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Young Guns Weekly Review #2 - March 04, 2005
By Fabio
Date: 3/4/2005
Young Guns Weekly Review #2 - March 04, 2005
Our journey to the world of the stars of tomorrow’s pro cycling peloton goes on with an overview of the major Under 23 & Elite 2 races held in Italy, France, Spain and Belgium in the last week-end of February. The real protagonist of the week-end was actually the weather: the calendar says springs is nearing, but the rain and cold, and often also snow, that featured most of the western (and also Southern) European landscapes Saturday and Sunday - and in many other recent days - said it isn’t at all. Protagonist we said, but not winner. Well, t everywhere, ‘cause while four top races (two on Italian soil and as many in France) at least had to be cancelled, others actually took place. Often in extreme weather condutions, and more than once with their parcours being shortened. But yes, they did take place at last! It occurred In Italy, where the mighty GS Grassi Marco Pantani and Zalf Desirée Fior made the headlines for the umpteenth time. In France, where thee winning string of Australian riders didn’t come to end. And also in Spain, home to the weekend’s top race in this class, and Belgium, where the US Espoirs team made their European debut, though it was a couple Dutch riders that rocked the field. Results and reports from all these races are available below. Results of the 1.2-rated Beverbeek Classic, which opened the Belgian season Saturday, can be found in the link at the bottom of the page.

Click on race names to go all the way to results and reports. Rider names refer to the winners.

Saturday, February 26th

2nd GP Vini dei Colli Faentini - Cancelled!
GP Souvenir Jean Masse

Sunday, February 27th

46th Coppa S.Bernardino - Cervia - Cancelled!
41st GP Calzifici-Calzaturifici Stabbiesi
64th Circuito di Orsago/G.P. Memorial Fratelli Mion
GP Ouverture en Lorraine / Amnéville - Cancelled!
Prix Mathias Nomblot / GP de la ville de Villefranche-sur-Saône
Trophée des Alpes de la Mer
Tour des Communes de la Vallée du Bédat
Route Bretonne / Souvenir Loic Le Flohic
GP Ouverture Pierre Pinel / Montrastruc
Paris-Ezy sur Eure - Cancelled!
Vallée de la Loire
GP d'Ouverture de St-Hilaire du Harcouet
Trofeo Guerrita
1st GP Subida a La Sierra de los Califas
7th Gent-Staden
55th Brussel-Opwijk

Monday, February 28th

48th GP Ciclista Chiclanero

41st G.P. Calzifici e Calzaturifici Stabbiesi (84 km. - 1.12.; Sunday, February 27th) One week after the Florence-Empoli and GP La Torre openers, the young gun cycling season in Tuscany continued with last Sunday’s Gran Premio Calzifici & Calzaturifici Stabbiesi. And with another triumph - the fourth in just 8 days - for the Grassi-Marco Pantani powerhouse, who won also the past edition of the event (when Marco Pantani’s name wasn’t on their jerseys), courtesy of Gianluca Coletta. After Daniele Di Nucci’s Petacch-ish start to the season, with three victories in as many races at his 2005 debut, it was the turn of another boy in the team’s red and green colors, Emanuele Bindi, to smash opposition in the 84-km. journey in and around the town of Stabbia in the Pistoia province. The 1981-born athlete from the nearby hamlet of Cantagrillo made the right move early in the race, and despite attempts from his Maltinti Lampadari-Solgomma (notably Diego Pascale), Finauto and GS Mastromarco rivals, nobody was capable of bringing him back.

Bindi solo-ed to victory with a margin of 01’10”- after gaining a maximum advantage of more than two minutes - over Maltinti’s Emanuele Rizza, at his third podium placing in the season (but still looking for his first victory), while accomplished Gianluca Moi from the island of Sardinia got his first top three result after two failed attempts the previous week-end. Colombian Alex Norberto Ardila Cano, winner at GP La Torre seven days earlier, couldn’t get higher than fourth today (not that it’s a bad result anyway …), while the only other non-Italian contender in today’s top 10 was Ukrainian Vitaly Kondrut, a newcomer to the Finauto Phone & Go team, coached by former professional rider (and one of the best domestiques ever in the Italian pro peloton) Luca Scinto. Italy’s 2004 National Road Champion the Junior category Eros Capecchi, at one of his first outings in the U23 scene, was among those trying to close the gap to Emanuele Bindi down, but didn’t succeed, and today’s result was not nearly as good as his fourth place finish at GP La Torre. Things took an even worse turn for his GS Mastromarco teammate Giuseppe Pegoraro, who hit the tarmac without major consequences, but had all of his hopes for victory destroyed.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Emanuele Bindi (Ita - GS Grassi-Marco Pantani) (av.speed: 40 kph)
2. Emanuele Rizza (Ita - Maltinti Lampadari-Solgomma) - at 01'10"
3. Gianluca Moi (Ita - Palazzago-Abi Isolanti) - at 01'55"
4. Alex Norberto Ardila Cano (Col - Maltinti Lampadari-Solgomma) - s.t.
5. Domenico Agosta (Ita - Gragnano) - at 02'00"
6. Vitaly Kondrut (Ukr - Finauto Phone & Go) - s.t.
7. Alessandro Proni (Ita - Finauto Phone & Go) - at 02'15"
8. Davide Bonuccelli (Ita - Maltinti Lampadari-Solgomma) - s.t.
9. Mattia Vaccaro (Ita - GS Grassi-Marco Pantani) - s.t.
10. Luca Lencioni (Ita - Maltinti Lampadari-Solgomma) - s.t.

