Saturday, 26 March 2016

After an exciting Sunday a week ago with three big races taking part on the same day, rider will now facet one big classic and first race of Nations Cup series, Grote Prijs André Noyelle (aka Gent Wevelgem U19).

History of the race started in 1983 when Reginald Vandamme won the first edition. In 1996 race was named after André Noyelle, the only Belgian Olympic gold medalist in cycling who was born in Ypres, city host of this event . On the list of previous winners you may find some big names like Meersman, Stannard and Devolder. Dutch riders are having a nice memories from this Belgian classic as they have won last three editions (Looij in 2013, Cornelisse in 2014 and Eenkhoorn in 2015). 

Pascal Eenkhoorn winning 2015 edition (photo:Kenny Desaever)

Route

The route has been essentially changed comparing to last year's edition. Two things didn't change: the race will still start and finish in Ieper and the key point of the route will be famous Kemmelberg climb. The race is much longer then last year, 120km compared to  96 kilometers from 2015 edition. Riders will face less cobbled climbs but they are closer to the finish and will have a bigger impact to the race tactics, especially that all cobbled sections will be held with the final 50 kilometers of the race. From five hellingens, both Kemmelberg and Monteberg will be tackled twice with the last pass over Monteberg is just 12km from the finish.

Race profile (photo: kattekoers.be)
Favorites

For the first time the race will be held as an Nations Cup event which means we will have nation teams instead of club teams on start line in Ieper. Apart from sixteen nation teams we will also have several regional teams from Belgium, Netherlands and France plus South East Team from GB. Before I mention some of the favorites it's worth to notice two big missing on the startlist. First of them is US junior team which have chosen alternative start of their European campaign and decided to ride in Ster Van Zuid Limburg. Second notable miss is Jasper Philipsen who will also ride in Ster to prepare for the Roubaix.

For a cobbled classic in Belgium, we have to start with Belgian national team. The team, despite lacking Philipsen is very strong and each of their rider can win the race for sure. Personally I have picked Arne Marit, winner of Nokere Koerse u19 and Wesley Vercamst who finished in top10 on both Kuurne Brussel Kuurne and Guido Reybrouck Classic. But it could also be Trystan Five, third in Guido Reybrouck Classic last Sunday.

Almost as strong as the Belgians is French team. Here we have a clear leader in Clement Betouigt Suire who was second in Guido Reybrouck Classic. Other strong candidates are Alexys Brunel and Mathieu Burgaudeau.

Great Britain team looks pretty strong either with clear leader, Ethan Hayter. He really impressed me in Kuurne Brussel Kuurne beating two pre race favorites. Last week, he made a crucial move in Guido Reybrouck Classic and Jasper Philipsen was the only one that could follow him. If nothing goes wrong, Hayter will be the man to beat on Sunday.

Another nation that is always strong in this type of races in Denmark. The team is clearly not the strongest one as some of the top guys who rides for Team Kelberg Roskilde (full name from in 2016: Team Børkop Cykler - Carl Ras Roskilde Junior) are riding in Ster van Zuid Limburg at the same time but they can still surprise the top favorites. Fredrik Jensen was sixth in GP Bob Jungels and should be a team leaderon Sunday.

Finally the Dutch team can rely or Jarno Mobach who won Zepperen-Zepperen few weeks back beating Quaterman and Burnel and recently finished fifth in both Grand Prix Bob Jungels and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. If not, Dennis Van der Horst, recently third in GP Jan Bergé, is also the man to watch, especially for sprint from a bigger group.

Other notable starters: Moreno Marchetti, Michele Gazzoli, Michel Ries, Sedrik Ullebo, Ziga Jerman, Reto Muller, Marc Hirschi and Thomas Pidcock.

Website
Startlist
Roadbook

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

French rider Tanguy Turgis representing team US Métro Transports won 23rd edition of Bernaudeau Junior finishing alone in La Tardière. Second place went to his teammate Matthieu Legrand and third to Tristan Montchamp (Pôle Espoir de Saint-Etienne). 

Tanguy Turgis celebrates his solo win (photo: Simon Bourmaud twitter) 

Frenchmen Antoine Gibert from RVC85 and Florian Rapiteau from CD Loire Atlantique was the first attackersof the day. They managed to get over a minute gap but after the Côte du Fuiteau (500m long, avg 13%) they were joined by several counter attackers.

