Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Just a few days after Tour of istria we have another stage race for juniors with 2.1 uci category. 26th La Coupe du Président de la Ville de Grudziadz (kinda long and bizzare name since its in french and the race is Poland but i guess it's a try to make a name more international and recognizable for foreigners) held around the city of Grudziadz, organized by ALKS Stal Grudziadz, polish club team. The race is being more and more international throught the years with some of the big names on the winners list like Ignatev in 2003, Kritskiy in 2004 and of course Michał Kwiatkowski in 2007. And Niklas Arndt one year later.

2013 podium: Patryk Krzywda, Patrik van der Duin, Daniel Hartvig

Total distance of 408,1 kilometers was divided into four (actually five) stages. During the first day we will have team time trial (Garuta - Łasin, 12.5km)  in the morning which is not very popular in junior events and later on the first road stage around Jabłonowo Pomorskie city (96,5km). I haven't found any info about the climbers jersey or climbs at all so my guess is that the race is basically flat and all of the stages are pretty much criteriums with two or more loops around the cities.

On the second day we will have 96,5km long stage around Chełmża city with two big loops around the town. The next stage is slightly longer but the loops around the city (this time it's Świecie) are much shorter and we will have six of them. The final day around Grudziadz is also the longest one with 109,5km and three loops around the city.

Tobiasz Pawlak winning stage two in Chełmża

The route is basically the same as in previous years with all the city hosts being exactly the same as last year. The first stage (TTT) is going to be very important for the overall. Last year SMS Świdnica (Polish club team) have won the first stage and their rider, Patryk Krzywda have won the overall classification. Rest of the stages end up with group sprints except stage around Świdnica which ended in small srpint from a group of ten riders with future winner Krzywda.

There is no startlist for the race but according to race website we can expect teams from: Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, Israel, Norway, Finland, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Poland and the regional and club teams from the Poland.

Race website

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Belgian rider Enzo Wouters have won the third and final stage of 54th Tour of Istria after bunch sprint. Sergei Rostovcev from Russia came second and young Italian Francesco Romano was third. Aurelien Peret Peintre went down in big crash 200m before the finish line but recived the same time as stage winner and sealed the overall victory. Frenchman also won the points jersey. Erlend Blikra from Norway have won the Youth classification. Climbers jersey went to Kristjan Kumar from Slovenia.

Jersey holders after stage 2 (photo @directvelo)
Video resume:

Stage results:

Final general classification:

My thoughts about the race ? Basically no info about the race and the results. Funny thing is that we were able to watch the stage two finale on youtube (thanks to Teleciclismo) before knowing the official results or even top10.

 Aurelien Peret Peintre showed his first sparks of talent already last year in Italy where he won Giro di Basilicata, one of the most prestigious stage races for juniors. In Istria he showed pretty nice consistency by winning the reduced sprint on stage one and hanging at uphill finish on stage two. Convincing victory. Possibly one of the bright stars for this season.

 Lennard Kämna won Cottbuser Junioren stage race not so long ago where he was one level above the rest of the field. Now he confirmed his talent on international level. Great victory on the hardest stage of the race. After Pascal Eenkhoorn's strong ride in GP Bati-Metallo, now his biggest rival during Youth Olympics last year showed his talent. Erlend Blikra survived the climbs yesterday and thanks to bonus seconds during the race he managed to finish fourth today and fourth overall.

Lennard Kämna from Germany have won the second stage of Tour of Istria after late solo attack on the final climb of the day. Aurelien Peret Peintre came second, 5" behind and keeps the leaders jersey. His teammate, Pierre Idjuadienne was third.

Stage two podium (photo @TholletJ)
Video resume:

Stage results:

Friday, 25 April 2014

Frenchman Aurélien Paret-Peintre won the first stage of Tour of Istria after bunch sprint ahead of Jon Bozic from Slovenia and Alexandr Kulikovskii from Russia. Peret-Pentre also leads in the overall standings.

Photos (via ‏@LAMBERT56120):

stage podium (Bozic, Paret-Peintre, Kulikovskii)

Stage finish

Aurelien Paret-Peintre in the leaders jersey

Video resume:

Stage Results:

After solid portion of the classics junior peleton head to Croatia for 54th edition of Tour of Istria aka Kroz Istru, three day event at the Istria peninsula. The first stage race of the season is also the second event of UCI Nations Cup so again we will have a chance to see competitive national teams instead of clubs.

