Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ride of the Week: 2/3-2/9

With the Herald Sun Tour, races in the Middle East, France and Spain all racing over this week, the dearth of racing has finally come to an end and we are back to some proper action.

The Ride of the Week: Jack Haig's 3rd overall at the Herald Sun Tour
While there were some wins by U23s over the past week, I think that Haig deserves the nod for the 2nd time this season simply because of the talent that he was going up against. Haig, in my opinion, is ready for the World Tour and while he is also riding some mountain bike this year, he is going to be snatched up by a professional road team in 2015.

Haig, who was the best young rider at the Tour Down Under, took off on the 2nd stage of the Herald Sun Tour with Orica's Simon Clarke and Cannondale's Cam Wurf and the trio lept ahead of a reduced peloton. The worked well together and stretched their lead to over one minute. In the finale, Clarke sprinted ahead of Wurf and Haig for the stage win, with the latter hanging on for an impressive 3rd place. As the last stage was cancelled due to a raging fire in the area, Haig only had to hang on for one more stage and finished the race in 3rd overall, 11 seconds down on Clarke.

Speaking of the Sun Tour, another U23 rider took a big stage win, which gets him a nod for one of the runner-up spots...

Runners-up Rides of the Week: Louis Meintjes wins the South African Elite RR and Robert-Jon McCarthy takes a stage of the Herald Sun Tour

I could pick between either ride for a clear runner-up spot so they are getting stuck together.

Louis Meintjes, the reigning vice-champion from the U23 Worlds RR in Florence, started early this year in South Africa by doing the double in the U23 ranks with a TT and RR win along with a win in the Elite Mens RR. In the 180km affair in Durban, Meintjes broke away with Orica-GreenEdge's Daryl Impey, the winner of the Elite Men's TT, from a select group including Jay Robert Thompson. Meintjes outsprinted Impey for the win and though he is just a U23, he won the Elite title as well in the same race. U23s Ryan Gibbons and Nic Dougall finished 10th and 11th in the Elite race, good enough for 2nd and 3rd in the U23s.

Robert-Jon McCarthy, who will be joining AnPost-Chain Reaction for 2014, took out the 3rd stage of the Herald Sun Tour, when he sprinted ahead of Rico Rogers and Rapha-Condor's Felix English. McCarthy, riding for the Jayco U23 squad, took out the sprint ahead of some much older talent and the 19-year old is looking primed for his first European season in Belgium.

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