Friday, March 14, 2014

Week(s) in Review

I've been a bit tardy with some of the early spring races but hopefully I'll be able to figure out a nice schedule. My ride of the week belonged to young Michael Carbel with his impressive sprint win at the Dorpenomloop but much more happened during the last week and a half than just a Dane chasing some imaginary herring.

Lindeman wins Ster van Zwolle; Würtz best U23 in 5th


After two solid years as a professional with Vacansoleil, Bert-Jan Lindeman had to take a step backwards in hopes of being able to go forwards again. Lindeman signed with Rabobank Development for 2014, which will hopefully just be a temporary stay for the former Ronde van Drenthe winner.

Lindeman continued his good year with an win out of a breakaway of five at Ster van Zwolle, which was very similar to last year's finish because of the sprinting peloton breathing down their necks. Lindeman, who isn't exactly a sprinter, made it his 2nd win in the Ster van Zwolle, as he also won the Dutch race in 2010 with Jo Piels. Lindeman escaped late in the race with CULT Energy's Troels Vinther and Mads Würtz, Etixx's Lukasz Wisniowski and local homeboy Brian Van Goethem of Metec. In one of the slower sprints of the early season, Lindeman was able to outsprint Vinther and Van Goethem for the win while Würtz came in 5th, which was the best out of the U23s. The pack finished on the same time as the breakaway with with Johim Ariensen of Metec beating out first-year U23 Andre Looij for 6th.

Italian Sprint Opera: Marini trumps Mareczko again

This might be a common sight for the next 6 months (Photo: ItaliaCiclismo)

While Davide Villella, Andrea Zordan, Niccolo Bonifazio and other sprinters have moved onto greener pastures (i.e. money), the Italian amateur peloton has another sprinters duel brewing. Nicolas Marini and Jakub Mareczko have gone head to head three times this year with Marini taking two wins and a 3rd place bunch sprint win. Marini, who rides for Zalf-Euromobil just like Zordan did, was a victor 9 times last year on the road and is a former Italian junior national Champion on the track. Marini has a kick that many others do not have and when he hits the front, he can just power through the wind and when he doesn't win, he is not a happy camper. (Look at this video from the Coppa San Geo to see his reaction to getting 3rd place, just a whisker away from the breakaway.) Marini is the older of the pair and has a huge sprint train with Zalf, so when he doesn't take a sprint now it could be seen as a disappointment to some. Mareczko is the younger of the pair, just a 2nd year U23, and while his Viris Maserati team is seasoned (they did have Niccolo Bonifazio last year) but their train is just a step below that of Zalf. Mareczko looks like he is shot out of a gun when he gets into his kick; his chest touching his stem while he gets as low as possible to slice through the air ala Mark Cavendish.

Marini got the better of Mareczko for the 3rd time this year at the Circuito de S. Urbano in Pianzano in Treviso, as seen in the picture above. Zalf dominated the race by putting 3 in the top 4 and Marini hit speeds of nearly 80 km/h in the sprint. (He also won a small diamond for his efforts.) But Mareczko is not far off of beating Marini and come this summer, it will be interesting to see what these two are up to.

Other races...


Way back on the 5th of March, we had the Trofej Umag in Croatia's Istrian peninsula. Umag is the westernmost city in small nation and is nestled on the Adriatic coast. Umag is only a 2nd year race and last year, the race was shortened to just 80 kilometers so this year was the first full run. Stölting had a bit of a scary moment when three of their riders, star Silvio Herklotz, Phil Bauhaus and Thomas Koep, all hit the deck at nearly 70 km/h when a crash went through the field. All three were able to get up, with Herklotz continuing for a little while before abandoning. While ex-World Tour Matej Mugerli snuck away for the win, Martin Otonicar (Radenska) won the bunch sprint for 4th for best U23.

Transferring a whole 32 kilometers south for the Porec Trophy on the 9th, where it was another sprint fest. Maksym Averin opened up the account for Synergy Baku this year with a win ahead of U23 Daniel Biedermanm of Gourmetfein and Matej Mugerli, who hasn't been outside the top 8 yet this year. While Biedermann won the U23 classification, he was closely followed by Andrej Rajsp (Radenska) and Phil Bauhaus (Stölting).

The Istrian Spring Trophy is currently happening and will be going through Sunday. Austrian U23 Gregor Muhlberger took the prologue with a winning speed of over 54 km/h, ahead of fellow U23 Andrey Sazanov (Helicopters) and Mugerli. U23 favorites such as Mads Pedersen and Silvio Herklotz slotted in the top 25, only a few seconds down on the leader. While flat 2 kilometer prologues are a stupid idea in my opinion, the rest of the weekend should be a nice treat.


I'm not going to break down the whole Vuelta Mexico but there were a lot of breakaways. Maxat Ayazbayev (Astana CT) got into one of the said breakaways and got himself into the leader's jersey for a couple days before being overtaken by 4-72 Colombia's Juan Villegas in the ridiculous short TT. Ayazbayev finished 2nd overall by just 3 seconds to Villegas and looks set to be on track for a big year in '14 if he continues at this pace.


Benoit Daeninck was going for his 4th victory in the GP de Lillers, including back-to-back victories as he also won last year, but it proved a lot harder that usual. A breakaway of 12 ruled the day including three from Big Mat-Auber93, three from EFC-OPQS and two from Cofidis, among others. With a large peloton breathing down their necks, the breakaway stepped on the gas on the city circuits around the sleepy Nord-Pas-Calais city of Lillers and it was Steve Tronet who was able to breakthrough ahead of Martijn Degreve of EFC-OPQS and Daeninck, who was denied his record 4th win. EFC-OPQS teammates Jens Wallays and Floris De Tier were able to stay in the top 10 following their day in the break


Dieter Bouvry won the Brussels-Zepperen ahead of Mathias Allegaert and Rutger Roelandts on Sunday in a sprint. Roelandts opened up his win colum for the year by taking the sprint victory in the St. Ieper kermesse.

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