Our latest report on the stars of tomorrow is focused on two events: the "Plages Vendéennes" Circuit, that (finally) came to conclusion on the Atlantic shores of western France, and the forthcoming "Trofeo Circoli Sportivi" that is going to take place near Trieste (Italy) this next Sunday, whose preview you can find down in the page.
Ninety-nine reckless riders challenged the cold and rainy weather in Tuesday's seventh and penultimate leg of the Vendean Beaches Circuit (Circuit des Plages Vendéennes
) on the Atlantic side of France, but just forty-one of them managed to cross the finishing line of the 137.5-km journey near the hamlet of Saint-Maixent-sur-Vie
. Already a stage winner in the series opener at La-Faute-sur-Mer twelve months earlier, Brittany's own Guillaume Blot (USSA-Pavilly Barentin)
stamped his authority on the 2007 edition of the event too, as he outsprinted breakaway - and podium - companions Mickaël Boulet (CC Ernéen) and Freddy Ravaleu (VC Rouen 76) to take line honors.
The all-French trio above was part of a larger group of thirteen (whose names you can find as top 13 finishers in the race standings below) that broke clear on the stage hills. As the line was getting closer, Mickaël Boulet had a go a taking the breakaway by surprise, but his move was followed by Jean-Baptiste Béraud (VC Bords de Marne), Damien Gaudin (Vendée U-Pays de la Loire) and Franck Vermeulen (VC Rouen), and the quartet was later joined by future top three finishers Guillaume Blot and Freddy Ravaleu. Those two guys and Boulet eventually succeeded in putting a few seconds into the other escapees, enough for victory to become a matter of three guys only; but it became private property of the former Côtes d'Armor and Velo Club Roubaix strongman as he raised his arms in triumph across the line. Bravo Guillaume! And kudos also to Californian Chris Barton of the home team Vendée U, who finished the race in spot number twenty-six, 02'31" behind the winner but also nine places ahead of Sunday's round six champion Gert Joeaar.
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes #7 (Saint Maixent sur Vie, 137.5 km)
