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U23 World Championship

Four riders race for the rainbow jersey

This week, four riders of the structure of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will represent their country at the   U23 World Championships in Glasgow - Scotland. On Wednesday 9th of August, Roel van Sintmaartensdijk (The Netherlands) will participate in the individual time trial, before racing for the rainbow jersey in the road race with Aklilu Arefayne (Eritrea), Francesco Busatto (Italy) and Madis Mihkels (Estonia) on Saturday 12th of August.

Madis Mihkels (20), bronze medal winner in the junior category in Leuven, finished fourth in his first U23 world championships in Wollongong in September. His two future teammates in the World Team, Busatto (20) and van Sintmaartensdijk (22) make their debut at a world championship. For Arefayne (19), member of Circus-ReUz-Technord and vice African champion U23, it is his first U23 world championship after his partipation in the junior category in in Australia last year. 

This Wednesday, the time trial will take place in Stirling, a city northeast of Glasgow, between the gardens King’s and Queen’s Knot and the Castle of Stirling. The parcours of 36.2 kilometer offers both straight and curvy roads and contains several uphill sections in the final, with especially the last kilometer towards the castle with slopes up to 10%.

On Saturday, the U23 men will start the 168 kilometer road race at Loch Lomond. After 35 kilometer of racing, they will reach the top of Crow Road (9.2km at 4.6%) on their way to the city circuit in Glasgow, which has to be covered seven times before a new world champion will be crowned.

"In July, the team offered me the possibility to participate for the first time to an altitude training camp. I could already feel the benefits in the Tour de Pologne, which was a perfect preparation with some hard race days and several sprint stages. In my two past participations at the world championships I obtained fantastic results. However, I don't feel any additional pressure. In contrary, I feel good and I am confident that I am prepared to give the best of myself. I expect the scenario of the road race on Saturday to be similar to the one of the pros of last weekend.  Like them, we have to cover 60 kilometer before reaching the final circuits and this pleases me. It gives small cycling nations like mine, which have to start in the back, time to race to a position in the front of the peloton. In my opinion, Belgium will be one of the strongest blocks. The Dutch team with my teammate Roel van Sintmaartensdijk and the sprinter Casper van Uden will also be contenders to keep an eye on."

"It will be my first world championship. This important day is highlighted in red in my calendar for a long time already. To prepare myself, I went on altitude in July, just before participating in the difficult Sazka Tour with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty. I then continued training hard. Now I feel ready. Our Italian team is strong, a hard race would suit us. When watching the other categories last weekend, I noticed that the parcours created nervousness and that it is important to always race in the front without wasting energy. We also saw that it is possible to attack alone. This season, I progressed a lot on a tactical level with Circus-ReUz-Technord and this might be very helpful on Saturday. I learned to manage my efforts and to wait for the right moment to play my cards. It is in this way that I won Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23. Since this first victory, I can keep cool in important moments. "

"It is an honour for me to represent The Netherlands for the first time in the most important race in the world. I'm proud to be present here, with the best athletes of my country in all categories. The result in the individual time trial this Wednesday will depend mainly on myself. My preparation was excellent, with an altitude camp with the team in Livigno followed by the Sazka Tour and two course recons earlier this week. I hope for a flawless time trial so I can finish saying that I got the most out of it. I'm convinced that, with good legs, I can achieve a nice result. For the road race on Saturday it is more difficult to estimate which role I can play. With Casper van Uden we have a fast rider in our team, but in such an open and challenging race, it remains to be seen who will be able to accompany the best until the very end."

"I'm looking forward to this world championship for a long time already. I'm preparing this important race since the national championships in June with my trainer Christophe Prémont, through a tailor-made race programme. Last week I fine-tuned my condition in the Tour de Namur, in which we won two out of the five stages with the team. I like the circuit in Glasgow, it is very similar to the roads on which we race in Asmara. I know it will be important to race in the front. My first months in Europe with Circus-ReUz-Technord prepared me well for bad weather conditions. I will be a lot better weaponed than last year in Wollongong. Four riders of the structure of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will represent their nation in the road race and this makes me happy. Our team will be present to support us as good as possible, which is the case since my arrival in Europe. During this first season with Circus-ReUz-Technord in the U23 category I'm acquiring a lot of experience and I'm happy to pursue my development with this world championship."


General Classification


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