Written by Frank Holwerda of
The World Cup is coming to Sweden this season. Many managers have been preparing their teams for the races. The U23 road race is very different from the elite race. The distance is 201 km for the youngsters instead of 274 km and also less riders will participate. Managers can enter their team for the race with a minimum of three riders. 87 riders will participate in the U23 road race compared to 144 riders in the elite race.
It is the third time the U23 race is organized, so we have two riders on the palmares. Amund Sandvik won the first edition in Argentina and Jesse De Laat won last season in Brazil. A race like this will not easily have riders performing well in multiple seasons. The top ten of the two previous editions do not show same names twice.
But that is probably going to change after Sunday’s race. Three big shots that made it to the top ten last season will be racing again on Sunday. This means that they, at the age of 21, managed to keep up with the big boys from that season. And not only keep up, Jesse De Laat and Gregorian Jurca were dominating that race, where eventually the Dutch youngster won the race. The other talent Falko Stallmaier also rode a very good race coming in fifth. Will these three riders be the ones to look at, or will there be more talents who have set their eyes on winning the rainbow jersey?
The list of participants gives us three rider who have won U23 races this season: Gregorian Jurca (2 races), Jesse De Laat and Elbert Van Der Heijden.
If we look at the stats of the riders, there is one rider that is best suited for this allround race: Gregorian Jurca from team Bilal. But not only his stats are good, he already proved to be amongst the best of the U23 riders, winning 2 U23 races this season. That, combined with good support and possible Top Form, makes him the clear favorite for the WC.
All the other riders will have to work together to get a shot at the rainbow jersey.
Jesse De Laat from team Holwerda Cycling knows how to win a WC race and has won a U23 race, as well as a division 2 race this season, but his support is less than last season.
Hugo Boemans from team Gradient Levellers is a very talented sprinter. He seems to be a bit unlucky never winning a U23 race although he tried lots of times.
He did though win a division 1.1 race this season, so when he can keep hanging on in the tougher bits of the race, he could win with his mighty sprint.
Alpine is bringing two strong riders, where probably Robert Reitan will be the captain. Three podium finishes this season for Alpine in the U23 races, will his riders finally give him a first place?
PEKAC B is coming with the most experienced captain. Falko Stallmaier is having a good season with two podium finishes in U23 races and seems to be ready to pick up another one.
Francesco Joinoe from team Drollevangers is behind Jurca perhaps the best rider. He even made it to an eighth place in the Germany Tour GC, but he seems to lack support and will be on his own when the finale starts.
Elbert Van Der Heijden from mapei bianchi has won a U23 race this season, he will be looking forward to this race, a favorite for the podium when in Top Form.
Other outsiders for the win will be Corrado Giara from gabbo e bacardi who finished seventh in division 1 Climb Classic Critérium La Provence, Timothy de Reyck from Team Celeste, a great climber, but a bit inexperienced and Daan Zandstra from Ron Cycling Team who also lacks the experience, but might surprise with a strong team mate by his side.
Other riders who might make it to the top nine are: Niguel Verme from Abelixe, Thomas Buschmüller from Greenride, Végeir Þórleifursson from Undisputed, Eufrasie Isaila from V02maXXers and Jannic Junger from Alpine.