Tour of Istria is being pretty important event for juniors with three different stages that suits every kind of cycling specialists: sprinters, climbers and puncheurs. Also, as being part of the UCI Nations Cup Kroz Istru will provide a strong field with most of the top junior racers at the start in Porec.

Last year Tao Hart have won the general classification after winning the second stage ahead of David Per (winner of stage one) and Dimitry Strakhov. The final stage after bunch sprint won Kristoffer Halvorsen.

The route is pretty much the same as last year with three stages across the Istria peninsula. 

The opening 114km stage start in Porec with two short punchy climbs during the day: after 25km into Sosici and the second one at 84km to Katun. We also have a long false flat ascent into Zminj in the middle of the stage which may cause problems for weaker riders. The stage finish in Buzet after fast descent. Last year David Per won with just a second ahead of nine riders including further winner Tao Hart.

The second stage which starts in Umag, despite being only 90km long is the hardest one for sure with two categorized climbs: after 40km into Kaldir Križ and the second one: Pazin after 59km. But for sure the hardest part will be the uphill finish into Labin. The last three kilometers with avarage of 5,8% and steeper kick and the last 500m will cartainly decide the stage and overall. Last year the finish was a little bit easier with Tao Hart winning ahead of Damien Touze and Lukas Schlemmer from Austria.

The final 112km long stage between Vsar and Pula is the easiest one with some punchy climbs during the day but will probalby end up with a sprint from bigger group. Last year we had a sprint of around 80 riders won by Halvorsen.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Gianni Wytinck (Avia Crabbe) from Belgium have won the 16th edition of Grand Prix Bati-Metallo after a sprint from a leading group. Bram Dejonghe (Apt Spie Douterloigne) was second and young Dutch Pascal Eenkhoorn (District Oost Nederland) was third.

It took almost thirty kilometers to let the break of the day go. The lucky riders were: Lars Akkermans (CT Young), Fabio Jakobsen (Zuid Nederland), Tom Timmermans (Onder ons Parike), Niklas Larsen (Python Pro Junior) and Victor Van Bost (Peruwelz-Bury). After thirty kilometers of racing they had advanatge of 30".

On the fourth climb of the day we had a counter attack of six riders: Simon Claeyes (Balen BC), Ignace Van (CT Young) Yenn Liedts (Onder ons Parike) Hjort Mads Olander (Python Pro Junior), Arno De Wilde (CT Menen Zannata-Lotto) and Ferre Peeters (DCM Voorselaar) but they were quickly cought by the main bucnh speeding behind the leaders. Fast pace caused big splits in the peleton. With 77 kilometers to go the leading five were caught and we had a big group at the front again.

Another attack was made by four riders: Bram De Jonghe (Apt Spie Douterloigne) Christian Mikkelsen (Python Pro Junior), Fabio Jakobsen (Zuid Nederland), Jonas Castrique (CT Menen Zannata-Lotto), they managed to get 15" advanatge but like a previous try they were quickly cought by the peleton.

The important thing happened with 47km to go when trio: Wiebren Plovie (Avia Crabbe), Pascal Eenkhoorn (District Oost Nederland) and Christian Mikkelsen (Python Pro Junior) attacked from the bunch and quickly reached almost a minute lead over the bunch. Comeel Verschaeve (WC From Molenspurters) was trying to bridge but with 46km to go he was 36" behind the three leaders. Once the leading trio have passed the finish line for the first time they had 55" advantage. Counter attacker was caught.

The leaders worked well but with only two laps to go (16km) they had only 27" on the bunch. Six men attacked from the bunch and managed to join the leaders: Gianni Wytinck (Avia Crabbe), Brent Dewachter (Isorex), Jens De Lange (Onder Ons Parike), Sjoerd Van der Stelt (Wilton CT), Steff Hermans (DCM Voorselaar), Bram Dejonghe (Apt Douterloigne Spie). So we had a decisive move of nine riders and 11 km to go. They gain enough advantage to stay ahead of the group. Wieben Plovie worked hard and his teammate, Gianni Wytinck have won the sprint.

