Lesser known races thread 2022

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i theory yes... but i'm not seeing him pulling that much :/
Well, he possibly wants to win the GC and so he needs to get rid of Bevin to do that, so he's going on the front but taking very short turns, enough to try to hold a good gap, but also making sure Bevin does the majority of the work. Vine's a late starter who has raced pretty timidly in his early pro exploits so it might just be racing fairly negatively, but he's got the physical tools and I suspect he's racing smart, hoping to take a flyer on Bevin in the last kilometre or two and doing what he needs to do to improve those hopes, doing enough to keep the gap big enough to settle the GC between the break but also doing as little as possible to keep some energy in reserve to try to drop Bevin later. The gap is now going right up, but they need a good amount of time, because if they start to play over the GC in the last couple of kilometres it could go down fast, and Edet's just been told to stop collaborating.

Brian Smith getting annoyed with the fact nobody in the group is helping Sepúlveda, which is comical. It's kind of obviously his responsibility to chase.
 
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That is a wacky move by Philipsen but the gap has come down a fair bit.

Come on Vine, show us that you're not just another Meintjes. You've laid all the groundwork for this.

Edit: Vine IS another Meintjes at least today, not doing anything positive himself but chasing down Edet to lead out Bevin. Bevin super strong and it wouldn't have mattered, but at least Edet tried and Vine shows that while he'd clearly grown smarter in the lead-in, he was still too tactically naïve when it came to the finish, should have let Bevin chase Edet down rather than leading him out, he spent his energy there and left Bevin to take the lead. Bevin could well have still won given how strong he was, but if he made Bevin lead out from the red kite, he could have got the jump to at least get the bonus seconds and give himself a chance tomorrow.
 
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What a points harvest for Ag2r.
Even Israel seem to get going a bit if Bevin defends his lead tomorrow in Turkey. They have had a terrible start of the season and it has been looking like they not only would be relegated from the WorldTour but not even be among the 20 best teams of this season which would have given them the right to decide which WorldTour races to race next year.
 
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Stage 11 of the HTV Cup was a short crit stage in Huế, and with one of the key GC stages to follow, this being such a short stage the main protagonists were fairly quiet. The two Đồng Tháp teams, Domesco and Dopagan, worked to bring this to a sprint with the aim that Trần Tuấn Kiệt could pick up the blue jersey once more. In the end, however, this type of pan flat short stage was perfect for the previously out of sorts sprint specialist Lê Nguyệt Minh to break his duck for the year - he has countless wins in the race over the last few years, and it was very unusual to see him winless at this stage of the event. Dopagan succeeded in their aims as Trần Tuấn Kiệt took 2nd and with it the blue jersey, while Nguyễn Tấn Hoài moved to within 4 seconds of his teammate's GC lead with third place on the day.

Stage 12, however, was a key one for the race, only 113km in length but with three mountain passes including the biggest of the day, Đèo Hải Vân, just over 25km from the line. This had been where Javier Sardá would set off to try to set his GC aims in motion in the last few years, and so it proved for the replacement extranjeros this year. The break took the first mountain pass with those chasing with interest behind (led by Konstantin Nekrasov) just mistiming it and coming up short. On the second, đèo Phú Gia, the until-now-quiet Iranian Ali Khademi took the points ahead of Nekrasov, also the first major act of the race for his Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời team, the sister of the dominant Lộc Trời squad.

When the riders hit Hải Vân, it was all systems go from the bottom. The number of major climbs in this year's edition is low (even the Đà Lạt stage is the weakest it's been since 2018, coming from the east rather than south east meaning the summits are further from the finish) so the riders knew this was going to be a crucial stage for the race. Over in Europe this would be a decent cat.2 kind of climb, 9km at 5% but with its first and last kilometres at 8% and a bit of a dip before that final kilometre. Võ Thanh An attacked pretty much as soon as the climb began, Nguyễn Phạm Quốc Khang and Konstantin Nekrasov set off in pursuit.

