtrenk won Tobias Kongstad from Denmark as he managed to beat Aleksandr Vlasov and another rider from Russia, Denis Nekrasov. The next stage was the hardest one with solid amout of climbing. Elite group of eight riders finished together and it was Kevin Geniets from Luxembourg who took the win but the leaders jersey took local rider Benjamin Brkic as he finished higher in the first stage. The final stage didn't change the gc as the top junior sprinter, Enzo Wouters, took another win. In gc Brkic finished ahead of Tom Wirtgen from Luxembourg and Emiel Planckaert from Belgium.

Enzo Wouters winning the stage, Benjamin Brkic winning the race (photo: nachrichten.at)

FInal podium: Tom Wirtgen, Benjamin Brkic, Emiel Planckaert (photo: nachrichten.at)

Next we head to Canada for Tour de l'Abitibi Desjardins, another Nations Cup event held in July. It was pretty unusual nations cup race since the organizers invited pretty big amount of regional teams from the States and Canada and only eight national teams including USA, France and Denmark. Canadian race on the other hand is the longest junior event with no less then seven stages during six days of racing. Too bad that we didn't have full list of national teams with all the big names on the start. Despite the startlist wasn't very impressive, the first stage already brought a duel between big names: Rayane Bouhanni and Magnus Bak Klaris on the finish line. The duo stayed in front of the bunch and Bouhanni beat Klaris on the line and took the yellow jersey. The next day we had another nice duel on the finish line, this time Mathias Norsgaard beat Will Barta with both being a part of six man breakaway which finished 20 seconds ahead of the peleton. Bonus seconds gave Norsgaard overall lead.

Bouhanni celebrating after beating Bak Klaris (photo: leducphotographe.com)

The next stage was a time trial totally dominated by Americans as they took top four places. Adrien Costa won ahead of Barta and Zeke Mostov. Norsgaard lost a minute and now it was Barta in the overall lead. The same day we had a sprinter stage won by Damien Touze. The next stage also finished with bunch sprint where Quentin Valognes won but more important things happened during the stage where big names were fighting for bonus seconds. Rayane Bouhanni showed his sprinting skills and was back to overall lead. Another sprint stage again won Valognes with Bouhanni finishing second and increasing his overall lead. Final stage didn't change much with pretty exotic podium: Daiki Magosaki from Japan ahead of Ahmed Amine Galdoune from Marocco and Jonathan Canaveral from Colombia. Rayane Bouhanni won the gc ahead of Zeke Mostov and Mathias Norsgaard.

Mathias Norsgaard (photo: leducphotographe.com)

Rayanne Bouhanni on the podium (photo:theguardian.pe.ca)

The final stage race that took place in July was Internationale Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt der Junioren, four stage event held in Lower Saxony in Germany. Milan Veltman from the Netherlands won the first stage ahead of Wiebren Plovie and Fredrik Poulsen as they all were part of six men group that finished 30 seconds ahead of another group brought by Jonas Bokeloh. That was pretty decisive move as the first stage was for sure the hardest one. The next day started with morning time trial where German rider Jan Tschernoster won ahead of Anders Hardhal from Denmark and Sven Reutter from Germany who become the new leader. In the evening we had pretty flat stage but two riders disrupted the sprinters. Julius van den Berg won a two man sprint against Aleksandr Vlasov. 10 seconds behind them Enzo Wouters has beaten Jonas Bokeloh. Gc didn't change much so Sven Reutter kept the lead before the final stage where nothing happened in case of GC. Final sprint stage won Enzo Wouters proving that he was the best pure sprinter in 2014. In overall Sven Reutter finished ahead of stage one winner Milan Veltman and Fredrik Poulsen. Remember Poulsen for next season, he was pretty successful in u17 category but in his first season in u19 he didn't have much chances to fight on international level. His result in Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt shows that he might be in contention with the best juniors in 2015.

