24 July 2017
A Stepping Stone To Today’s Elite
The Tour de l’Avenir is clearly a busy gateway leading young talent to the hard world of professional cycling. Proving it once again, is the Tour de France that just concluded.
The Yellow Jersey winner, Christopher Froome, built an atypical path to success, but a number of the riders who stood out during this year’s Tour de France asserted themselves early in their careers at the Tour de l’Avenir.
Starting with Warren Barguil, winner of two major stages (on July 14 in Foix and then atop the Izoard) and winner of the polka-dot jersey, who had revealed the extent of his talent by winning the 2012 Tour de l’Avenir overall and the best climber title.
The U23 race also played a key role in Romain Bardet’s progression, at a time when he was still hesitating between studies and a cycling career (in the end he managed to reconcile the two). Romain, of course, finished third overall the latest Tour de France. His promising sixth place in the 2010 Tour de l’Avenir, confirmed the following year by a green jersey that highlighted his versatility, clearly confirmed him in his choice and put him on the right track.
Besides Romain and Warren, the Champs-Elysées podium crowned two other champions who passed the Tour de l’Avenir exam with flying colors. Australian Michael Matthews, the Tour de France’s green jersey, tested his all-routes capabilities when he placed 8th in the 2010 Tour de l’Avenir. As for Briton Simon Yates, the white jersey of this year’s Tour, he won one stage on the Tour de l’Avenir in 2011 and two more in 2013. Finally, Dutchman Bauke Mollema, stage winner in the Puy-en-Velay on this year’s Tour, is a Tour de l’Avenir winner (2007), while Norwegian Edvald Boasson-Hagen, stage winner in Salon-de-Provence during this year’s Tour, was only nineteen when he pulled off three stage wins in the 2006 Tour de l’Avenir.
These subsequent successes can only make for extra motivation for all riders in the next Tour de l’Avenir which will link Brittany to the Alps (18 – 27 August) through a challenging route.