But then, Cosmonaut Frolov blasted off.

One by one, he chewed up and spat out the earlier moves and got himself solo at the front. Võ Thanh An fought gamely but you can't battle the space age. Loïc Désriac was battling on the front of the remains of the bunch, as days of controlling for the sprints had left Lộc Trời's domestiques gasping for air on the climb and their three-strong leadership group were forced to figure it out for themselves. Võ made it across the summit 42 seconds later in 2nd, but was clearly struggling compared to the Russian and Phan Hoàng Thái led the 15 or so riders remaining in the péloton across at around a minute back. On the way down a few stragglers got back on to the bunch but this only allowed Frolov to extend his advantage before Lộc Trời could get reinforcements, and they were clearly spent in the run-in; first Konstantin Nekrasov and then a small group of 5 broke off the front of the remainder of the group to steal a march at the line and also prevent Lộc Trời from negating any of their losses via time bonuses either. Nekrasov crossed the line 1'57 behind his countryman, and Nguyễn Hướng won the sprint for 3rd of his group, which the chasing bunch just managed to get close enough to be credited with the same time as, at 2'03.

Cosmonaut Frolov therefore now takes a commanding lead of 1'49" in the GC from outgoing yellow jersey Quàng Văn Cường, who also failed to regain the blue points jersey, though in some consolation Nguyễn Tấn Hoài regains it for the team. With neither being able to pick up any bonus seconds and Nekrasov's gains limited to 12" (6" on the road plus 6 bonus seconds) Lộc Trời hold 2nd and 3rd with the two durable fast men, but it's hard to see where they gain enough time on Frolov without the Russian making a mistake or suffering some misfortune.
 
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Great point. Also though, the quality of some mountain roads in the country is bad. There are many goat tracks in many parts of country and there are lots of autobahns as well. I remember a year or so ago trying to design a 21 day Tour of Turkey but there were not that many asphalted major climbs even in the western part of the country.
PS:I hope they use Spil Mountain Pass in a future time. You can make a great mountain stage around İzmir/Manisa area especially coming from Aydın.
Apparently they did in this edition. Next MTF maybe a gradual one to Uludağ?
 
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Apparently they did in this edition. Next MTF maybe a gradual one to Uludağ?
Assuming that they are going to stick to the west and south west so more adventurous and out of the way climbs like Ovit Geçidi near Trabzon, Yedikuyular near Kahramanmaraș and Erciyes near Kayseri (which is used in a variety of ways in some of those 1.2 races on the Turkish calendar), then we could at least get something like Saklıkent near Antalya or Honaz Dağı near Denizli, or maybe they just need to reinstate the Meryem Ana climb at Selçuk as a second such stage. Turkey is a country with almost infinite route design possibilities (the main reason I've never done Turkey in the Race Design Thread is that it always ends up having to be Grand Tour length) and yet for several years they've served up a Langkawi-like festival of seven sprints and an MTF. Yesterday's stage was actually really good and gave us a hope for an interesting finale.
 
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Assuming that they are going to stick to the west and south west so more adventurous and out of the way climbs like Ovit Geçidi near Trabzon, Yedikuyular near Kahramanmaraș and Erciyes near Kayseri (which is used in a variety of ways in some of those 1.2 races on the Turkish calendar), then we could at least get something like Saklıkent near Antalya or Honaz Dağı near Denizli, or maybe they just need to reinstate the Meryem Ana climb at Selçuk as a second such stage. Turkey is a country with almost infinite route design possibilities (the main reason I've never done Turkey in the Race Design Thread is that it always ends up having to be Grand Tour length) and yet for several years they've served up a Langkawi-like festival of seven sprints and an MTF. Yesterday's stage was actually really good and gave us a hope for an interesting finale.
Honaz is a brutal climb. And it fits the geography of the race. Saklıkent, ditto. I also thought about Babadağ near Fethiye/Ölüdeniz.
Also, I just realized that yesterday their stage was similar to the reverse of one of the stages I posted here. Are they reading this forum?
Erciyes seems plausible if they go to Kayseri. I don't know if they will go near Kahramanmaraş or Trabzon though. There are loads of climbs around that area, some I've posted in Gravel Climbs.
My dream is Istanbul getting WCRR and then a route with many short steep hills, some of them even cobbled.
 
