Tuesday, January 28, 2014

U23 Ride of the Week: 1/20-1/26

It was a pretty light week on the U23 front as both the Tour Down Under and Tour de San Luis dominated the road coverage. Seeing as neither of these races had a large amount of U23s racing, this week's ride of the week is...

Jack Haig's win in the Tour Down Under Youth Classification

While Caleb Ewan was the talk of the UniSA composite team after his win in the Australian U23 RR, Jack Haig was the star of the team. The Victoria product, who was the youngest winner ever of the Australian NRS overall last year, survived a small crash on the first stage, made the right splits and excelled on the Willunga Hill stage to finish the Tour Down Under in 17th overall.

On the Corkscrew stage, Haig made the big split and while he wasn't able to make the front selection behind Cadel Evans but got a minute gap over OPQS rider Carlos Verona. Haig then made the split on stage 4 and was able to hang with a good group on Willunga Hill, where he hung in for 20th on the stage. Haig, who transitioned to the road from MTB, comfortably took the win in Adelaide on Sunday and declared his first WorldTour race a success. Haig still has plans to race in the MTB XC race at the Commonwealth Games but in the end, his ambitions lie on the road and he said that he wouldn't mind giving l'Avenir a crack this year.

The other notable ride for last week was...

Emiliano Contreras getting 2nd place on 1st stage of Tour de San Luis - The young Argentinian made the long breakaway that contained eventual-2nd place on GC Phil Gaimon. Contreras was one of the more unlikely candidates for a result at San Luis as I have been able to find next to nothing on him except for a couple podium placing as a junior at his National Championships.

Some other notable U23 news of the last week or so included...

-Sondre Holst Enger attended IAM Cycling's team camp and will be joining as a stagiaire and most likely as a full pro in 2015.

-USA U23s went to Mexico and built a house for an under-privileged family. They are now in Chula Vista, CA for their first training camp.

-One of my favorite races, the GP San Giuseppe, has been taken off the UCI calendar for 2014. I loved the finish of the race in the old city of Montecassiano.

-Canadian U23 Alex Cataford, who is with Amore & Vita this year, was hit by a car in training last week in Tucson, AZ but is recovering.

-Danish Continental team CULT Energy, the team which has housed Michael Valgren and Magnus Cort, has plans of moving up to the Pro Continental ranks for 2015. With Tinkoff-Saxo now Russian registered, the Danes are keen to have another professional team to call their own. CULT was even talking about moving up for 2014 but with no Danish professional teams now, it looks more realistic.

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