Top 20 Places
1. Guillaume Blot (Fra - S.Austreberthe-Pavilly Barentin) - 03h18'26"
2. Freddy Ravaleu (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - s.t.
3. Mickaël Boulet (Fra - CC Erneen) - s.t.
4. Salva Vilchez (Fra - VC Pontivyen) - at 06"
5. Franck Vermeulen (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - s.t.
6. Cédric Fontbonnat (Fra - Blois CAC 41) - s.t.
7. Christian Blanchard (Fra - VC Cllandais) - s.t.
8. Thibault Mace (Fra - Vendée U-Pays de la Loire) - s.t.
9. Jérôme Fremin (Fra - US Ste Austreberthe-Pavilly Barentin) - s.t.
10. Nikolas Cotret (Fra - CG Orleans) - s.t.
11. Jakub redziñski (Pol - Top 16 Cyclisme Charente) - s.t.
12. Nicolas Jouanno (Fra - VC du Pays de Lorient) - s.t.
13. Jean Baptiste Beraud (Fra - Velo Club Bords de Marne) - s.t.
14. Damien Gaudin (Fra - Vendee U-Pays De La Loire) - at 02'31"
15. Nicolas Suzanne (Fra - US Ste. Austreberthe-Pavilly Barentin) - s.t.
16. Benoit Legix (Fra - VC du Bocage de Vire) - s.t.
17. Gaëtan Rocher (Fra - VC du Pays de Lorient) - s.t.
18. Mikaël Preau (Fra - CC Marmandais) - s.t.
19. Jérôme Adnin (Fra - UC Cholet 49) - s.t.
20. Geoffry Vincent (Fra - UC Cholet 49) - s.t.
The eighth and final round of the Circuit began with unxepected news, as Mathieu Drujon, overall leader from the end of stage one, was unfit and couldn't attend the final challenge, thus losing all of his chances to compete for the eventual GC win. That wasn't bad news for Franck Vermeulen
(VC Rouen 76), who benefited from Drunon's misfortunes and came first across the line, under pouring rain, at Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits
, and first in the final standings of the series too. Vermeulen was very active since the opening kilometres, and got himself into the right breakaway, containing also Sébastien Duret (Bretagne-Armor Lux), Damien Gaudin (Vendée U) and the U Nantes Atlantique duo of Yohan Lucas and Estonia's Tarmo Raudsepp, the only non-French at the front. Duret launched a late attack on his fellow fugitives, but he fell victim to hypoglycemia on the way to the line, and just couldn't continue his (perhaps) winning run. He was quickly replaced up front by Vermeulen, that broke away solo and powered to the finish - and to overall victory in the Circuit - with a solid margin of almost two minutes on the other podium place getters.
Circuit Plages Vendéennes #8 (Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits, 151.7 km)
Top 20 Places
1. Franck Vermeulen (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - 03h39'24" (41.5 km/h)
2. Damien Gaudin (Fra - Vendée U-Pays de la Loire) - at 01'44"
3. Yohan Lucas (Fra - Team U Nantes Atlantique) - at 01'59"
4. Tarmo Raudsepp (Est - Team U Nantes Atlantique) - at 03'08"
5. Sébastien Duret (Fra - Bretagne-Armor Lux) - s.t.
6. Mikaêl Preau (Fra - CC Marmandais) - at 04'17"
7. Thibault Macé (Fra - Vendée-U Pays de la Loire) - s.t.
8. Olivier Migne (Fra - Vendée-U Pays de la Loire) - s.t.
9. Frédéric Lubach (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - s.t.
10. Alexandre Naulleau (Fra - Team U Nantes Atlantique) - s.t.
11. Ludovic Rousselot (Fra - CC Marmandais) - s.t.
12. Stéfan Ravaleu (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - s.t.
13. Bertrand Goupil (Fra - Blois (CAC 41) - s.t.
14. Mathieu Gibaud (Fra - Top 16 Cyclisme-Charente) - s.t.
15. Fabien Le Bourhis (Fra - Argenteuil Val de Seine 95) - s.t.
16. Morgan Lamoisson (Fra - Blois CAC 41) - s.t.
17. Arturs Ansons (Fra - Team Cyclisme 79) - s.t.
18. Jaroslaw Stepien (Pol - Top 16 Cyclisme-Charente) - s.t.
19. Laurent Deligne (Fra - POCCL) - s.t.
20. David Danion (Fra - UC Sabolienne) - s.t.
The top young gun event of this coming week-end in southern Europe is arguably the UCI-1.2 sanctioned Trofeo Unione dei Circoli Sportivi Sloveni in Italia, organized by the sporting associations of the Slovene-speaking community in the Trieste area, and whose 31st edition will be running Sunday over a parcours of 142 km. in the Trieste and Gorizia provinces - at the easternmost tip of northern Italy - with both the start and finishing line located at Longera town.
Similarly as other events like the tough Giro Valle d'Aosta in late summer, this contest traditionally provides teams and riders from the East European countries with the opportunity to show their mettle to "western" onlookers and team managers, and might help them find a place in Italian, French or Spanish teams, thus starting their run toward a solid contract in the pro cycling scene. After the snow and the cold weather marring last year's edition made for some "epic" - but not pleasant to riders - cycling, the race underwent some route modifications, with the addition of a demanding final circuit of 12.4 km. (to be covered four times) around Longera so that, in case Jack Frost gets back to Trieste and surroundings, organizers can neutralize the race and at the same time keep the finish line at Longera as scheduled.
