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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hello all

I'm back. For now.

This past weekend featured Adrien Costa winning the Tour de Bretagne Cycliste. There has been much written on this so I will not be a broken record however it should be noted that along with this being the first American win in the event, Costa is the youngest ever winner of the now 50-year old event. Not even 19-years old, Costa won a storied race that is not a race that really even suits his natural talents. Yet an instinctive ability to attack saw Costa take the race by the scruff of the neck on stage 4 and never give up the lead. This race was one of the target races for the Eastern Bloc through the 70s and 80s and through recent years, has showcased many riders that have hovered in those awkward years right after the U23 ranks.

The most exciting thing about Costa's spring? It is only now May. Top 10 finishes across Belgium, Netherlands and France on terrain that while difficult, is not the hills and mountains that Costa tore up as a junior. The mountains are calling Costa this summer and everyone that was excited after Bretagne should be brimming for what is to come.

Outside of Bretagne, there was a lot going on so hold on to your casquettes...

-Filippo Ganna won the GP Sogepu time trial in Citta' Di Castello in Umbria with an decisive victory over the 26 kilometer course with an astonishing overall speed of 52.6 kilometers per hour. For scale, he beat out Edoardo Affini, 3rd place in the Italian U23 TT last year, by 1'27". Ganna was on a flyer. It isn't the first time Ganna has beaten Affini in a TT either. Ganna won a national championship as a 16 year old (so, Novice level or whatever it is in Italy) by beating Affini 30 seconds.

-Every year there seems to be a new Italian sprint champion and this year is no different. Once again, we have a run between Zalf-Euromobil and Colpack. Zalf brings Christmas-born Marco Maronese while Colpack has the duo of Riccardo Minali and Simone Consonni, who is still coming back from a big winter on the track.

This past weekend, Maronese went two for two. First, it was the Memorial Carlo Valentini in Camponogara, where he went 1-2 with teammate Marco Gaggia. While the competition wasn't on the highest level, it was still a good win.

Maronese in the middle in the red. Very easy to see how his low profile gets him advantage. Reminiscent of Jakub Mareczko
photo: italiaciclismo.net
On Sunday, Maronese came head to head with Minali and Consonni at the Circuito del Porto, a classic flat race in Cremona that brings out all of the sprinters in Italy. A breakaway ruled most of the day and Mikhel Raim (Estonia/Cycling Academy) was the last one out on his own but was picked up on the final straightaway. In the end...well, I think the podium picture says it all.

Maronese flanked by Minali (l) and Consonni (l). Apparently, they did not get the #capsnothats memo.
photo: italiaciclismo.net
Colpack did get a little revenge with Ukranian Mark Padun taking a solo win in the Coppa Penna.

-In Germany, the Eschborn-Frankfurt U23 had a bit of a surprise winner. Konrad Geißner has never won a UCI race. He never has really been in contention outside of the amateur German ranks. In a race that hasn't come down to a massive bunch sprint in any of the recent editions, a group of around 50 came to the line together and it was Geißner that found himself on the wheel of Joshua Huppertz (Kuota-Lotto), who launched his sprint with 200 meters to go. Huppertz launched into the wind a little bit too early and it was Geißner who came out to take the win ahead of the Etixx-EFC duo of Benjamin Declercq & Christophe Noppe. I'm unsure if Geißner will continue to compete competitively on a high level seeing as he runs for a tiny team from Thuringia and there are a dearth of big German races.

-Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC Development) won the Belgian U23 TT in dominating fashion by producing 430 watts to beat Martin Palm by 43 seconds. 17th in the U23 Worlds TT, Van Hooydonck will look to improve upon that this year in Doha.

-The trio of one-day races across Denmark happened this past weekend. One interesting tidbit from that was the 7th place rider in the Himmerland Rundt, Torkil Veyhe. See, Veyhe is from the Faroe Islands, the islands that are a couple of hundred miles north of the top of Scotland and smack dab in the middle of the North Atlantic. Veyhe, who is technically Danish, won the ITT at the NatWest Island Games last year and 3rd in RR, won by Mikhel Raim. I wish Veyhe luck in his cycling pursuits.

I would write more about the Carpathian Couriers Tour and other things but that can be saved for another time. Have any requests for things? I know it has been a while so let me know.

3 comments:

  1. Welcome back!

    Do you think we'll see Costa in the US this year at all, or should he stay in Europe all the way through to l'Avenir?

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    1. I saw he is planning on a big European calendar. From Directvelo, he said he was doing Rhône Alpes-Isere and Pays de Savoie then a break followed by later summer races such as Tour Alsace and Tour de l'Avenir. If that means coming back to the USA for nationals, perhaps but I don't know if he will be hitting any of the big tours this year.

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