Stars of the future

This year’s Tour De L’Avenir finished yesterday with young Colombian climber Johan Esteban Chaves pipping Canadian David Boily on the last day to win the general qualification. Mattia Cataneo from Italy rounded up the podium of the race which showcases the world’s best young road racing talent. Many of the stage winners and top GC placeholders at Tour De L’Avenir go on to have a professional career. In order to know the future pros better, I would highlight some of their achievements and background.

Johan Esteban Chaves

The 21-yr old climber races for the ProConti team Colombia Es Passion – Cafe de Colombia. In 2011, he raced with seasoned pros in difficult races like Circuit Sarthe, Settimana Coppi e Bartali, Tour du Poitou-Charantes and Giro del Trentino. In 2008 he had finished sixth in the Tour De L’Avenir, fulfilling the ultimate goal this time. It’s difficult to make a transition from a Colombian Pro Continental team to a Pro Tour team and it will be interesting to see if Johan can follow in the footsteps of Fabio Duarte, his former teammate.

David Boily

Unlike Johan, Canadian climber David Boily races for a bigger Pro Conti team, Team SpiderTech. He has won KOM at 2011 Giro di Sardegna and has few good results in Cat 2 races. He lost the yellow jersey to Johan on the last day of the race and would be gutted with the result. David was a figure skater till 15 and then decided to move to road cycling.

Mattia Cattaneo

Mattia races for U.C. Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli. He is an all-rounder and had total of six victories in 2011 notably winning the GC at Cat 2 Girobio – Giro Ciclistico d’Italia and smaller one day races GP di Poggiana, GP Capodarco. I hope next season we could see him at a Pro Conti team where he can develop into a better racer.

Romain Bardet

Young French rider secured a stage win and the points classification at Tour De L’Avenir. He has taken the next step in his career and has signed a two year contract with AG2R La Mondiale starting next season. He came 2nd in the U-23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and could be a future classics rider given his style of racing.

Garikoitz ‘Gari’ Bravo

The young Caja Rural climber won the KOM at Tour De L’Avenir and had also won the best young rider at the Tour of Portugal this year. The 22-yr old has been touted as one of the best Spanish hopes and I will be particularly interested to see if he can become the next Alberto Contador or Sammy Sanchez.