Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Ramble: Quaade, Gippsland and more

They news is a bit slow these days but never fear, there is always some good stuff to ponder. Let us begin with an enigmatic Dane who, up until this season, has struggled to ride in the peloton but was able to finish 6th in the World TT Championship last year, just 2'36" behind Tony Martin, on a herculean 57.9 kilometer course.

Rasmus Quaade is back

This blog might be called Espoirs Central but I take great interest in all of the continental scene and I have a few riders that I have been constantly tracking over the last few years. Rasmus Quaade is one of them. His lazer focus on time trials is so great that they even made a documentary about him. In this documentary, Moon Rider, Quaade says about his intense riding style that "Just like a drug addict that needs a fix - I want to get a close to dying as possible." He came close to greatness in 2011 as a U23 when he won the Danish Elite TT over Jakub Fuglsang and then finished 2nd in the U23 World TT Championship to Luke Durbridge in his home town of Copenhagen. He couldn't race for shit in a pack but once a time trial came, he could take nearly anyone. Last year proved that he was one of the best time trial riders in the world but could he do anything more?

This year started out slow but he was able to once again grab the Danish TT crown before heading to the Post Danmark Rundt, which is where he started to turn a few heads. Instead of his usual 99th and 112th placings, Quaade was staying in the peloton. Granted when the going really got tough, he faded a bit but he finished 2nd in the TT by just 1 second and then made the breakaway on the final stage. He followed this up by dropping Magnus Cort at a Danish Post Cup Race to take a win there before heading to Italy and the Giro della Regione FVG.

In the Giro della Regione, Quaade was the most consistent rider in the whole race. On the 6 stages of the race, Quaade finished no lower than 13th, which had a small breakaway gain a handful of seconds. Also, for the first time, Quaade was showing some climbing abilities. He was 2nd to Simone Andreetta on the so-called queen stage of the race that finished at Castelmonte. While he wasn't able to challenge for the win due to the 2 riders in front of him being in a long breakaway on stage 1, Quaade finished 3rd overall.

The secret to all of this success? He has lost 4 kilograms this season and his team director, ex-pro Allan Johansen, says this has helped his confidence in the peloton. He continued saying that Quaade used to hope that the team car would get a shitty position so he could just coast at the back but now he seems to be comfortable moving through the pack. If he could keep this confidence going, then the sky could be the limit. And no, that doesn't mean he should go to SKY.

Tour of Gippsland

It might just be the Australian National Racing Series but many riders have been produced from here so it is always good to keep an eye Down Under.

The man I like here is Jesse Kerrison. The sprinter for Budget Forklifts has two stage wins already here, which brings his tally up to 9 for the season. He is only 20 years old and doesn't get many chances to race overseas. If he gets into the late season Asian races, watch out for an explosion of wins.

Also showing themselves well here are a few other young guys. German ex-pat Raphael Freienstein (Charter Mason) won the 5th stage and took over the leader's jersey heading into the final stage. Aussie Point Race Champ Scott Law (Avanti) also took out the 1st stage of the race. Both are riders just a year out of the U23 ranks but have been having strong seasons.

And everything else...

-Colombia and the USA have announced their rosters for the U23 World Championships in Ponferrada. I'll do a whole post on rosters in the coming week so I won't go into much more detail.

-U23 Nations Cup looking to expand for 2015. A new Italian one-day race, Trofeo Almar, has been approved for next year. The race is named after the sponsor Almar, which makes showers, and will be in Varese on July 26th, tentatively.

It also looks like the U23 Peace Race will be joining the U23 Nations Cup calendar while the ZLM Tour, currently on the calendar, is looking to extend to a 2nd day that would included a team time trial. All of these are good updates because frankly, the currently calendar was much too short and even more so meaningless.

-A new development team is coming for 2015. SEG Cycling, a sports agency that represents riders like Niki Terpstra, Sep Vanmarcke, Dan Martin and many others, is dipping into the development side by creating SEG Racing Development. The team has 3 current signings in Steven Lammertink, Robert-Jon McCarthy and Ricardo Van Dongen. Another devo team is a welcomed sight especially in the Netherlands, which has been a bit monopolized with Rabobank.

-Kevin Ledanois and Maxime Cam have signed with Bretagne Seche for 2015. Ledanois is a current stagiaire with them that proved himself in spades in the Arctic Tour. Cam was 5th in the Kreiz Breizh Elites.

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