Sven Reutter (photo: Michael Deines)
Next post will be about European Championships in Nyon.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

July was a busy month for juniors with two Nations Cup events, European Championships and four more stage races. As an appetizer we had 51st edition of Sint-Martinusprijs Kontich held in the province of Antwerp in Belgium. The first stage was a prologue dominated by German riders. In fact, the highest ranked Belgian rider was Glenn Loenders on 13th place. German riders took three places in top four with Leo Appelt winning. Appelt is another guy to remember, he had some impressive row of wins in younger categories in Germany and managed to win road race during European Youth Olympic Festival in 2013 (ahead of Pascal Eenkhoorn) and was also second in time trial (beaten by Erlend Blikra). Second stage around Kontich almost finished with a bunch sprint but two guys managed to stay in front: Dennis Van Leeuwen won ahead of Wiebren Plovie and Maxim Bolle who won the bunch sprint nine seconds behind the escapers. Appelt managed to keep the leaders jersey.

Leo Appelt in leaders jersey after prologue win (photo: cyclingsite.be)

Another stage was pretty unusual for juniors as we had team time trial. German National team scored a big win and took 30 seconds against one of the top Danish junior team: Roskilde and Dutch juniors from Viking Waterland. These gave Appelt solid advantage before the last two stages. The next day was decisive. 31 riders stayed in front of the peleton and they managed to keep over a minute gap to the big group led by German National Team. Maxime De Poorter won a stage but it was Mikkel Honore from Roskilde team who took the leaders jersey. Appelt was dropped to fourth place in general classification. The final day in Kontich ended with a four man breaakway fight for a stage win. Robin Jacobs won ahead of Eli Iserbyt who is now unbeatable in cyclocross season for juniors. GC didn't change so Mikkel Honore from Denmark won, ahead of Julius Van der Berg who won stage race in Grudziądz in May and Manuel Porzner from Germany.


Robin Jacobs winning final stage after successful breakaway (photo: cyclingsite.be)

Mikkel Honore (photo: cyclingsite.be)


It could be first big win for Leo Appelt but i have a feeling that we won't have to wait long in 2015 to see this kid scoring another one. Hopefully Eli Iserbyt wont focus totally on cyclocross since i would love to see him riding more in road races.



At the same time most of the notable cycling countries have sent a team to Luxembourg for 67th edition of GP General Patton. Like most of the Nations Cup events also the Luxembourgian race is an important one. On the first stage from Ettelbruck to Troisvierges Frenchman Valentin Maduas, winner of annual Directvelo's Challenge National, managed to stay in front of the peleton and grab a win. Just behind him it was another Frenchman, Damien Touze, one of the riders to watch in 2014. The second stage around Wincrange was a harder one with more climbing that caused bigger splits in the bunch. Actually, only eighteen riders managed to finish in the front group and this time it was Russian rider Alexandr Vlasov who kept ten seconds advantage on the big group where sprint was won by Lorenzo Fortunato, another rider to watch in 2014. Those 10 seconds gave him overall win. Second was Maduas and third place went to Fortunato. Vlasov was very impressive this season as he grabbed two top ten places in Nations Cup events (Course de la Paix and Trofeo Karlsberg) before his overall win in Patton.
Valentin Madouas winning first stage (photo: rtl.lu)
Aleksandr Vlasov (photo: rtl.lu)

At the day when GP General Patton has ended another uci event for juniors took place in Italy. Edoardo Affini took a solo win in Trofeo San Rocco ahead of Vincenzo Albanese and Lorenzo Vallariano who won sprint from peleton for third place. Impressive ride in Italian classic was a sign of big form that later that month gave Affini title of European road race champion.

Edoardo Affini (photo: cyclismo.info)
 Few days later another one day race took place. This time it was 95th Gent Menen in Belgium. Paris Roubaix winner Magnus Bak Klaris was very active during the race as he tried to join a breakaway from the very start of the race. When he finally managed to get into group that rode away from peleton he didn't wait too long before he jumped away for another solo win. He rode last 20k's alone and improved the gap on the rest of the group. Pretty impressive, isn't it ? Belgian rider Daan Mertens finished second, 46 seconds behind Bak Klaris and Douwe Daatselaar from the Netherlands took third.
Magnus Bak Klaris (cyclingsite.be)

Monday, 29 December 2014

There was only one Nations Cup event in June but actually it was one of the biggest and most prestigious one: Trofeo Karlsberg. Three day event started with breakaway win by Slovakian David Zverko on the first stage. Some of the big names has lost over a minute including Will Barta, Lennard Kamna and Adrien Costa. The next day we had typical junior schedule: morning road race and short time trial in the evening. This time the big names stayed in front with Barta, Costa and Kamna in front group, 26 seconds ahead of peleton where Jonas Bokeloh, future world champion, has won the bunch sprint. The stage itself won Kristjan Kumar from Slovenia, but since he was later caught for using EPO there is no point to spoke about him anymore. Later that day Lennard Kamna has beaten Will Barta in the time trial while Adrien Costa has missed the turn and lost over 30 seconds. Kumar held the lead. Sunday was the day for sprinters and Milan Menten from Belgium won the stage. Whole race won Kumar ahead of Eddie Dunbar from Ireland, Lennard Kamna and Austrian rider Benjamin Brkic.


