Lesser known races thread 2022

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We're on the hit for home in Vietnam now, with the final mini-stage being a 51km crit (10x 5,1km) around the Xuân Lake in Đà Lạt, the traditional follow-up to the queen stage. It's a very scenic stage, as it's a beautiful city and who doesn't like a good mountains + lakes backdrop for a bike race? However, with the time gaps being herculean in the GC after the previous day's bloodbath, it wasn't an especially interesting one, with the yellow, polka dot and white jerseys all more or less sorted, and the points jersey becoming far less interesting now there is only the two Lộc Trời teammates in the hunt with the elimination of Trần Tuấn Kiệt and Lê Nguyệt Minh after they missed the time cut over Khanh Lê pass. However, they were still able to compete due to the rules of the HTV Cup, and promptly took 1st and 2nd respectively on the stage, and now that the time bonuses are of no further relevance, Nguyễn Tấn Hoài taking 3rd secures him a pretty good lead over his teammate in the points classification.

Stage 22, from Đà Lạt to Bảo Lộc, marked the final opportunity for any GC manoeuvres. The hopes of those still harbouring hopes of improving their GC position were buoyed by the unexpected downturn in the weather, as torrential rain welcomed the riders to the shortish but lumpy stage. Erdenebat Bilguunjargal was the first to attack on đèo Phú Hiệp, the last categorised climb of the race, but in the final few kilometres of the climb his attack was wound back as Konstantin Nekrasov sought to improve his position, being as he is just 24 seconds off the podium. He took the summit alone, but Frolov was keen to manage things lest his compatriot get out of sight and out of mind, and he wound back his fellow Russian allowing Võ Thanh An to escape and take the bonus seconds from the intermediate sprint as the ever-combative young rider fought away solo for some time. Nekrasov was again attacking late on and brought the local man back, but Loïc Désriac was alert and patrolled the front to make sure that Nekrasov couldn't gain significant time. The pace did splinter the group, as did a few crashes in the final kilometres with the largely downhill run-in and the wet roads proving treacherous, and in the end a small group got a few seconds to duke out the sprint amongst themselves, with Nguyễn Văn Bình - who had worn the white jersey from day 1 all the way to the Đà Lạt stage on the 20th competition day of the race but was then eliminated hors delais - rescuing his race somewhat with a completely unexpected success, outsprinting Nguyễn Tấn Hoài and taking his first career win.

It seems tomorrow's final stage will be largely ceremonial, as Quàng Văn Cường appears to have conceded in the battle for the points jersey, losing the battle for the lesser intermediate placings to Nguyễn Tấn Hoài, and then not bothering to sprint for the minor placings to keep the battle alive. Although Nekrasov got a couple of seconds' bonus, it seems the climb onto the podium will be beyond him.
 
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Final day in Vietnam as the traditional finish outside the Independence Palace (Dinh Độc Lập) in Ho Chi Minh City, timed to fall on April 30th to commemorate Vietnamese reunification, took place on stage 23. In the last few editions this stage has gone to the breakaway with the time at the top of the field close so the leader's team keen to let the escape succeed, so you saw some fast finishers going up the road in hope, with Huỳnh Thanh Tùng, Trịnh Đức Tâm, Trần Nguyễn Minh Trí, Nguyễn Phạm Quốc Khang and Trần Khánh Duy comprising the day's break, the former in particular being a good sprinter. A second group including best young rider Phạm Lê Xuân Lộc tried unsuccessfully to bridge across to them and this drew the speed of the bunch enough that for once a sprint in front of Independence Palace seemed the likely conclusion. The white jersey tried again to escape with 2km to go, but the 16-year-old's endurance isn't quite there and he couldn't make it stick, especially with both Đồng Tháp teams deploying their resources, Domesco to prevent Nekrasov getting any time bonuses that would threaten Loïc Désriac's podium, and Dopagan to set up Trần Tuấn Kiệt for the sprint. In the end, the latter did launch but the jump was got on him by veteran sprinter Lê Nguyệt Minh, and with the Lộc Trời boys bogarting 2nd and 3rd, it was a sprinter's finale in an unexpected turn of events - rather ironically for a race which is typically dominated by sprints. Frolov, for his part, enjoyed a ceremonial cruise over the line, allowing himself to lose rather some seconds at the line, but nothing of any relevance given his advantage.

Overall, obviously Frolov dominates the GC proceedings and the overseas riders in general take control. With the proliferation of sprints, especially while Lộc Trời were able to look at this as a means of contesting the GC, there are a lot of stage wins spread among a small number of riders. Nguyễn Tấn Hoài and Trần Tuấn Kiệt took four stages each, and Lê Nguyệt Minh took three. Quàng Văn Cường only took one, but podiumed six, while Lộc Trời took eight stages in total across three riders and the TTT. Maikin took two, Bilguunjargal two, and Frolov three - the ITT and the two biggest mountain stages, which is why it's no surprise to see him dominate the GC.

