Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ride of the Week 2/10-2/16

This week's Ride of the Week goes to...(drumroll please)...

Liam Bertazzo for going 2 for 2 at l'Essor Basque

This week's Ride of the Week goes to the speedy Liam Bertazzo, who has taken his track racing form into the early road season and took out the first two races of the l'Essor Basque. Riding with the Italian U23 team that included Paolo Simion and Federico Zurlo, among others, Bertazzo took out both the Boucles de l'Essor and the Circuit de l'Essor. For those that haven't followed these races before, the l'Essor Basque is a series of short early season races in the historical French Basque territory, cushioned against the Bay of Biscay. In the Boucles de l'Essor around the sleepy town of Ustaritz, Bertazzo broke away with Italian "teammates" Simion and Olivero Troia and the three took a 19 second lead into the finish, with Bertazzo taking the honors. In the Circuit de l'Essor, this time a 115 km jaunt around Cambo-les-Bains, Bertazzo and Simion found themselves in the breakaway again but this time with a little company. Bertazzo soloed away from Simion, Bruno Armirail and Julien Loubet to win by a healthy 15 seconds while Simion won the small sprint for 2nd. Marino Amadori has the Italian U23s firing well just a couple weeks into the season. Watch out.

Honorable Mentions

Quentin Jauregui goes top 20 on Mont Faron at the Tour Mediterranean

While the amateurs have been getting started, the neo-pros on continental teams are getting their share of abuse against the World Tour riders. Quentin Jaurequi, the former cyclocrosser who is now with Roubaix-Lille Metropole, had one of the better U23 (non-WT) performances of the Tour Mediterranean by going 18th on the summit finish at Mont Faron on Sunday, just 55 seconds behind JC Peraud.

Alexandre Deletang leads 6-up Armée de Terre charge at La Tramontane while Guyot wins Ronde du Canigou win the next day

The French Army cycling team, Armée de Terre, started off 2013 with a bang and proceeded to go 2nd in the DN1 classification of the Coupe de France behind Vendée U and had the highest individual point-getter in Benoit Sinner. The camo-kitted men got off to a similar start this year by winning two races in a row in the very southern tip of France. On the 15th, U23 Alexandre Deletang led a six-man charge from the Army and took the win in La Tramontane ahead of breakaway mates Marc Sarreau and Mathieu Teychenne. The next day, the 16th, the Army transferred 50 kilometers to the west but the results were exactly the same. On a damp day in the Pyrénées-Orientales, Yann Guyot took a solo breakaway to the line on the 140 km course at the Ronde du Canigou, ahead of U23 teammate Christopher Piry and fellow U23 Sean Hambrook, a Kiwi with Sojasun-ACNC. It was a tough day out as there were only 25 finishers, with the final six riders coming in over 10 minutes down. The Army riders are tough as nails and in wet, rainy conditions, they always seem to step up.

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