Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Part II

Lorenzo Fortunato (Italy, 1996)

Fortunato winning stage one GIro del Friuli
Lorenzo Fortunato was already one of the best juniors from Italy in his first year winning five races in his native country, including Trofeo Guido Dorigo (1.1, Italy) where he beat by one second well known riders like Simone Velasco and Lorenzo Rota. His biggest win on amateur scene was in april when he won Giro dell Friuli for juniors, five day stage race. Lorenzo won not only the general classification but also the first stage. Other notable result that came during the spring was second place in Piccola San Remo. After decent first part of the season Fortunato finished fifth in European Championships road race. Later on, he was pretty consistant during Giro di Basilicata (2.1, Italy) and finished in top 10 on all three stages which gave him solid eighth in general. One week later he finished eleventh on World Chamiponships, in the group around twenty guys behind the champion, Mathieu van der Poel. Fortunato showed that he can fight in classics and mountains and with numerous of solid results last year and expected improvement in 2014 he might be one of the top juniors in the upcoming season.

Damien Touze (France, 1996)

Touze (in the middle) winning Trophee Madiot.
Young Frenchman was known on cycling scene even before his first junior season. He won Trophee Madiot, series of races for cadets organized by Marc Madiot, manager of FDJ team. Touze won that trophy in 2012. If we look at the list of previous winners (Lecuisinier, Gillemois, Zimine) it shows how big and important that event is. I have decided to include Damien on my list because of his consistency. He didn’t rode much on international scene last year but he still managed to get some solid results. The first one, and could be the biggest, was winning sprint for fourth place in Paris Roubaix (1.Ncup, France), 22 seconds behind the big three (van Hooydonck, Hart, Pedersen). Later that month he went to Croatia and rode well in Memorial Edi Rajkovic (2.Ncup, Croatia) and finished fourth again in general classification behind big names like Hart and Per. The last decent results came in july during European Chamionships where French team dominated having three guys in top four. Damien was the last one, finishing four, loosing the sprint for bronze medal to Matthias Van Gompel. Only three Frenchmen that were better in 2013 than Damien are no longer juniors which will give Touze chance to lead his national team in some of the international races in 2014.

Kristroffer Halvorsen (Norway, 1996)

Halvorsen in green jersey during Tour of Istria
Halvorsen was one of the few guys from 1996 who managed to get more than one win last year on international scene. Young Norwegian showed his best skills in sprint stages in two big stage races, Trofeo Karlsberg (2.Ncup, Germany) and Memorial Edi Rajkovic aka Tour of Istria (2.Ncup, Croatia). Halvorsen won stages in both of those races beating some of the top juniors. The stage win in Trofeo Karslberg also gave him the leader’s jersey for one day. In that race based in Germany, Halvorsen grabbed second place on the last stage, again in massive sprint, where he lost only with Pedersen. Before those big stage races, Halvorsen started his international season in Paris Roubaix (1.Ncup, France), where he finished seventh. Other notable results came from Le Trophée Centre Morbihan (2.Ncup, France), where he won bunch sprint for fifth place on stage one and came second in bunch sprint on stage three, fifth one the stage. In general classification Kristoffer finished tenth. The young sprinter from Norway for sure will be then man to beat in sprint stages in upcoming year.

Emiel Planckaert (Belgium, 1996)

Emiel Planckaert
Planckeart spent his 2013 season mostly in Belgium, riding in few international races and grabbed impressive amount of top ten places. In his first race, Grand Prix Bati-Metallo (1.1, Belgium), one day classic, he finished sixth. In july he won youth classification on Sint-Martinusprijs Kontich (2.1, Belgium) and finished on solid sixth place in general. After that, he finished second in youth classification in another Belgian race, La Gleize (2.1, Belgium), where he lost only with Jonas Gregaard. Solid performance on last stage (fourth) and good ride by his team in team time trial on stage two (second) gave him his best results of the season in general, he was fourth. Two weeks later came his last big result of the season, fourth in Philippe Gilbert juniors (1.1, Belgium) where he lost only with big names like Van Gompel, Van Hooydonck and Tom Galle.

Those eight names are the biggest talent from 1996 for me and could be one of the big stars in upcoming season. I have some bonus that will be published later on with few names but maybe some of you have some ideas for talented juniors for 2014 ? Feel free to post it!

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