It has been 10 days since Italian maestro Filippo Ganna laid down incredible individual pursuit times at the European Junior & U23 Track Championships with nary a ripple in the broader cycling community due to the Tour de France casting a gigantic shadow over every other event and discipline.
While Ganna's performance was one for the record books, there were others that certainly shouldn't be overshadowed. While I am a little late on this, you should thank me for giving you light reading during the time between 100 kilometers and 50 kilometers to go in the tour stages coming this weekend. You're welcome. Also, go to your local velodrome and support the racing.
If you haven't followed Iberia or track cycling closely, you are remiss in your duties to know everything about the cycling development world. Shame. Shame. Shame. Anywho, Ivo Oliveira is 1/2 of a very good twin brother combination with the other half being Rui Oliveira. Rui got himself quite banged up due to a pretty bad accident so Ivo has been carrying the weight and quite well actually.
While Ganna was setting his incredible times, Ivo was setting some scorching times himself and lowering personal bests by a healthy margin. In qualifying, Ivo put down a 4'18"671" and proceeded to lower than in the finals by riding a 4'17"448", which would have put him in 2nd place in the World Championships behind who else but Ganna.
Ivo then competed in the Kilo time trial and placed 7th, posting up a 1'02"497". Then the points race, where he was also 7th place. Enough? Nope. Ivo then rode the Omnium, placing 3rd behind Direct Energie's Thomas Boudat and Pole Szymon Sajnok. Ivo is pretty good in bunch events but he got worked over in the points race by only taking a lap (along with 5 others) and scoring in only 4 lap sprints.
So that you aren't shamed again, you need to put Ivo down on your list for Omnium favorites for Tokyo 2020.
With Italy's resurgence in the team pursuit on all levels (to my absolute joy), the French have showed continued progress in the team event. What I mean by continued progress is taking a huge chunk off of their last performance at the World Championships. At London Worlds, France rode a 4'05", which is fast but way off a medal times.
In Montichiari, France came out with 3/4 of their Worlds Team (Florian Maitre, Ben Thomas and Thomas Denis) but came with Corentin Ermenault, who is basically a two-cylinder engine. In qualifying, Italy took the top placing by running a 3'58"745", which was better than last year's European U23 TP winning time by Great Britain. France was close behind in 3'59"353, which is very fast but could have been even faster as France had a horrific opening kilometer that was 2.5 seconds slower than Italy's opener and only 9th fastest. They followed that horrible opening by three sub 58 kilometers to close out the race and end up six tenths slower than Italy.
In the finals, France started slower than Italy but much faster than their qualifying. Then they ripped a sub 57 second kilometer, which is just leg melting. That is 63.5 kilometers per hour or 39.45 miles per hour for a whole kilometer. This was followed by a 57 second kilometer and a 57.5 second final kilometer. They took a 1.6 second deficit after the opening kilometer to a stacked Italian team and turned it into a win by .1 seconds.
France ended up with a 3'56"277" over Italy's 3'56"393", which is definitely getting into bronze medal territory. The encouraging thing is that theoretically both teams could get better. Italy has Viviani or even Liam Bertazzo that could replace Plebiani while with France, they have Boudat or with more slim chances, Bryan Coquard and Damian Gaudin.
While Italy is going to Rio and France is not, France is certainly looking healthy going forward to 2020.
Thomas Boudat and Jon Dibben rode very well with wins in the Omnium and Points Race, respectively. Boudat dominated the Omnium with wins in the Individual Pursuit and Elimination along with getting a massive 94 points in the Points Race after taking 3 laps along with eating up point sprints.
Dibben on the other hand is dealing with the kick in the gut that was missing out on the Rio Olympics due to Mark Cavendish's gold medal orgasm along with Ed Clancy coming back from injury but making the team pursuit squad. He proceeded to take 5 laps on the decent field of riders and show that he is on an Olympic level but will be most likely be left out until Tokyo 2020.
I was a bit surprised to see Xhuliano Kamberaj (Albania) here in the Scratch and Points Race, where he finished next to last and dead last. Good on him for trying something new as he hasn't been racing much with SkyDive Dubai (nothing since the Giro del Trentino) so this is something, I guess.