Starters: 101. Finishers: 22.

64th Circuito di Orsago-Memorial F.lli Adriano e Danilo Mion-Gp Macelleria Dal Cin (100.8 km. - 1.12.; Sunday, February 27th) With half of the week-end’s races cancelled due to the Christmas-like weather affecting part of the Emilia-Romagna region, many a good top riders in the Italian young gun scene hijacked their hopes of victory to the town of Orsago, near Treviso, in the north-eastern part of the country. Resulting a in a top-quality field, with 185 riders at the startline, to the delight of the race organizers.

Though at the end of 100-km. Circuito di Orsago-Memorial F.lli Adriano e Danilo Mion it was the GS Zalf Désirée Fior riders and managers that were mostly delighted, courtesy of one of the most interesting young fastmen around, Oscar Gatto, who opened his 2005 account - at his second season in the U23 ranks - with a superb sprint finish. And of the rest of the team, who gave him a perfect leadout and got five guys in the top ten spots, to start with more accomplished Gianluca Geremia, second across the line to his teammate only, and continue with Tiziano Dall’Antonia, Luca Conati and Marco Bandiera, all of them stamping their authority on the race classification.

“Best of the rest” in this fast circuit was Marco Frapporti of the Lombardy-based GS Egidio-Unidelta, while the biggest losers were arguably the boys of the other mighty squads from Veneto, Unione Ciclisti Trevigiani, unable to repeat last week’s stellar performance(s) on home soil - their only top ten finisher, Riccardo Bazzo, could snatch fourth only - and Team Parolin, whose Argentine fastman Maximilan Richeze of Team Parolin (podium finisher here in 2004) got to the startline with many hopes, that got eventually dashed. Same for Trentino’s own sprinter Bruno Bartolini, very unlucky in last week’s Coppa San Geo opener as he fell during the small bunch sprint, and having to postpone his first time on the podium again.

Things were tough from the start with the peloton setting a high pace and covering close to 50 kilometres in the first hour; the race was controlled by the sprinters teams, that chased down all attacks, with the guys of GS Zalf Desirée Fior (the team Damiano Cunego was racing for until he turned a pro at the end of 2001) marshalling things up front in the last four laps, and the Gatto-Geremia duo finishing off their job. The former - who finally took the honors after he finished second to Elia Rigotto twelve months ago - was also greeted by Elisa Frisoni, usually one of the nation’s top track cyclists, silver medallist at the Melbourne worlds, on the podium.

A full photo gallery of the race can be found in this page of the website.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Oscar Gatto (Ita - GS Zalf Désirée-Fior) - 02h06’30" (47.810 kph)
2. Gianluca Geremia (Ita - GS Zalf Désirée-Fior) - s.t.
3. Marco Frapporti (Ita - GS Egidio-Unidelta) - s.t.
4. Riccardo Bazzo (Ita - UC Trevigiani-Dynamon) - s.t.
5. Martino Marcotto (Ita - Team Parolin-Bike Ross) - s.t.
6. Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Ita - GS Zalf Désirée-Fior) - s.t.
7. Luca Conati (Ita - GS Zalf Désirée-Fior) - s.t.
8. Michele Milan (Ita - Caneva-Oledinamica Concrete) - s.t.
9. Marco Bandiera (Ita - GS Zalf Désirée-Fior) - s.t.
10. Roberto Longo (Ita - SCFWR Bata-Moser) - s.t.

GP Souvenir Jean Masse (122 km. - Saturday, February 26th) As much as it happened in Italy, some races were cancelled in France too; but not the 122-km. Souvenir Jean Masse, back to the calendar in Februrary 2004 after almost a decade, that could open the young gun week-end at Chateau-Gombert, a town on the outskirts of Marseille. The race came down to a battle of two teams, the local squad of Velo Club La Pomme Marseille, that was fielding also Irishman Tim Cassidy, and Switzerland’s Hadimec Rocky Mountain. It was an uneven battle anyway, as the La Pomme trio of in-form riders Rémi Pauriol (winner of the first race of 2005 on French soil, the Boucles Catalanes in early February, and a protagonist of the unsuccessful “break of the day” at last Tuesday’s Sanremo-Savona in Italy), Alexandr Sabalin (the other man in the Sanremo-Savona break) and Bartosz Kolendo (winner of GP de Peymeinade around Mid-February and runner-up at GP Vence a week ago) were way too strong for their Swiss rivals, and swept the top three spots.

