Sunday, August 9, 2015

Euro Championships: Lammertink takes TT crown

It has been a gem of a season for SEG Racing's Steven Lammertink. After winning multiple time trials during the season including the Dutch U23 TT championship, Lammertink was gifted a stagiaire ride with World Tour Lotto-Jumbo as well as a two-year contract. Lammertink continued the good time with a cracking ride at the European U23 TT Championships in Tartu, Estonia on Thursday.

On the rolling, out & back course starting from Tartu, it was really tight across the top riders with just 34 seconds separating Lammertink from 8th place Remi Cavagna (France). Lammertink was the odds-on favorite if you look at results from this season but this was also a good test event for some riders that will be looking to Richmond this year.

While Lammertink did win this event, I think that his best chance will be for a podium place in Richmond but not necessarily the win. There are too many riders that will be gunning for the win and while he obviously has a good season going, I don't think he will be able to compete when some other riders show up.
Marlen Zmorka seems to be back on some of his best form. The Ukranian has been a rollercoaster in terms of performances during his U23 career. He was 6th in the U23 World TT as a first year in Valkenburg in 2012 but hasn't matched that performance since then after the turmoil in his home nation. He has been 5th, 4th and 6th places in the European TT Championship but this year, after winning the Memorial Danilo Ferrari TT in July ahead of Davide Martinelli, he finished 2nd in Euros just 4 seconds off of Martinelli. If Zmorka can keep building form to Worlds, he could be a dark horse for a medal. You can read more on Zmorka's very real off-season in Ukraine this past year on Gazzetta della Sport.

From 3rd to 6th place, 4 riders were separated by 3 seconds and were all within 20 seconds of Lammertink. Max Schachmann put in another big performance and is perhaps one of the ones to watch for Richmond because he came in with no specific training after his impressive rides in Valle d'Aosta and Tour Alsace. Schachmann was 5th in both Euros and Worlds TT last season and with the Worlds TT being the final goal of the season after l'Avenir, he could certainly pull off a podium.

Ryan Mullen has been quiet this year but his 4th place was a reminder for everyone that he is there. Like Schachmann, he is at the beginning of the bell curve in terms of specific TT fitness and will continue to build.

The most surprising result of the competition was probably Edoardo Affini in 5th. Still finishing high school, Affini was quiet for the most part of the year but the first year U23, who was Junior European RR Champ and 4th in the Worlds RR last year, has been heating up as of late and pulled out a huge result in the TT here, which was better than both his countrymen, Davide Martinelli (7th) and Giovanni Carboni (10th), that finished ahead of him at nationals. One to keep an eye on.

Finishing on the same time as Affini at 19 seconds back was Belgian Ruben Pols. Pols is the current U23 TT champ of Belgium and has won multiple tests this season in his home nation but has been relatively unproven outside the low countries. While he is a strong TT rider and this is a good result, I don't see him making a huge jump to contest for a podium.

Another strong ride: Eddie Dunbar in 9th at just 54 seconds back.

Notable absentees: Lennard Kamna (Germany), Any Dane (W├╝rtz or S. Kragh Andersen), Owain Doull or Scott Davies (GB)

Underwhelming rides: Davide Martinelli (7th), Nathan Van Hooydonck (34th) and Thery Schir (38th)

Full Results can be found here

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