Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weekend Roundup: Consonni takes 2; Subida a Gorla

Outside of the Tour de Normandie and the Volta ao Alentejo, the weekend had results all over the place including Italy, France, Spain, the Americas and more.

Simone Consonni takes two

Team Colpack's Simone Consonni became the first Italian rider to take 2 wins in the season and he did it over the span of 2 days. Winner of the GP Citta di Perignano in a bunch sprint over Marco Maronese (Zalf-Euromobil) and Marco Corra (Mastromarco), Consonni and his Colpack team came into the weekend already looking like the team to beat.

On Saturday, the team went to Milano-Busseto, which is a traditional sprint fest that draws out all of the big teams. Previous winners include Francesco Moser, Giovanni Lombardi, Fran Ginanni, Ian Stannard and neo-pro Nicolas Marini, among many others. The race more or less stayed together over the 140 kilometer course and Consonni proceeded to jump first and beat everyone by a considerable margin as he still had 2 bike lengths by the time he was celebrating across the line.

The next day saw the Piccola Sanremo, which takes place in Sovizzo, which is nowhere near Sanremo. Really, it is on the other side of the country. Sovizzo, in Veneto, has a course that is mainly flat in the beginning before the final circuits around the town, which has one major climb, the Vigo. The race itself saw a break of 5 be out on the attack for the majority of the race but once the race hit the local circuits, their advantage dropped significantly. The only other challenge came from Davide Gabburo (General Store), Trofeo Franco Balestra winner Alfio Locatelli (Viris Maserati) and Nicola Baggioli (Zalf-Euromobil). The trio got away on the final lap and over the Vigo climb but Colpack was having none of it. In the final kilometers, they led out Consonni and he blew the doors off the sprint and had a couple bike lengths back to 2nd place Nicolo Rocchi (Zalf-Euromobil) and Locatelli, who hung on for 3rd. A full write-up of the race can be found here.

Consonni certainly looks like the rider to beat on the Italian sprint scene so far this year with the important month of April coming up.

Speaking of Italy, there was another race that needs some attention

Edmondson avenges Ewan at Trofeo Rancilio

Last year, Caleb Ewan was flying high and any race he entered most people would put money on him. In Trofeo Rancilio, Ewan and his Australia mates kept the race together and Ewan did his trademark sprint; getting hunched over the bars and wrenching the bike back and forth like his life depended on it. It looked to be working but he launched his sprint about 50 meters too soon. and Jakub Mareczko came by to take the upset win. Ewan's season was quiet until the Tour de l'Avenir.

This year, Australia was back and was looking to avenge Ewan's loss last season. The race was very quick with an average speed of 46 kilometers/hour and a breakaway of three dominated most of the race and it wasn't until two laps to go before the peloton really began to split. With one lap to go, it was 32 riders in front that would come down to decide the race.

In the sprint, Francesco Lamon (Colpack) had a brilliant lead-out going for Riccardo Minali and with 100 meters to go, Minali had a bike length on everyone by track star Alex Edmondson came around him and by the time he crossed the line, he had a bike length on Minali. Results here.

 Edmondson, who was born in Borneo and lived in Holland and Oman before returning to Australia, is a multi-time World Champion in the pursuit and team pursuit. Edmondson sees his strength in the sprints on the road and has already inked a deal with Orica-GreenEdge that is for 2016-17 but will be focusing on getting a gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Subida a Gorla: Lastra completes switch from 'cross to road

Nestled in the hills of the Basque Country, Bergara plays host to a little known but important race for Spanish U23 and amateurs. The Subida a Gorla has been running since 1975 and its list of winners is incredible. One five year stretch saw Carlos Sastre, Juan Manuel Garate (x2), Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador take wins. Other winners include Andrey Amador, Inigo Cuesta, Benat Intxausti, Mikel Landa and Omar Fraile.

This year's edition saw a breakaway of 13 be whittled down to one rider, Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural), by the foot for the Gorla climb and had 40 seconds ahead of the peloton. Lastra benefited from a large contingent of teammates behind and was able to extend his gap as none were able to break the Caja Rural stranglehold loose. Lastra was able to take victory on the Gorla climb by 1'18" ahead of Jaime Roson (Caja Rural) and Julen Amezqueta (Baque Campos).