The southern France-based team, whose roster, traditionally featuring also a conspicuous contingent from English-speaking countries, is arguably the most “multinational” in the young gun scene, got France’s Pauriol as solo winner, Moldova’s Sabalin in second place at 35”, and Poland’s Kolendo as the other podium finisher a further three secs. behind. Hadimec had three guys in the top seven places, but none of them was capable of climbing the podium, as their top-placed rider Patrick Gassman came in fourth at 01’50", with Blumer (top 3 finisher at Souvenir René Vietto earlier in February) and Trafelet following. Holland’s Bart Oegema scored one more top 10 result for the other local team, AVC Aixois from nearby Aix-en-Provence, that couldn’t field one of their leaders, currently unfit Franck Champeymont, though. Speaking of VC La Pomme’s English-speakers, South African Darryl Impey of the Provencal squad also put in a solid performance in this demanding race and finished ninth, close to four minutes behind his winning teammate Pauriol.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Rémi Pauriol (Fra - VC La Pomme Marseille) - 03h14'00" (37.73 kph)
2. Alexandre Sabalin (Mol - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 35"
3. Bartosz Kolendo (Pol - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 38"
4. Patrick Gassman (Swi - Hadimec Rocky Mountain) - at 01'50"
5. Matthias Blumer (Swi - Hadimec Rocky Mountain) - at 02'05"
6. Tim Cassidy (Ire - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 02'10"
7. Stefan Trafelet (Swi - Hadimec Rocky Mountain) - at 02'30"
8. Bart Oegema (Hol - AVC Aixois) - at 02'33"
9. Darryl Impey (RSA - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 03'50"
10. Alexandre Cabrera (Fra - AVC Aixois) - s.t.

Prix Mathias Nomblot / GP de la ville de Villefranche-sur-Saône (124 km. - Sunday, February 27th) Seven days after his triumphal ride at GP Ville d’Antibes, Australian Ben Johnson continued his winning ways on French soil as he got to the top of the podium also in last Sunday’s Prix Mathias Nomblot, which took place in adverse weather conditions. The event was held in spite of the light snow falling over the parcours and the very cold temperatures, though it was shortened by close to 20 km: it consisted of four laps - one less than the original route had in store - of a first circuit of 19.7 km. traversing the towns of Limas, Pommiers, Graves-sur-Anse, Lacchassagne, Le Poteau, Liergues and Gleizé, and a final loop of 22.4 km. to be covered twice.

After several early skirmishes, with no attacks really able to make the gap, the Aussie made the winning move in the penultimate lap (the first one in the closing circuit), as he broke away along with another English-speaker, Britain’s Andrew Jackson; the two guys opened a significant gap, but as the finishing line was getting closer the Briton, riding with the EC Saint Etienne-Loire outfit, bonked big style because of the cold, lost contact to the Australian and was subsequently caught and dropped by the French duo of Benoit Luminet, winner of GP Vence over the past week-end, and SCO Dijon’s Olivier Grammaire. Johnson’s legs were still okay instead, and the man had a easy time holding onto his lead, so that he could cross the line first with an impressive margin of more than three minutes over Luminet (runner-up today) and Grammaire, while Jackson barely saved his fourth place from Kazakh Maxim Gourov, one of the four CR4C Roanne riders that made the top ten today.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Ben Johnson (Aus - Charvieu-Chavagneux IC) - 03h18'35” (37.34 kph)
2. Benoit Luminet (Fra - CR4C Roanne) - at 03'15"
3. Olivier Grammaire (Fra - SCO Dijon) - at 03'24"
4. Andrew Jackson (GBR - EC Saint Etienne-Loire) - at 04'32"
5. Maxim Gourov (Kaz - CR4C Roanne) - at 04'40"
6. Pawel Wachnick (Pol - CR4C Roanne) - at 05'45"
7. Jérémie Derangère (Fra - SCO Dijon) - at 05'55"
8. Nicolas Racodon (Fra - CR4C Roanne) - s.t.
9. Alexis Swetloff (Fra - VC Bressan) - s.t.
10. Cyril Lecler (Fra - PS Creusotine) - s.t.

