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The Next Wave

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Unfortunately I saw almost nothing of the U23 race or time trial this year, thanks to generally hectic times, but if it seems unimportant, here is some information to make you (OK, me) wish we'd watched it.

The U23 races have been run since 1996. [Prior to that there were amateur events of a similar nature.] Excluding last year's results -- give those kids some time -- here are some names from past races:

Winners of the U23 Road Race: Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Ivan Basso, Evgeni Petrov, Yaroslav Popovych, Francesco Chicchi, Kanstantin Siutsou, Dmitriy Graboskyy, Gerald Ciolek, and Peter Velits.

Other Medalists in the U23 Road Race: Oscar Freire, Rinaldo Nocentini, Danilo DiLuca, Luca Paolini, Matti Kessler, Johan Van Summeren, Thomas Dekker, Romain Feillu. Out of 36 placings in 12 years, I find 26 immediately recognizable as top-level pros.

Past U23 Time Trial Winners: Lars Boom, Dominique Cornu, Mikhail Ignatiev, Janez Brajkovic, Markus Fothen, Thomas Vaitkus, Danny Pate, Petrov (the double gold!), Jose Ivan Gutierrez, and Thor Hushovd.

So, with that, say hello to 2009 U23 Road World Champion Romain Sicard and ITT champ Jack Bobridge. Bobridge is known here -- he's signed with Garmin-Slipstream, albeit to concentrate mostly on track for a couple years. Sicard has been racing for Orbea in Spain, and starts his senior circuit career next season with Euskaltel-Euskadi. Yep, he's a climber.