A week is as long a time in bike racing as it is in politics. It may even be longer(?!) Sometimes, though, not much changes in that time…
Cees Bol (SEG Racing Academy)’s stage win at the Tour de Bretagne kicked off last week’s roundup, and this week began with another stage win for the team, on the following day, for Julius van den Berg. It was Van den Berg’s second UCI win of the year, coming on top of his stage win at the Tour de Normandie, and it gave the Dutch team what was surprisingly only their third international (UCI 1.2 or higher) victory of 2018.
Bol’s win at Flèche Ardennaise (1.2) this afternoon made it four wins. No longer an under-23 rider for UCI purposes, the 22-year old endured a problematic 2017 which removed his opportunity to move up to the pro ranks, and he has repaid his team management’s decision to allow him another year by reaching race-winning form at the height of the season.
The under-23 domination of Bretagne continued into the final day, when Rob Stannard (Mitchelton BikeExchange) also took his second win of the year. Stannard’s victory at the Giro del Belvedere (image above), 2nd at Trofeo PIVA and 3rd at U23 Flanders meant he’s been on the podium more during April than many riders manage during a season. This string of successes allows him to be one of the few riders in the bunch who can legitimately be disappointed with 4th place.
Denmark’s Niklas Larsen (Team Virtu Cycling) had an excellent week as he was first back at Eschborn-Frankfurt (1.2U), then went on to the the Rhone Alpes Isere Tour, where he was to win Stage 1, the points & youth classifications, as well as placing 2nd overall at the end of the four day race.
With stages in Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the Carpathian Couriers Race (1.2U) took place over six days, finishing on Thursday this week. 18-year old Filip Maciejuk (Leopard Pro Cycling) came out on top of the general classification, underlining his position as one of the strongest first year under-23s. The consistency of Dutchman Sven Burger (WielerPloeg Groot Amsterdam) was rewarded with the points jersey, having won stage 1 and taken three other top-5 places. Burger’s performances have improved week-on-week this season and despite this not being the strongest under-23 field assembled, the repeated high-placings suggest that there’s a lot more to come from the 20-year old.
Another rider whose second victory of the season came this week is Syver Waersted (Uno-X Development Team), at the Ringerike GP (1.2), where he overcame Alexander Kamp (Team Virtu Cycling) and Stan De Wulf (Lotto-Soudal U23) in a 7 man sprint. The Uno-X team has travelled to Greece, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and France this year with only one win until today, but there’s no better place to double the season’s win-tally than on home roads.
In Tuscany, the Toscana Terra di Ciclismo Eroica (2.2U) took the unusual step of having a rest day between stage one and stage two. Team Colpack’s Andrea Bagioli continued his good form in the hills by taking a stage win and the overall classification.
Giovanni Lonardi (Zalf-Euromobil) won the 1.2 Circuito del Porto in Italy, ahead of former Zalf rider Moreno Marchetti (Petroli Firenze Hoppla’ Maserati). This is the final week for Italian domestic teams to qualify for the Baby Giro, with the points being totalled up on 13 May. The obvious contenders (Zalf, Colpack, Firenze) have easily made the cut, but further down the rankings every place counts.
Mitchelton-BikeExchange’s Chinese riders Bi Wenhui, Sun Xiaolong and Jiang Zhihui made their first European starts of 2018 today at the Circuito del Porto. Ineligible for 1.2U or 2.2U events due to their age, the Chinese riders will instead be limited to the squad’s ‘senior’ races during their time in Italy.
The Belgian under-23 time trial championship was won by Sasha Weemaes (EFC L&R Vulsteke), who was also announced as having signed to Pro-Conti outfit Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise from 1 July 2018 until the end of 2020.
Finally, the teamlist for Paris Roubaix Espoirs (27 May) is now available, although final details of the 2018 route have not yet been published.