Starters 117. Finishers: 28

Tour des Communes de la Vallée du Bédat (82 km. - Sunday, February 27th) The race above was not the only one held in extreme weather conditions (and with the parcours shortened because of them) in the week-end. Something like that occurred also in the Auvergne region opener, the Tour de la Vallée du Bédat, whose route was down to 82 km. only, e.g. four laps of a circuit of some 20 km. instead of seven as originally scheduled. Different distance, same winner as the last season: 2004 champion Paul Brousse was the fastest in a four-man sprint to the line at Blanzat to notch up his second victory in seven days, after he opened his season account in stage two of the 1.2-rated “open” (e.g. against many pros) race Criterium des Espoirs (see link at the bottom of the page) a week earlier. Similarly to GP Souvenir Jean Masse, this race came down to a clash between the two strongest teams, UC Chateauroux 36 and Roue d'Or Saint-Amandoise. The fight was more balanced though, as both squads got two men in the winning breakaway: Brousse and Vincent Graczyck for UC Chateauroux, Romain Appert and Estonia’s Kalle Kriit for Roue d’Or. The young (21) propsect of UC Chateauroux pipped the Franco-Estonian combo at the line to claim the win, whereas the team’s recent addition Graczyck (formerly Orléanais) was the member of the leading quartet that finished outside the podium places.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Paul Brousse (Fra - UC Chateauroux 36) - 02h14'18" (36.991 kph)
2. Kalle Kriit (Est - Roue d’Or St Amandoise) - s.t.
3. Romain Appert (Fra - Roue d’Or St Amandoise) - s.t.
4. Vincent Graczyck (Fra - UC Chateauroux 36) - s.t.
5. Sébastien Fournier (Fra - Roue d’Or St Amandoise) - at 24"
6. Denis Roudier (Fra - Avenir Cycliste Cusset) - at 28"
7. Nicolas Chadefaux (Fra - EC Clermont Communauté) - at 01'26"
8. Samuel Bonnet (Fra - UC Chateauroux 36) - s.t.
9. Fabien Pasquier (Fra - Roue d’Or St Amandoise) - at 02'20"
10. Sylvain George (Fra - CC Mainsat E) - s.t.

Starters: 66. Finishers: 34.

Trophée Alpes de la Mer (Sunday, February 27th) Italians conquer La Cote. Italian riders dominated Sunday’s Trophée Alpes de la Mer, closing stage of the Semaine Azuréen series in the very south-east of France; the Italfine-Podenzano-Brunero team, coached by Cesare Biondi and based in the Piacenza area of northern Italy, opened their 2005 account with a great 1-2, scored by their young (22) Lombard Alessandro Risoni, who took line honors as he was the strongest in a five-man sprint, as well as teammate Maurizio Bellin, that rode to a good second place finish. The Italians, who swept the podium thanks to Piergiorgio Camussa’s third place result, were not the only ones with a reason to celebrate anyway: Poland’s Bartosz Kolendo, fifth across the line today, was overall winner of the five-leg point-based series, that contained also the Peymeinade, Rocheville, Vence, and Antibes races. The east-European talent recorded an overall score of 150 points, 33 more that Holland’s Bart Oegema could get, while Thierry David was the only Frenchman in a top three today. Needless to say, Kolendo’s Velo Club La Pomme Marseille powerhouse (whose Irishman Tim Cassidy had his second top 6 result in just two days) enjoyed a landslide victory in the teams competition.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Alessandro Raisoni (Ita - Italfine Podenzano-Brunero)
2. Maurizio Bellin (Ita - Italfine Podenzano-Brunero) - s.t.
3. Piergiorgio Camussa (Ita - Progetto Ciclismo-Alplast) - s.t.
4. Sobal Jauhen (Blr - Centro Convenienza Esse) - s.t.
5. Bartosz Kolendo (Pol - VC La Pomme Marseille) - s.t.
6. Tim Cassidy (Ire - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 01'10"
7. Patrick Gassman (Swi - Hadimec Rocky Mountain) - s.t.
8. Yan Meulemans (Fra - OCC Antibes) - s.t.
9. Franck Allo (Fra - OCC Antibes) - s.t.
10. Julien Antomarchi (Fra - VC La Pomme Marseille) - s.t.

Trophée Azuréen Circuit - Final Overal Standings: Top 5 Places
1. Bartosz Kolendo (POL - VC La Pomme Marseille) - 150 p.
2. Bart Oegema (Hol - AVC Aixois) - 117 p.
3. Thierry David (Fra - VC La Pomme Marseille) - 92 p.
4. Rémi Pauriol (Fra - VC La Pomme Marseille) - 85 p.
5. Ben Johnson (Aus - Charvieu-Chavagneux IC) - 75 p.

1. Velo Club La Pomme Marseille
2. AVC Aixois
3. GS Hadimec-Rocky Mountain

Route Bretonne / Souvenir Loic Le Flohic (155 km. - Sunday, February 27th) Or the festival of Breton young guns, as the two major teams from Brittany, Jean Floc'h and Côtes d'Armor-Maître Jacques, simply dominated this tough event - which had 15 finishers only - with Loic Le Bellec of US La Gacilly as only “intruder” in the top spots. The mighty Jean Floch took the first place and the second place, and got six men in the top eight spots, but Julien Gonnet and Mickael Chérel of Côtes d'Armor Cyclisme-Maître Jacques put in some good performances too. Stéphane Petilleau came first across the line with a slender lead of six seconds over teammate Carl Naibo, one of the best-known riders on the local - and national - Elite 2 & Under 23 scene. Petilleau scored his first victory so far this season, but the third for his squad after Noan Lelarge’s success at the Route Atlantique and David Lelay’s Circuit de la Nive ride. The aforementioned Gonnet took the three-man sprint for third place fifty seconds behind, thus avoiding an all-Jean Floch podium, and leading his team to a top three finish for the second time in just four days, after Joel Person’s Aussie win in the Plages Vendéennes Circuit closing stage the past Thursday.

