Following EW’s tweet earlier today that Ecuador has been accepted into the under-23 showpiece Tour de l’Avenir, a flurry of mainstream websites announced the list of teams who have been accepted into the event.
The list increases regularly so this morning’s pieces are already out of date. This time yesterday The Netherlands were not listed, but now are – and currently 27 teams are due to start the race in Grand Champ on 17 August, an increase on the 24 teams who toed the line in 2017.
One of the more notable inclusions is that Ecuador (0 Nations Cup points) have been invited (and accepted) to the event. Given the almost total lack of Ecuadorian riders in the under-23 and professional pelotons, the only sensible explanation is that the South American country has promised to bring Quickstep Floors’ 21-year old Jhonatan Narvaez – a serious contender for the overall classification if he does ride – to the race. If he does ride, the Ecuadorian champion will bring his unique-but-effective climbing style to the mountain stages, but may lose significant time on his rivals in the team time trial.
Nations showing on the organiser’s website at 14 July:
Auvergne Rhone Alpes (French regional team)
Pays de Loire (French regional team)
UCI World Cycling Centre
United States of America