Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Roundup

After the Ronde van Vlaanderen U23 Nations Cup on Saturday and Paris-Roubaix on Saturday, the rest of the weekends races were overshadowed a bit but there were a few good races out there.

First, the bad news. The Toscana-Terra di Ciclismo-Coppa della Nazioni Nations Cup stage race has been postponed by the organizers, hopefully to a date later this season. The organizers cited the financial state of Italy along with increasing burdens. The GiroBio (Baby Giro) is also facing financial difficulty (both races are run under the same management company) but president Giancarlo Brocci has not given a definite answer on whether the race will be cancelled outright. Big stage races in Italy have been suffering all year starting the the Giro del Friuli, which was cancelled early this year. For the GiroBio to be saved, some sponsors will have to come out of the woodwork or the race will have to be shortened.

There is some good news in all of this in that the Giro della Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc will be returning with six stages in July. President Vasco Sarto lamented that in recent years the race has lost nearly 20% of its budget but they were determined to make the race happen. Cuts were made, including to communications, but in the end, the race will go on.

Trofeo Piva Banca Popolare di Vicenza (UCI 1.2U)

Michele Scartezzini (Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli) won the Trofeo Piva Banca Popolare in an upset after winning a three up sprint against Simone Andreetta (Zalf-Euromobil) and Damien Howson (Australia). While the Italians have been winning many races at home, they have been shut out recently by foreign riders in the UCI-ranked events. The Australians came into this event having won the previous two editions with Richie Lang and Jay McCarthy. The three dropped Pierre Paolo Penasa just before the line and Scartezzini, a rider with the Italian team pursuit on the track, easily took the sprint.

Behind, Caleb Ewan (Australia) won the field sprint for 8th place while Italian sprinter Andrea Zordan (Zalf-Euromobil) finished 11th. Previous winners of this race include Yaroslav Popovych and Janez Brajkovic.

Paris-Roubaix Juniors (Junior Nations Cup)

While the U23 Nations Cup was taken off the calendar due to lack of funding, the juniors event still takes place ahead of the men's event. Dane Mads Pedersen was able to outsprint Belgian Nathan van Hooydonck and British rider Tao Geoghegan in a three-up sprint in the Roubaix velodrome after 128.3 kilometers of racing. Pedersen is one of the gems of the 1995 class as last year he won botht he Tour of Istria and Trofeo Karlsberg Nations Cup stage races.

Memorial Valenciaga (Copa de España 4)

Photo: Federacion Vasca de Ciclismo
Airán Fernández (Coluer) took the fourth round of the Copa de España in Eibar, Basque Country in a solo uphill victory. 20-year old Loïc Chetout (Naturgas) is the new leader of the overall competition. This race is notable in that past winners include Oscar Freire, Joaquim Rodriguez and Mikel Nieve. Also notable is the fact that Dayer Quintana (Lizarte) was a protagonist in the day's events. You might recognize the surname because Dayer is the brother of World Tour rider Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Dayer attacked uphill on the second to last climb but was eventually brought back in by other attackers and when it was all said and done, he finished 8th. 

Trofeo Giacomo Larghi (Italy)

Niccolò Bonifazio (Viris Maserati) won the 9th Trofeo Giacomo Larghi in a fast sprint over Niccolo Ruffoni (Colpack). The race itself was blistering fast with a 45.2 km/h average over a 146.9 kilometer course. I include this result simply because Bonifazio has an agreement with Lampre-Merida (along with Slovenian rider Jan Polanc) that will see him stagiaire with the team in August and then ride with them full time after that. 

Stay tuned for my preview of Wednesday's La Côte Picardie Nations Cup race!

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