                  
David Zverko winning first stage (photo: Peter Melchior)

27th Trofeo Karlsberg podium: Dunbar, Kumar, Kamna (photo: rad-net.de)

It was the only uci race where Eddie Dunbar shined but he's a big talent, trust me. He dominated Junior Tour of Ireland held in July and scored impressive amount of nine podium places (with two wins) throughout the season in smaller junior races in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2015 Dunbar will ride for British Continetal team NFTO.


July is also a month for nationals with all the big names at the startlines fighting for national titles and jerseys. There is no point to drop all the winners here but some results worth a mention. Two riders scored a double (road race and time trial): Adam Toupalik in Czech and Tom Wirtgen in Luxembourg. We had a nice fight for USA time trial title between Adrien Costa and William Barta won by the first one. Also, Erlend Blikra was close to score double but he was beaten in road race by Martin Vangen. In Denmark we had a fight between born in 1997 Nikias Larsen and born in 1998 Anthon Charmig (first mention about him on my blog, but not the last one, big talent). Obviously Lennard Kamna won nationals in itt and Rayane Bouhanni scored a win in road race after two man sprint agianst Leo Danes.

Rayane Bouhanni beating Leo Danes on the line (photo: Elen Rius)

Monday, 2 June 2014

46th Tour Du Pays De Vaud ended yesterday with a hilly stage from Treytorrens to Grandcour. Swiss rider Patrick Muller (one of riders to watch in 2014) after a sprint from a large group. Second place went to his compatriot Cyril Kuntz and the third to American William Barta.

Final podium of the race (photo: @tourpaysvaud)

In the general classification, there were no significant changes. The winner, after a great ride in both Saturday's stages, was Adrien Costa, possibly the most talented rider in his age category . Second place went to Kevin Geniets of Luxembourg and the third William Barta. Fourth and fifth place also took riders from USA National Team. Complete domination. Americans generally have good association with the Swiss race. They won last three editions (previously Eisenhart in 2012 and Curran last year). Who's next ? For sure it will be Costa if he will come back to Switzerland in 2015.

Results:



A little bit in the shadow of the success of Costa, James Shaw continues his great season. After great solo attack he won Omloop Het Niewsblad fro juniors and two days later he won again in the race Rekken . At the end of a successful weekend Briton added second place in Haringe.Hard mountain races in recent weeks in the junior category (meaning the uci races) did not fit to the characteristics of Shaw, but the winner of this year's Kuurne Bruxelles Kuurne is going to grab a big win again this season, i'm pretty sure of that.

James Shaw winning solo (photo: @2sprintfast)

The weekend also held the Belgian Championships road race.Enzo Wouters crossed the line first after a sprint from the small group. Team Avia Crabbe  has done a great job bringing their leader in an ideal position for the final finish. Second place went Senne Leysen and the third Denni Delmotte. Very strong podium. Also it's second medal for Leysen this year after being third in time trial few weeks back.

Enzo Wouters on the line (photo @Enzo_W)

Belgium NC podium (photo @Enzo_W)

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Adrien Costa from USA National Team won both today's stages of Tour du pays de Vaud and is now the race leader with decent advantage over Kevin Geniets from Luxembourg. William Barta, Costa's teammate, is currently third.

Adrien Costa in yellow jersey (photo: @USACjuniors)

If you are reading this blog you probably already heard about Adrien Costa . Young American achieved outstanding results at the American cycling scene before his sixteenth birthday. The number of his victories in amateur races is almost a legend. This season, Adrien has scored victory in the Tour of the Gila (won three of the five stages) and many other . All of these successes , however, were impossible to compare to racing in Europe. Even tough in u17 category Costa had some decent results on the Old Continent, but only rivalry among juniors in Europe was suppose to verify his talent. And what happened once Costa came to Europe ?

