Thursday, 30 April 2015

Team time trial from Gruta to Łasin (12,5km) started 27th edition of La Coupe du Président de la Ville de Grudziadz today's morning. German team, Rsc Cottbus won ahead of Polish team KTK Kalisz and Ukraine national team. Max Kanter is the first leader.

Cycling junior
Rsc Cottbus crosses the line


Results


Cycling junior
Rsc Cottbus on the podium, Max Kanter first from left


The second stage (1b) around Jabłonowo (77,2km) started later today and after few calm kilometers the crucial break went away. Mikkel Honore (Team Kel-Berg Roskilde), Taras Shevchuk (Ukraine) and Yannick Detant (Monkey Town Cycling Team) were the first attackers. Race leader Max Kanter tried few times before he finally managed to join the leaders with one of the BDC riders.

Attack from race leader caused a counter attack by another rider from BDC team together with Alex Braybrooke, Dusan Rajovic and Szymon Krawczyk. The four chasers managed to join the leaders and we finally had a strong nine man group at the front after just 17km of racing. The leaders worked well together and steadily improved the gap. Yannick Detant managed to win bonus seconds on intermediate sprint in Jabłonowo ahead of Rajovic and Krawczyk. Behind them, two riders tried a counter attack: Dane Mathias Norsgaard and Vitaliy Novakovsiky from Ukraine but they didn't manage to caught the leading group.

Cycling junior
Yannick Detant celebrates his stage win


 The nine leaders arrived together at the final kilometer despite attacks from Detant and Rajovic. Finally at the last stretch Detant launched his sprint pretty early but was clearly the strongest and won ahead of Honore and Rajovic. Norsgaard and Novakovsiky lost 55 second while peleton finished 1'17'" behind with Alan Banaszek winning the bunch sprint.

Cycling junior
Stage 1b podium: (Detant, Honore, Rajovic)


Full results of stage 1b

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

After a long period of one day races juniors will start the first uci stage race of the season, 27th edition of La Coupe du Président de la Ville de Grudziadz. Despite French name the race is based in the city of  Grudziądz in Poland and organized by ALKS Stal Grudziadz, local club team.

Cycling junior
After moving Tour of Istria to September the Polish race naturally improved in terms of field quality. 34 teams has been invited including clubs from Denmark, Germany, Holland and Great Britain plus numerous teams from Central and Eastern Europe. In 2007 Michał Kwiatkowski has won the race ahead of Peter Sagan. They were both first year juniors back then and it was one of the first races where they had a chance to shine and compete against each other. Last year, Julius Van den Berg, who is currently riding for SEG Racing Team won the race thanks to solo win on stage three around Świecie and successful breakaway on the day before.

Cycling junior
Julius van den Berg with his race trophies (photo: alksstal.org)

The route is pretty much the same as last year with only one stage hosted by different city. Total distance of 391,7 km kilometers was divided into five stages. During the first day we will have traditional team time trial (Garuta - Łasin, 12.5km) in the morning and later on the first road stage around Jabłonowo Pomorskie (77,2km). On the second day riders will face 90,5km long stage from Lisewo to Płużnica. The next stage is pretty much a circuit race around Świecie, the same as last year. The final stage around Grudziądz is also the longest one with 109,5km and three loops around the city.

Alan Banaszek winning final stage in 2014 edition (photo: alksstal.org)


The route is basically flat so TTT is going to be crucial in terms of GC. Also, expect a lot of breakways and fight for bonus seconds that will be the key for improving in GC. Last year, Alan Banaszek was clearly the strongest sprinter but his team didn't perform well enough in team time trial and Banaszek only managed to reach second place in GC.

Favorites

Startlist
As TTT being a crucial for GC I would rate team RSC Cottbus as one of the favorities. The won last year and performed pretty well in previous editions. Max Kanter should be the team leader. He recently won two sprint stages in Cottbus stage race and finished second in gc just behind Leo Appelt. The second big name for GC is for sure Alan Banaszek. Stage winner from last year should improve generally and with his experience of racing here from last year he may be one of the biggest contenders. Team SMS Świdnica won the opening TTT in 2013 and managed to defend the leaders jersey of Patryk Krzywda to the end of the race. Damian Sławek who recently finished Paris Roubaix for juniors might be their strong contender for gc. Final Polish team that you should take a closer look is GKS Cartusia Kartuzy with two strong contenders: Szymon Sajnok (fifth in Roubaix) and Adrian Kaiser. Last but not least Team Kelberg Roskilde brings strong team with two big names: Mikkel Honore and Mathias Norsgaard (fifth last year), both capable of winning the whole race.

