Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Espoirs Central Update

Let's find out what has been happening in the world, Johnny...

Twin brothers Rui and Ivo Oliveira dominated Portuguese Track Nationals in Sangalhos by winning the Keirin, Kilometer and Pursuit titles. It isn't really any surprise that these two won as they have been scourges of the board in Portugal and have competed well at the European and International level. Unless you know the junior ranks or follow Iberia closely, the Oliveira twins are a bit unknown but they have big engines that could see them join the thin ranks of Portuguese riders on the World Tour level at some point. It is hard to break out of the insular ranks of Portuguese cycling but perhaps they could take the route of Ruben Guerreiro (Axeon Hagens Berman) so that they do not get caught in the faceless ocean of riders on the Iberian coast.
Till Drobisch isn't a U23 anymore but the Namibian, who signed with Team Stuttgart for this season, crushed the Westlane Loops Road Race in Windhoek by winning solo by nearly 2.5 minutes. The most comical part about this win was that his chief competition, Raul Costa Seibeb, overslept and missed the race. Living close to the course, Seibeb just walked outside and watched everyone go by. It was the last race before the National RR, which should be a duel between the two and could prove pivotal in the Olympic selection however Dan Craven is the front runner the the southwestern African nation.
Who was the sole U23 rider to make the front group at that former MTB racer turned Tour de France winner's Great Ocean RR? Michael Storer. He is something special and making the front group in your first pro race before turning 19 years old just underlines that fact. He is joining VL Technics in Belgium, where he has had success in the junior ranks, but he will inevitably get some reps with the Australian National Team. The move to be outside of the Australian National Team bubble is risky but it could pay off down the road as many that go through the program tend to be a bit coddled in the team house in Varese and have a rough adjustment once they are all alone in the pro ranks.

Other things have happened but those are a couple of the blow by blow takes. Today marks the beginning of a big block of racing including Etoille des Besseges, Comunitat Valencia, Dubai Tour and Herald Sun Tour. European racing on the amateur level doesn't take off for a week or two yet so that is on the precipice while Colombian Nationals take place later this week and South African Nationals next week.

To be continued...


  1. Two notes from Challenge de Mallorca:
    - Xavi Cañellas, European champion on the track as a Junior and first year u23, took part on the race with the Spanish Track National Team, therefore making his debut in the pro ranks before even having raced a single day as a u23. He was lined up in the first and the last days of racing, the flattest ones. In the first, he attacked with 20km to go and rode solo before the peloton for 10 minutes. In the last, he got in the mix during a 5km climb with an hour of racing to go or so. Unfortunately, he suffered a mechanical and hit his right knee with the handlebar, which provoked him to finish in bad fashion. Anyway, those were two impressive performances. This season, Cañellas is intended to follow an intense track program and to compete in some amateur races with Caja Rural's feeder team.

  2. - Enric Mas, neopro with Klein Constantia raised at José Cabedo's Castillo de Onda and Fundación Contador, raced with the Spanish National Track Team as well on the second and third days of racing, the toughest ones. On the third day, a hilly and almost mountainous course which saw an exhibition from Cancellara escaping from the control of Sky and Movistar, Enric kept up with the pace and was only dropped in the final hill. This was great for a young'un on his second day of racing with the pros.
    PD Kudos to Tao, too. Made it to the 20-men front group in a very hard and hectic day of racing. Seeing him mixed with Valverde, Kwiatkowski, Terpstra, Stybar et al, all of the members of said group being WTs but a couple of Bora and a couple of Caja Rural, gave a clear idea of how much talent he has.