Time trial podium (photo: @USACjuniors)


Adrien won two stages on Tour du pays de Vaud at the same day! In the morning he crossed the line alone in Les Diablerets after a difficult ascent near the finish with an impressive advantage over Kevin Geniets who came second (+1:36). In the afternoon, young American won the hilly time trial , beating his team-mate and at the same time one of the best specialists in the time trial in u19 category, William Barta. One day, two different stages, two dominating victories.

His victory in the race is almost sealed and it remains only a matter of time when Adrien Costa wins again. He is one of the biggest prospects in the junior category in recent years. If next season will focus on the European races , we can expect dominance as Bob Jungels of 2010.

Friday, 30 May 2014

William Barta from United States National Team won the first stage of Tour du pays de Vaud after sprint from the leading group. Dane Jonas Gregaard was second and Patrick Müller came third. Youth Gino Mäder is the new leader after finishing third in prologue and seventh today.

Gino Mäder in the yellow jersey (photo: @tourpaysvaud)

Tommorow we can expect more shake ups in overall since riders will face mountainous stage to Les Diablerets with difficult ascent near the finish and short time trial in the evening. Adrien Costa finished in the lead group today but with another time trial i bet on today's winner, Will Barta for the overall.

Results:

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Swiss rider Valentin Kiser have won the opening ultra-short prologue of 46th edition of Tour du pays de Vaud run in Yverdon city this evening. Rest of podium places were filled by his countrymen: Nico Selanti was second and Gino Mader came third.

Swiss podium of prologue (photo: @tourpaysvoud)
Full results:


Tommorow riders will face hilly stage between Dompierre and Romanel-sur-Lausanne with total length of 92.7km. Some of the notable starters: Nico Selanti, Tom Wirtgen, Julius van den Berg, William Barta, Patrick Muller, Jonas Gregaard and the one and only Adrien Costa. It's his first big race in Europe in u19 category and i'm really interested in what can he achieve.

Roadbook

Young Norwegian Erlend Blikra won the French race Le Trophée Centre Morbihan part of the Uci Nations Cup for juniors. Second place in the overall standings took Russian Nicolay Cherkasov and the third Dane X Nikias Larsen.

Final race podium (photo: @directvelo)

The riders competed in three stages played last weekend. On Saturday, they had to overcome a hilly stage with a length of 93.7 km. On Sunday they faced short time trial in the morning and a decisive stage to Locminé later on.

Saturday's stage finished with a bunch sprint won by the race winner Erlend Blikra who beat the French favorite Damien Touze and the Dutchman Sjoerd Bax on the line.

Erlend Blikra's impressive sprint (photo: Camille Nicol)

Despite many attempts to attack in the initial phase of stage Norwegian team was in control of field and did not allow any serious escapes in first part of the stafe. At 41km to the finish Italians tried to split the field with attack from three of their riders. The leaders formed a group composed Pedersen (Denmark), Kumar (Slovenia), Plebani, Moschetti, Rocchetti (Italy ), Shatovkin (Russia), Sureda Morey (Spain) and Dunbar ( Ireland). To dangerous escape joined by two favorites: Erlend Blikra and Magnus Bak Klaris . The advantage , however, did not exceed more then 30 seconds, and the group was caught up 22km before the finish . Emiel Planckaert and Sjoerd Bax tried to stay away in the last kilometers, but were overtaken almost at the finish line.

The time trial on Sunday's morning from Reguiny to Naizin a length of 7.2km was decisive for overall win. The impressive victory took a leader, Erlend Blikra, who defeated an excellent time trialer Russian Nicolay Cherkasov  by 19 seconds. Third place went to another Russian Petr Rikunov, 21 seconds behind Blikra.

Filippo Rocchetti (photo: @directvelo)
The last stage was dominated by spectacular ride from the Norwegian team. They controlled the course of the whole stage, for a long time did not allow any breakways to go. They cleared dangerous action of nine riders with Nicolay Cherkasov and managed to keep the race lead for Erlend Blikra. In the last three kilometers of the stage attacked Filippo Rocchetti (Italy), Emiel Planckaert (Belgium) and Eddie Dunbar (Ireland), which maintained the advantage to the finish. Italian Rocchetti have won the stage. The peloton of Blikrą lost 15 seconds and the Norwegian kep his yellow jersey. He also won the points and youth classifications. The climebrs jersey went to Tom Wirtgen from Luxembourg.