Other names to watch: Alex Braybrooke, Stuart Balfour, Maxim Satlikov, Yannick Detant, Alex Mengoulas, Dusan Rajovic, Dylan Bouwmans.

Please note that the startlist is a provisional one and there will be some changes for sure but hopefully all the favorites will be there.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Dutch rider Dylan Bouwmans (Willebrord Wil Vooruit) won 17th edition of GP Bati-Metallo after sprint finish from elite group. Belgians Gauthier Vandevyvere (CT Spider King Ieper) and Kenneth Van Borm (Cycling Team Luc Wallays) completed the podium.

Cycling junior
Final podium: Gauthier Vandevyvere, Dylan Bouwmans, Kenneth Van Borm. Photo: directvelo 

The race started with... a big crash in neutral zone. Later on, Harm Vanhoucke (Young Cycling Team VZW) tried his luck and was the first attacker of the day but was caught after two GPM's. After thirty kilometers we had attack from Dennis Van Der Hoortst, Marten Kooistra and three others but they didn't get much space and were quickly caught. Pascal Eenkhoorn also tried to get away together with Gavin Hoover, Ide Schelling and two others but also didn't manage to get a decent gap. After sixty kilometers we had a general regroupment at the front but the pace, hills and cobbled sectors already caused splits in peleton.

While the riders reached the final circuits around Pommeroeuel the gap between two big groups reached over a minute. On the local circuit Jelle Nieuwpoort (Monkeytown Cycling Team) and Willem Bok (Zuid Oost Nederland) attacked from the bunch and were quickly joined by Bjorg Lambrecht (Avia WCup Cycling Team). The trio had a small gap over five counter attackers riding just ahead of the bunch. With just three circuits of 8.3km left, the leaders had just ten seconds gap over the big group. The counter attackers were caught but two other riders tried their luck: Jaron Wydooghe (Avia WCup Cycling Team) and Kenneth Vanborm (Cycling Team Luc Wallays).

They have managed to join the leaders and with two laps to go we had a group of five riders in front with small gap over the peleton. Gauthier Vandevyvere (CT Spider King Ieper) managed to bridge to the leaders and so were Dylan Bouwmans (Willebrord Wil Vooruit), Harm Vanhoucke (Young Cycling Team) and Bob Olieslagers (Zuid Oost Nederland). The nine leaders worked well together and since their represented the strongest teams peleton quickly lost over 30 seconds. With just one lap to go it was clear that the winner will come from the nine leaders. Despite strong counter attack from Eenkhoorn, Dusan Rajovic and few others, the leaders reached the final kilometer with solid gap and Dylan Bouwmans won the final sprint giving Dutch riders another win in one day race this season.

Cycling junior
Dylan Bouwmans celebrates his win (photo: lavenir.net)


It was first win for Bouwmans this season but he showed good form already in Volta Limburg Classic where he was second, beaten only by Dennis van der Horst. Here's what the winners says (via Directvelo):
"This is the best win of my career so far. I stayed quietly in the bunch before the local circuit. At this point, I tried my luck several times. I did not want to miss the good breakaway. When a group of six riders came out, I tried to counter attack. Finally, we managed to to link up to form a group of nine riders. Together we have been through. In the sprint, I gave everything from the last corner. I think I really highlighted. First time i want to enjoy this victory. "

Results

This was the race of attacks and being the the front group in crucial moment was decisive. It could be any other rider from the peleton that attacked in right moment and won but the hills and cobbles caused big damage on the group so once the peleton reached Pommeroeuel only strong riders survived and were able to fight for a win. It was sixth win this season for Dutch juniors in uci rated races. The only one they didn't manage to win was Trofeo Citta di Loano but just a one Dutch team rode in Italy.Amazing results especially if you consider that four different riders managed to win. Doest it prove that Dutch riders are the strongest in junior category this year ? Not yet as there will be tons of other events, especially stage races which might be harder to shine for Dutchies but I'm more then sure that Rabo Dev Team will be glad to welcome some of this year's winners.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Small city of Pommeroeul hosts the start and finish of Grand Prix Bati Metallo, the race that will pretty much end long peroid of one day races for juniors in spring, started with Kuurne Bruxelles Kuurne at the begining of March. 

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. Route is exactly the same as last year with five climbs, some of them covered more then 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)

Cycling Junior

Last year, Gianni Wytnick attacked with eight other riders just 11 km from the finish line. Wieben Plovie worked hard for Wytnick and helped him to win the final sprint ahead of Bram Dejonghe (Apt Spie Douterloigne) and Pascal Eenkhoorn.

