Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Team Preview: Denmark & UCI Mixed Team


Roster: Soren Kragh Andersen, Alexander Kamp, Mads Pedersen, Patrick Olesen, Mads Würtz Schmidt and Jonas Gregaard Wilsly

The team of Lego and Lurpak brings an interesting squad with a mix of time trial headbangers, sprinters and a climber or two. They certainly have a lot of talent on this squad but I don't know if any one them will be able to take a stage.

Kragh Andersen can climb well enough but his terrain is more of a rider for the shorter hills and tough terrain & wind that can be found in Northern Europe. With this race being a prologue, three flat stages and three mountain stages, there isn't much that will play to his strengths. He will need to make the race by attacking and going after it to force a selection, which could make sense on stage 1 or stage 4.

Kamp can mix it up in a bunch kick but he is another that shines on more difficult courses. So again, maybe stage 1 will see him but there isn't a true stage for him. Pedersen is a similar type of rider that does best on difficult courses that disrupts and creates small groups. He can sprint fairly well but is by no means a bunch sprinter. Würtz is the strongest TT rider on the team after having won the Tour of Denmark TT and the National U23 TT but can float in a bunch sprint for places 7 through 10.

Olesen is probably the only pure climber on the team but he is not very consistent. If he shows up and makes it through the flat portions of the stages, he could be a top 15 rider on the climbs. It seems like he has problems positioning in the pack. Gregaard is a first year and won the Danish U23 RR this year in a big solo breakaway; he is an all-arounder that is a bit of an opportunist.

Prediction: Multiple breakaways; a 2nd place for Kragh Andersen. Only 3 riders finish.

UCI Mixed Team

Roster: Anass Ait El Abdia (Morocco), Adil Barbari (Algeria), Caio Godoy (Brazil), Christofer Jurado (Panama), Andre Gohr (Brazil) and Jose Luis Rodriguez (Chile)

I love this team. It is great to see these riders get attention on a larger scene and I wish they were in more UCI races. That is a direct impact on performance because you cannot expect riders to show up and be competitive after riding regional French races against the best in the world unless they ride similar races throughout the season.

Ait El Abdia has been racing quite a bit this season with his early season in Morocco and then racing a good deal in France and in Europe with the UCI team. He was 3rd in the Tour du Jura as well as a small regional win. He got through Valle d'Aosta, made the front chasing group in the Trofeo Almar and got through the Tour Alsace relatively unscathed. He might not win a stage but if the right breakaway were to get away in the mountains, I wouldn't be surprised to see him.

Jurado was impressive in Valle d'Aosta where he finished 7th in the finish to Saint-Christophe after making the day's breakaway. He got through Alsace too so hopefully he can improve on his l'Avenir performance from last year.

Babari? Eh, not so much. Godoy is certainly a good climber but hasn't got the race kilometers in his legs like he had last year, at least in UCI races. Gohr seems to be more of a time trialist but he made the front chase group in the Trofeo Almar and survived (key word there) Alsace. Rodriguez is another strong time trial rider but I will be surprised to see him get through the mountains.

Prediction: Jurado and Ait El Abdia get into breakaways; one of them makes a top 10.

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