Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ronde de l'Isard Roundup: Lambrecht soaks in victory

While it came down to the line, Bjorg Lambrecht was soaking in his Ronde de l'Isard overall victory in all ready on the up and down course of the final stage, which was a miserable affair filled with torrential rain, crashes and abandons. Even a deviation at 300 meters to go didn't set back set back Lambrecht on his way to a surprising victory.

The overall victory was not secured at the top of the final climb, the Col de la Core, when Lambrecht was off the back and reeling thanks to an attack by Leo Vincent, who was given the blessing from his DS Pierre-Yves Chatelon to spice it up. Spice it up he did and the first year U23 from Lotto-Soudal was on the verge of losing what had been up to that point an absolute stunner. Lambrecht was able to compose himself on the descent and even though he said pre-stage that he was nervous about wet descents, the young rider put in the descent of his riding career and clawed his way back to the front group, even attacking shortly afterward with 2nd overall Mathias Le Turnier.

Scott Davies survived the climb without being dropped too far and was able to come back on the descent. With the lead group looking around, Davies used his time trialling abilities that saw him go 2nd in the Triptyque Monts et Chateaux and moved away from the leading group, distancing Aldemar Reyes and motoring into Saint-Girons with a huge gap. Davies took his first win on the continent and announced himself to those that might have been deaf for the past two years.

Only 8 riders survived in the lead group with Steff Cras being the main GC rival that missed out on the party after crashing.
The surprise in this group? Sergio Higuita of Manzana-Postobon, who is another first year U23 rider.

Lambrecht held onto the yellow jersey by a mere 8 seconds over Le Turnier, who gave his Oceane Top 16 team an incredible result as they have been leaning heavily on Yoann Paillot
and Clement Saint-Martin. Leo Vincent eschewed searching for stage victories and showed that he is a potential GC candidate for the future by finishing 3rd overall. James Knox took his promise he showed with Zappi's and gave the most consistent race for Wiggins ahead of Davies and Dan Pearson.

Is Lambrecht the next Belgian climbing sensation?

Bjorg Lambrecht certainly blew everyone away by holding onto the overall win here in l'Isard but does that necessarily mean he is the next U23 general classification star? No. Not at all. Really, this is a great result but don't get ahead of yourself. l'Isard is not Aosta. While there are mountains, this type of course calls to a rider that feels comfortable in mountains as opposed to a pure climber that scaled 5 to 6 cols in a day. Remember, Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier, who by no means is a climber, stole this from Sergey Chernetskiy in 2012. I do not want to see anyone touting him as the next big thing when he needs some more races under his belt.

He does look like a little baby on the podium though, no? Even if he isn't the next Belgian answer in the mountains, he could fit the part for a movie if needed.

Lotto-Soudal U23 Super Team?

They brought in a very young team to l'Isard and boy, did they deliver. Lotto-Soudal U23 literally won every jersey on offer including the team competition. If it wasn't for Cras's crash on the final stage, we possibly could have seen two Lotto riders on the final podium.


Hernan Aguirre? The Wrath of God needs to keep improving to show that 9th overall from the Vuelta a Colombia last year. Hopefully there is a progressive build to the Tour de l'Avenir this year.

Lucas Papillon doesn't get many chances to shine on the big stage so he must be kicking himself for his slow start before he got his crap together and managed 11th overall, which was a big dip from 5th last year.

While Carboni finished better than last year and still had a good placing with 6th, he didn't capitalize on the momentum he had from bigger races such as the Tour of Turkey (13th overall) and the Tour de Azerbaijan (6th), which are both legitimate professional races. Hopefully he can go for jugular in Valle d'Aosta and some other races because otherwise, he is just another rider that is in that eternal wasteland from 6th-15th overall.

Elie Gesbert: future Tour de France stage winner

While Leo Vincent looked rock solid and France's next potential Tour de l'Avenir podium contender, Elie Gesbert won yet another stage in a big race to cement his status as a future stage hunter and is one of my favorite young riders that looks to take over the helm of the eternal French attackers in the Tour whose sole purpose on this earth is to attack the living hell out of the peloton and search for that perfect breakaway that comes only a few times in a Tour that allows for a true breakaway win. Pierrick Fedrigo needs a replacement. Gesbert has now taken stage in both l'Isard and in the Tour de l'Avenir as well as high placings in hard races such as the Tour de Bretagne (4th overall) and the Kreiz Breizh Elites (2nd). He is definitely ready for his transition to Fortuneo-Vital Concept.

No comments:

Post a Comment