Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Week in Review (sort of): Luxembourg and Mayenne

It is summer vacation for many U23s so while there are many that are racing, there aren't any properly big races for another week or so. I decided to go on vacation from the blog but I'm back now so don't leave.

Tour de Luxembourg: Herklotz Gone Wild

There is a dearth of any stories, besides this wonderful blog, in the English speaking cycling media about Silvio Herklotz. I'm sure when Mr. Herklotz signs a big pro contract there will be a little blip on Cyclingnews or somewhere but if he was British/American/Australian, you would know that there would already be multiple stories about him. Not to say that Germans aren't marginalized in cycling but it is just another reminder that there are not too many people out there that truly cover U23 racing.

Silvio and his Stolting team were at last week's Tour of Luxembourg, which is one of my favorite races that I wish was televised. The prologue was very successful on the U23 front. 20-year old Danny van Poppel (Trek) won the 2.55 kilometer test in Luxembourg while homeboy Alex Kirsch (Leopard) finished 3rd and Herklotz finished 6th, which was a good test for the German whose weakest link is his TT abilities.

Stage 1 saw Phil Bauhaus get 6th in the bunch sprint behind Andre Greipel. Bauhaus, who is just 19 until July, has been getting into the top 10 a lot this year and even had two top 5 placings in the Bayern Rundfahrt. He is knocking on the door to be yet another German sprinting talent.

Silvio Herklotz emerged again on stage 2 when Matti Breschel, who is looking to be in spectacular shape heading in the summer, punched in on the bumpy finish and the young German was able to finish in the front group in 4th place behind Breschel, Jempy Drucker and Sergey Lagutin.

Perhaps Herklotz youth was his downfall on stage 3 as he missed the split that included Breschel, Lagutin and Rudy Molard, who made the stage 2 split as well. Herklotz, as well as his Stolting teammates Christian Mager and Thomas Koep, finished in a group 18 seconds behind Breschel, who won the small group sprint for the stage win again.

Herklotz was once again on his game when the peloton was chasing the streaking Andre Greipel on the final stage. The German put in a few digs of his own during the finally but was able to hang on for 4th in the bunch sprint behind the solo Greipel. Herklotz ended up 6th overall on GC and 2nd in the youth category behind 25-year old Rudy Molard by 14 seconds. Herklotz is right on the cusp of something big.

Looking back at that, it seemed like I was just jerking off Herklotz because I gave him so much praise but he really does deserve it. Doing what he has as a 2nd year U23 just shows how much talent he possesses.

Boucles de la Mayenne

Mike Teunissen is really fast. So he goes on a long breakaway at Paris-Roubaix and then goes solo for the last 15 kilometers. He climbs, he sprints and he rides across dirt with the best of them. He isn't superman...just a Dutchman. Seriously though, the last two weeks he has been on fire and it continued at the Boucles de la Mayenne.

The prologue was won by evergreen Jimmy Engoulvent while the next 3 places were taken by U23s Florian Senechal (Pro Continental but whatever), young buck Mathieu van der Poel and Teunissen. Teunissen proceeded to act like a pro and came out swinging on stage 1. He rode himself into the breakaway that included Armindo Fonseca, Reiner Honig and Kevin Seeldraeyers among others. Teunissen finished 4th but more importantly he finished with a gap of 35 seconds over the main chase group, which allowed him to slip into the overall lead.

Teunissen lost his lead as quick as he got it. The next day was up and down, up and down and included a hill that had a grade of 22% on it, which saw many dismount. Eliot Lietaer took his first pro win after spending time off the front with teammate Tom Van Asbroeck and Stephen Rosetto, among others. Rosetto slipped into the leader's jersey while Teunissen finished in a small group a bit over 50 seconds behind Rosetto. Teunissen fell to 3rd and wouldn't be able to recover from that.

Teunissen finished 6th in the final day bunch sprint behind winner Yoann Gene. Teunissen was able to hold onto his 3rd place overall and he continued to showed off one of his major traits, consistency. Except for his grand Paris-Roubaix win, Teunissen is a rider that is always there but never seems to get the win. He might take the youth classification or best U23 rider but it is rare that he pulls off a big win like his Roubaix ride. Also an important note...Teunissen is currently contracted by Rabobank Development through 2015 so if he doesn't jump ship, he will be riding on the continental level for another year while he continues his cyclocross ambitions. Also, Mathieu van der Poel finished 14th overall. Van der Poel has ridden the Tour of Belgium and Boucles de la Mayenne and has ridden well in both for just being a year out of the junior ranks. BKCP has him locked down through 2017 and the Dutchman has made it clear that he will be focusing on cyclocross for a while so his appearances on the road will be limited to summer for a while.

1 comment:

  1. Miguel Angel Lopez has won the Vuelta ala Juventud Colombia. A compilation of this tour should be on your blog, or not?