Saturday, 3 January 2015

So we are after European Championships and before the Worlds. Some serious racing happened in August with three stage races and some classics including Ronde van Vlaanderen which was the first uci event in August. Let's not forget its not such a big event like in elite or u23 as junior Flandres category is just 1.1 so most of the riders came from Belgium teams with some Dutch and Danish teams on the start as well. We had seven strong riders in front when riders reached the important part of the race (with famous bergs: Eikenberg & Taaienberg plus Haaghoek section): Dennis Delmotte, Wiebren Plowie, Jordi Warlop, Stijn Bogaerts, Zino Herremans, Jan Maas and Nathan Draper. Those seven were joined by Niklas Larsen from Denmark but behind them another important move took place, Emiel Planckaert, Dries Vastmans, Bjarne Vanacker, Aaron Verwilst and Bjorg Lambrecht attacked from the reduced peleton. The second group managed to join the leaders so we had 13 riders in front far ahead of the peleton and it was clear that race winner will came from the leading group. Five kilometers before the finish line four riders attacked: Maas, Plovie, Larsen and Verwilst. First season junior Verwilst managed to beat more experienced riders and won sprint ahead of Maas and Plovie.

Aaron Verwilst winning Ronde (photo: JDC)

Next event were also held in Belgium. Aubel - Thimister - La Gleize previously known as Liege La Gleize race always attract pretty strong international field. First hilly stage around Aubel won Stephan Kurianov from Russia ahead of David Gaudu from France. Wiebren Plovie was the first from the bunch ten seconds behind the leaders. The next day we had two stages: morning team time trial and road race later on. In the morning the Dutch national team has won ahead of Tieltse Rennersclub with Wirtgen and Decraene and Balen BC team from Belgium. Jan Maas took the leaders jersey. The second stage around Thimister ended with a bunch sprint but it was Kurianov again who finished just ahead of them scoring his second stage win.

Kurianov winning solo for the second time (photo: fleche-ardennaise.be) 

GC didn't change much but Hartthijs de Vries finished higher then Maas and became the new leader. The final stage around Le Gleize was for sure the hardest one with eight climbs including some that are being used in Liege Bastonge Liege and uphill finish. There were numbers of attacks and breakways during the stage but final move was made 25km before the finish line before the Côte du Rosier. David Gaudu jumped away from his breakaway companions and rode away pretty quick as he reached over a minute gap after the Rosier. At the finish line still had 32 seconds on next two riders: Yannick Peters and Senne Leysen. It was one of the most impressive solo wins of the season as Gaudu attacked in the hardest part of the stage, broke away solo and kept the big gap on the rest of the field which gave him stage win and overall win. Second place in GC went to Pascal Eenkhoorn and third to his teammate from Dutch National Team, Sjoerd Bax.

Amazing solo win by David Gaudu (photo:  fleche-ardennaise.be) 
For the next event we head to Bretagne in France for Ronde des Vallées. Race contained three stages with time trial in the middle on rolling, hilly terrains in Bretange. First stage was already decisive as two Russians: Pavel Sivakov and Stepan Kurianov attacked from the leading group around 60km from the finish line and never get caught. Four Frenchmen almost managed to close the gap but they were lacking 15 seconds at the finish line. Rest of the field lost over a minute with many loosing five, ten or even more. Tough stage. The next day we started with time trial and this time two Russians were beaten by Frenchman Valentin Madouas but they kept the top two spots in overall. Leo Danes won the final stage but the general classification didn't change much so the two Russian riders that managed to get away on first stage took two top places in gc. Valentin Madouas finished third thanks to his time trial win.

Final podium (photo u19racingteam.fr)
Last week of the month was time for three one day races: Omloop der Vlaamse Gewesten in Belgium won by Danish rider Kasper Andersen after a finish from twelve man leading group. Mitchell Cornelisse was second and American rider Michael Hernandez finished third. Italian classic Trofeo comune di Vertova Memorial Pietro Merelli was a race where we could spot first sparks of big form in Jonas Bokeloh performance. He finished second in the front group losing spirnt to Izidor Penko from Slovenia. Julius van den Berg completed podium. Finally Filippo Ganna won Trofeo Emilio Paganessi soling to the line after dropping his breakaway companions on the last ascent of Casnigo. Jonas Gregaard from Denmark finished second and Kazakh rider Tamirlan Tassymov was third.

Izidor Penko beating Jonas Bokeloh in Trofeo Comune di Vertova (photo: ciclismo.info)

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