Denmark is clocking up victories with amazing regularity at the UCI Juniors Nationsâ€™ Cup.Â It has dominated four of the five European events, three of those victories coming from their impressive rouleur Mads Pedersen. But even when he does not line up at the start, his national team is still capable of pulling off winning performances. That was the case last weekend at the GP GĂ©nĂ©ral Patton in Luxemburg.
Christoffer Lisson completed the two daysâ€™ racing with a five-second advantage over Mathieu Van der Poel (the Netherlands). Austriaâ€™s Alexander Wachter finished third.
The winner was part of a 10-man breakaway in the first stage, from which three riders escaped 600 metres before the finish. The German winner of the sprint, Jonas Bokeloh, was unable to hold on to his leaderâ€™s jersey the next day during a chaotic stage punctuated by crashes and numerous attacks.
Mathieu Van der Poel had a ball on the undulating course. The double UCI Juniors Cyclo-cross World Champion took off on the last climb, 14km from the finish, with nine riders following behind. Among them, Christoffer Lisson had to overcome a tactical problem: he was in the running for the overall victory because he had finished up front the day before, as had Michele Andreoletti.Â However, the Italian did not want to go hard, confirming that two other Italians, who had also been part of the first dayâ€™s breakaway, were in the chasing group. Lisson therefore had to keep an eye on his Italian opponent, a possible return of the chasers, and a very energetic Van der Poel, who finished by winning the stage.
â€śIt is my biggest victory to date,â€ť savoured the 18-year-old Danish athlete, who finished second in the 2013 Tour du Pays de Vaud in Switzerland. â€śIt is part of the Nationsâ€™ Cup so only the European Championships or the World Championships are more important. Most of the best riders are here and they are in good shape."
Denmark leads the rankings with 219 points in front of France (180) and Great Britain (161). The leaders stole only one point from the runners-up at the GP Patton, but the British, previously 24 points behind Denmark, now slip to third place at 58 points.
SĂ¸ren Meyer, the Danish coach, concedes that his team was â€śnot their best oneâ€ť at the GP Patton. Others were racing in Belgium at the Sint-Martinusprijs Kontich, where Mads Pedersen won a stage and the overall classification. â€śThe fact that we can win in these conditions shows how good the Danish Juniors are this year,â€ť he underlined.
The next event in the Juniors Nationsâ€™ Cup will be the European Championships road race on July 20th in the Czech Republic. The programme will continue with a new race on the calendar, the TrophĂ©e Centre Morbihan (France) and then the time trial and road race at the UCI World Championships in Tuscany (Italy).
The UCI Juniors Nationsâ€™ Cup comprises 13 rounds including the UCI Worlds and the Continental Championships in Africa, America, Asia and Europe.
Denmark will be aiming to conserve its title, which it won in 2012 in front of France and Belgium.
Photo: The Juniors' peloton on the 2013 GP GĂ©nĂ©ral Patton (courtesy HervĂ© Dancerelle / Directvelo.com)