Results:



Gallery

I'm really impressed by how Blikra and whole Norwegian team rode last weekend. The first stage win for Blikra was very convincing but it was the time trial that was decisive for GC. 19 seconds on 7.2km course is pretty big advantage but without help from his team it would be probably very hard to keep the leader's jersey on final stage.

Good to see Cherkasov back in action. He did well last season and i was expecting decent results from him this year. He dnf'ed in Roubaix but looks like he's fully recovered and going to be a dangerous rider in stage races.

Magnus Bak Klaris didn't have a chance to show his level since his time trial skills are not so great. He finished 14th and tried to split the field on first stage but it was all decided by sprints in both first and third stage. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Dutchman Peter Lenderink won 33rd edition of the Int. Junioren Driedaagse van Axel (2.1). Second place went to Germany Jan Tschernoster and the third to another Dutchman Bram Welten.

Final podium with all the jerseys winners (photo: cyclingsite.be)

On the first day of competition the cyclists had to face a less than 100km stage from Sluiskill to Axel. The riders went through the six sections of cobblestones, which were decisive for the stage results. Jurjen van der Velde went into solo breakaway in the early kilometers of the race but was caught up. On the last lap at the front was a group of sixteen riders. Five of them made a counter attack: Jorn Buning, Dennis van Leeuwen, Andreas Jeppersen, Max Kanter and Bob Olieslage. They worked well together and kept the small gap to the rest of leading group almost untill the finish. The fugitives were, however, overtaken almost at the end of the stage and sprint from the front group won the Belgian Dennis Delmotte, which was also the first leader of the race.

Dennis Delmotte winning the first stage (photo: cyclingsite.be)
On the second day of competition for riders faced a short time trial in the morning and stage around the town of Axel later in the afternoon.

The morning time trial won Senne Leysen from Belgium, bronze medalist in this year's Belgian National Championships in time trial, ahead of Peter Lenderink and German rider, Jan Tschernoster. The leader after the first day, Dennis Delmotte has lost nearly a minute and went down in the overall standings to ninth place. The new leader was Lenderink.

Dennis Delmotte during the time trial (photo: cyclingsite.be)
The afternoon stage began with a series of accidents before neutralization. Then we had another crash ... and a few accidents. Rainy conditions with cobblestones effectively split the peloton into smaller groups, which, however, in the final phase of the stage began to connect, and at less than 10km from the finish line we had a big peleton at the front. Less than 5km from the finish line, just before the beginning of the last section of cobbles,  two riders attacked from the main group: Thimo Willems and Tohmas Joseph, who managed to keep the lead until the finish line. Willems won. Sprint third place in the peloton won Enzo Wouters. Lenderink retained the leader's jersey.

Last "queen stage" traditionally started from the accident. This time the leader Peter Lenderink went down but quickly returned to the peloton. Andreas Stokbro, Aleksandr Martyshev and Jack Maddux went into the breakway of the day and kept the lead for most of the stage and collected the points in the climber competition. Martyshev as the last man from the breakway at the fron but was caught by the main group before the beginning of the last lap. Alone attacked Brent Briesen, who held about 20 seconds over the peloton but was caught. Thimo Willems and Wouter Persoon counterattacked from the peloton and managed to stay away from the leading group with yellow jersey. This time Willems lost a two man sprint and it was Persoon who won the stage.

Peter Lenderink leading the group on hill (photo: cyclingsite.be)
Wouter Persoon (photo: cyclingsite.be)

Lenderink arrived in the group with a loss of 34 seconds and kept the lead in the overall standings. The second place thanks to it's excellent time trial took Germany Jan Tschernoster and the third Bram Welten, who also won two jerseys: for the best young rider and for a sprinter.

Full results:

Former speed skater Lenderink was my favorite from the Dutchies to win in this race and did not disappoint me. After several victories in amateur races Dutchman confirmed his class on the international arena. It wasy pretty impressive for him to kept the lead in the race during the queen stage despite the many attacks on his position.