Final GC:
1 Igor Frolov (Vinama-TP Hồ Chí Minh) RUS 53'32'43
2 Roman Maikin (Lộc Trời) RUS +6'40
3 Loïc Désriac (Dược Domesco Đồng Tháp) FRA +7'06
4 Konstantin Nekrasov (HCM-New Group) RUS +7'55
5 Nguyễn Hoàng Sang (GSB Đồng Nai) VIE +8'15
6 Nguyễn Quốc Bảo (Dược Domesco Đồng Tháp) VIE +11'51
7 Trần Lê Minh Tuấn (GSB Đồng Nai) VIE +12'18
8 Lê Ngọc Sơn (Lộc Trời) VIE +12'42
9 Baasankhuu Myagmarsuren (GSB Đồng Nai) MGL +13'27
10 Nguyễn Trường Tài (Vinama-TP Hồ Chí Minh) VIE +14'38
 
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Kooij has developed into one of the best ten sprinters in the world, at age 20, while being little more than a side project at Jumbo. Ideally he moves to another team this winter but he still has another year on his contract. It's a shame, he has the potential to be the best in the world but a looming year of stalled development could derail those prospects.
 
Kooij has developed into one of the best ten sprinters in the world, at age 20, while being little more than a side project at Jumbo. Ideally he moves to another team this winter but he still has another year on his contract. It's a shame, he has the potential to be the best in the world but a looming year of stalled development could derail those prospects.
That year in not looming though. If he rides one GT next year it is fine. Giro for example. Tour can come the year after. But maybe by then he needs to be riding for another team Yes.
 
That year in not looming though. If he rides one GT next year it is fine. Giro for example. Tour can come the year after. But maybe by then he needs to be riding for another team Yes.
It's also about support. Look at the Tirreno for example, all the better sprinters have a train and he has to try and find his way with one or two riders who aren't even established leadouts. It's that much more difficult to learn to compete with the best when you effectively start with a handicap.
 
In other strange news BEX is riding the Tour of Estonia this month - It's a three stage race with a 3.7km prologue, a sprint stage and a hilly stage - They are either chasing WT points or they are riding in honour of Tanel Kangert.
Lol at their DS complaining about other teams getting points in some smaller races just to go to a race without a single other WT team in it solely for points. I wonder which team is going to be desperate enough to go to Langkawi or Qinghai lake.

BEX is actually the perfect team to do those races because they're incredibly topheavy, basically all their points coming from Yates, Matthews, Groves and Groenewegen. They can send pretty mediocre guys to those stage races and still clean up the GC and they will immediately be in their top 10 riders.
 
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It's also about support. Look at the Tirreno for example, all the better sprinters have a train and he has to try and find his way with one or two riders who aren't even established leadouts. It's that much more difficult to learn to compete with the best when you effectively start with a handicap.
You start your first post by saying that Kooij has developed into one of the X best sprinters. At what team did he achieve that?

Honestly I never understand this view that as soon as a rider start improving they need to move away from teams like Ineos/Jumbo etc. in order to get some space. Jumbo has a team with guys like Teunissen, Laporte, van Dijke (Also developing a lot already), Van Hooydonck, Dekker, Affini etc. so who says they can't support a guy like Kooij?

If they offer Kooij a chance as sprint captain next year in a program with for example UAE, Tirreno, Panne, Scheldeprijs, Giro and then some decent fall races. With the van Dijke's as support everywhere and for example Teunissen, Affini added in the Giro, then what would be wrong with the support for him?

I think he has developed super fast also because of Jumbo, and I think moving away from teams like Jumbo/Quickstep/Ineos often doesn't turn out that well for the guys doing it. So maybe he should just try and develop a bit more and see where he ends up in Jumbo in 2023 before considering moving away.
 
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Lol at their DS complaining about other teams getting points in some smaller races just to go to a race without a single other WT team in it solely for points. I wonder which team is going to be desperate enough to go to Langkawi or Qinghai lake.

BEX is actually the perfect team to do those races because they're incredibly topheavy, basically all their points coming from Yates, Matthews, Groves and Groenewegen. They can send pretty mediocre guys to those stage races and still clean up the GC and they will immediately be in their top 10 riders.
Apparently Kangert is retiring this year and it may even be at the Tour of Estonia,
 
Lol at their DS complaining about other teams getting points in some smaller races just to go to a race without a single other WT team in it solely for points. I wonder which team is going to be desperate enough to go to Langkawi or Qinghai lake.

BEX is actually the perfect team to do those races because they're incredibly topheavy, basically all their points coming from Yates, Matthews, Groves and Groenewegen. They can send pretty mediocre guys to those stage races and still clean up the GC and they will immediately be in their top 10 riders.
Langkawi or Qinghai lake could become problematic if some of the ct-level Sputniks show up. If that happens getting great results with a mediocre team is not set in stone (gc wise, you can always send a 2nd rate sprinter for stages).
 

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