Friday, July 8, 2016

Mid-week Musings

With the Tour in full swing now, a lot of other, far more interesting news is being drowned out by Cavendish's favorite brand of corn flakes and how Geoffrey Soupe got his beard to be so impressive. I would usually take to Twitter with some of my musings however my phone is currently located in my car and with nerve pain shooting through my back, I'm content to pour my thoughts out onto a pixilated page. I think I would enjoy a typewriter...

Österreich Rundfahrt

Everyone's favorite July mountain race is back again with some fantastic uphill finishes as well as a great final stage into Vienna that features a steep finish into town.

Currently, the pure climber Jan Hirt seems poised to take the event after placing 3rd overall last year after a masterful ride in the fog to the top of the Edelweißspitze climb, which topped out at over 2500 meters in elevation.

This race has been proving well for young riders this week as well as a certain unknown rider. Lukas Schlemmer was a close 2nd in the crazy uphill prologue on the Kitzbühler Horn to Will Clarke. Daniel Auer had a nice sprint on stage 1 for 5th. Mr. Cyclocross Clement Venturini took his first pro win on stage 2 for Cofidis. Brendan Canty took his first pro win with Drapac in his first neo-pro year after separating himself from Markus Eibegger and a strong group of favorites.

While Hirt soared away on the Edelweißspitze, one name stood out to me among the list of professionals and former World Tour riders. He isn't a U23 either as Domen Novak was first U23 across the line in 15th. Hermann Pernsteiner is a name that I doubt anyone reading this outside of Austria knows. Hell I doubt many Austrians know him. I had no idea who he was other than we are the same age. He came across the line in 7th place after a 4th place behind Canty on stage 3. This impressive climbing performance was followed by a nice lead group finish into Dobratsch.

Pernsteiner currently sits in 6th overall on the GC but what makes this even more impressive is that this is only his 2nd UCI stage race on the road and only his first season riding on the road full-time with Amplatz-BMC. Pernsteiner comes from a mountain biking background that saw him take podium spots in the national championships in XC but last year, he was 2nd in the hillclimb national championships by just three seconds to Stephan Rabitsch, who recently won the Oberösterreichrundfahrt. This is only his 2nd UCI stage race after going top 20 in the Tour of Slovenia but he rides MTB stage races including the Cape Epic and the Alpentour, where he won a stage this year.

While incredibly new to the scene, he is certainly a name to watch, especially if a team like say perhaps Bora-Argon 18 gets curious for a climbing stagiaire.

Tour Alsace teams announced

After the race was neutered by the cancellation of the longest stage due to bickering between local councils and the organizers, the Tour Alsace will go on with a prologue and 4 stages with a very impressive list of teams though lacking in French teams as only a small handful of amateur teams were selected. These teams include...

Avanti-IsoWhey Sports
Dimension Data-Qhubeka Continental
GM Europa Ovini
Klein Constantia
Leopard Pro Cycling
LKT Team Brandenburg
Manzana-Postobon Team
Rabobank Development Team
SEG Racing Academy
Team Joker-Byggtorget
Team Wiggins
Tirol Cycling Team
Vérandas Willems
Aldro Cycling Team
BMC Development Team
Centre Mondial du Cyclisme
Lotto-Soudal U23


AVC Aix-en-Provence
CC Etupes
Vendée U
Remy Meder Haguenau

While I wish more French teams such as Chambery CF, Pays de Loudéac or BIC 2000 were there, I can understand the regionalism (sort of) and the lack of budget. That being said, that is nearly the who's who of the development world besides Axeon.

You can visit the race website for a lot of information as well as stage profiles. Stage 3 to Lac Blanc looks nice.

Speaking of Pays de Loudéac...

Tour de la Dordogne

Future Fortuneo-Vital Concept rider Elie Gesbert started the Tour de la Dordogne off with a bang as he went out solo in the opening stage of this little gem of a race set in the scenic southwestern department of France. Gesbert won his 7th race of the year for the up and coming VC Pays de Loudéac team, who have been dominating the Coupe de France DN1 rankings this year. The Bretagne squad is actually sponsored by Vital Concept so his move up to the big leagues certainly makes sense.

A big separation happened here that only has 33 riders left in contention for the overall including Bretagne and French amateur champion Valentin Madouas and Espoirs Central's favorite Ivory Coast rider, Issiaka Cisse.

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