Jan Tschernoster showed up in the race from uci calendar for the first time this season, but has already won  in the criterium Frühjahrsrennen in Herford and finished third in the time trial Junioren Cottbus, where  Lennard Kamna won. Also it was a great race for Bram Welten. Two jerseys and a podium place in GC is a great results for youth rider.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Today juniors begin competition in the Netherlands in the Int. Junioren Driedaagse van Axel. Meanwhile, tommorow starts another (third already) stage race of uci Nations Cup for juniors, Le Trophée Centre Morbihan. Held in the French department of Morbihan, a two-day race consists of two hilly stages and a short individual time trial.
The winner of last year's edition was further world champion Mathieu van der Poel.

Mathieu van der Poel (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)
On Saturday, riders will go over a distance of 97.2 km from Malachappe Pluvigner to Brec'h. After passing first 47 km on the hilly terrain riders enter into the final circits with a length of 9.9 km around the city Brec'h near Auray. Along the route there are three categorized climbs, two of them with category 2 (basically false flat: 2.7 km long with avg 1.9%), and the Cote de Scoulboch (1.8 km, avg. 5.4%) in the initial phase of the stage.

stage one map (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)

stage one profile (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)


The second day of competition will certainly be decisive. Morning riders will face a short,  seven kilometers long, very fast time trial from Reguiny to Naizin. A year ago on the same route triumphed Remi Cavagna.

stage two map (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)

stage two profile (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)

In the afternoon decisive stage of Colpo to Locminé a length of 105.7 km will be held. Like the Saturday stage it can be divided into two parts: the first 70km leads through hilly terrain with three climbs: Cote de Ihuelgoët (2.6 km, avg. 3.5%), Cote de Châteaubriant (1.9 km, avg. 3.5% ). Both of these bonuses are in the initial phase of stage It will create a great opportunity to escape. In the middle stage of riders waiting for the last ascent: Coté de Loperhet (1.6km, avg. 4.8%) and then fust run in into Locminé.

stage three map (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)

stage three profile (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)

Last year's stage finished in Locminé won Frenchman Etienne Fabre.

Etienne Fabre winning stage 3 (photo: tropheecentremorbihan.fr)
Final results 2013:

The peloton this year's Le Trophée Centre Morbihan consists of sixteen national teams. Despite being played at the same time as Driedaagse van Axel Dutch team send very strong squad, led by the winner of this year's GP Andre Noyelle Mitchell Cornelisse and talented young rider Pascal Eenkhoorn. The French certainly will play leading roles in their own territory, the leader should be Damien Touze, who didn't have  many opportunities to present his talent on the international level this year.

Other notable starters:

Maxime de Pooter, Tom Wirtgen, Aleksandr Kulikovskii, Erlend Blikra, Tobias Foss and Adam toupalik

At the start list also appears Klaris Magnus Bak, who was supposed to start in 3dAxel at the same time. It seems that we will have to wait until the start of the Dutch race to find out where the start-talented Dane.

Two weeks after a difficult mountain race Course de la Paix junior peloton split into two important races played on the same weekend . Part of the riders will head to France for a weekend Le Trophée Centre Morbihan. The rest are heading to the Netherlands for the 33rd edition of Driedaagse van Axel .

podium 2013 (photo:http://www.juniorendriedaagse.nl/) 

Beginning on Friday, in the region of Flanders Zeelandic race is an opportunity to demonstrate their skills for strong, fast riders with decent time trial at least.

Tao Hart leading the group (photo: http://www.juniorendriedaagse.nl/)
Riders on cobbles (photo:http://www.juniorendriedaagse.nl/)

The four-stage race will begin on Friday in the town of Sluiskil. After driving 99.6 km riders will complete the stage in Axel . On the flat route there are three time bonuses and eigth cobbled sections , the last of which is less than 3km from the finish line.

On the second day the riders will compete in two stages (it is worth mention that this is a very popular form in the junior races ) . Morning face off from short, not very technical time trial in the streets of Axel . In the afternoon, juniors will face very similar route to the first one, flat with bonifications and sections of cobbles,  the last of which is again less than 3km from the finish line.  Last year the two stages of mass start ending in Axel won the Dane Michael Carbel Svendgaard.

Last, Sunday's stage will be decisive for the general classification. Peleton will face a similar distance as in earlier days, 93.2 km around the city Valzeke . On the route , however, there will be three difficult climbs :

- Valkenberg ( 540m , avg . 8% , max 12%)
- Leberg ( 950m , avg . 4.2 % , max 13.8 %)
- Langendries ( 1000m , avg . 6.2 % , max 10%)

And false flat (3%) Paddestraat cobbled section with a length of 1,800 meters .