Favorities: Pascal Eenkhoorn, Jelle Nieuwport, Joe Holt, Dennis van der Hoorst, Stijn Goolaerts, Stan Dewulf, Hakon Aarlust, Ward Jaspers.


Startlist
Live ticker
Roadbook

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Dutch rider Bram Welten won 13th edition of Paris Roubaix Juniors. Welten teammate, Pascal Eenkhoorn finished second and Belgian rider Stan Dewulf was third. Jasper Philipsen won sprint from small group for fourth place.

Bram Welten and Pascal Eenkhoorn celebrates their 1-2 places in Roubaix

We had early breakway of four riders including two Polish guys: Szymon Krawczyk and Szymon Sajnok together with Maatren Kooistra from the Netherlands and Italian Tommaso Fiaschi. Bunch behind was shattered from the crashes, punctures and splits on cobbles. The leaders never had a big gap, after Mons-en-Pévèle the were 1:10 ahead of the bunch. Meanwhile, one of the race favorites, Mathias Norsgaard crashed and was out of the race.

Early breakaway on cobbles (photo: Btwin racing team)

The leaders was caught with around 20 kilometers to go. In peleton we had no more then thirty riders. First counter attack went from Jhonny Brown and Stan Dewulf but they were quickly brought back. Dewulf tried again and was joined by Mattia Sobrero from Italy and Bram Welten. Pascal Eenkhoorn also joined the leaders. Sobrero had a pancure and two Dutch leaders managed to get rid of Dewulf and arrived at velodrome together and Bram Welten won.

Crucial move on cobbles, Stan Dewulf leads (photo Btwin racing team)
Video

Results:

Dutch domination continues as they have won all 1.1 junior races this season except Trofeo Citta di Loano which was basically pure Italian battle. Denmark didn't manage to win fourth Paris Roubaix Juniors in a row but if Norsgaard didn't crash it could end up in a different way. Also there was reports that French guy (Turgis?) was right there with Dutchies and Dewulf in the decisive attack but punctured and was left behind. Great ride by Jasper Philipsen, pure talent not only in sprints as we could see today.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sunday in Hell is coming and while whole cycling world will be curious if Kristoff can continue his winning streak, juniors will face their own battle with cobbles in 13th edition of Paris Roubaix for juniors.


Paris Roubaix for juniors has a pretty short history with first edition dating back in 2003 but it's a big event with impressive list of past winners (just to name a few: Geraint Thomas, Guillame van Keirsbulck, Jasper Stuyven or Florian Senechal with Sagan, Debusschere and Demare all finishing second in different editions). Since 2008 junior version of cobbled classic is a part of Uci Nations Cup meaning we will have national teams instead of club teams at the start in Saint Amand les Eaux. This is also a guarantee that we have the strongest possible lineup as all invited teams will bring the strongest possible, in form, team to be competitive and have a chance to fight for a win.

Cycling junior
2010 podium: Dan McLay, Jasper Stuyven, Lawson Craddock (photo: velophotopro.com)

The route is pretty much the same as last year. Juniors will cover 111 kilometers from Saint Amand les Eaux to Roubaix facing sixteen cobbled sectors. The same ones as last sixteen in elite race. So actually the only difference between elite and junior race is the distance as the crucial cobbled sections are pretty much the same.

SectionNameLengthCategory
16Hornaing - Wandignies-Hamage3700m****
15Warlaing - Brillon2400m***
14Tilloy - Sars-et-Rosières2400m****
13Beuvry-la-Forêt - Orchies1400m***
12Orchies1700m***
11Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée2600m****
10Mons-en-Pévèle3000m*****
9Mérignies 700m**
8Pont Thibaut 1400m***
7Le Moulin de Vertain500m**
6Cysoing - Bourghelles1300m***
6Bourghelles – Wannehain1100m***
5Camphin-en-Pévèle1800m****
4Le Carrefour de l'Arbre2100m*****
3Gruson1100m**
2Hem1400m**
1Espace Crupelandt300m*

We can be pretty sure that crashes and punctures will split the race in first few sectors already. Last year, race was controlled by Brits and Danes trying to put their leaders is best possible position. Expect similar scenario this year especially from Danes. Filippo Ganna tried a solo attack at Cysoing - Bourghelles and stayed in front for a while before Magnus Bak Klaris launched his decisive attack. Le Carrefour de l'Arbre should be a key sector for final selection or a solo attack.

