Monday, July 14, 2014

European U23 RR: Küng does the double

The rolling course around Nyon, Switzerland wasn't too hard yet it wasn't destined to end in a big bunch sprint. It nearly did but thanks to a late attack by three riders, the big sprint wasn't going to unfold like some would have liked.

After a flurry of attacks, it was Thery Schir (Switzerland) and Ruben Guerreiro (Portugal) that finally made an attack stick on the Nyon course and they were soon joined by others including Loïc Chetout (France), Matthias Plarre (Germany), Alessandro Tonelli (Italy), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway), Kenneth Van Rooy (Belgium) and Samir Jabrayilov (Azerbaijan).

With 100 kilometers to go (out of 172), the gap was over 3 minutes and for about the next 50 kilometers, the race situation didn't change too much. Michael Schlegel (Czech Republic) attacked and really accelerated the chase from the peloton as the race went under 3 laps to go. Schlegel was about a minute behind the breakaway group but the peloton was keeping him in check, just 30 seconds behind the Czech.

With 2 laps to go, the gap was just 48 seconds and the breakaway was imploding. Chetout, Bystrøm and Van Rooy, who leads the U27 Topcompetitie in Belgium, were able to surge ahead. While Bystrøm was leading the race solo into the final lap, he was swallowed up by a small group including Stefan Küng (Switzerland), Tonelli, Dylan Teuns and Loïc Vliegen (Belgium) and others with the peloton following shortly behind.

Halfway through the last lap, it was Küng, who crashed earlier in the race, and Anthony Turgis (France), winner of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege U23, who launched an attack and immediately took some time. The duo dug deep and with 5 kilometers to go, they had a lead of 14 seconds. On the descent on the circuit, Iuri Filosi (Italy) was able to join the duo and the now-trio kept powering ahead. Coming into the final kilometer, the gap was only 8 seconds and dwindling fast. The breakaway was going to need to throw caution to the wind if they wanted this.

According to Küng, "With 500 meters to go, I looked back and saw the peloton was not far away. So I attacked on the right side and did not look back."
Küng put in an attack that neither Filosi or Turgis could answer and the Swiss Mister claimed his 2nd European U23 Championship of the weekend. The peloton was right on the heels of the breakaway and Thomas Boudat, who won the sprint for 4th, was given the same time as the breakaway so if one were to just look at the results, they might be a bit confusing. Boudat beat out Finn Matti Manninen and Belgian Tiesj Benoot, who said before the race that he wished the course was a bit harder and funnily enough, he mentioned Küng as a favorite.

  1. Stefan Küng (Switzerland) 172.8 km in 4'16"05"
  2. Iuri Filosi (Italy) all s.t.
  3. Anthony Turgis (France)
  4. Thomas Boudat (France)
  5. Matti Manninen (Finland)
  6. Tiesj Benoot (Belgium)
  7. Liam Bertazzo (Italy)
  8. Sondre Holst Enger (Norway)
  9. Tom Bohli (Switzerland)
  10. Silvio Herklotz (Germany)

Küng's talent is just BIG. Only way that I can properly describe it. He can win: world titles on the track, flatter stage races, one-day races with long attacks, one-day races with late attacks and of course, time trials. I wouldn't shed too many tears about Cancellara retiring because there might be his replacement in the pipeline.

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