Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Roundup: Normandie, Alentejo and Sanremo

The weather in Europe took a dive bomb this weekend as temperatures plummeted and most places were pretty miserable. Even with the horrible weather, racers still mounted their bikes and went out and raced, some racing for the win and others just trying to survive. This long winter is a reminder to us all about how dedicated these people are to the sport.

Dillier wraps up Tour de Normandie overall 


Silvan Dillier (BMC Development) secured the overall title at the 33rd Tour de Normandie after a short, albeit hectic, ride stage from Bagnoles de l'Orne to Caen. Dillier and his BMC teammates had to deal with Alexander Blain (Raleigh) and Dylan van Baarle (Rabobank Development), who started the stage five and nine seconds down, respectively. Van Baarle, who isn't a sprinter, tried his hand at the beginning of the stage by attacking with 2 others to try and get some time bonus at the first sprint. To his dismay, his group was brought back in but he had enough energy to go toe to toe with Blain with the sprint, with the Frenchman barely edging him out, which moved Blain to just 3 seconds behind Dillier.

The stage calmed down as a breakaway of six, including Anthony Charteau (Europcar) got away and the gap grew to nearly two minutes over a Raleigh-led peloton. As the stage wore on, the gap started to tumble slowly but the peloton was not able to catch the breakaway  before the 2nd sprint point, so the overall victory hinged on the final sprint. The breakaway was caught, the sprint was wound up and as they turned onto the Course Général de Gaulle, there was no dramatic last minute overhaul on G.C. Tino Thömel (NSP-Ghost) won the bunch sprint ahead of Maxime le Montagner (Roubaix Lille) and Nick van der Lijke (Rabobank Development) with Blain left steaming internally as he rolled across in 12th, as he had come so close to getting another Tour de Normandie title.



Overall (full results)

  1. Silvan Dillier*
  2. Alexander Blain (Raleigh) +3"
  3. Dylan van Baarle* (Rabobank Development) +8"
  4. Fabio Silvestre* (Leopard-Trek) +25"
  5. Frederik Ludvigsson* (People4You-Unaas) +32"
  6. Jesper Hansen* (CULT Energy) +42"
  7. Tony Hurel (Europcar) +43"
  8. Renaud Dion (Roubaix Lille Metropole) +49"
  9. Michael Olsson (People4You-Unaas) s.t.
  10. Tom Scully* (Raleigh) +51"
You see those asterisks? All young riders who are under 25. They are one of the big stories this week as these guys attacked, sprinted and won all week long and really showed what they are made of. Young riders won 3 stages along with six of them placing in the top 10 overall. Tomorrow, I will highlight some of the riders I thought were exceptional.

Stuyven seals up Volta ao Alentejo


23-year old Antonio Carvalho (LA Aluminium) sneaks by Optum's Chada Haga to take the stage honors


Jasper Stuyven sealed up the overall victory at the 31st Volta ao Algarve after riding a very proactive stage by gaining bonus seconds at sprint points and then limiting his losses to Optum rider Chad Haga, who was 2nd on G.C., on the final climb. Stuyven finished 7th on the stage, tying for his lowest stage finish all week. Stuyven was incredibly consistent all week, finishing 7th, 1st, 4th, 6th and 7th on stages this week. In addition to winning the overall, Stuyven also won the points and young rider jersey  for his efforts.
Jasper Stuyven celebrates his overall win in the Volta ao Alentejo
The stage started just before the circuit, which looped in and around Santiago do Cacém and included a climb every lap that ended on the finish line. During the early part of the stage, a battle formed between Karel Hnik (Etixx-iHNed) and stage one winner Daniel Silva (Radio Popular-Onda) for the KOM crown, as Silva was only ahead of Hnik by two points in the category. Hnik went and put on a clinic as he won the first four KOM sprints over Silva, turning a two point deficit into a two point advantage. With the KOM and sprint points being so important, no breakaways were able to get established during the stage so if there were going to be any shakeups on G.C., they would be happening on the final climb...



Stage (full results) 

  1. Antonio Carvahlo (LA Aluminium)
  2. Chad Haga (Optum) s.t.
  3. Delio Fernandez (OFM) +2"
  4. Carlos Barbero (Euskadi) s.t.
  5. Patrick Konrad (Etixx-iHNed) s.t.

Overall

  1. Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager)
  2. Chad Haga (Optum) 10"
  3. Alejandro Marque 29"
  4. Delio Fernández 52"
  5. Carlos Oyarzun 1'12"
Again, this race was kind to young riders as they won two stages, the overall, the points and mountains classification along with 4 riders in the top 10. Stuyven and his Bontrager team had an incredible week and the former junior world champion should be getting more wins as the season progresses. Just like Normandie, I will highlight some of the best young riders from this race more in depth tomorrow.

Gaffurini wins a frigid Piccola Sanremo


Normandie and Alentejo were not the only big U23 races this week as the Italian U27 circuit had the important Piccola Sanremo to race. Being absolutely nowhere near Sanremo in Sovizzo, the race started under looming skies with rain, wind and cold starting soon after. The race took in 6 flatter laps before switching to a different loop that included 7 trips of the Vigo climb. There was no breakaway that established themselves until much later in the race where a group of three, including Australian Calvin Watson, went out front, which in turn caused multiple reactions from the main group. With riders dropping out left and right, only those in contention were worried about finishing.

Davide Orrico (Colpack) was probably the best climber on the Vigo climb as he won multiple KOM sprints and forced the pace multiple times. On the penultimate trip over the Vigo climb, Orrico drew out a group of 14 from the pack. Nicola Gaffurini, who had been active on the climb with Orrico on previous laps, attacked on the snowy Vigo climb and had 10 seconds over Orrico and Andrea Vaccher. On the descent back into Sovizzo, Gaffurini was caught but he had enough in the reserves to outsprint Vaccher on the line. Only 24 out of the original 170 rides were able to finish the race. Absolutely brutal.

  1. Nicola Gaffurini (Delio Gallina)
  2. Andrea Vaccher (Marchiol)
  3. Davide Orrico (Colpack)
  4. Calvin Watson (Food Italia)
  5. Davide Martinelli (Food Italia)
Stay tuned for some more in-depth analysis on riders and performances tomorrow!

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