Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Road to Richmond: French & Australian Selections

In just about three weeks time, the World Championships will be in Richmond, USA and for the first time since this blog has been started, Espoirs Central will be on the ground and viewing the race live. So if you plan on being there, please let me know because I would love to see as many people as possible. That being said, the selections for the U23 races are being announced and with the clock ticking, it is time to go through them all so for the next couple of weeks, there will be a good amount of posts on the subject so if you are someone that hates this kind of stuff, then buckle up.


Coming out of the Tour de l'Avenir, the French are looking for more results. To do this, they are calling on Pro Continental riders to do some of the heavy lifting. Long time readers of this blog will now that I am not a fan of any pro riders in U23 racing including riders on Pro Continental teams. While the rules allow for Pro Continental riders to ride these events, they are on a different level and if they feel they are ready for the pro level, they should give their spot to another rider and quit clogging up the development track. Now the blame doesn't necessarily fall on the rider but, as previously said, on the federation and the national selector and more importantly, on the UCI.

The French team for Richmond is:

Road Race
Franck Bonnamour (BIC 2000)
Marc Fournier (CC Nogent-sur-Oise)
Hugo Hofstetter (CC Etupes)
Kevin Ledanois (Bretagne Séche Environment)
Nans Peters (Chambery CF)
Anthony Turgis (Cofidis)

Replacement: Fabian Grellier (Vendée U)

Time Trial
Marc Fournier (CC Nogent-sur-Oise)
Nans Peters (Chambery CF)

The two pros are obviously Turgis and Ledanois, who could both do well on the Classic-style course in Richmond that is certainly the flattest course since Copenhagen but by no means as easy. The fact they are on pro teams doesn't make them locks for a top finish either. The middle Turgis brother, between Anthony and Tanguy, was last year's Liege-Bastogne-Liege U23 winner who won out of a breakaway of 4. He could be a rider that would launch a late attack and have the legs to stick it over the final climb to the finish.

Ledanois is more of a classics-style rider but his form has been hit and miss this year. If on form, he would do well with the short climbs on the course but for a result, he would need more selective course and perhaps a small bunch to sprint with.

Riders that are strong but might not be suited for the finish is a recurring theme. Fournier and Peters are strong time trial riders and have scored wins from breakaways but with the late uphill finish, their diesel engines might be caught out. Bonnamour is another that needs an attack to snag results so while he is well suited to a classics-style course, he will need to attack to find glory.

Two that might be well suited here are Hofstetter. Hofstetter has had a very successful year with CC Etupes and took his French U23 title with a late attack in the finale to hold off a frisky bunch. This type of move could work to his advantage and he even has a decent sprint on him so if possible, he could use that as well.

This French team seems to lack direction. They don't have a rider that sticks out that they will be leaning on and they will be more so waiting for the selection to be made and go from there. The race could certainly see 4 French riders near the front end of the race but with zero to speak of in terms of results.

In terms of snubs, there are a couple. The exclusion of Guillaume Martin is some what understandable as he is suited to hillier courses but he could have still been of some use. Yoan Verardo should have made this team as he was suited to the course however after his dynamite spring, he has been quiet. The obvious one, which I do not understand in the slightest, is how French U23 TT Champion Remi Cavagna wasn't chosen for the TT. There is no rule against riding just the time trial and he is France's best rider in the discipline so I would like to see an explanation by national coach Pierre-Yves Chatelon on this oversight.


Harry Carpenter
Alistair Donohoe
Jack Haig
Nick Schultz
Miles Scotson

No Rob Power or Alexander Edmondson...this is going to be difficult to pull a result. If this was a hillier course, Haig would be much more suited but that is not the case. Harry Carpenter seems to be going in guns-a-blazing for the time trial but the time trial spots haven't been quite confirmed however Carpenter is guaranteed a slot. Scotson should be gunning for a TT spot as well however he can can get through a road race in good shape and get over a few hills but I wouldn't expect miracles.

If it really comes down to any sort of sprint, Donohoe would be the best bet however with the uphill nature of the final kilometer, I'm not sure how he will handle that.

Jack Haig will finish in the front peloton but unless he somehow whittles himself into a breakaway, I don't see any medals in the RR for Oz.

More posts on Richmond 2015 to come...

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