Sunday, August 9, 2015

Euro RR: Baska takes biggest win yet

From l to r: Stash, Baska and Martinelli
While he has won a heaping handful of sprints in the past couple of years, Slovakian Erik Baska took advantage of a field that wasn't filled with every blue chip rider and in a chaotic sprint finish, he was able to come out on top ahead of Mamyr Stash (Russia) and Davide Martinelli (Italy).
Nothing like a little unnecessary danger to make a U23 race complete. The early part of the race was filled with multiple attacks with some working better than others.  Massimo Morabito (Luxembourg) took a trip off the front early on but that only lasted for a lap. The next attack to stick belonged to that young Irish rascal Eddie Dunbar and Pole Wojciech Sykala, who got away on the 5th lap together. They were briefly away but once Stephan Kurianov (Russia) and Edoardo Affini (Italy) joined them, their advantage was more or less gone.
Next up was Czech Daniel Turek, who was able to get a good advantage that got up to around 1'30" at one point. Turek was the carrot to really get the bunch going for the final few laps and with 4 laps to go, a counter attack including Dunbar, Laurens De Plus (Belgium), Patryk Stosz (Poland) and Michal Schlegel (Czech Republic) joined up with Turek. Soon Turek was dropped and the quartet had roughly 30 seconds with 2 laps to go. That gap was eliminated with just over 1 lap to go when the bunch descended upon them and it was all together with 12 kilometers to go.

The ascent of the final hill certainly stretched things out with a small group getting some distance but it was not enough to prevent a bunch sprint.

Baska waited until roughly 250 meters to hit the front but was able to get a healthy gap on Stash, who was coming from the other side while Davide Martinelli went from way out and saved a podium spot. Stash was more surprising with his 2nd place as his sprint has been inconsistent to say the least. Martinelli in 3rd...well I have said for over a year now that I think he could develop into a sprinter and this is yet another example of that.

To answer the above He is not a new Peter Sagan. This was a fairly flat race (it is Estonia after all) and Baska has proven himself as a good sprinter in Central European races. While it was somewhat of a surprise, this field was not brimming with sprinting talent.  Let's all say it together...Just because someone is the same nationality and wins a similar race, doesn't make them their heir apparent. Not every Belgian who wins a one-day is the next Tom Boonen. Nor is every Spaniard who wins a stage race the next Contador.

While it is a big result for Baska, this race was missing a lot of strong riders including the whole of the Danish and Dutch teams among other things. Take it with a grain of salt.

Full results from the race can be found here

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