Wednesday, 27 May 2015

May is quite a busy month for a juniors. After exciting stage races in the Netherlands and France last week riders will now head to Switzerland for Tour du Pays de Vaud, the most mountainous uci rated stage race in under 19 category.

Adrien Costa in yellow jersey (photo: accv.ch)

Swiss race has become the part of Uci Nations Cup for the first time this year so we gonna have nations teams from most of the top cycling countries at the start in Lucens. Total number of 21 teams has been invited.

The previous winners list includes names like Cancellara, Elmiger, Stannard and Moreno Moser. Last three editions were dominated by US riders. Taylor Eisenhart, Geoffrey Curran and Adrien Costa won last three editions. Especially 2014 edition was great for US team as they have put four riders in top five and won three stages.

Costa winning the queen stage (photo: accv.ch)

Four day event will start with short, technical prologue in Lucens on Thursday evening which is 2,6km long.

On the second day riders will face first road stage from Onnens to Tartegnin which is 110,4 km long and contains three categorized climbs. The hardest one is 4,3km long with avg. gradient above 7%. The top of the climb, near Châtel, is just 18km from the finish line and will be the crucial point of the first stage.


Saturday will be decisive for the whole race with two important stages: morning road stage with mountaintop finish in Champéry and difficult time trial later on.

The morning stage to  Champéry is not very long, just 77 kilometers but riders will face a 16km climb at the end of the stage. The average is less then 4% but with false flat and downhill sections it's a monster climb if you consider that we are talking about junior racing here. Last year, similar climb to Les Diablerets caused some big gaps with Adrien Costa putting amazing performance to win solo with over 1:30 gap.



The time trial in Champéry is 10,2 km long and it's up and down almost all the time with a short flat part after the first decent. The whole time trial will be ridden on high altitude. Expect some big gaps here.


Final stage perfectly shows that the race gets much harder this year if we compare it with previous editions. Last year, we had pretty hard stage with short but steep climbs in the middle part and flat kilometers at the end which caused reduced bunch sprint won by Patrick Muller.

This time riders will face two difficult, long climbs in the middle part of the stage from Pompaples to Saint Prex. The first one is over 13 km long and second one is 7km long. From the top it's pretty much downhill and flat all the way but amount of climbing in the first part of the stage may cause a big gaps and small groups should arrive together in Saint Prex.



Favorites

The obvious favorite is again Adrien Costa. American rider has won last year edition with big gap over Kevin Geniets and William Barta. With hard climbs and long difficult time trial it will be very hard to beat Costa on this route. Especially with strong team behind the young rider from USA.

Kevin Geniets from Luxembourg, last year runner-up, is back and looks to improve his postion in GC. Despite the course which didn't really suit him, Kevin finished Trophée Centre Morbihan last week 17th overall and should be in good shape in Switzerland.

Gino Mader is a local favorite. He was nineth last year and I'm pretty sure he will be able to improve his position. Last week he finished 15th in Axel and was second in time trial, just behind Brandon McNulty.

Danish team always has to be considered as a favorites in junior races. Both Anthon Charmig and Mikkel Honore showed great shape last week in Trophée Centre Morbihan finishing first and third in GC but I guess the course might be a little bit too hard for them. My personal pick from Danish team is Rasmus Lund Pedersen, stage winner of Course de la Paix earlier this month.

Tobias Foss is a very solid rider who usually performs well in every type of terrain. He was fourth in Course de la Paix and sixth in Trophée Centre Morbihan. More then enough to consider him as one of the top favorites for podium.

Lastly, my personal favorite is Riccardo Verza. Small Italian climber had a very good results in local scene and won Piccola San Remo this year, one of the two uci rated races he rode. The second one was the longest named race in cycling, Tf GD Dorigo MO Biemmereti MO Cristiano Floriani MO Ferramenta Mazzero, where he finished third from a small group sprint. The route should suit him very well and I'm very curious how far he can go against some of the big names in junior category.

Other names to watch: Reto Muller, Tanguy Turgis, Mathieu Burgaudeau, Vadim Pronskiy, Jakub Otruba, Ziga Jerman.

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Startlist


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