Cycling junior
Magnus Bak Klaris winning 2014 edition (photo: JM Hecquet)

Favorites

This is a big event, trust me. It's extremely hard, it's long, it's a part of Nations Cup and every big team brings a possible winner. Also it's worth to note that cobbles in Paris Roubaix are nothing close to the ones that riders faced already this season in races like Kuurne Bruxelles Kuurne or Guido Reybrouck Classic. There are much harder, more irregular and demands raw power to stay in front and fight for a win.

My roundup of favorites has to start from Danish team. They won last three editions and bring a strong team that can win once again. The team is based on five riders from Team Kel-Berg Roskilde, possibly the strongest junior team around, with addition of Bryan Iversen. Hard to predict who will be their leader for upcoming edition but I would say it should be between one of these three: Mathias Norsgaard, Mikkel Honore and Niklas Larsen. Norsgaard recently won Ster van Zuid-Limburg, important stage race in Belgium, so he is clearly in shape. Honore rode already last year and finished 53rd so he has an experience of riding this classic that many riders will lack. Earlier this year he was third in Omloop Van Noord West Overijssel and was a part of massive attack from Team Kelberg in Rund um Merken where they took first five positions. He's clearly in shape and Roubaix was one of his biggest targets of the season. Niklas Larsen was a team player so far this season but he's strong rider and, same as Honore, has experience of riding this race last year. I'm also very curious what Anthon Charmig can do. He's a first year junior, recently third in Ster. With a little bit of freedom from the team he may surprise many, watch out for him on Sunday.

Dutch team brings two possible winners: Pascal Eenkhoorn and Bram Welten. Both of them was already winning big races this season as Pascal won both Bernaudeau Junior and GP André Noyelle while Bram Welten was the strongest in Guido Reybrouck Classic. As Pascal stated his his interview, he belives that Bram Welten can win on Sunday being one of the fastest guys in juniors. Expect both of them being right there and fight for a win. Other guy to watch is Yannick Detant who had a great start of the season.

France always do well in this race, last year they had four riders in top 11. My personal pick for a surprise win is Clement Betouigt Suire. Despite being a first year junior I believe this race is a perfect for his characteristics. He's a big guy with a good sprint and recently won a stage in Ster van Zuid-Limburg showing he's clearly in form. He may lack experience but if the team put a faith in him and help him stay of out trouble he will be a strong contender. If not, Tanguy Turgis, Theo Menant and Guillaumse Millessau are all capable of fighting for top positions.

Belgian team is another one with more then a one guy with a chance to win the race. Last year, they were pretty close having Enzo Wouters on third place. Personally I bet on Cedric Buellens as possible winner. He's in decent shape from the beginning of the season grabbing few top ten places here and there. In Ster he was strong in prologue and had a leaders jersey for one day but missed the decisive move on the final stage. Also, he's the only one rider from Belgian team who rode Roubaix last year finishing in solid 25th place. Other guys who should be up there are Jonas Castrique and Stan Dewulf. One guy that worth a notice is Jasper Philipsen. Like Suire and Charmig he was one of the best guys in cadets last year. He had showed some good form in recent Belgian races and while 2016 might be a year when he will be the big contender for the race I wouldn't rule him out to play an important role already this year.

Other contenders: Ethan Reynolds, Matthew Bostock, Tobias Foss, Gino Mader, Kevin Geniets.

Personally I think it will be between the Denmark and France. Both has strong team and might control the race. Mikkel Honore is my bet.

Pascal Eenkhoorn had a brilliant start of the season, he won two important 1.1 races from junior calendar and was in the mix in pretty much every race he enters. Young Dutchman agreed to answer couple of questions just a few days away from Paris Roubaix, his next goal and one of the biggest races of the season.



Hello Pascal,
First of all, congrats for great start of the season. Winning both Bernaudeau Junior and GP André Noyelle probably gave you a big confidence for the rest of the season ?
Thank you! It's great to win two big races in the beginning of this season because it means I had a good winter and that I took the right decision to quit cx!

In your second year as a junior you have decided to focus 100% on road racing and joined Belgian team, Avia Wcup Cycling Team. Can you tell us more why did you choose this particular team?
Avia was always interested in me and when I quit cyclocross there was no problem for me to join that team. Everything is perfect there and the people have a lot of knowledge! 

You've recently finished Ster van Zuid-Limburg. Can you tell us how the race unfold ?
It was a really tactical race with a hard prologue in the beginning. In the first stage there were some good breakaways but it ended up in a bunch sprint. Last 2 days were really tactical with a lot of attacks. The winner Mathias closed the gap to the breakaway on his own the last day and was simply the strongest guy!

