Thursday, September 4, 2014

U23 Roundup: Zepuntke wins, French & British U23 Worlds rosters and more

Zepuntke wins in Alberta

Following a non-selection by the German National Team for the Tour de l'Avenir, Ruben Zepuntke has been riding out of his skin in the Tour of Utah, the Professional Climb-Tour of the Rocky Mountains in the State of Colorado and now, in the Tour of Alberta.
On the brutal circuit race around Lethbridge that involved cold weather and torrential rain, Zepuntke, a rider who self-admittedly likes the cool and wet weather because of a few extra pounds on him, capitalized on some great team work by his Bissell Development team. Teammate Dan Eaton was in a late attack that was brought back in the final two kilometers. Kiwi James Oram piloted Zepuntke into the final kilometer with a group of about 35 riders. Oram motored until the final 300 meters when Zepuntke came around him to take a photo finish ahead of Garmin Honey Badger Ramunas Navardauskas. Zepuntke is putting together a very strong late season and I hope pro teams are noticing.

Much better article and interview with Ruben Zepuntke by Pat Malach on Cyclingnews

France names their U23 Worlds roster

After their good ride at the Tour de l'Avenir, French National Team selector Pierre-Yves Chatelon has announced his selection for "Les Blues" team at the World Championships in Ponferrada.

For the road race: Thomas Boudat, Loïc Chetout, Quentin Jauregui, Pierre-Roger Latour, Kevin Ledanois and Jeremy Leveau

After not being selected for l'Avenir, Boudat is now featuring in the Worlds roster and could be one of the favorites for the race because he can get over some hills and he has a wicked sprint on him. He was 4th in the European U23 RR where he won the field sprint ahead on the heels of the 3-man breakaway. Boudat will be France's counter to Australia and Caleb Ewan if it does come down to a sprint.

 Chetout and Latour will be primed to do well on the course. Jauregui has shown himself well in the pro ranks with top 10 finishes in races like the Tour du Finistere and La Poly Normande. Ledanois had a spectacular Arctic Tour where he finished 6th overall; he is definitely built for a course that has some hills but nothing too dramatic. The big surprise here was the selection of Jeremy Leveau ahead of Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Anthony Turgis. Leveau won the French U23 RR in Saint-Omer and he was selected because of that and his work he did earlier this year in the Nations Cups. Turgis was left off because of his lack of form recently.

For the TT: Bruno Armirail and Remi Cavagna

Armirail is the obvious choice as he is just focused on time trials and he is the current French U23 TT championship. While he wasn't too good at the European Championship with an 11th place, Armirail is a good shot for a top 10 place.

Cavagna is just a first-year U23 but he was 2nd in the French U23 TT Championship but he beat Armirail in a French amateur TT earlier this year and would probably be pleased with a top 25 placing.

Read Pierre-Yves Chatelon's full reaction on DirectVelo

GB announces U23 Worlds RR long list and TT spots

The British are coming...soon. The GB Federation announced their long list for the U23 Worlds RR, which looks like they have a threat for pretty much every situation.

RR long list: Hugh Carthy, Scott Davies, Owain Doull, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Dan McLay, Tom Moses, Dan Pearson and Alex Peters

McLay is obviously the best bet for a bunch sprint but Doull can get a over a few hills himself. The list is chock full of climbers with Carthy, Geoghegan Hart, Davies and Pearson. Now only 5 will be selected from this list but I have a feeling that Doull, Geoghegan Hart and McLay are locks.

TT: Scott Davies and Jon Dibben

Davies is the current U23 TT Champion while Dibben won the TT at Triptyque Monts et Chateaux earlier this year. I thought Doull might get the nod but I think GB will be happy if they get one in the top 20.

GB Federation announcement

Everything else...
-Piotr Havik won the opening stage of the Vuelta Valencia with the Dutch National Team after he attacked his 5 breakaway mates over an overpass and powered to the line with a 3 second back on Sergio Rodriguez and Artem Samolenkov.

-For those that might have missed it, Kenneth Van Rooy sealed up the Belgian U27 Topcompetitie overall at the final round in Templeuve with a 14th place behind Olivier Naesen, who is a Lotto-Belisol stagiaire and bound for Topsport Vlaanderen next year.
-Daniel Hoelgaard (Etixx) won the opening stage of the Okolo Jiznich Cech with a sprint win ahead of Jo Kogstad Ringheim, Riccardo Bolzan and Van Rooy. 3rd win for the Norwegian this season who will probably be on the Norwegian team at Worlds.

-At the Ronde van Midden-Nederland, Wim Stroetinga won the mass bunch sprints ahead of two U23s, Eduard Grosu (Vini Fantini-Nippo) and Andre Looij (Rabobank Development).

The Giro della Regioni Friuli is going on right now but let's wait till week's end to talk about it, k? Good.

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