U23 races and talents

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Will someone please look into my eyes, and explain to me why the youth categories are not having their European Championships together with the elites?

I'm not actually expecting anyone to knock on my door, and literally look into my eyes.
Ha, I wondered that last week with the Euro MTB Championships for Junior/U23 riders. Yet weirdly, the XCC (Short Track) Elite race was for the Youth riders.
 
Will someone please look into my eyes, and explain to me why the youth categories are not having their European Championships together with the elites?

I'm not actually expecting anyone to knock on my door, and literally look into my eyes.
Think it has something to do with the multisport European Championships in Munchen. The elite road race is part of it, not the youth categories. It's pretty annoying as the u23 EC is one of those races that usually get a lot of attention because of the media coverage and now it doesn't.

Think it's back to "normal" next year in Drenthe and the year after in Belgian Limburg.
 
Today we had the queenstage of the Giro della Valle d'Aosta-Mont Blanc, one of the best mountain stage designs that you'll see this year.

The 3 climb combination in the middle of the stage is a thing of beauty and the last 3 ain't bad either...
Last year's winner Reuben Thompson and Lenny Martinez (who is in the leader's jersey) when for a Saunier Duval 1-2.


Raccani ( a good climber who I've been hyping since he put over 1min into Mathis Vacek on a long climb in the Scio - Ossario del Pasubio one day race in the junior ranks) was the best of the rest and consolidated his 3rd place on the gc.


Despite the strong field (more quality international teams, for example Trinity) the Italian's are doing much better than at the Baby Giro. Before the final stage Raccani sits 3rd on the gc, over 1:30 ahead of Marco Frigo and Ciuccarelli (who's turning pro with Savio next season) is th on the gc. Raccani was already 11th in the Giro di Sicilia, but had a bad prep for the Baby Giro. This one is a much better indicator of his overall level and potential.
 
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Don't think he would've beaten Martinez (he's simply a better climber) but the race did get ruined a bit by Van Eetvelts hard crash in the EC and him getting Covid meaning he didn't start stage 2 after struggling in the first stage.
 
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Today we had the queenstage of the Giro della Valle d'Aosta-Mont Blanc, one of the best mountain stage designs that you'll see this year.

The 3 climb combination in the middle of the stage is a thing of beauty and the last 3 ain't bad either...
Last year's winner Reuben Thompson and Lenny Martinez (who is in the leader's jersey) when for a Saunier Duval 1-2.


Raccani ( a good climber who I've been hyping since he put over 1min into Mathis Vacek on a long climb in the Scio - Ossario del Pasubio one day race in the junior ranks) was the best of the rest and consolidated his 3rd place on the gc.


Despite the strong field (more quality international teams, for example Trinity) the Italian's are doing much better than at the Baby Giro. Before the final stage Raccani sits 3rd on the gc, over 1:30 ahead of Marco Frigo and Ciuccarelli (who's turning pro with Savio next season) is th on the gc. Raccani was already 11th in the Giro di Sicilia, but had a bad prep for the Baby Giro. This one is a much better indicator of his overall level and potential.
Most international team aren't peaking for this though. Or only with their 2nd row riders. They did Baby Giro peak and then the GC riders are now building up for l'Avenir again. So makes sense that Italians are more competitive here. The racing at Aosta is also far more unpredictable due to how hard the course is.

Nice to see Frigo back. Would've been nice to have seen him at the Giro.
 
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FDJ proving they're above everyone else again. First year Finlay Pickering just won on la super planche des belles filles in The Tour d'Alsace. Also takes the lead in GC. Van Eetvelt also known as Mr Consistency (was looking a a bit too much at Thalmann and Thompson) is 2nd right now 14 seconds back.

GC:


Gloag lost a lot of time today, not his year. Thompson doesn't seem to be able to get the same consistency in his performances as Van Eetvelt.
 
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I was thinking if it was possible for Van Eetvelt to become the first Belgian l'Avenir winner since Bakelants in 2008 (before there were mountains) but then I realized Cian Uitjdebroecks has his eyes on that. Belgium will have a super strong team and even thought there are plenty of mountains for a guy like Martinez to shine, there's also typical BS rolling TTT that's perfect for Belgium. A team with Uijtdebroeks, Van Eetvelt, Segaert and probably Vervenne will take time on their opponents.

I don't like when full on pros (even tho his incredibly young still) ride the Tour de l'Avenir. Worlds is one thing, a regular u23 race... meeh. Definitely not when it's a guy who previously openly was against using pros in u23 races is the one selecting them.
 
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I was thinking if it was possible for Van Eetvelt to become the first Belgian l'Avenir winner since Bakelants in 2008 (before there were mountains) but then I realized Cian Uitjdebroecks has his eyes on that. Belgium will have a super strong team and even thought there are plenty of mountains for a guy like Martinez to shine, there's also typical BS rolling TTT that's perfect for Belgium. A team with Uijtdebroeks, Van Eetvelt, Segaert and probably Vervenne will take time on their opponents.

I don't like when full on pros (even tho his incredibly young still) ride the Tour de l'Avenir. Worlds is one thing, a regular u23 race... meeh. Definitely not when it's a guy who previously openly was against using pros in u23 races is the one selecting them.
What do you think of the folowing Belgian U23 team for "L'Avenir":
Cian Uijtdebroeks
Lennert Van Eetvelt
Alec Segaert
Thibau Nys
William Junior Lecerf
Gil Gelders
 
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What do you think of the folowing Belgian U23 team for "L'Avenir":
Cian Uijtdebroeks
Lennert Van Eetvelt
Alec Segaert
Thibau Nys
William Junior Lecerf
Gil Gelders
Apparently that's the team yes
I don't really get the love from Vanthourenhout/Pauwels for Gelders (already selected him for the EC too). He's decent, but with Uijtdebroeks and Van Eetvelt in your team you have an actual shot at giving Belgium a l'Avenir win so imo they should've taken another TTer (Vervenne) to get more advantage out of the TTTs or another climber (Clynhens for example) to give more support in the mountains so that Van Eetvelt doesn't need to be a domestive immediately. Lecerf is a good climber but a horrible TTer. Nys obviously was always going to be in if he wanted too, can maybe win a stage. So basically, good team, but I wouldn't have taken Gelders. He gets 1 win out of a break in the Giro and out of nowhere he's in every important u23 selection. I don't know, weird to me.
 
Seems like France is developing young riders quite well recently, even though some of them can't make the final step (yet).

Speaking of that, when I first started following cycling around 2006/07, french cycling was really bleak..The best they could hope for was a stage win or occasional top 10 to my memory.
What was wrong and what actually changed recently?
 
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I think you are correct that France hasn't had super stars in cycling for the last 15 years or so. Although that for example a Pinot and other riders within France has or had a high status. And also a success in U23 is not by definition a guarantee for success at pro level.
I think the success of the 2 youngsters Gregoire and Martinez is more a lucky shot. On the other hand the teams FDJ and AG2R are now also focussing on the junior level which can help to be successful with young U23 riders. But except for Gregoire and Martinez I am not sure who else would be examples of young success. Or do you see examples of young riders at pro level also?

I recently made the mistake thinking that the success of the FDJ U23 conti team in Tour of Alsace was a French success. But actually the whole team finishing the race (after Gregoire dropped out), was English speaking ;-). But maybe bringing riders from all over the world to FDJ also gave some extra stimulation to the French riders themselves.
 
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