Upcoming Sunday is the time for Paris Roubaix, first Nations Cup event of the year. You rode this classic already last year but you didn't finish. What do you remember from the race and how did it end up for you ?
I really look forward to that race, because it's such a nice event! Last year I crashed and had some chain problems so it are not the best memories. Last year I did recon the course with Johan Museeuw and he gave me a lot of tips, hopefully they'll help me this year!

Netherlands sends a very strong team for Paris Roubaix. What's your expectations ? Are you going to be a protected rider ?
Yes the Dutch team is really strong in the beginning of this season. We have a good team for Paris-Roubaix. I said, even before this season, Bram Welten is going to win Paris-Roubaix, so that is my expectation! I don't know what my job is for Roubaix but if it's going to be a sprint for the victory I think I have to do some work for Bram as one of the fastest guy in the peloton!

What are your goals for the rest of the season ? Any specific race you would like to win ?
I hope to ride a many races for  a good result but I don't focus especially on one or two races.

How would you describe yourself as a rider ? Tell us more about your characteristic.
I really don't know it myself. My TT is okay, I'm strong in the Ardennes and short climbs and I'm not slow at the finish line too! 

The season has just started but I'm sure you're looking forward for next year already which will be the first one in u23 category. What are your expectations ? 
My friend Peter Lenderink just joined the U23 category and now I know it's not going to be easy. Hopefully I can join a strong team and they can help me develop a lot for the future!

You are riding in junior category for a second year doing a lot of events in different countries. If you have to drop one name of a rider you rode against that have bright future in cycling who would that be ?
Pavel Sivakov ;)

Thank you!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Danish rider Mathias Norsgaard (Team Kel-berg Roskilde) won 36th edition of Ster van Zuid-Limburg after winning final stage from a small group sprint. Ethan Reynolds from USA National team and young Dane Anthon Charmig (Team Kel-berg Roskilde) completed the podium.

Cycling junior
Ster van Zuid Limburg podium (photo: wiellimb.be)

Three day event started with a short prologue around Montenaken. American Ethan Reynolds with a solid margin over two Belgians: Robbe Ghys and Cedric Buellens. In the afternoon riders face second steg of the day, circuit race around Borlo. Robbe Ghys won the bunch sprint and closed the gap to Reynolds to five seconds. Two youngsters, Jasper Philipsen (Kon Balen BC) and Clement Betouigt Suire (Nicolas Roche Team) completed the podium.

The next day riders faced another pretty flat stage around Landen. Young Frenchman, Clement Betouigt Suire (Nicolas Roche Team) won the sprint ahead of Maxim Bolle (Davo CT) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Avia Wcup CT). The bunch splitted on the final kilometers and small gaps gave the leaders jersey to Cedric Buellens who finished sixth in the front group. Ethan Reynolds lost 28 seconds and dropped to fourth place in GC.

Cycling junior
Clement Betouigt Suire winning the second stage (photo: wiellimb.be)

The final stage was the hardest one. Late breakway of thirteen riders attacked in the final kilometers and finished 55 seconds ahead of the bunch.  Mathias Norsgaard won the stage and the GC. Viktor Verschaeve and Willem Bok completed the podium of final stage. Buellens was held behind the crash just before the second climb and later missed the crucial move of thirteen riders.

Cycling junior
Mathias Norsgaard celebrates stage and GC victory (photo: cyclingsite.be)



Ster van Zuid-Limburg was important event held just a week before Paris Roubaix. We had strong lineup with all the best Belgian and Dutch teams plus USA National Team and Danish Team Kel-Berg Roskilde. It was a good indicator of form before the big classic as riders faced cold, wind, rain and cobbles on the Belgian roads. Both Belgian riders thet were already selected for cobbled classic next Sunday proved to be in good shape. Buellens rode a very good prologue, managed to get a leader's jersey and could have win the race actually if he didn't crash. Philipsen also showed good form finishing second on the second stage being beaten only by a French super talent, Betouigt Suire.

Frenchman who was dominating cadet races in France last season, both on track and road was amazing in Ster with a stage win and another podium spot a day before. If we consider that it was his first serious race in junior category it was truly amazing performance. Watch out for him next week as his characteristics fits perfectly for Roubaix.

Team Kel-Berg Roskilde started season by winning smaller races in Belgium and Germany and once they arrived in Ster, which I consider as a big event, they won again. Norsgaard won the race, Charmig finished third and won jersey for young riders. Three of them finished in top ten of prologue and I'm sure they will have a chance to place three riders in top ten next Sunday as five of their riders will ride as National Team in Roubaix and one of their best shots for Roubaix, Mikkel Honore had bad luck and crashed during the race but will be ready for Sunday.

Stay tuned for Roubaix preview at the end of the week.