The riders will ride each section of cobbles four times, the last time Paddestraat will go through with less than 2km to the finish . The last fourth uphill Langendries is located 8km from the finish .

A year ago at this stage the general classification was decided. Eight riders finished in front without the race leader Carbel Svendgaard . Stage won his compatriot , Mathias Rask Jeppessen which, thanks to a good ride on the TT stage was the winner of the race.

Final results 2013:


Startlist is very impressive. We will find the clubs from Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and national teams: Poland, Russia, USA and Azerbaijan.

The number one favorite is definitely Magnus Bak Klaris . The winner of this year's Paris Roubaix should feel great on cobbles, hellingen and short time trial.

Among the Dutchies i would put my money on Bram Welten and Peter Lenderink. Both have solid results this year and would love to show their talent on home ground. In bunch sprints Enzo Wouters is the man to beat for sure.

Other notable starters:

Wiebren Plovie, Gianni Wytinck, Zeke Mostov, Brent Briesen, Charlie Arimont and Senne Leysen.

Race website
Startlist
Twitter
Roadbook

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Giro d'Italia time trial underway, i've decided to post links to intermedtiate times (not top 10 but full results) so you can easliy spot you favorite riders. The way it's shown is far from being perefect but stil better than nothing :)


Stage 12 (ITT) » Barbaresco › Barolo (42.2k/26.2m)

Km. 12,6 Boscasso (4ª)

Km 26,2 Alba

Barolo (finish)


Stage 19 (MTT) » Bassano de Grappa › Cima Grappa (26.8k/16.7m) 

Km 7.5 Semonzetto

Km 19.3 Campo Croce

Cima Grappa (finish)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

New entry on my blog after a long break is a good opportunity to take look at several smaller races played recently.

Initially, the Smaller races reviews was dedicated for events outside the UCI calendar . However, the two races held in recent times, in spite of category x.1 uci , fit perfectly into this theme.

The first is the Memorial Dimitar Yankov. The three-day race played in Bulgaria last weekend for the first time in its history had a uci category 2.1. Despite this  the field is not too strong,mostly from Balkan region. For me, the riders in the top places are completely anonymous. But back to the race itself , the best rider was for sure Dusan Rajovic from Serbia. He won two stages , both won by solo attack. On the last stage ended with the pack finish he was second and sealed his victory in the general classification. Quite impressive result, especially when you consider that Rajovic is born in 1997. Rajovic took part in the Tour of Istria ( sixth place in the final stage ) and the Course de la Paix this year. Let's see what will show later in the season, the name to remember for sure .

Final podium (photo: focus-sport.net)
Results:


The second event of the UCI category was the 26th edition of the Italian classic Trofeo Guido Dorigo. The winner, after a solo attack in the race finale, it was Riccardo Verza, first-year junior, for whom this was the third win of the season but first in the race UCI ranking. The riders had to overcome the distance of 137km. Shortly after takeoff formed escape composed Grigoryi Sthein, Maxim Satlikov (both Kazakhstan) and Jon Bozic of Slovenia. Three remained at the forefront of approximately 80 km. In the end, riders faced circuit with three short but steep climbs including Muro di Ca' del Poggoio (the same one will be run on the 18th stage of this year Giro d'Italia) that broke the peloton and gave the opportunity for Verza to attack. Rocco Fugiano and Tiziano Lanza completed the podium.

Riccardo Verza (photo: ciclismo.info)
Results:


In early May, the Isle of Man played one of the most important stage races for juniors in the British Isles, Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Youth Tour. A three-stage race started on Friday evening ultra-short prologue (1.29 miles) on the promenade in Douglas won by one of the best specialists in time trials, Matthew Gibson

Matthew Gibson solo win on stage three (photo:britishcycling.org.uk) 
The second stage held on Saturday consisted of 11 rounds played in a hilly area with a length of 9.3 km each. On the second lap eight riders wento into breakaway, including stage winner Joe Evans, who attacked on the penultimate ascent and won solo, three seconds over two Alex Dalton and Matthew Bostock. The peloton with the current race leader Gibson have lost 33 seconds.