Full Results
1. Stéphane Petilleau (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bret.) - 03h43'40" (41.579 kph)
2. Carl Naibo (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bretagne) - at 06"
3. Julien Gonnet (Fra - Côtes d'Armor-Maître Jacques) - at 50"
4. Loic Le Bellec (Fra - US La Gacilly) - s.t.
5. Sébastien Duret (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bretagne) - s.t.
6. Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bretagne) - at 02'40"
7. Charles Guilbert (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bretagne) - s.t.
8. Yann Pivois (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bretagne) - s.t.
9. Mickael Chérel (Fra - Côtes d'Armor-Maître Jacques) - at 04'30"
10. Yoann Lucas (Fra - Véloce Vannes) - s.t.
11 Antoine Dalibard (Fra - Jean Floc'h-Bretagne) - at 05'15"
12 David Jehanno (Fra - Côtes d'Armor-Maître Jacques) - at 06'00"
13 Samuel Boudard (Fra - VCP Lorient) - s.t.
14 Lionel Béret (Fra - Deux-Sèvres Cyclisme) - s.t.
15 Cyrille Noël (Fra - Côtes d'Armor Cyclisme-Maître Jacques) - s.t.

50th GP d'Ouverture Pierre Pinel / Montrastruc (138 km. - Sunday, February 27th) To win in Tolouse. Well, actually just near Tolouse, but it sounded much better like that. The 50th edition of Gran Prix Pierre Pinel, a 138-km. race finishing at Montastruc-la-Conseillère (Haute-Garonne area of south-western France, near Toulouse) after five laps of a closing circuit that encompassed the grueling Angalinat “muur”, was won by Velo Club Roubaix-Lille Metropole newcomer Mathieu Perget. Stage winner in a Breton race (Kreiz Breizh) the past season, and runner-up to Carl Naibo here twelve months ago, Perget made the winning move with 7k to go and solo-ed in for the win with a margin of 38 seconds over fellow countryman Jérôme Bonnace, whose UC Chateauroux team, that dominated the race at Vallée du Bédat, had to settle for a second place finish here, and for the man’s second top-five result thus far in early season contests.

The race drew an international field to the startline, with athletes from several foreign countries, Russia included. And it was a Dinamo Moscow rider, Ivan Selekov, who filled the remaining podium spot as he took the sprint for third place from France’s Boyer and Mella. Matthew Lloyd of Australia missed the top 10 but was the best-placed English-speaking contender, while two Canadians also managed to cross the line. Japan’s Team Bridgsteone Anchor was in attendance, and fielded Tour de Langkawi stage winner, and yellow jersey wearer for a few days, Koij Fukushima. But the man from the Land of the Rising Riders was not so successful this time.

Results - Top 10 & Selected Riders
1. Mathieu Perget (Fra - VC Roubaix-Lille Metr.) - 03h20'57" (41.204 kph)
2. Jérôme Bonnace (Fra - UC Chateauroux 36) - at 38"
3. Ivan Selekov (Rus - Dynamo Moscow) - at 57"
4. Anthony Boyer (Fra - UC Chateauroux 36) - s.t.
5. Jean Mella (Fra - US Montauban 82) - s.t.
6. Lionel Faure (Fra - Velo Club La Pomme Marseille) - at 01'02"
7. Fabien Fraissignes (Fra - GSC Blagnac) - s.t.
8. Thomas Peyroton (Fra - Olympique Grande-Synthe) - s.t.
9. Jean-Marc Marino (Fra - UC Chateauroux 36) - at 01'09"
10. Mikhail Mikheev (Rus - Dynamo Moscow) - at 01'21"
…12. Matthew Lloyd (Aus - Tarbes Pyrenées Cycliste) - s.t.
36. Philippe Abbott (Can - Alberta) - at 03'52"
40. James Williamson (GBR - Tarbes Pyrenées Cycliste) - s.t.
49. Koji Fukushima (Jap - Team Bridgestone Anchor) - at 08'01"
53. Fabien Nardi (Can - Alberta) - at 12'48"