With the first place finisher of last year's "snowy" edition Marco Bandiera unable to defend his title (the Zalf-Desirèe Fior strongman fell in last Saturday's Coppa San Geo season opener, and is still recovering ...), all eyes will be on the winner of the same San Geo, Croatia's Hrvoje Miholjevič (Team Loborika), brother of Team Liquigas' own pro rider Vladimir Miholjevič. But watch out for mighty Italians Daniel Oss and Davide Malacarne, leading the Zalf Desirèe Fior charge after Bandiera was forced to skip the event. And watch out for some more possible protagonists such as the Brazilian Breno Franca Sidotti (GS 93 Promosport), who made the headlines here also twelve months ago, Slovenian former pros Kristjan Fajt (that switched to his homeland's Radenska Powerbar after a spell at Tenax) and Jure Zrimek (Team Adria Mobil), as well as their compatriots Matic Strgar (Radenska Powerbar) and Simon pilak (Team Adria Mobil), both guys certainly hungry to show off in front of their fellow Slovene-speakers from Italy.
Altimetry. Click for bigger map.
The Belarusian contingent might well have something to say too, perhaps with Anatoly Varvaruk (of the Croatia-based team BK Puris Kamen Pazin) as "official speaker". Zalf Desirèe-Fior aside (the team Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso and several other future stars of the professional peloton used to race for have climbed the highest step of the podium four times thus far, and rumours say five is one of their fav numbers ...) other powerful Italian teams in attendance are Marchior Famila-Ima-Liquigas, Unione Ciclisti Trevigiani, GS Filmop-Sorelle Ramonda-Parolin and ACS Gruppo Luppi. For the first time we have also three squads from the Czech Republic at the startline, with the Sparta Praha riders making their debut here. And for the first time after the Balkan wars in the 1990s, also the Serbian National squad will take part in the Trofeo. Plus, the Austrian National Team make their way back to the "Trofeo", while Hungary's P-Nivo Betonexpressz 2000 just finished their winter build-up in the Canary Islands of Spain, and are ready to rock the field. Whether they're going to succeed or not, we'll know in the next roundup ...
Trofeo Unione Circoli Sportivi Sloveni in Italia (142 km): Teams
Zalf Desirée Fior (Italy)
Team Permac Cardin Bibanese (Italy)
AC Sparta Praha (Czech Republic)
KD Perutnina Ptuj (Slovenia)
Team 2000 Marchiol Ima Famila (Italy)
ASC Dukla Praha (Czech Republic)
P-Nivo' Betonexpressz 2000 Kft.Se (Hungary)
KD Radenska Barcaffé (Slovenia)
Team Adria Mobil (Slovenia)
UC Basso Piave TMS (Italy)
PSK Whirlpool (Czech Republic)
Slovakian National Team (Slovakia)
GS 93 Promosport (Italy)
Norda Cycling Team (Poland)
Sava Kranj (Slovenia)
ASC Gruppo Lupi (San Marino Republic)
BK Rijeka (Croatia)
Cycling Team Friuli (Italy)
UC Trevigiani (Italy)
GS Caneva Color Concrete (Italy)
Filmop Parolin Sorelle Ramonda (Italy)
BK Puris Kamen (Croatia)
Serbian National Team (Serbia)
Austrian National Team (Austria)
BK Loborika (Croatia)
Young Guns News Roundup # 1 (02/20/2007) Boucles Catalanes
R oute de l'Atlantique
Boucles de la Soule
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes Round 1 (Perrier)
Ronde du Canigou
Circuit de la Nive
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes Round 2 (Luçon)
Grand Prix de Peymeinade
41st Circuito del Guadiana
Young Guns News Roundup # 2 (02/23/2007)
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes Round 3 (Saint-Urbain)
Ronde du Pays-Basque
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes Round 4 (Saint-Julien-des-Landes)
Le Tour du Labourd
Young Guns News Roundup # 3 (02/27/2007) Coppa San Geo
Memorial Giuseppe Polese
Trofeo Caduti di Soprazocco
GP Lavi (Circuito di Paderno)
GP La Torre Fucecchio
Gran Premio d'Apertura Fermo
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes Round 5 (Chantonnay)
GP Souvenir Jean Masse
Circuit des Plages Vendéennes Round 6 (Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie)
Trophée de l'Essor Basque
Subida a la Sierra de los Califas
GP Inauguració Memorial Joaquim Sabaté
Gran Premio Caja Cantabria