Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Giro della Valle d'Aosta: Eisenhart & BMC score

I started writing Espoirs Central three years ago now and I remember writing about the now-defunct Thüringen Rundfahrt, which was a major stage race at the point and bringing in all of the major development teams. I was under Herklotz fever as the first year U23 German was kicking ass but there were a lot of major names riding well there including Damien Howson, Caleb Ewan, Julian Alaphilippe, Magnus Cort, Lukasz Wisniowski, Lasse Norman Hansen and Dylan van Baarle. A rider that rode very well and was also a first year U23 was American TJ Eisenhart, who finished 6th overall. Eisenhart was coming off of a very strong junior season including overall wins in Pays de Vaud and l'Abitibi and was taking a strong step forward.

With this result, it looked like he could certainly continue to progress but it has been a harder road than many thought. Be it crashes, injuries or just not hitting expectations, Eisenhart has been one of those head scratchers as he has loads of talent but it wasn't always transferring. Today helped.

The 50th consecutive edition of the Giro della Valle d'Aosta (53rd overall) kicked off with a TTT from Pont-Saint-Martin and journeyed up the valley for 20 kilometers to the hamlet of Montjovet, home to some wonderfully historic castle ruins, among other things. Not necessarily a test that will ruin your race unless you really miss out, which one team in particular did just that.

Time trial write ups can be really...stupid, especially if you don't have video or a lot of specific details to back it up with. As I'm currently not in Aosta and we do not have much video, I will need to wait until I get some more specific details from some riders before elaborating.In terms of the results, there are definite winners and losers in this test.

BMC had a good strategy by protecting their GC favorite in Killian Frankiny and then having Eisenhart and Sivakov with him to drill it to the line. Everyone had a purpose and even with a lack of TTT events in the U23 ranks, they made it work.

The biggest surprise on the day had to be the UCI World Cycling Centre, who put on a strong display in the discipline and only ceding 5 seconds to BMC over 20 kilometers and putting both Caio Godoy and Jose Luis Rodriguez in good position for a good run at stealing the GC lead for a stage or two.

Espoirs Central pick for the win, Klein Constantia, came home in 3rd place just 8 seconds back to keep Enric Mas in a good spot overall heading into the mountains just behind Frankiny.

Other GC favorites had mixed results. Colpack rode well for 7th overall at 25 seconds back so Padun and Ravasi are sitting pretty currently. Cherkasov & Russia are down at 41 seconds, the Wiggins trio of Knox, Davies and Pearson came across 45 seconds back while Aldemar Reyes & Manzana had an alright ride that put them at 53 seconds back.

The biggest GC losers from today are definitely Lotto-Soudal U23, who lost a massive 1'26" to BMC and now Lambrecht and Cras are on the back foot going into the mountains. Astana City, Norway and Fundacion Contador also had sub-par tests that will make it harder for them going forward.

Now, the GC times could go from 2 seconds to 5 minutes in just one mountain pass so there could be a lot of change between now and then but as it stands now, Frankiny, Mas, Riabushenko & Ravasi are in a much better place than some.

Tomorrow, the race continues from Morillon in Haute Savoie for a rolling stage that finishes up on the climb to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. GC will most likely be defined but by no means set.

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