67th GP de La Vallée de la Loire (160 km. - Sunday, February 27th) While Estonian Kalle Kriit was riding to an excellent second place finish at Vallée du Bedat, his compatriot Tarmo Raudsepp was doing even better as he won GP La Vallée de la Loire. The Baltic rider got to the line 15 seconds clear of the bunch, led home by France’s Vincent Jérôme (who climbed a race podium twice in February, but couldn’t continue Vendée U’s favorable tradition in the event after they swept the podium both in 2003 and 2004); besides ending Vendée’s winning streak here Kriit gave his team UC Nantes-Atlantique a second victory in early season competitions, after UK’s Jonathan Dayus opened their account last Sunday. The Brit was in attendance also today, but finished “just” seventh (better than the 9th place result he got twelve months ago anyway), and was one of the four men his team got in the top ten spots, along with the winner, France’s Christophe Diguet and combative Mathieu Drujon, while Vendèe got just two (in-form but not enough to win the race) riders: Vincent Jérôme and Hervé Arcade.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Tarmo Raudsepp (Est - UC Nantes-Atlantique) - 03h58'56" (40.178 kph)
2. Vincent Jérôme (Fra - Vendée U-Pays de la Loire) - at 15"
3. Romain Chollet (Fra - Deux-Sèvres Cyclisme)
4. Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra - Entente Sud-Gascogne)
5. Christophe Diguet (Fra - UC Nantes-Atlantique)
6. Sébastien Turgot (Fra - VC St-Jean-de-Monts)
7. Jonathan Dayus (GBR - UC Nantes-Atlantique)
8. Hervé Arcade (Fra - Vendée U-Pays de la Loire)
9. Mathieu Drujon (Fra - UC Nantes-Atlantique)
10. Fabien Patanchon (Fra - Entente Sud-Gascogne)

GP d'Ouverture de St-Hilaire du Harcouet (130 km. - Sunday, February 27th) France’s Benoît Legrix entered his name to the winner’s list for the third time after hIs triumphs in both the 2002 and 2003 editions. The rider from Caen, Normandie, racing fpr Velo Club Bocage de Vire, was the fastest in the four-man sprint at the end of the 130-km. season opener in his home region in the north of the country. Mickaël Boulet and Dimitri Champion, whose late attacks were chased won by Legrix, completed the podium of race featured by cold, strong winds that decimated the field, and by riders from six different teams in the top 6 places, while Poland’s Tomasz Olejnick was the only non-French in the race top ten. Full photo gallery of the contest (and many other cycling events) available here.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Benoît Legrix (Fra - VCB Vire) - 03h27'31''
2. Mickaël Boulet (Fra - VC Ernée) - s.t.
3. Dimitri Champion (Fra - CA Mantes) - s.t.
4. Gaylord Cumont (Fra - AC Val d'Oise) - s.t.
5. Mickaël Malle (Fra - USSAP Barentin) - at 32"
6. Franck Vermeulen (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - s.t.
7. Emmanuel Fontaine (Fra - USSAP Barentin) - s.t.
8. Mickaël Leveau (Fra - VC Rouen 76) - s.t.
9. Tomasz Olejnick (Pol - USSAP Barentin) - s.t.
10. Tony Cavet (Fra - VC Evreux) - s.t.

Trofeo Guerrita (157 km; 1.12.1 - Sunday, February 27th) Arguably the number one European cycling event of the week-end in the Under 23-Elite 2 category, the Trofeo Guerrita, opening leg of the "Copa de España" Series, was held this past Sunday in the same Murcia region of southern Spain that was about to play host to the professional “Vuelta” the following days. This edition of the contest was a spectacular, hotly-fought challenge that came down to a bunch sprint of 40 riders. Winner and first GC leader of the series was a former pro, Unai Elorriaga of Alfus-Tedes, racing with the big guns as a member of the Labarca 2-Cafès Baque team over the past two seasons. The Basque edged out Murcia’s own Eloy Teruel Rovira of the Murcian team Soctec. Both riders are good track cyclists, and made the most out of the excellent form they could find also by racing the Mallorca Challenge with the Spanish National Track Team (Selección Nacional Española de Pista) in early February. Another former teammate of Elorriaga, Francisco Gutiérrez, still in the Cafés Baque roster (though in its "young gun version"), grabbed the last remaining top three spot.

The stage got off to a fast start, with a flurry of attacks coming throughout the event, since the very early km. of the semi-urban opening circuit on the streets of Alcantarilla, to be covered three times (with as many Metas Volantes won by Enrique Díaz of Enypesa and - twice - José David Aguilera of the Andalusian team Avila Rojas), as well as when the pack rolled out of town, and a selected group of some fifteen riders from several different teams broke away, and over the climbs the Trofeo Guerrita route was peppered with.

