Monday, 13 June 2011

Cycling's makeover - the new guys in town

Towards the end of 1990, some Norwegian artists, thought highly of themselves and their "bohemian" style. The claimed to be the new wine, they would somehow be "the next big thing" in their respective arts. Whether they were the  Beaujolais Nouveau is to be left unsaid, just one of them has made an impression on me, the photographer Per Heimly.
One of them, a writer called Ari Behn, is now married to HRH Princess Märtha.

You will probably ask, what on earth has this anything to do with cycling?

This spring has been phenomenal for racing, many new riders have won many races and they are truly cycling's new wine. I wrote a post early describing my picks for this season, some them have blossomed, others will hopefully do so and others again I missed.

To me, these guys represent a change. They are from a different breed than the others, they are not a part of the omertà which has haunted cycling for years, some argue it still does. They are some of my hope for the seasons to come. Imagine, where, if taken proper care of, will these be in ten years?

Jérôme Coppel
He really set his mark on his territory last year by doing 9th in Paris-Nice. He has got the time trial capacity all right, two French national jersey back home and two bronze medal from U-23 time trial as well. Last year, he was up there with Contador up Alpe d'Huez. This year he finished second again in the Vuelta a Murcia, behind Contador. Yesterday he added 13th place in this year's Daupiné to his palmares too.

This guy has been promising for some years and I think (hope) he will continue, he may be just what French cycling needs, a future GC contender in a GT.

Peter Sagan
Last year Sagan came to my attention, destroying the field in Tour Down Under and in Paris-Nice. Sadly for him, the end season got him bad, struggling with stomach illness effectively blocked him from racing. Today, he was there again, winning stage 3 of Tour de Swiss. Really hope he is fully recovered, he is such a talent. What will he focus on? He can climb well, he sprints well, and can put down a decent time trial too.

John Degenkolb
At 21, this German has no respect. Really introducing himself to the pro peloton this year and what better way to do so by winning. Silver and bronze in U-23 road race, this guy would indeed be dangerous. Stage wins in Algarve, Bayern and with two wins last week in Dauphiné has really put him on the map this year. One can wonder what is next.

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