Thursday, 16 January 2014

The season is coming, in few weeks some of the top riders will come to Belgium for a Kurrne Bruxelles Kuurne. Before that happen i decided to write a little about some names that might dominate junior category this year. Most of them will be seceond year juniors with results and prediction mostly based by their last year performance. But some will be younger. So let's start with first four names..

Part I

Igor Decreane (Belgium, 1996)

Decerane in rainbow jersey.
Who else could be the first guy on my list if not the current World Champion ? Decreane seems to be pure time trial specialist with three wins on uci calendar last year plus National Championships. He won his WC title by 8 seconds ahead of Matthias Krigbaum, 2012 European TT champion and Zeke Mostov, one of his biggest rivals in upcoming season. Right after the Worlds he went to France and smashed the field in traditional time trial event, Chrono des Nations. One of the top stars in juniors last year, Elie Gesbert, was beaten by more than a minute. That’s impressive for sure. He has also won time trial in Keizer der Juniores (2.1), one of the biggest stage races in Belgium, ahead of the guys like Oomen and van Hooydonck. But Decreane had also a big loss this year, when Russian Nikolay Cherkasov beat him by one second on European Championships. Cherkasov was also a first year junior and the battle between this two (plus Mostov) in time trials will be very interesting in 2014.

It remains to be seen how will Decreane develop in future but from the past it’s easy to spot that guys who won TT titles in juniors are usually getting better results in pro’s than those who won the road race title. Like Cancellara (twice), Kittel (twice), Kwiatkowski and Phinney.

Nikolay Cherkasov (Russia, 1996)

Cherkasov during the Worlds ITT
The young Russian, like i said before, is the current European Champion in time trial and that was his biggest success last year. But not the only win for sure. He also won National Chamiponships in time trial and, as a part of Russain national team, he won team time trial in La Glaize (2.1), Walloon stage race. But his most impressive win came from Valromey Tour in France (2.1) where he won solo mountainous stage three, 33 seconds ahead of big star van der Poel. Cherkasov could become solid GC rider since his other positive results comes mostly from stage races. He finished fourth in Nidersachsen Rundfahrt (2.1) in Germany, where he also won youth classification, ninth in Ronde des Valles (2.1, France) mostly because of solid ride in time trial where he finished seventh. The ninth place was also his position in famous Giro della Lunigiana (2.1, Italy), one of the most important stage races in junior category. 

Zeke Mostov (USA, 1996)

Zeke Mostov riding away

The third guy on my list and another one known mostly for his time trialing skills. Zeke will ride for Hages Berman u23 team in 2014. He biggest results last year was bronze medal on World Championships. His other good results came from Ettapenfahrt der Rad (2.1, Germany) where he was second in prologue and had top ten placings in two rode stages which gave him 2nd place overall (behind Dimitriy Rive) and first in youth classification. Mostov showed his time trial abilities in Nation Championships of course, where he was second, just behind Michael Dessau. One more solid result came from Course de la Paix (2.Ncup), one of the biggest events for juniors. In all star time trial Zeke Mostov finished sixth, 21 seconds behind Mads Pedersen on 12 km course. He only lost with some of the big guns like van Hooydonck, Owen, or Rask. While improving time trial skills is pretty much certainty for Mostov I would love to see him getting some results in stage races either. As a second year junior he might improve and fight for general classifications in races uncluding ITT.

Patrick Müller (Switzerland, 1996)

Patrick Muller on track
The last guy I would like to write about in this part is Swiss rider, Patrick Müller. Patrick is known not only from road races but also from track. He was a part of Swiss team that took the bronze on European Track Chamiponships in Team’s Pursuit. Patrick himself had some nice individual track results as well, like seventh place in World Championships in Omnium and seventh in European Chamipnships in Madison. But of course this blog is mostly about road races so Patrick wouldn’t be on my list if he didn’t get some top results on the road. Like many guys on my list, Muller had very successful National Championships where he took gold in road race and silver in time trial. On international scene Müller had one win this year, hilly stage three in Tour de Pays de Vaud (2.1, Switzerland) where he won by 2 seconds margin ahead of group of favorites. Solid ride in prologue and ITT (with some climbing in the last few kilometers) gave him fourth place in general classification. Two other decent results last year came from Italian one day races. First one was Trofeo Emilio Paganesi (1.1), on hilly course Patrick was beaten in two man finale by Dimitryi Strakhov. Three weeks later (in the time between Muller was in top 10 on two stages and in general in Swiss stage race, GP Ruebliand (2.1)) he was third in Trofeo Bussato, won by Robert Power. Patrick Muller looks like a talented hilly rider with good speed and some climbing abilities.

Stay tuned for next part.

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