The last stage of the race played on Sunday at a distance of 92km around the town of Ramsey won the Matthew Gibson beating Nathan Draper at the finishline. Joe Holt brought the peloton, who finished 20 seconds after the duo. Stage win and a 20-second lead allowed Gibson to jump into third place in the overall standings. Race won by Joe Evans, the second was Matthew Bostock.


Last weekend also played the second round of the Challange National juniors. Race Boucles du Canton de Trélon was decided on the first day already on the time trial of 13.6 kilometers around the Towns Anor. The winner was Corentin Ermenault for which it was already the second victory in the time trial in Challange National. Previously won the Tour du Canton d'Aurignac. Jeremy Defaye was second, Louis Louvet third. 

Race podium (photo: directvelo)

The second stage ended with the finish of the big peleton. Adrien Carpenter won before Damien Touze and Enzo Boisset. General classification has not changed much. The top three from time trials retained their places on the podium of the race.

Full results:

Le Trophée Centre Morbihan is coming this weekend so stay tuned for race preview!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The hardest race of the season have come to an end and it's a good time for summary since we were able to watch most of the biggest names in juniors category in last few days on Czech and German roads.

Magnus Bak Klaris continues the series of win for Denmark in Course de la Paix. They have won fourth edition in a row. In addition young Dane collected same double as Mads Pedersen last year: Paris Roubaix and Course de la Paix. If you win on cobbles and few weeks later on climbs then you have to be a great talent, that's for sure.

Aurelien Paret Peintre, leader of U19Z ranking, have his limits. He's time trial performance was quite poor and that's the only reason he didn't fight for victory in Course de la Paix as he was one of the strongest on the climbs and helped a lot to Rayane Bouhanni during the queen stage.

Rayane Bouhanni is the biggest revelation of the race. He can climb and time trial and can further develop into gc rider (kinda opposite to his brother but Rayane is stil very young so you never know). In juniors there are no massive specializations like in elite but rider who show high skill in every terrain could turn into a great pro. Just look at Magnus Cort Nielsen who won mountain queen stage on Course de la Paix and now he's winning bunch sprints in elite/u23 races or Tao Hart, who's pure climber but a year ago he was one of the best riders on cobbles during Paris Roubaix.

Lennard Kamna missed  great opportunity for a win in Course de la Paix when he didn't escape with the best four on queen stage. I dont know if he was struggling when they attacked or he just missed the move but that cost him overall win or podium at least.

Igor Decraene is not going to be time trial dominator this year as he was already beaten by Barta and track specialist Matthew Gibson. That was the first round of battle for top junior time trialer title and i'm looking forward how it will develop later this season.

Alessandro Fedeli is the guy to watch from Italy. He won Piccola SanRemo this year after solo escape and now he finished 5th in GC of the hardest race in the calendar. 

Next big race is Le Trophée Centre Morbihan (2.Ncup), weekend race in France starts on 24.05.
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Magnus Bak Klaris won the 43rd edition of Course de la Paix thanks to his second place in final stage around Terezin. Polish rider Patryk Soliński won the final stage, Bak Klaris was second and Yuri Colonna from Italy finished third.

Cycle event
Patryk Soliński winning the last stage (photo: PatRESS.cz)

Young Dane won the overall classification by twelve seconds ahead of Rayane Bouhanni from France and 31 seconds ahead of Will Barta from USA. Danish rider also won the points classification, just one point ahead of Erlend Blikra from Norway. Pascal Eenkhoorn won the mountains classification after great fight with Brit James Shaw during the race. The Best young rider was Tobias Foss from Norway.

Final podium (photo: PatRESS.cz)

The final duel between Bak Klaris and Bouhanni went wrong very early for Frenchmen who crashed just after the start on wet roads. Later on both riders managed to get 3 seconds of bonuses during the stage so heading into the stage final sprint their time in gc was still equal! But with wet and windy conditions in the finale Magnus Bak Klaris managed to stay in the front and finished second in Terezin. Peleton splitted in the last kilometers and Bouhanni was left behind and finished in second group six seconds behind Bak.

Denmark team celebrating (photo: PatRESS.cz)

Results:


That's it. One of the most important stage races for juniors have come to an end. Thanks for all the visits on my blog and for all the kind words about my work! Later on i will post my thoughts about the race so don't forget to visit my blog in the evening :)