Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dylan van Baarle wraps up Thüringen

Thüringen: Van Baarle wraps up overall; Ewan takes victory in Ichtershausen

Norman and van Baarle will be Garmin-Sharp teammates in 2014 while 3rd place Howson should be destined for a  World Tour squad with his impressive TT ability (Photo: ROTH)

Dylan van Baarle wrapped up the Thüringen Rundfahrt after spending the day more-or-less relaxed in the peloton as he gave all of his attention to 2nd place Lasse Norman (Denmark), who was only three seconds back on the general classification. Van Baarle took his 2nd straight stage race win after the Royal Smilde Olympia's Tour, a race where he is a repeat champion. The lowest van Baarle has placed in a stage race this year is 8th in Triptyque Monts et Chateaux, which occurred after missing out on a key breakaway.

The final stage of the Thüringen Rundfahrt was settled over a hilly course in Ichtershausen, which went over 4 difficult hills before heading down to some finishing circuits back in town. A breakaway including hometown team Thüringer Energie's Jasha Sütterlin, Swedish sensation Frederik Ludvigsson, New Zealand Hamish Scheurs, Rabobank's Ruben Zepuntke and Dane Kristian Haugaard. Sütterlin tried to make up for a disappointing week by taking out three of the four KOM points on the course while behing, Silvio Herklotz (Stölting) continued his attacking ways by making a separation that included van Baarle and 3rd place Damien Howson but left Lasse Norman isolated.

In the end, it was everyone but Hamish Scheurs who was swept up on the run-in into Ichtershausen as the Kiwi made it onto the final circuits solo but with under 5 kilometers to go was swept up and spit out by a peloton that was lusting for a sprint.

In the end, it was Caleb Ewan who triumphed in the sprint with a narrow victory over overall KOM winner Magnus Cort and Brit Owain Doull. It was Ewan's 2nd stage win of the week and 4th of the year. With the victory, Ewan was able to wrap up the blue and yellow polka dot points jersey. There were some though that were not happy with his set the scene, New Zealand's Josh Atkins (usually rides for EFC-OPQS) said he and his teammates took to the front for team leader Michael Vink on the big cat 1 climb to split the peloton. They were successful and Vink was off with van Baarle and Herklotz among others. And then...

-Van Baarle, Hansen and Howson's talent is for all to see and all are ready for the next level.

-In 4th and 5th, two more Oceania riders in Adam Phelan and Michael Vink. Both are graduating from the U23 ranks after this year and this is the crucial year for them to find a contract. Vink has seemingly found his European form with the New Zealand national team in the last month and Phelan has had a string of good results, which could see him rise into the Pro Continental ranks or higher.

-6th through 9th place are nearly all riders from '92-'94. TJ Eisenhart (USA/BMC) won the youth category by 37 seconds over 8th place Silvio Herklotz, who spent time in the yellow jersey after attacking the first half of the race with tenacity that is much needed in cycling. 9th place Michael Valgren had a solid race overall and his 6th stage performance with teammate (and stage winner and roommate) Magnus Cort was the highlight of the Danish campaign.

-You might have forgotten about Simon Yates but the Brit finished the race in 10th overall and is having an incredibly consistent year after his storming ride at Track Worlds. In his first year of really targeting the road, Yates has finished 10th, 9th and 10th in his last three stages races (Fleche du Sud, An Post Ras and Thüringen) and was 2nd on the queen stage in Thüringen. Come autumn, Yates will be a prime contender for U23 Worlds.

-Magnus Cort put on one hell of a performance here in Germany. Cort was off the front in over half of the stages including the queen stage, where he was focused on collecting as many mountain points as possible. Cort put on an amazing stage 6 ride with Valgren to double his KOM points total and take the stage win. Not to be outdone on stage 7, the Dane nearly pipped Caleb Ewan on the line for the bunch sprint win and had to settle for 2nd place. Cort is only 20 and has two years left in the U23 ranks but I have a feeling that he won't need the next two years...

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