Tour of Utah
Nothing like a crazy hard mountainous stage race for getting your first tastes with a true professional team. While Bissell and Hincapie Development were present, some teams brought along stagiaires with them. Stagiaires attending included:
Gavin Mannion (Garmin-Sharp)
Ilya Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida)
Andrea Vaccher (Lampre-Merida)
Dylan Teuns (BMC)
Clement Chevrier (Trek)
Ryan Eastman (Trek)
Alex Kirsch (Trek)
Brendan Canty (Drapac)
U23s got off to a strong start on the week. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Development) took the mountains classification on the first day and Tanner Putt (Bissell) got two top 10s on the first two stages.
The first big test was stage 4 to Powder Mountain, where the young guns got a smack in the face about racing with some World Tour folks. Clement Chevrier was the best young rider on the stage with 16th place, nearly 5 minutes behind stage winner Tom Danielson. Right behind him were other youngins including Dion Smith (Hincapie Devo), Keegan Swirbul (Bissell) and Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida).
Smith and Alex Kirsch both placed in the top 10 the next day on the stage that went over Bald Mountain before ending in a mass sprint. Gavin Mannion was so excited to race he was doing flips.
Ok... Here's a clean vine link to @gavinmannion crash WOW https://t.co/lVibc6BmVa
— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) August 8, 2014
On the 6th stage up Guardsman Pass and finishing on Snowbird, it was Koshevoy who was showing some fine form by staying with his leader Chris Horner for a long time before cracking a bit on Snowbird. The Belorussian, who won the GP Liberazione last year, was still able to finish 11th, 49 seconds back. Swirbul and Teuns came in together with a minute gap over Clement Chevrier, which allowed Teuns to gain time on the Frenchman in the young rider's classification.
On the final stage to Park City, which was the opposite of a procession, Teuns was doing all he could to take the young rider's jersey for good. He was able to stay in the front group with his BMC teammates Yannick Eijssen and Ben Hermans and while his teammate Cadel Evans was descending to win the stage, Teuns came in 25 seconds back with Koshevoy not far behind. Clement Chevrier came up in the following group with Trek teammate Matthew Busche but the Frenchman had lost his lead in the young rider's competition by a paltry 14 seconds to Teuns.
All in all, it was a good race for the U23s and the stagiaires. Local boy Dan Eaton (Bissell) got into a lot of breaks and Carpenter was very active in the KOM hunt, where he finished in 2nd place to teammate Joey Rosskopf. Swirbul was climbing quite well until he was sidelined by knee tendonitis. Bissell and Hincapie are bringing similar teams to the Pro Cycling Challenge that starts next Monday the 18th. The PCC will see the appearance of stagiaires Patrick Konrad and Gregor Muhlberger (both NetApp-Endura) and Rasmus Guldhammer (Tinkoff-Saxo).
-Tiesj Benoot, who is stagiairing with Lotto-Belisol, was showing himself quite well at the Tour of Denmark. Benoot finished 3rd on stage 3 which catapulted him to 2nd in the overall classification. Benoot had a okay TT and finished well on the final stage to hang on for 10th overall, which is damn fine for your first pro race.
-Loic Vliegen, who moved up from BMC Development to the pro team as a stagiaire, put on a stellar performance at the Prudential Ride London to finish 7th in the one day race. Vliegen made the race winning split with his teammate Philippe Gilbert, Ben Swift, winner Adam Blythe and fellow stagiaire Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge). Vliegen hung on for a while but was dropped during a flurry of attacks. He was able to recover to come in with Stef Clement just 13 seconds down on winner Blythe. Ewan hung on for as long as he could in the escape but was inevitably dropped and finished back in 44th.