With 70km to go they had over a minute on a peleton. Behind them, ten riders attacked from the peleton and managed to join the front group. After that, we had a group of 22 leaders with over a two minute on peleton. But the big group didn't let them go and the gap was slowly coming down. With 30 kilometers to go the leaders had just 15 seconds over counter attack of 17 riders and 1:10 over the peleton.

After the second pass of the finish line the counter attack managed to bridge to the leaders. 39 riders had a gap of one minute over the peleton. Mathieu Legrand and Daniel Rodriguez Davila managed to breakaway from the leading group and with 13km to go they had a 30 seconds gap over the chasers. They were brought back with just 6kms to go. Soon after that Tanguy Turgis put the crucial move and managed to get away solo. He quickly gained 30 second and finished solo in La Tardière.

Bernaudeau Junior 2016 top three: Legrand, Turgis, Montchamps (photo: @RVC85 twitter)
Results

Full results

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Two weeks after Kuurne Brussel Kuurne junior racing speeds up with three one day races held on Sunday.
Each of them has 1.1 uci category and will be a good indication about riders form just one week before first big event of the year: Gent Wevelgem juniors.

1st Grand Prix Bob Jungels

In Luxembourg we have a very first edition of Grand Prix Bob Jungels organized by UC Dippach, his former team (and many other riders from Luxembourg including legendary Charly Gaul of more recently Laurent Didier or Alex Kirsch).

The race is 130,8 km long with 12 laps 10.8km each with start and finish in the city of Dippach.

Lap profile (photo: http://ucdippach.lu/) 
Last three kilometers of each lap is mostly uphill which should produce numerous attacks and quite demanding race in general. The list of starters is pretty good considering it's just first edition and we have two other big races on the same day. Local heroses from UC Dippach will do everything they can to win their home race, Michel Ries could be their main man, otherwise look for Colin Heiderscheid or youngster Tristan Parotta.

Other notable starters: Tom Peters, Gilles Borra, Stijn De Molder, Dennis Van der Horst, Jarno Mobach, Alessandro Vandromme.

Website: http://ucdippach.lu/grand-prix-bob-jungels/
Startlist: http://ucdippach.lu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Startlist160316.jpg
Tech guide: http://fr.calameo.com/read/003792072773d61aa6559


Guido Reybrouck Classic

Belgian one day race held in Damme will have it's second edition with uci category 1.1. previously it was held as an amateur event. Last year edition won Bram Welten after a solo attack with five kilometers to go. His breakaway companions completed the podium: Jasper Philipsen finished second and Merten De Wever was third.

Bram Welten winning solo in 2015
The route is the same as last year. It's basically flat with a total of 82 kilometers around Damme. Riders will face six cobbled sectors, each of them run twice. The short one is 300m and the longest one is 1800m. Also the finish in Damme is pretty hard and run on the cobbles. Here you can watch the video of last year's edition: http://www.focus-wtv.be/video/nederlander-welten-wint-guido-reybrouck-classic

Notable starters: Ethan Heyter, Charlie Quaterman, Jasper Philipsen, Jordi Meeus, Nils Eekhoff, Maxime Gressier, Merten De Wever, Lewis Bulley, Alexyr Brunel,

Website: http://www.grclassic.be/
Tech guide: http://www.grclassic.be/printversies/juniores.pdf
Startlist: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CdwkM6bW0AA5g0i.jpg


La Bernaudeau Junior

As the race website is dead a day before the race it's pretty hard to gather the details...
The race route should be similar to last year. It's 130km long with five laps of 6,9km each at the end.

Last year, Pascal Eenkhoorn won solo after attack with two kilometers to go. Behind him, Enzo Berard won sprint from the bigger group for second place. Kevin Perret finished third.


Notable starters: Clement Betouigt Suire, Johan Delalaire, Mario Poldervaart, Mathie Burgaudeau, Ronann Vivier, Tanguy Turgis, Quentin Founier,

Website (currently dead): http://www.labernaudeaujunior.fr/
Startlist: http://www.directvelo.com/actualite/49540/la-bernaudeau-junior-les-engages