Written by Frank Holwerda of Holwerda Cycling
Defending champion Odovic will not defend his title, so from Tuesday on we will be looking for a new Essex champion. A lot of strong riders are in a very good shape and it might very well be a very interesting to follow. I will introduce the teams to you and the predictions.
With a podium in recent Cymru Taith Narvaez is ready for a new battle in the GC. He once made it to the top-9 of this Hilly Tour at the age of 26. He finished the Tour in 8th place. In the seasons to come the team was never ablee to sign up for Essex, but now he is here and ready to fight for podium’.
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Egil Lobdell just finished on the podium in the Vuelta de los Castillos and might be able to stretch his good form into the Essex Tour. But the captain in recent seasons has been Carel Pulix. He finished 2nd and 4th in the last two seasons. So the manager has two captains to choose from.
Jannic Junger is a very good hiller in his best age. Last season he did not have a good tour finishing 14th in the hilly stage and even further away from a top-9 in the GC. Will he have his revenge?
8th in the last two seasons. Jeslone Nfiele will want to do better and this season will be a good opportunity do it. He has got good hill support and is a possible winner of the TT stage.
Gherman Cristache will be the captain of this team. He won the hilly stage last season, but finishing just outside top-9 in the GC. Another win in the first stage and a better performance in the TT he will be hoping for.
Michael de Zee is the best suited rider for this tour. Last season he ended up at 16th place in GC after an 8th place in the first stage. Let us see whether he can hold on to a top-9 in GC.
Paul Crawford is a former winner of the Essex Tour. He won the tour four season age, but every season since then he moves up one spot backwards. It must be the age, he is now 33. Will he continue his slow decrease getting 5th place?
Another rider who got a top-9 in the Cymru Taith tour is Cenobio Rollero. He is still very young, so that achievement was quite remarkable. He did not win the YC there though, because there were two stronger young guys. Will he be able to get another podium in YC?
The race in preparation for the Essex Tour is clearly York – Manchester. Terje Ringvold won that race and therefore a favorite for the first stage. But he is more than that. He is already a legend in the Essex Tour winning the YC in three consecutive seasons. Last season he missed the Tour, but now he is back to fight for the GC.
Jesse De Laat has dream: finishing top-9 in all three hilly tours in one season. He already finished 8th in Giro di Montelbano and 6th in Cymru Taith. It is his first Essex tour. He will be a bit nervous.
The manager has several options for a result in the first stage. Last season Ambrose Stainer was the best at 11th place. That is not good enough which such a strong team. Will another rider be captain? Perhaps Edward Bierens would be the next
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Armando Silveira has won a lot in his career, but he as never won Essex tour. He got a few podium spots though and won the YC once. Will he try to win the tour this time or is the first stage the only target?
Barclay Moring is not in the line-up since he has moved to Nefal and now this team will have other riders waiting to get a chance. The big question is: who will be captain in the first stage? Does Demario Rionda the biggest chance of a good result iin the first stage or will Alonso Falcone battle for the YC?
Well, Barclay Moring is now in this team. He already won the YC in both Giro di Montelbano and Cymru Taith and he is defending the YC in Essex Tour. The big favorite for the YC to me.
This team is just recovering of celebrating the victory in the Vuelta de los Castillos. Tobiasz Lukaszewicz and Falko Stallmaier are both good enough for a top-9 in the GC here. Who will it be?
Fresco Lissón cannot wait to start this tour. He wants to win the first stage and after that relaxe in the TT. But the manager will have to decide whether he is good enough to keep Guillaume Mispelon from captaincy.
I think the manager has a plan to win the third stage with a good sprinting team he could do well there with Garrett Laws as sprint captain. Scottie Cochrane is a dangerous rider for the TT.
The biggest favorite for the sprint stage comes from this team. Miles Illingworth is having a great season and is the current number 1 in the OCM Tour Rank.
Another sprinting team here. The manager has selected six excellent sprinters who are well suited for the last stage. I even have trouble picking the captain. I think it will be Feijoo or Chuprov. Mkandawire is also a good option finishing second in the sprint stage last season.
Royce Dodemaide only participated once in this Essex Tour. He finished 14th in the GC and therefore probably never tried it again. But now he is here. He might try to get a better result than last time, or he will try to make his team mate shine. Ivan Demenok is actually better suited and will want a chance for himself.
In the sprint stage we will see a big battle. This team is also fully prepared for that stage. Jostein Aune is the captain here. He has won one sprint this season in the Volta ao Porto will be looking for a second win.
This team will have Marcelo Nenza as captain in the hill stage, but I think the manager will have the biggest hope on a result in the sprint stage with Gill De Kerper.
This is a strong hill team. Darie Mitu can have a shot at the GC when he is captain. He finished second in the GC once and is still strong at his age.
A TT team with Adônis Lourenço and off course Hermano Montenegro. The TT stage has not been successful for this team in recent seasons, but this riders will have a big chance of winning this stage.
*** Falko Stallmaier
** Jannic Junger, Ivan Demenok, Fresco Lissón
* Ambrose Stainer, Jesse De Laat, Maurice Romero, Terje Ringvold
*** Jeslone Nfiele, Hermano Montenegro
** Hélio Albuquerque, Bradley Coach, Barclay Moring
* Adônis Lourenço, Scottie Cochrane, Alanzo Bonico, Gard Gulbrandsen, Alexandru Buzuloiu
*** Miles Illingworth, Gill De Kerper
** Korney Chuprov, Garrett Laws, Jostein Aune, Armando Silveira
* Victoriano Feijoo, Marcelo Nenza, Royce Dodemaide, Roman Robaino, Jannic Junger
*** Terje Ringvold, Jeslone Nfiele
** Ciceron Narvaez, Gherman Cristache, Barclay Moring
* Hermano Montenegro, Cenobio Rollero, Falko Stallmaier, Ivan Demenok, Jannic Junger
*** Barclay Moring
** Cenobio Rollero
* Alonso Falcone, Gard Gulbrandsen, Prospero Quino Riquelme