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Yea, I suspect that areas like Trabzon and Kahramanmaraș are going to go unused, the race tends to stick to the coast from Alanya round to İzmir and then the northwestern corner of the country. Still plenty of options in that area for variety.

The CC del Plata team of Agustín Alonso successfully managed stage 9 of the Vuelta del Uruguay, which was won by Pablo Anchieri ahead of Kleber Ramos. The main incident of the stage was a crash which saw Agustín Moreira abandon the race. Pablo Troncoso got himself mixed up in the sprint seeing as he was still mathematically in with a shout of winning the GC on time bonuses, but could only manage 6th in the gallop.

Much like Paris-Roubaix, the Vuelta del Uruguay traditionally finishes on a vélodrome. In recent years, safety concerns has meant that they now finish outside the vélodrome itself, at the sports complex including the vélodrome rather than actually going onto the boards, but the tradition remains. The Uruguayan national year begins on Easter Sunday, when the final rider crosses the line in the national tour. Yesterday, there was a bit of a split in the bunch but by and large everybody held together on a short stage where the wind was quiet and they did not approach Montevideo from the direction necessary to take advantage of the small hills to its west, and so Alonso just had to keep things on the island. Diego Leonel Rodríguez won the sprint, again relegating Kleber Ramos to 2nd place with the previous day's victor Pablo Anchieri hoovering up the final bonus seconds and crowning Alonso the champion thereby.

Final GC:
1 Agustín Alonso Torres (Ciudad del Plata) URU 36'38'10
2 Pablo Andrés Troncoso Rodríguez (Fénix) URU +14"
3 Fernando Augusto Méndez García (San António de Florida) URU +55"
4 Jorge Raúl Bravo Orona (Maldonado) URU +1'21"
5 Sixto Nicolás Núñez Oliveira (CSD Amanecer) URU +2'16"
6 Ignacio Raúl Maldonado Sánchez (33-Vergara) URU +2'18"
7 André Eduardo Gohr (Funvic-Gelog-Pindamonhangaba) BRA +2'24"
8 Cristián Nahuel Hernández Coussan (Maldonado) URU +2'31"
9 Jean-Michel Lachance (EDA-SA) CAN +2'36"
10 Yecid Arturo Sierra Sánchez (Club Naútico y de Pesca Boca Cufré) COL +3'17"
 
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Short stage today in Vietnam - but not one of the crits, instead a point to point over a mere 85km from Đà Nẵng to Tam Kỳ, with the highest temperatures - in excess of 40º - and the heaviest crosswinds seen thus far in the race. With this driving the pace in the bunch up to around 45km/h at times and the time in the saddle expected to be under 2 hours for the day, a lot of attacks came very quickly as strong teams tried to catch Vinama out in the wind, before settling in to a 12-man escape group led by the ever-combative Võ Thanh An, clad in the polka dots as Frolov had the yellow on his shoulders.

With Vinama not seeking to make the intermediate sprints contested, since Frolov is likely to concede time to rivals in them, these primes - which come with financial incentives - are now more likely to be left to the break, and so the break got very tetchy and combative around the sole sprint on today's stage, especially as Huỳnh Thanh Tùng had made the group and nobody really wanted to sprint against him. They had three minutes at the time of the sprint, which Lộc Trời managed to still take control of, though with Nguyễn Văn Dương rather than any of their GC men. At this point, though, the pace upped in the bunch and the escape started to be reeled in, with only 1 minute remaining at 15km from home. The break splintered and became a quartet...and then a completely unexpected development as Roman Maikin attacked solo from the group behind, prising race leader Frolov out and leading the two Russians to complete the job of chasing the break, as well as removing Vinama and Lộc Trời from the chase. DDT took up the péloton-pulling duty, having missed the move - but despite Frolov's efforts to rally the group, the break were spent and they were swept up, but for a late flyer from Ngô Văn Phương. The final catch was made inside 2km and Nguyễn Tấn Hoài proved fastest in the sprint to reinforce his lead in the points classification and also move back up to 2nd in the GC by overtaking teammate Quàng Văn Cường. Huỳnh Thanh Tùng, having recovered in the bunch after the break splintered, took 2nd ahead of Lê Nguyệt Minh.
 
