Tuesday, 26 May 2015

German rider Max Kanter won 34th edition of Internationale Junioren Driedaagse. Swiss rider Mario Spengler finished second and Matthew Bostock from Great Britian was third.

Final podium: Gino Mader, Max Kanter, Matthew Bostock (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl) 

Three day event contained four stages including short time trial and three road stages with cobbles and bergs waiting for the riders. The first stage around Sluiskil was very nervous right from the start with many crashes and breakaway attempts. Alex Braybrooke and Ruben Bisschop was one of the first attackers but were brought back after the first cobbled section. Brandon McNulty tried to get away on the second one but was also reeled back by the bunch.

Max Kanter leads the peleton over the cobbles (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl)

After McNulty was cought we had another try by four riders: Matthew Bostock, Ide Schelling, Erik Relanto and Jarri Stravers. They kept small gap over the reduced peleton and shared bonus seconds. Once the peleton reached the finish line before taking three short laps around Sluiskil the leaders had 20 seconds gap. Gino Mader tried to ches the leaders alone but failed. Another group attacked soon after and managed to join the leading four: Thomas Vereecken, Max Kanter, Alex Baybrooke, Marten Kooista, Karl Patrick Lauk, Julius Domnick, Ramon van Bokhoven and Bastian Flicke.

Eleven leaders working well at the front (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl)

The leaders worked well together and increased the gap to 30 seconds at the second time when they crossed the line. Behind, Brandon McNulty decided to chase alone. After amazing effort McNulty joined the leaders just before the 10km mark. The gap over the chasers that includes Michael Storer, Mario Spengler and few others was 40 second. Reduced peleton was over a minute behind. Karl Patrick Lauk won the sprint from the leading group ahead of Max Kanter and Brandon McNulty. Estonian become the first race leader.

Karl Patrick Lauk celebrates stage win (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl)


The second stage was a short time trial (7 km) around Axel. Brandon McNulty managed to win his second time trial of the season and took the leaders jersey. Gino Mader was second and Michael Storer third. Karl Patrick Lauk lost over a minute and dropped to 16th place in GC.


Video from the second stage

On the same day riders faced 99.6km long stage around Axel that consisted four laps around the town with some more cobbles waiting for the riders. Despite many attacks like Bob Kerkhofs one, the bunch stayed pretty much together for the first two laps but the cobbles made a selecton from behind and peleton was reduced. Karl Patrick Lauk attacked and was joined by Alex Braybroooke, Stijn Demolder and Florian Stork. The four leaders kept small gap over the bunch for quite a time. Once they were caught the crucial move happened. At the cobbles Max Kanter attacked with few others and formed 11 men leading group with Bostock, Welten, Braybrooke and few others. McNulty was left behind. Despite his effort to bring back the leaders gap went over a minute with twenty kilometers to go.

Bram Welten wins the sprint (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl)

The leaders was never brought back and Bram Welten, the best sprinter in the leading group, won the stage with solid gap over his breakway companions. Braond McNulty finished in the bunch, 51 second behind the leaders.

Max Kanter took the leaders jersey  (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl)


Video from the third stage

The final queen stage Velzeke was the only one with short, sometimes steep hills that riders had to face including some well known like Leberg and Langedries. Four riders kept small gap over the bunch: Bjorg Lambrecht, Jarno Mobach, Bob Olieslagers and Nathan Draper. Behind, the German team managed to keep the main bunch together and didn't let any dangerous riders to gain a time despite numerous attacks by McNulty and others. The leading four decided stage win between themselves and Bjorg Lambrecht was the fastest in the uphill sprint.

Bjorg Lambrecht wins the uphill sprint (photo: juniorendriedaagse.nl)


Video from the fourth stage

Max Kanter won second stage race this season after winning La Coupe du Président de la Ville de Grudziadz in May. Both times he was the part of crucial move and rode a great time trial and then put a huge effort to defend his jersey. In Poland, the field was good but nothing close to the one he faced in Axel. Being able to keep the victory despite big attacks from guys like Bostock, Spengler and especially McNulty shows how strong Kanter is this season. Not only on cobbles and time trial but he is also able to climb. Top favorite for upcoming Trofeo Karlsberg.

Brandon McNulty is beatable! After Course de la Paix I wasn't sure anyone can beat him this year but in such an open race like Axel anything can happen. He missed the move on first stage but managed to bridge but on the third stage it didn't work and he lost the GC. Still, he was the strongest in time trial and possibly the strongest on the hills so it's only a matter of time when he wins again.

Bram Welten took Enzo Wouters' spot from last year and can be considered as the best sprinter in junior category. I am waiting to see him against Suire, Philipsen and Rostovtcev in pure sprint.

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