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)

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