tour de l’avenir

So, as the editor blog mentioned, right now is an exciting time for racing, especially racing with live coverage. However, one of the races that did not get much coverage, so far as I can tell, was the Tour de l’Avenir.

A Brief History
Most literally, Tour de l’Avenir means “Tour of the Future”. And it’s name perfectly describes it. It’s a stage race designed to showcase the up and coming talent in the sport of cycling. The exciting part of the Tour de l’Avenir is that in many cases, the riders are amateurs or ride for small city or state teams and this is a great opportunity to see what the future holds for the sport.

I enjoy the Tour de l’Avenir because it IS the Tour de France for these future cycling stars. A quick look at the list of winners since 1961 only serves to show the caliber of race Avenir is. Greg Lemond, Miguel Indurain, Marc Madiot, Johan Bruyneel, Denis Menchov, Egoi Martinez, 2005 winner Lars Bak, and 2006 winner Moises Duenas Nevado, to name a few.

That being said, from a Team Slipstream perspective, this year’s Tour de l’Avenir was equally exciting because several members of the Slipstream team rode for the USA National Team. Thomas Peterson, Craig Lewis, and Peter Stetina made up one half of the Team USA team.

Because I am just now getting to covering this race, I will not do a detailed recap of each stage. But I am going to recap each rider’s results.

Thomas Peterson
Stage 1 – 59th – 58 GC
Stage 2 – 47th – 49 GC
Stage 3 – 106th – 62 GC
Stage 4 – 113th – 60 GC
Stage 5 – 47th – 47 GC
Stage 6 – 90th – 54 GC
Stage 7 – 42nd – 45 GC
Stage 8 – 20th – 33 GC – 66 Pts
Stage 9 – 25th – 28 GC – 61 Pts
Stage 10 – 15th – 26 GC – 48 Pts

Craig Lewis
Stage 1 – 33rd – 33 GC
Stage 2 – 22nd – 24 GC
Stage 3 – 7th – 7 GC – 20 Pts
Stage 4 – 82nd – 8 GC – 28 Pts
Stage 5 – 29th – 6 GC – 28 Pts
Stage 6 – 26th – 5 GC – 33 Pts
Stage 7 – 19th – 7 GC – 36 Pts
Stage 8 – 29th – 7 GC – 39 Pts
Stage 9 – 23rd – 7 GC – 37 Pts
Stage 10 – 24th – 7 GC – 38 Pts

Peter Stetina
Stage 1 – 42nd – 42 GC
Stage 2 – 23rd – 29 GC
Stage 3 – 104th – 45 GC
Stage 4 – 85th – 46 GC
Stage 5 – 78th – 57 GC
Stage 6 – 41st – 53 GC
Stage 7 – 43rd – 44 GC
Stage 8 – 22nd – 32 GC
Stage 9 – 36th – 30 GC
Stage 10 – 46th – 29 GC

Final Thoughts
For the USA, it is great to see Craig Lewis notch a top 10 finish in such a demanding and competitive race. Although I am sure the USA would have loved to have a stage victory or overall winner, the consistent performance of the entire USA team earned the team a final Team Classification of 5th, which is great when you look at the level of racing that took place.

For Slipstream, it is a bit misleading to take the Avenir results as an overall indicator of next season or the future of Slipstream, as neither Craig Lewis nor Peter Stetina will ride for Slipstream next season, and the makeup of the Slipstream team will change dramatically prior to the start of 2008. But if the point of the Tour de l’Avenir is to showcase young talent (which I maintain it is, and I think many would agree with me), then I think there is a lot to look forward to from Tom Peterson, despite the pure “by the numbers” results from this race.

Without doubt, given a 2008 season of racing in Europe on a consistent basis, Peterson could easily convert a series of top 20 finishes into top 10 finishes, and proved throughout the Tour de l’Avenir and 2007 that he is a talented rider with a lot of potential. 2007 alone brought him success at the Tour of Gila where he finished 5th overall. He is also a former US Junior National RR Champion (2004) and won the Best Young Rider Competition at the 2006 Tour of California.

I have not heard any information about where Peter Stetina might end up, but I think any team that signs him will find he’s a good addition. His previous accomplishments certainly speak to this, as he was the US Junior RR Champion in 2005 and took 8th in the U23 National RR Championship in 2006. For Craig Lewis, it is obvious he is extremely talented and will be an asset to the team he signs with for 2008. I do intend to showcase each Slipstream rider and will certainly do so with Craig Lewis in the near future, as his story is inspirational and phenomenal. Additionally, Craig won both the U23 National RR Championship and U23 Criterium Championship in 2006.

Still to Come
Tour of Missouri wrap-up
Slipstream Showcase
Slipsteam and Anti-doping

2 Responses to “tour de l’avenir”

  1. pete geyer says:

    The Tour de l’Avenir indeed doesn’t get much media coverage these days, unfortunately. RMC (Radio Monte Carlo) was the only media sponsor this year.

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