The riders of Team Wiggins appear to be paying the price for their eponymous team owner’s decision to DNF Stage 1 of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire. Despite their strength, and hosting five riders from Yorkshire this season, ASO has not selected the British development squad for the race in May. This is the second year in succession when the the team has not made selection for the race, although this year’s decision looks even more odd given the selection of significantly weaker British Continental teams instead.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity said: “The demand from teams looking to compete in the Tour de Yorkshire is always high and that reflects the esteem in which our race is regarded.”
Whether Vitus Pro Cycling and Holdsworth Racing are up to the challenge will become clear in May.
The Tour de Normandie (2.2) is a race which has been popular with development and under-23 teams for many years and 2018 once again provided fertile ground for the espoirs riders. Stage wins from under-23 riders Clement Orceau (Vendee U), Matteo Moschetti (Polartec-Kometa), Julius van den Berg (SEG Racing Academy) and Matthew Gibson (JLT Condor) showed that even when the race clashes with a Nations Cup, youth and skill overcomes age (and treachery?) more often than not.
Moschetti, the Italian under-23 champion who has been transformed by his move to join Spain to Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso’s squad, recently confirmed his signing to Trek-Segafredo for 2019. The stage wins in Normandie represented his fifth and sixth wins of the season.
Far from Northern Europe, the Australian Cycling Academy‘s Michael Potter has taken two stages of Japan’s Tour of Tochigi (2.2) to follow his third place in the Australian U23 Road Championships in January.
In the Italian Under-23 Strade Bianche, a non-UCI race near Imola, Stefan de Bod (Dimension Data Continental) put two minutes into Alessandro Covi and Carloalberto Giordani from Team Colpack.
On roads local to (and in some cases the same) as the week’s big showdown at Kattekoers-Ieper, Jasper Philipsen‘s third place in the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne saw him rubbing shoulders with WorldTour sprinters and more than holding his own. It was the Belgian’s first significant showing of the year and the performance sent him straight to the top of the Kattekoers race-previewers lists of five-star favourites.
It wasn’t to be for Philipsen at Kattekoers, but more on that elsewhere…