Lastra was a star cyclocross rider who was the best Spanish U23 by a mile and was even top 20 in the U23 World Championships in his last year riding in 2014. He basically hung up the knobbly tired last season and didn't make any appearances abroad and instead is focusing on the road with Caja Rural. While he is capable, this win is certainly a big surprise for the Basque rider.

Caja Rural itself is overflowing with talent with riders like Roson, Victor Extebarria, Miguel Indurain Jr. as well as foreign talent such as young Ivan Venter (South Africa). Roson is quite a climber and can go up against some of the best in the U23 world when he is on form. His 2nd place is showing he is on good form and will be one to watch for the spring.


-The San Dimas Stage Race might have sucked in terms of live updates and very slow on getting results out but there actually was racing that took place. In terms of GC results, the race was largely decided in the opening TT, which was won by Emerson Oronte (AltoVelo). Junior Adrien Costa (Cal Giant) continued a strong spring with 3rd place while Canadian U23s Adam De Vos (7th) and Alex Cataford (9th) had good top 10 rides.

The road race only saw 46 out of 155 riders make the front group while only 78 finished the race. Espoirs Central favorite Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing) won the sprint ahead of U23s Fabrizio Von Nacher (KHS/Maxxis) and Cory Williams (InCycle-Predator).

On the final criterium stage, Williams took out the sprint for InCycle while fellow U23 Ansel Dickey (Cal Giant) finished 4th on the stage. Dickey's teammate Costa was looking good for a GC podium but had to bow out of the race due to knee problems. On the GC side of things, Oronte took the win while De Vos and Cataford finished 4th and 6th overall.
-The past weekend saw two rounds of the Division 1 Coupe de France with two major winners. In Saturday's GP Gilbert-Bosquet (Finistere), Fabrice Seigneur (Sojasun Espoirs) was out in front but on the false flat finish, he was struggling big time and trying his damn best to stay out front. Frank Bonnamour (BIC 2000) had attacked from the group behind a few laps before and was chasing and within sight of the red flag, he made the junction. Bonnamour started his "sprint" early at 400 meters to go but was easily able to drop Seigneur to take the biggest win of his career so far and his 3rd of the season. Full results can be found on Directvelo.

Bonnamour was the European junior champion in 2013 and after an 8th overall in the Tour de Bretagne last year, he got a stagiaire role with his home team, Bretagne-Séché Environment. He is set to ride Triptyque Monts et Chateaux with the national team and should be a prominent player in the upcoming Nations Cups.

The 2nd Coupe de France race of the weekend was the Boucles Guegonnaises in Morbihan, Bretagne.
After getting called out by his coach and team leader following his DNF in the GP Gilbert-Bosquet, Marc Fournier was coming in with a chip on his shoulder and told his team that the day was going to be theirs. After being told that he wasn't performing in the big races, Fournier made the junction to solo rider Anthony Perez (AVC Aix-en-Provence) with Romain Cardis (Vendée U) inside the final 3 laps and the trio was off. Perez admitted Fournier was the strongest of the trio and with 5 kilometers to go, Fournier began to attack and was able to dislodge from his breakaway companions.

Fournier took the win solo while Perez came around an exhausted Cardis for 2nd place. Cardis' Vendée U teammate Lilian Calmejane, who is the French U23 rider of the spring so far, came across solo for 4th place and solidified Vendée U's lead in the DN1 Coupe de France race by 18 points on Sojasun Espoirs.

Fournier will be in the French teams for the Nations Cups and has an eye on Paris-Roubaix.

-In other French racing news, Guillaume Martin took a victory for the first time in nearly 2 years after winning the 80th Annemasse-Bellegarde and back out of a small group including first year U23 Aurelien Paret-Peintre (Chambery CF), Leo Vincent (CC Etupes) and Brazilian Caio Godoy (UCI Cycling Centre). Martin is a rider that can climb very well but struggles on big mountain days. He was 4th in the Tour Alsace last year and 2nd on the stage to Markstein, which goes over Grand Ballon, the highest point in Alsace and the apex of the Vosges Mountains. Martin will be peaking for the U23 Peace Race with the French National Team, which should suit his style of riding.

-1st year U23 Patrick Müller, who was a junior sensation the last two seasons, took his first win of his Espoirs career by winning the GP de la Courtine in Switzerland in a four man sprint including track riders Tristan Marguet and Claudio Imhof. Müller, who rides with BMC Development, should be getting some international races on his schedule soon enough.

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