Friday, 25 April 2014

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.

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