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Yesterday was short but not a crit; today on the other hand was a crit, 50km with 25 laps of a 2km circuit up and down the main boulevard of the city of Tam Kỳ. Being a criterium, the yellow jersey's almost two minute lead was never under serious threat, though 3rd placed Quàng Văn Cường did capture a few bonus seconds by taking the first intermediate sprint, because every little helps. Frolov tried gamely but was unable to compete in the sprint despite Quàng going from almost half a lap out. The most committed and notable attack in the early going came from Baasankhuu Myagmarsuren of GSB, hitherto the quieter of the two Mongolian extranjeros in the race. He then got into the small group that escaped and duked out the second intermediate, however HCM-New Group and DDT were keen to keep this one in the sprint, the latter putting their entire team on the front to try to haul in the fugitives. Once they were caught, Lộc Trời tried to get some riders away, but again DDT came to the front to neutralise.

And then, on the final corner, Nguyễn Tấn Hoài and Lê Nguyệt Minh touched wheels and in the blink of an eye two of the biggest sprint favourites were eliminated from the stage. Not only that, but this happening near the front of the field left Trần Tuấn Kiệt and Loïc Désriac off the front of the field. The Frenchman pulled hard for a few seconds' GC time but it wasn't to be, and all he succeeded in doing was pulling Tuấn Kiệt away, and allowing the Dopagan rider to pop off his wheel and take two seconds' time gap at the line, while Désriac was swamped by those chasing for the line, with Frolov in tow, although with Bilaaljargan Erdenebat taking second and Nguyễn Dương Hồ Vũ, a Vinama domestique, helping Frolov by ensuring no time bonuses for Désriac or Quàng Văn Cường.
 
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Another sub-100km stage today, but it was full point to point, in horrible heat and high wind between Tam Kỳ and Quảng Ngãi. Lộc Trời brought back the early break early to enable Quàng Văn Cường to grab three bonus seconds at the only intermediate sprint of the day to bring his deficit back down to 1'43 - pulling the lead back in bite sized intermediate sprint bunches.

At around 20km from the finish Trần Tuấn Kiệt punctured. Courtesies of the kind taken for granted in pro cycling don't seem to exist in Vietnam, however, especially when a powerful team like Lộc Trời depend on time bonuses and stage wins as their bid for victory - several smaller attacks took place as they sought to distance the Dopagan man, though the team called on its sister team DDT and brought him back into the fold. This lull enabled a surprise move arranged by the Russophones to escape, as Roman Maikin and Konstantin Nekrasov set off, with Igor Frolov and interloping Mongolian Baasankhuu Myagmarsuren the only ones alert to the danger. Perhaps spurred on by the Russian test of an intercontinental ballistic missile today, Frolov intended to demonstrate that old fashioned rocket fuel is just as powerful and dropped his break mates not once but twice, with Maikin pulling him back the first time, and the second time he got clear properly. However, with no hill to launch from, the spacecraft was unable to break free of the earth's orbit, and the péloton pulled him back with 500m to go, and Lê Nguyệt Minh proved the strongest in the sprint.

It was a damned good day out for the two HCM teams, actually - behind sprint winner Lê Nguyệt Minh was his NewGroup teammate Nguyễn Văn Bình, who has quietly held the white jersey for best U23 rider start to finish so far, and then Nguyễn Dương Hồ Vũ of Vinama - thereby preventing any rivals to Frolov gaining any time at the line.
 
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