Thursday, May 30, 2024

Ponferrada World Road Championships 2014 – U23 Men, Sven Erik Bystrom Takes it Solo


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Well, if there’s a pizza place in Ponferrada, we can’t find it.

It’s rude to criticise your host’s abode but we’re mystified by how the Worlds came to be here.

The communications are terrible, it’s four-and-a-half hours by road or rail out of Madrid or get transfer flights up to the North West and more driving.

The town is ‘any town Spain/Italy’ and with the exception of the beautiful Knights Templar Castle there’s very little which is photogenic.

It’s ‘just a town,’ like Broxburn or Kelty – which is fine but maybe we’re looking for more from the biggest week of racing on the planet ?

Take the Commonwealth Games road race circuit – in the heart of the great city of Glasgow, passing the wonderful buildings, along famous streets and through beautiful parks.

That’s what a circuit for a big race should be about.

And you should be able to get there without it being an exercise in sleep deprivation.

I’m calm now…

Sven Erik Bystrom
Sven Erik Bystrom resplendent in his new rainbow stripes. Photo©Ed Hood
Sven Erik Bystrom
The U23 Men pass the pits. Photo©Ed Hood

The first climb is on the main dual carriageway out of town past garages and supermarkets – and only the part of the parcours between the top of that climb and the bottom of the descent off the second climb is what you could describe as ‘scenic.’

Anyway, it’s the Worlds and it’s the riders who make the race.

Sven Erik Bystrom
The Eritrean team prepare for the start. Photo©Ed Hood

Today’s U23 race was a slow burner which only ignited in the last two laps.

The young Aussies rode like seasoned professionals but when they lost control on the final climb there were other young men there with plenty of ambition to seize the moment.

Sven Erik Bystrom
Best American was Tanner Putt in 13th place. Photo©Fietsenphotography

You’d have got long odds on two Norwegians on the podium.

Sven Erik Bystrom
The Italian team tried to break the race up. Photo©Fietsenphotography
Sven Erik Bystrom
Pierre-Roger Latour (France) chases the break. Photo©Ed Hood

The favourite was Caleb Ewan and the way he won the bunch sprint was explanation enough as to why no one would help the men from down under.

Sven Erik Bystrom
Aussie Caleb Ewan was easily the best sprinter in the race. Photo©Ed Hood

Our pal Vik rang us when we were in the press room after the race to voice his disappointment at the GB team’s performance.

And also to instruct me that I’ve not to interview any of the GB boys about their race – their performance didn’t deserve it.

Those boys should thank their lucky stars Vik isn’t their DS.

Sven Erik Bystrom
Adil Barbari (Algeria) off the front early doors. Photo©Ed Hood

But I take his point, there was an Algerian laddie away in the break of the day and many of the African riders performed every bit as well as the GB boys.

GB’s best finisher was Owain Doull in 19th; Eritrea had Kudus in 25th spot on the same time…

Sven Erik Bystrom
Brayan Stiven Ramirez Chacon of Colombia pushes on the climb. Photo©Fietsenphotography
Sven Erik Bystrom
The early break of Sebastian Schonberger (Austria), Adil Barbari (Algeria) and Roman Kustadinchev (Russia). Photo©Fietsenphotography
Sven Erik Bystrom
The Dutch team were also very active on the climbs, to no avail. Photo©Fietsenphotography
Sven Erik Bystrom
Germany and Belgium attack and react. Photo©Fietsenphotography

The way the race was won did give us clues about what might happen on Sunday.

Sven Erik Bystrom
Sven Erik Bystrom takes the win with time to spare. Photo©Ed Hood

The Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrom – who’s with Katusha for 2015 – won the race on the descent, not the climb – and that could be even more pronounced on Sunday, if it rains.

Sven Erik Bystrom
Bronze medallist Kristoffer Skjerping congratulates Sven Erik Bystrom. Photo©Fietsenphotography
Sven Erik Bystrom
Congratulations all round on the U23 podium. Photo©Fietsenphotography

A demon descender on the right rubber could steal it.

That said, there’s a school of thought that it could well end in a small bunch sprint of 30/40 riders.

But that’s all conjecture – we have the Juniors’ and Ladies’ races today first.

The juniors are on at 09:00 am start but we’ve decided to get in to town for the final laps, not the start.

When I say, ‘get into town’ that’s 80 kilometres.

We owe thanks to John Young of Fietsenphotography for the use of his images and also for organising the digs – he had to take a place out in the sticks because of the horribly inflated prices they’re charging in Ponferrada.

Just another example of why Ponferrada wouldn’t have been our choice of venue.

Sven Erik Bystrom
Pretty much the best photogenic shot around the circuit. Photo©Ed Hood

Keep it tuned to VeloVeritas for our coverage of the Juniors’ and Ladies’ Championships today – and of course the Elite Men on Sunday.

¡Adios, hasta luego!

Result - World Road Championships, U23 Men

Full Result

1 Sven Erik Bystrom (Norway) 4:32:39
2 Caleb Ewan (Australia) 0:00:07
3 Kristoffer Skjerping (Norway)
4 Tiesj Benoot (Belgium)
5 Sondre Holst Enger (Norway)
6 Iuri Filosi (Italy)
7 Bohorquez Sanchez (Colombia)
8 Ilya Davidenok (Kazakhstan)
9 Silvio Herklotz (Germany)
10 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands)
11 Dion Smith (New Zealand)
12 Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)
13 Tanner Putt (United States Of America)
14 Timo Roosen (Netherlands)
15 Luka Pibernik (Slovenia)
16 Joaquim Silva (Portugal)
17 Odd Christian Eiking (Norway)
18 Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spain)
19 Owain Doull (Great Britain)
20 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)
21 Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)
22 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark)
23 Artem Nych (Russian Federation)
24 Markus Hoelgaard (Norway)
25 Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eritrea)
26 Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia)
27 Thomas Boudat (France)
28 Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
29 Dylan Teuns (Belgium)
30 Sam Oomen (Netherlands)
31 James Oram (New Zealand)
32 Sindre Skjoestad Lunke (Norway)
33 Jasper De Buyst (Belgium)
34 Scott Davies (Great Britain)
35 Robert Power (Australia)
36 Brayan Stiven Ramirez Chacon (Colombia)
37 Gregor Muhlberger (Austria)
38 Loic Vliegen (Belgium)
39 Floris De Tier (Belgium)
40 Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spain) 0:00:20
41 Emanuel Buchmann (Germany) 0:00:22
42 Luca Chirico (Italy) 0:00:36
43 Simon Pellaud (Switzerland) 0:00:42
44 Anasse Ait El Abdia (Morocco)
45 Oleg Zemlyakov (Kazakhstan)
46 Rafael Ferreira Reis (Portugal) 0:01:03
47 Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan)
48 Felix Grossschartner (Austria)
49 Mario Gonz