Thursday, November 21, 2013

U23 ABCs: J

As a fan of the Cycling Inquisition blog, I don't like to pigeonhole Colombian cyclists into the stereotypical poor scrapper who pulled himself up by his boot straps and climbed his way to the Tour de France by climbing faster than any Westerner thought possible. Just because someone might look "poor" by western standards doesn't mean they are truly poor and some western cycling media get this contrived idea in their head that every Colombian came from the dregs of poverty. While some were poor, some came from working class roots who had food in their bellies and a roof over their head. So when I talk about Daniel Jaramillo, I won't be waxing lyrically about how every Colombian boy dreams of being a climber in the Tour de France on their straw cot while looking at the stars

Jaramillo (Photo: Coldeportes Claro)

Daniel Jaramillo is a climber and a really good one at that. Hailing from Antioquia, Jaramillo won the juniors version of the Vuelta del Porvenir de Colombia, the junior version of the Vuelta a Colombia and won by the likes of Rigoberto Uran (twice), Juan Mauricio Soler and Darwin Atapuma. He has pedigree as his older brother Carlos is a former winner of the Vuelta a Colombia and raced the Tour de France with Cafe de Colombia and Postobon. As a U23, Jaramillo won the Vuelta de la Juventud Colombia, the U23 version of the Vuelta a Colombia, in 2011. 2012 saw him finish 3rd in the Vuelta Mexico Telmex along with placing in multiple Colombian races. That is a recurring item about Jaramillo's career thus far is that he hasn't gotten much race time outside of Latin America save for the 2010 GiroBio and a little this year in Italy. Joining Colombia-Coldeportes this year, Jaramillo was 3rd in the youth classification at the Vuelta a Colombia and 2nd overall at the Vuelta de la Juventud Colombia. Jaramillo got into the Colombian National Team for Worlds and finished a respectable 35th. There were talks of Jaramillo heading to Orica-GreenEdge for 2014 but after losing some equipment this year and losing racing time, he will be heading to Jamis after Garmin recruit Janier Acevedo tipped off DS Alexandre Sebastian of Jaramillo. It is a good move for him as Jamis is a strong system and gets good invites to races all over the Americas.

Does anyone remember that video of a rider doing a bike exchange in the Junior Worlds Road Race in Valkenburg that was utterly seemless for someone in road cleats?

That would be Quentin Jauregui using his cyclocross skills to stay in the big race where he would finish anonymously in 46th, deep in the front pack. Jauregui was a talented junior both in cyclocross and on the road. In 'cross, he finished 3rd in the 2012 Junior World Championships behind Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert and 2nd in the 2011-12 World Cup behind van der Poel. On the road, he was just as talented as he won the GP General Patton Nations Cup, two stages at Liege-La Gleize and a slew of top 10 placings.

Jaurqgui's first year in the U23 ranks has been a bit rough. After some top 20 placings in U23 cyclocross World Cups, he broke his collarbone at the end of 2012 which pretty much stopped his 'cross season in its tracks. Riding for BKCP-Powerplus, Jauregui had a very light road season and didn't begin until May and included a steady diet of kermis racing. He had a good ride at the Thüringen Rundfahrt, including a 4th place on one stage, and he was surprisingly picked up by Argos-Shimano on a stagiaire role. Jauregui did well in the World Ports Classic and then was fed a steady diet of Belgian 1.1 races, most of which he DNFed.

2014 sees him transitioning to the road with Roubaix-Lille Métropole and leaving cyclocross as just a passion. According to an interview with Directvelo, he is hoping to get a birth with the French National Team for U23 Nations Cups including the Tour de l'Avenir, which will suit his climbing nature, and focusing on getting more racing days in on the road.

August Jensen doesn't have a deep history racing but in the last two years, he has made a name for himself in Scandanavia. With Trondheim VK in 2012, Jensen outsprinted Sven Erik Bystrøm to win the Norwegian U23 RR Championship. After this win, he joined Øster Hus-Ridley and took on Stein Ørn as coach, who is also the coach and stepfather of Alexander Kristoff. This year, he had a steady diet of stage races and one-day races and got his best results in Norway, where he was 18th overall at the Tour des Fjords, among other results. He's back with Øster Hus for 2014.

Marcos Jurado hit some heights in 2012 with a Spanish U23 TT Championship but come 2013, the Seguros Bilbao rider faced dissapointment when he lost his title to Alberto Just by 8 seconds. Despite this, Jurado plowed on to a 3rd place overall finish at the Vuelta a Madrid U23, showing off his climbing skills against the like of Haritz Orbe and winner Petr Vakoc. Jurado hasn't secured a pro contract and while it has become harder for him to turn pro due to the state of Spanish cycling but for Jurado, "cycling is not an obstacle but a philosophy." While hanging up the bike at his age is perfectly legitimate, cycling in his words is, "not just a sport or a hobby, it's my lifestyle." His climbing and TT abilities shouldn't keep him in the amateur ranks for too much longer, as long as the passion is there to drive him.

James Judd made the big jump across the world in 2013 as he went from his native New Zealand and made camp with the Parkhotel Valkenburg amateur team. Judd, an economics student at Auckland University, ventured to Limburg in January and had a shock to the system when his bags were not there and he spent the first few hours there in freezing temperatures in jeans and a t-shirt. Judd got his first taste of cobbles, hit the deck a couple dozen times and broke his elbow but after showing the team some grit in just his first U23 season, he was rewarded with a contract for 2014, which will see Parkhotel join the continental circuit.

Hands of who knows Ji Min Jung? Didn't think it would be too many. The young Korean won the Korean Elite RR Championship in a solo breakaway ahead of Tour of Japan stage winner Sung Baek Park. Jung came close on two stages this year, one in both of the Tour de Langkawi and Tour de Korea. In Langkawi, he was 2nd behind the solo Tom Leezer in a torrential rain storm while in Korea, Jung attacked in the final two kilometers with Optum's Eric Young but was distanced on the line by the fastman and multiple Little 500 champion Young.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, just discovered this blog and the wealth of information and analysis here is phenomenal. I don't think I have ever seen such comprehensive and detailed coverage of the U23 scene.

    Well done and keep up the good work. I definitely will be following this blog from now on!