Here is what the winners says:
"It was a tough race that combined hills and cobblestones. Initially, we did not set tactics. When a group is gone, we drove back to not let go. Then, the goal was to be in every shot. When Wiebren left, we were quiet in the peloton but it came back slowly. In the penultimate round, a group left and I jumped in the wheels. Once before, it was of course Wiebren and made a good job and has launched me very well. I do not expect to win because this is a few weeks as I turned around without concluding and morale had taken a hit. In addition, I was quite surprised to have good legs today. For the future, I hope to win a few races and at least match my score my first year Junior, that is to say victories. "


Gianni Wytinck had some solid results this year with 11th place in GP Andre Noyelle but didin't had a win until sunday. Wieben Plovie done a great job in lead out and Wytinck sprint was quite impressive, he was few bikes ahead of the rest. Also 3rd place is first notable result for Pascal Eenkhoorn, who had amazing season last year in u17 with close 20 victories on the road (with some in cyclocross also). Remember his name, it's not the last good result for him this year. Now it's time for Tour of Istria.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Week after famous Paris Roubaix juniors are heading again to the North of Europe for another one day race, 16th GP Bati Metallo in Belgium, region Walloon. The race is 127,6 km long and takes place on the large loop around city Pommerœul with five small circuits around the city in the finale.

Like many other races in Walloon race goes through hilly terrains near the French border with some cobbles as well. We have five climbs with some of them being ridden more than once:

GPM1 (-113km, 1260m, 4,4% avg)
GPM2 (-107km, -81km, -67km, 1250m, 2,6% avg)
GPM3 (-104km, -65km, 498m, 3,4% avg, cobbles)
GPM4 (-87km, -75km, 1000m, 4% avg, cobbles)
GPM5 (-57km, 1590m, 1,7% avg)


As you can see the climbs aren't really hard but with the distance and numbers of climbs in short period of time the race will be really hard and will split the field for sure even tough the last fifty kilometers are mostly flat. Last year Mathias Van Gompel finished solo nine seconds ahead of Wiebren Plovie and 25 seconds ahead of small group led by Charlie Arimont.

Previous winners:

Road Book

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

My blog is mostly dedicated for uci rated races, at least for now, but once in a while i will try to post some brief reviews of smaller races all around the world. Mostly to drop in some names that may later perform in the biggest junior races. So here we go....

 A week ago we had a decent stage race held in Germany, the 39th edtition of Internationale Cottbuser Junioren that consisted frour stages with time trial on the schedule. On the startlist can be found riders from Germany mostly but with some foreingers from Poland and Czech Republic. The first stage, finished with a bunch sprint, won Louis Rohde who took 10 seconds bonifications on the finish line and another three from sprint bonus. The day after we had two stages: time trial and road stage. The 11km long TT won Lennard Kämna with an impressive speed of 49 kp/h! Rohde lost over a minute and the leaders jersey of course. Manuel Porzner won the second part of stage two with another bunch sprint. The final queen stage won Kämna again which sealed his overall victory ahead of Jasper Frahm and Moritz Augenstein (J1).
More info about the race and photos can be found here: 39. Junioren-Etappenfahrt

World Champion Igor Decreane is already winning time trials this year with a victory in Opoeteren and in West Vlaanderen provincial championships. Decreane also took fourth place in four man sprint on Tweedaagse van Calvebeek junior event won by Antoine Loy.

Volta Limburg Classic for juniors was dominated by Norwegians who took all podium places. Elvard Blikra, European Youth Olympic champion from last year, have won. Kristoffer Halvorssen was second and Tobias Foss took third. Few days earlier Halvorssen won Knesselare event in Belgium. Keep an eye on those two young guys from Norway, we will hear about them a lot this season.

Russian juniors took a trip to Israel for three day event, Tour of Arad previously secheduled as 2.2 uci race but it was held as an amateur event in the end. It's not a junior race of course but actually it was juniors who dominated it. Nicolay Cherkasov have won two stages and overall with Stepan Kurianov finishing second on stage one, fourth on stage three and ended up third overall.

Senne Leysen from Belgium is a guy that deserves a mention. He was third in Opoeteren time trial event won by Decreane but at the time he already had four wins this season in Belgium and solid places on international level (12th in Kuurne, 18th in Andre Noyelle and 13th in Roubaix).

