Thursday, 8 January 2015

 Time trial results were pretty obvious, especially the winner. Lennard Kamna was for sure the best time trialist in junior category this year and he proved that by winning gold in the Worlds with impressive gap on Adrien Costa and Michael Storer. The rest of the podium might be considered as a little surprise but Costa is incredibly talented so you can expect big things from him not only in climbing but also in time trials. Storer didn't have much occasions to show his talent. He won Oceania Championships at the very beginning of the year and later was quite back in Grand Prix Rüebliland time trial (14th) but Australians has a long history of winning all kind of medals in junior/u23 category. Also, let's not forget that both Costa and Strorer are from 1997 so they will fight for gold once again next year.

Lennard Kamna on his way to rainbow jersey (photo: Graham Watson)

Final podium in time trial: Adrien Costa, Lennard Kamna, Michael Storer (photo: Graham Watson)
 The road race is other story.. Prepare yourself with pretty detailed report....

The race was ridden pretty defensively in the first part, just like it usually happens in elite races. Not many notable actions were made. The first one we should mention was Adrien Costa attacking just before the finish line with 4 laps to go. He was joined by Kazakh rider Shtein. The duo managed to gain solid gap on the peleton, around 40-50 seconds. After Costa's attack we had numerous jumps from the peleton including guys like Ganna, Hindley and Vlasov but none of them were successful. On the Mirador climb Costa dropped Kazakh rider and from now on he was riding solo infront after 60 kilometers of racing.

Adrien Costa's climbing solo
Costa managed to keep the lead for over a lap but with less then 50km from the finish line he was pretty tired already and was joined by Italian rider Vincenzo Albanese. On the longer climb Confederacion the leaders were joined by Dutch rider Jan Maas. The gap on the peleton was still pretty big, around 40 seconds. Behind them, another Italian rider Rocco Fuggiano and Frenchman Damien Gaudu jumped away from the big group together with Martin Palm but he was dropped on the climb. The gap between the leaders and counter attackers were less then 20 seconds. At the top of Alto del Pantano o Compostilla (aka Mirador) the counter attackers were caught and the big group was eight seconds behind the leading trio. On the finish line with two laps to go the leaders were caught and we had again a big peleton at the front with more then seventy riders.

Christian Koch from Germany team attacked and it was a pretty smart move for Germans as they didn't have to work on front and keep the group together. On the Alto de Monteareanas (aka Confederacion) we had counter attack from Leo Danes and Riccardo Verza. They quickly caught Koch and grabbed advantage of around 15 seconds. Behind them we had some serious attacks from Rayane Bouhanni, Colombian Wilmar Paredes, Jonas Gregaard and Jai Hindley but before the top of the climb they were caught. It was also the moment when Lennard Kamna crashed at the back of the bunch. Right after him also Costa and Will Barta crashed and both were out of contention. At the top of Mirador it was still Leo Danes at the front joined at the descent by Finish rider Halme, Paredes, Verza, Mexican Ulloa and Haller. It was also the moment when Bouhanni slowed down and was quickly back in the bunch. Again I have to praise German tactics as they again had their rider in front group. At the finish line, before the last lap the six leaders had 15 seconds on the peleton led by Danish and Russian riders.

Halme leading the group just ahead of the peleton
 At the short climb before the Confederacion Halme and Ulloa were dropped but the leading four did not cooperate well. Paredes was the strongest rider in the leading four and his high tempo caused Haller to get dropped. Verza and Danes were on the limit to keep the pace of Paredes on the Confederacion. Two Swedish riders attacked from the peleton but were quickly joined by whole bunch of riders from top teams. So with less then 11 kilometers to go we had big bunch stretched at the closing kilometers of Confederacion. The next strong attack came from Nicola Conci joined by Pavel Sivakov. They attacked right before the top of the climb and extended their lead at the downhill. Kazakh rider Tassymov joined them. Unfortunately, Conci crashed on the right turn at the end of the downhill, the same one where Gianni Moscon crashed in u23 race and the same one where Michał Kwiatkowski went through safely on his road to the rainbow jersey.

Bokeloh joining the leaders
The leaders were joined by Jonas Bokeloh right at the bottom of the final climb of the day. It was pretty impressive for a sprinter like Bokeloh to join the leaders at this part of the race but it was simply a prove that Bokeloh was flying that day and it was no surprise that he become a world champion. With 5 km to go we had a group of around 35 riders at the front. Leaders with Bokeloh were caught but German rider was always at the head of the bunch trying to stay in top 10 places. Stepan Kurianov attacked and was joined again by duo from Sweden: Lukas Eriksson and Hampus Andenbergh, strong French climber Aurelien Paret Peintre and Italian rider Lorenzo Fortunato. They didn't manage to gain much time. Right behind them were Gino Mader from Switzerland and again Christian Koch (great ride from him that day). Peleton was lead by Leo Danes (another hero of the day), Magnus Bak Klaris and Jonas Bokeloh (like i said, no less then 10 place in the bunch). The leaders had seven seconds on the bunch at the top of Mirador.

Five leaders just before the top of the final climb

  In elite such a gap was enough, here it wasn't. It was quite a surprise considering that we had two Swidish riders in the leading group and the rest were actually working quite well. It was probably because Bokeloh was flying at the descent and was right behind the leaders. Just behind him on the other hand were Danish duo: Gregaard and Bak Klaris. The peleton wouldn't let them go. With 1 km to go Gino Mader still has a small gap on Kurianov and the rest of the field. Behind them Koch tried to help Bokeloh but was really tired. The leading duo were caught 200 meters from the line. There were four Belgian riders at the front with less then 500m from the finish line but it looked like they were all riding for themselves instead of for the team. On the other hand they looked pretty tired so once Jonas Bokeloh lunched sprint none could pass him. Aleksandr Kulikovskiy was seconds and Dutch rider Peter Lenderink finished third. Behind them were pretty big names: Affini, Bak Klaris.

Bokeloh winning final sprint (photo: Graham Watson)
 If you ask me I was pretty surprised how the race unfold. I expected that the course will be a little bit harder and there would be more splits in the bunch and smaller group at the finish line. Bokeloh looks like a pure sprinter but I would compare him to Kristoff and the course was ideal for him, that's for sure. Behind we had a long list of strong riders, i would say no surprises in top ten. Even Izidor Penko was not a surprise if you remember that he beaten Bokeloh few weeks earlier in Memorial Pietro Merelli. I was little bit surprised by early move by Costa. Sure the course were not made for a little climber like him but if he wait for the last lap maybe he would be in the front group in the last k's and you never know what would happen then. Same with Bouhanni who was attacking a lot and when the race really starts he was empty. German team rode extremely well that day especially if we consider that they have lost Kamna after he crashed and teamwork for sure gave them the gold medal from Bokeloh.

Final podium in road race: Kulikovskiy, Bokeloh, Lenderink (photo: Graham Watson)

In case you mised it, you can watch full race replay on uci channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZaBrVxcRAw

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