Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Team Preview: Ukraine & Slovenia


Roster: Anatoliy Budyak, Volodymyr Dzhus, Iliya Klepikov, Timur Maleev, Mark Padun and Rinot Udod

The first observation after looking at this roster is where the hell is Marlen Zmorka? Second, it isn't a horrible roster. I mean...Mark Padun and Anatoliy Budyak can do fairly well with the climbs as Padun was 8th in the Course de la Paix and Budyak was 2nd in the Volta a Portugal do Futuro and made it through the Volta a Portugal in 28th overall. I wouldn't expect a l'Avenir winner but perhaps make it interesting on a mountain stage?

Klepikov is the only other rider of note on this team because he won the opening stage of the Volta a Portugal do Futuro out of a breakaway. Past that, his results have been slim.

Without Zmorka, this team is just so-so. Zmorka would have given them someone to go for a crazy attack or a long range move to steal some glory. They just decided to take all of the ISD youngsters and put them to the wolves. Great job, Ukraine.


Roster: Gasper Katrasnik, Rok Korosec, Marko Pavlic, Izidor Penko, David Per and Domen Novak.

The mountainous country from South Central Europe (don't say the Balkans!) is present once again in l'Avenir and this year they bring an...okay team. Gone are the days of Marko Kump, Jan Tratnik and Luka Pibernik. This is a team that is searching for their next "it" rider and they have a few leads.

Katrasnik has a decent turn of speed as he was 7th in the European U23 RR in Tartu but outside that, he isn't a big climber. Korosec is a rider you will see on the tail end of a big sprint in positions 7 through 13. Penko is a first year; he is a big talent but again, he is a first year so don't expect much. Per is still trying to find his legs in the U23 ranks after a good junior career especially in the TT; he made it through Qinghai Lake but thats about all that can be said on his season.

The two riders that could produce a result at Pavlic and Novak. Pavlic was 7th in the Zavod Miru U23 overall including a 2nd place on the opening stage and went decent enough in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta where he at least finished. He isn't a pure climber but on the stage win some shorter climbs, he could make his name known. Novak on the other hand could be Slovenia's shot at a top 20 overall. As a first year junior last year, he finished 24th overall. This year, he was top 20 overall in both the Coppi e Bartali and Tour of Slovenia and slogged through Qinghai Lake.

Like was said before, this is not the Slovenia of 5 years ago. It is transitioning but best case scenario is Novak or Pavlic go top 20 and they get some top 10 finishes on stages. Perhaps a rider gets into the right breakaway and something special? Always good to have a big goal in mind.

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