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A Young Gun to watch

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If people are not following the Tour of Langkawi you are excused as granted, it is only February. But you would have missed an excellent win on Stage 3 by CA's Saul Raisin, a young (22!) US pro riding his first year in Europe. Last year he finished a truly excellent 9th in the Tour of Germany, 6.03 back of winner Levi Leipheimer, proving that he was a strong climber and someone to be watched in the future. He followed that up with a long breakaway (180K) in the WC in Spain and that was enough to convince CA that they should sign him up.

Now, how he does riding for a French team is anyone's guess, as some have better support systems than others for young, foreign riders (apparently Cofidis' stinks, or has in the past). But there seems to be enough of an international makeup on the team, with enough english speakers, that he won't get isolated from the majority of his teammates. Stuey O'Grady enjoyed a long career there and I think CA is an astute enough team to recognize that they can't expect too much too soon from a guy who won't be 23 until June. But very early indicators are that he's acclimating to his new mates and competition well and bears watching in the future. I know he's been on my personal radar since Germany last August, and here's hoping he continues making progress without blowing up or getting burned out.

It can be tough for people to remember that he's still a kid in every sense of the word and that mentally and physically he is years away from his maturation point. I hope he's allowed and encourged to develop at his own, natural pace. I'd hate to see talent like his thrown by the wayside in the quest for immediate results.