The same José David Aguilera was first over the top of the first ascent of the day, with teammate Manuel Vázquez taking third and Murcian rider José Antonio Baños of the Wurth Espoirs squad in between. Another murciano, Pedro Luis Castillo of the local team Murcia Turística-3 Molinos Resort, which he joined recently, led a front group of a dozen riders over the Cat. 1 KOM prime at Alto de Casas de la Marina; then Rafael Rodríguez of Comunidad Valenciana Espoirs was first across the top of Alto de Gebes, the last difficulty of the day, but it was José Antonio Baños, fourth place getter at Casas de la Marina and second here, who collected enough points for him to be crowned King of the Mountains. Avila Rojas took first in the Team Standings, btw.

All those hills broke the peloton into pieces, but many a good small groups regrouped on the last descent to form the 40-strong leading bunch that eventually made it to the line. And with the sprinters teams - Wurth in particular - finally in control of things, late moves such those started by Carlos Lapuerta and Rubén Lorca first and Isidro Cerrato (Murcia Turística) later couldn't succeed, with the Murcian rider being swallowed by the chasers after the race already made its way back to Alcantarilla. So that it all ended in a not unexpected sprint, and Elorriaga took an unexpected (in his own words) victory. A win that might well persuade the Basque rider to get back in the saddle and defend his lead in the forthcoming legs of the Copa de España series, starting with next Sunday's (March 6th, 2005) Aitzondo Klasika, set to run on the roads of his home region Euskadi.

Unai Elorriaga ruls the sprint. Courtesy Trofeo Guerrita.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Unai Elorriaga (Spa - Alfus Tedes) - 04h03'28" (38.6921 kph)
2. Eloy Teruel (Spa - Soctec Construcciones) - s.t.
3. Francisco Gutiérrez (Spa - Cafés Baque) - s.t.
4. Manuel Ortega (Spa - Avila Rojas) - s.t.
5. Javier Moreno (Spa - Avila Rojas) - s.t.
6. José Joaquín Rojas Gil (Spa - Wurth-Liberty) - s.t.
7. Francisco José Terciado (Spa - Caprabo) - s.t.
8. Rafael Rodríguez (Spa - Comunitat Valenciana) - s.t.
9. Pedro Luis Castillo (Spa - Murcia Turistica) - s.t.
10. Josu Aran (Spa - Cropusa-Burgos) - s.t.

Starters: 175. Finishers: 108.

Click here for full results of the race.

Subida a la Sierra Los Califas (157 km; 1.12.3 - Sunday, February 27th) Contemporarly to better-known Trofeo Guerrita, other races were held on Spanish territory Sunday. Among which was the Subida a la Sierra Los Califas, that opened the 2005 season in the Córdoba province of Andalusia and made its debut in the Spanish Under 23-Elite 2 Calendar. And also entered its name in the weekly list of races taking place in extreme weather conditions: rain, cold and even snow affected the bunch for most of the event, won by an Andalusian, Agustín Priego López of the Granada-based Avilas Rojas. Venezuelan Tomás Gil, whom we found racing the Vuelta al Táchira for Gobernación del Zulia-Alcaldía de Cabimas A in January but is currently wearing the Andalucía-Paul Versan Under 23 team jersey, took second, and local rider Adrián Sánchez Falcón (Córdoba Patrimonio de la Humanidad) was the other podium finisher.

Results - Top 3 Places
1. Agustín Priego López (Spa - Avila Rojas) - 03h58'54"
2. Tomás Gil (Ven - Andalucía-Paul Versan Espoirs) - at 15"
3. Adrián Sánchez Falcón (Spa - Córdoba Patrimonio de la Humanidad)

48th Gran Premio Ciclista Chiclanero (110 km; 1.12.3 - Monday, February 28th) Organized by the Club Ciclista Chiclanero Chamorro Ortiz, the 48th edition of Gran Premio Chiclanero was held on the streets of the Andalusian town of Chiclana de La Frontera and a few nearby hamlets in the Cádiz area. 73 riders belonging to a dozen different teams from several provinces of Andalusia and other comunidades (regions) of Spain took the start of the 110-km. event under pouring rain. A flurry of attacks came in the early kilometres, but all of them were brought back by the bunch. Later in the race more riders made their moves, and after a seven-man breakaway was nullified, four guys of the same team (the Murcian team Soctec) set up a new front group. And a successful one too, as the quartet was not going to be reeled in. First across the line after more than three hours of pedaling was José Cánovas Padilla, with teammates Daniel Valle and Álvaro Noguera coming next. Also racing for Soctec were two riders from Chiclana, Juan Javier Estrada, that ended up eighth, and Ricardo Correa, who didn't place higher than 11th. José Herrada of the Madrid-based team Enypesa, very active also at Sunday’s Trofeo Guerrita, was crowned King of the Mountains, and his teammate Pedro García won the Hot Spot Sprints classification.