Dutch sprinter Peter Lenderink is another multi winner this year with three wins and one second place in amateur events in Netherlands and Germany. I'm pretty sure we will see him in action in races like Driedaagse van Axel so keep his name in mind. Bram Welten is another Dutch riders that deserves a mention. He was fifth in GP Andre Noyelle but he won two smaller races already, Omloop van Schijndel in Netherlands (Cornelisse was fourth) and Budingen Zoutleeuw in Belgium (Cornelisse was second). Worth to mention that this kid is from 1997!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Young Danish rider Magnus Bak Klaris have won Paris Roubaix 2014 juniors after impressive solo attack in the closing kilometers. After sprint from a small bunch, another Dane Casper Pedersen took second with Enzo Wouters from Belgium finished third.

Foto: Yves Logghe/AP/POLFOTO

Juniors had to go through sixteen sectors of cobbles, the same that were run by elite. The peleton were already shattered at the first sector Hornaing with more then fourty riders left behind the main group. The bunch was led by British team hoping for good result from KBK 2014 winner James Shaw but their leader was pretty unlucky today with 3 punctures and a crash that ended up with abandoning.

With more cobbles on the route the group was shrinking even more. Around 50km to go we had no more than fifty riders at the front. At the sector Cysoning Filippo Ganna from Italy decided to go solo and gain around 10" advantage on the peleton. Five kilometers later ha managed to increase the gap up to 30 seconds.

After the last important cobble sector, La Carrefour de l'Abre, Ganna was cought and we had ten riders in front. Both Pedersen and Klaris were attacking one by one and finally Klaris went away and had around 15" advantage on the group behind.  He reached the velodrome in Roubaix with just few seconds ahead of the group led by France and Belgium but he managed to stay away and won "Hell of the North". It was third win in a row for Denmark with Mads Pedersen winning in 2013 and Mads Schmitz Wurtz in 2012.

Magnus Bak Klaris weights only 58kg and is build more like a climber then a classic specialist (or maybe i should say like Cavendish or Ewan). After being second on Danish ITT juniors last year and fifth in Omloop der Vlaamse Gewesten it's another great ride by Magnus. Last year, Mads Pedersen started his impressive streak of great results at Paris Roubaix. Lets see what Klaris will be able to achieve this season.

Also i should say it was quite impressive for French team having frou guys in the finale. Too bad they ended up without even podium with Damien Touze once again being close to win (fourth last year, fifth this time).


Click here

Friday, 11 April 2014

Here it is. First UCI Nation Cup race and the biggest classic of all (and actually the only one day race rated as Ncup category), The Paris Roubaix. What's the biggest difference between Ncup events and the rest ? We have national teams instead of clubs. So no more fifty French guys, another fifty from Belgium and some from the other nations. It's six riders for each country to fight for a win. 

Le Carrefour de l'Arbre

 Paris Roubaix for juniors is only 110km long ("only" in comparision to the elite of course) but it's uncommonly hard with sixteen cobbled sections with all the biggest ones known from elite version, except famous Arenberg. To be more specific, the last sixteen sections from elite race are the same as in juniors with a total of 28,9km of cobbles. So our young riders will tackle only 110km instead of over 250 but the cobbles are almost as hard as the ones from elite race. 
Here you can find a race map and the list of cobbled sections: Map

The most important cobbles: 

16. Hornaing 3700m 82,3km from the finish 
15. Warlaing - Brillon 2400m -74,8km 
11. Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée 2600m -53,9km 
10. Mons-en-Pevele 3000m -48,5km 
6. Cysoing 1300m -26,7km 
5. Camphin-en-Pevele 1800m -19,7km 
4. Le Carrefour de l'Arbre 2100m -17km 

 Like in the elite race, every section is important but the decisive ones will probably be Mons en Pevele (selecion) and Le Carrefour de l'Arbre (final attacks). 

Last year's podium trio on velodrome in Roubaix

 Last year we had a sprint finish from three: Mads Pedersen, Tao Hart and Nathan Van Hooydonck won by the Dane. The trio got away on famous Carrefour de l'Arbre and decided the race in sprint. Damien Touze, first year junior at the time, came fourth and could be one of the favorities for this year's race.

Impressive past winners list: 

 Notable starters: Damien Touze (4th last year), Theo Nicolas, Nikolay Cherkasov, Casper Pedersen, James Shaw, Mitchell Cornelissen, Patrick Muller, Kristoffer Halvorsen (7th last year), Erlend Blikra, Lukas Eriksson (14th last year), Charlie Arimont, Emiel Planckaert, Filippo Ganna.