Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Teams Preview: Great Britain & Norway

Great Britain

Roster: Gabriel Cullaigh, Jake Kelly, Chris Lawless, Alex Peters, Mark Stewart and Stephen Williams

While Alex Peters is probably the most talented rider here, there are not many stages that suit his talents as a classics, shorter hills rider. Maybe stage 1 as it has a late climb or stage 4 but that might have too much uphill for him.

Cullaigh won the first stage of the Zavod Miru U23 this year out of a breakaway but it will take something special to see him pull out something here. Lawless was 6th in GP Pino Cerami at just 19 and won the GP of Wales on the British Premier Calendar in a sprint over the likes of hard men like Yanto Barker, Graham Briggs and Steele Von Hoff. Lawless's issue will be able to get over climbs and not get dropped before said sprint.

Really, it is just a young team with Peters being the oldest rider as a 3rd-year.

Prediction: Stage win at best, perhaps with a breakaway on a sprint stage. Don't hold your breath.


Roster: Odd Eiking, Daniel Hoelgaard, Truls Engen Korsaeth, Øivind Lukkedal, Sindre Lunke and Anders Skaarseth -

Eiking is obviously gunning for the overall this year but his results have been a bit inconsistent. He did win the stage in Valle d'Aosta but that was after blowing his GC hopes on stage 1 and losing 6 minutes. After taking a month off, he did come back at the Arctic Tour and did very well, finishing  6th overall and the best continental rider. If his climbing form is on, he certainly has the tools do something big as is evidence with his 2nd place in Valle d'Aosta last year.

On the climbing side of things, the first lieutenant is Lunke, who is 8th overall in Valle d'Aosta and 11th in Alsace. Last year, he was 5th in Aosta and 11th in l'Avenir. If Eiking were to fail for any reason, Lunke could be another bet for a top 10 overall. Lukkedal is a good climber as well too and will be in the mix with the aforementioned duo.

In the middle of the sprint and climbing riders is Skaarseth, who can do a bit of both. His climbing is more limited to smaller climbs but if he can survive any longer climbs, he could be a valuable teammate before it all goes down.

The two holding down the sprint team are Korsaeth and Hoelgaard. Korsaeth was best known for his 3rd place in his Ronde van Vlaanderen U23 but also mixed it up in some flatter races. Hoelgaard isn't a one dimensional bunch sprinter but certainly can mix it up with the best of them as he has wins in the Tour de Normandie and Tour de Bretagne. So he isn't the quickest rider but he could definitely take one.

So it seems Korsaeth is out and being replaced by Fridtjof Røinas (thanks to Jonas Lindstrom). Røinas will sub in for Korsaeth and help with this flatter stages before holding onto the gruppetto in the mountains.

I'm sort of wondering if this team could have done with the other Hoelgaard brother, Markus, or someone like Oscar Landa or Njal Kleiven but it is only 6 riders.

Prediction: Eiking goes top 5 overall, maybe the bottom step of the podium; Hoelgaard wins a stage.

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