Results - Top 3 Places
1. José Cánovas Padilla (Spa - Soctec) - 03h15'
2. Daniel Valle (Spa - Soctec) - at 15"
3. Álvaro Noguera (Spa - Soctec)

57th Gent-Staden (144 km; 1.12 - Sunday, February 27th) Along with the professional riders, the brand new cycling season in Belgium got underway for the young guns too, with a couple events running over the week-end. One of which was the Gent-Staden classic, that took place in cold, snowy, windy weather conditions (not that it’s news when it comes to current European racing …) and finished with plenty of Belgians in the top ten places. But a non-Belgian rider as winner: Holland’s Jos Pronk, a young (he turned 22 in mid-January) track cycling specialist – he used to compete in 6-day events with his brother Matthé as teammate - that showed how he knows how to win also on the road, as he pipped Geoffrey Demeyere at the line in a two-man sprint for victory. Stefaan Vermeersch came in at 29” to clinch the other podium place, while the bunch was led home by Dieter Putman. Norway’s Roy Hegreberg (14th), and Frenchmen Steven Tronet (31st) and Arnaud Lefebvre (36th) were the only finishers from outside Benelux.

Jos Pronk (R) with teammate Kenny van Hummel.
Photo courtesy

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Jos Pronk (Hol - - 03h40'00”
2. Geoffrey Demeyere (Bel - New Heebra) - s.t.
3. Stefaan Vermeersch (Bel - Mes Team Belgium-Snellegem) - at 29"
4. Dieter Putman (Bel - Cerdi team Ingelmunster) - at 40"
5. Maarten Van der Pluym (Hol - - s.t.
6. Koen Beeckman (Bel - Saey-Deschacht) - s.t.
7. Detlef Moerman (Bel - Beveren 2000) - s.t.
8. Klaas De Gruyter (Bel - Soenens Germond) - s.t.
9. Kristof Taillieu (Bel - Soenens Germond) - s.t.
10. Bjorn Hoeben (Hol - Jonge Renner Oosterhout) - s.t.

55th Brussel-Opwijk (1.13 - Sunday, February 27th) While the Discovery Channel squad was busy racing Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, the U.S. National U23 Team opened their 2005 European campaign in Belgium at Sunday’s Bruxelles-Opwijk classic. But unlike Hincapie’s, their results were not particularly outstanding: Steven Cozza and Tyler Farrar finished in the bunch coming 09'02" behind the winner, and in 57th and 68th place respectively, while the team ended up last in the relative classification. Also in this race the winner was from The Netherlands, as after attacks coming all over the contest Stefan Huizinga powered to the line with a 26-second margin over Bert Van Heule and Anton Wouters, while Stijn Neirynck was the fastest in the three-man sprint for fourth place, and more Belgian riders completed a top 10 whose only non-Belgian member was … the winner. Definitely a strange Sunday for the Belgians, as they took close to all top places at both Staden and Opwijk, but failed to grab the win in both cases.

Results - Top 10 Places
1. Stefan Huizinga (Hol - Van Hemert Groep) - 03h32'00"
2. Bert Van Heule (Bel - Bodysol) - at 26"
3. Anton Wouters (Bel - Diametal CT) - s.t.
4. Stijn Neirynck (Bel - Beveren 2000) - at 34"
5. Kevin Van den Eeckhout (Bel - Josan Team) - s.t.
6. Team Criel (Bel - Josan Team) - s.t.
7. Yoeri Clauwaert (Bel - Lombarden/Firestone) - s.t.
8. Nic Ingels (Bel - Bodysol) - at 01'12"
9. Kenny van Braeckel (Bel - Profel CT) - s.t.
10. Bert Marien (Bel - Diametal CT) - s.t.
… 57. Steven Cozza (USA - US National Team) - at 09'02"
68. Tyler Farrar (USA - US National Team) - at 09'02"

An excellent photo gallery of the race can be found on this site.

Young Guns Weekly Review #1 - February 25, 2005: Races and Winners

11th Souvenir René Vietto-Dante Gianello - Jonathan Locke (GBR)
81st Coppa San Geo - Roberto Traficante (Ita)
18th Firenze-Empoli - Daniele Di Nucci (Ita)
Plages Vendéennes Stage 5/Soullans - Joel Pearson (Aus)
GP de Vence / Souvenir Jean Alech - Benoit Luminet (Fra)
35th Trofeo Caduti di Soprazocco - Daniele Di Nucci (Ita)
5th G.P. Brefer - Marco Gelain (Ita)
43rd GP La Torre - Alex Norberto Ardila Cano (Col)
33rd Circuito di Paderno di Ponzano Veneto - Alberto Curatolo (Ita)
Plages Vendéennes Stage 6/St.Gilles Croix de Vie - Jonathan Dayus (GBR)
GP de la Ville d'Antibes-Sophia Antipolis - Ben Johnson (Aus)
35th Sanremo-Savona - Daniele Di Nucci (Ita)
Plages Vendéennes Stage 7/Moutiers les Mauxfaits - Benoît Daeninck (Fra)
Plages Vendéennes Stage 8/Notre Dame des Monts - Joel Pearson (Aus)
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Young Guns Weekly Review - February 25, 2005
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