Last week I got a call and that changed my plans for the upcoming week. I was supposed to go to Pirkan Pyöräily and ride the 217 km long route, but instead I will head towards Germany tomorrow. More precisely, Trofeo Karlsberg together with the Finnish Junior National Road Cycling Team. We will leave Turku tomorrow evening and will arrive at our destination in Gersheim on Thursday.
The Fincycling project continues to grow as we saw an agreement between the Cycling Union of Finland (Suomen Pyöräilyunioni ry) and Fincycling take shape January 6th 2015. The great efforts done by the whole Fincycling team has paid off, and for the coming years 2015 - 2017, Fincycling will be taking care of the U19 boys training and racing schedule. This if something is a proof of a job well done and shows the level of trust for this project.
The Cup of Zemgale stage race in Latvia began today in a great way. The 3,1 km long prologue was won by Niklas "Nikke" Henttala representing Fincycling with an average speed of 47,29 km/h in 3 minutes and 56 seconds. Niklas is one of the talented Junior riders in the team, and he will be wearing the leader's yellow jersey tomorrow. You can find the full result list here.
(note: pictures taken by www.fincycling.com)
The race will continue with a 70 km stage tomorrow following by another ITT stage. The race will end on Saturday August 30th. Five stages with somewhat short stages will make the race really explosive. Juniors from many strong cycling countries are represented, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Belarus and Finland of course.
All stages listed:
• 27th August – prolog ITT – 3,1 km, starting at 19.00
• 28th August – road race – 70 km starting at 11.00
• 28th August – ITT – 15 km, starting at 17.00
• 29th August – road race – 115 km, starting at 15.00
• 30th August – road race – 90 km, starting at 10.00
What's great about this week's race is that the Fincycling squad is actually "bigger" than usual. Besides juniors who have been competing with Fincycling throughout the season, also juniors who will join the squad next year have the opportunity to race with the team. The only way to become a professional is to compete on a high level, and with Fincycling this opportunity is given to our young talented riders.
At the beginning of the season talking with the Fincycling people, we heard that the first year will be dedicated to the junior boys aged 16-18 and that the project would aim to support even girls and U23 men in the future, maybe in some years. Well the Fincycling squad has already done something supportive for both of those. Earlier this month in Norway, the Fincycling team introduced girls in their squad in the Arctic Heroes of Tomorrow Race (more of this later). And again, in Cup of Zemgale the Fincycling team is introducing Laura Vainionpää (W U23) to the racing field. It's a great way to gain experience competing with the guys.
It is with joy I watch the Fincycling team, that began as a project only less than a year ago, grow and do so much good to the sport in Finland. More than any Finnish national organization has been able to do in a long time, maybe ever? Having heard how the boys have learned during this year, and been able to improve as cyclists both in and out of the saddle makes me really feel positive about the future of Finnish cycling. Of course there are lots and lots of work to do and we know the road to the elite is tough, but all the hard work done by the Fincycling team gives a solid ground for our juniors to build on.
Fincycling press release - spring 2014
Kilpapyöräily ry., founded in October 2013, has started the season 2014 with a great pace. The association aims to lift the Finnish cycle racing scene to a level where it deserves to be – it’s after all one of the most popular competitive sports in our neighboring countries. The founding members of the association (27 members) have all achieved an internationally successful career, and some are still active in the world of elite cycling. Such members are Jussi Veikkanen, Kjell Carlström, Charly Wegelius, Joona Laukka, Mika Hämäläinen, Jukka Heinikainen and Kimmo Kananen – to name a few.
Ambitious goals were set up for the first season: 16-18 year old junior cyclists from national teams around the country will be participating in both international and top national races, resulting in some 65-70 race days during the 2014 season. The operations are made possible by dedicated voluntary work by the founding members and by the financial support from the sponsors, SKODA, Helkama, PowerBar, Sportful, Shimano, EuroSport, Polar, dmp, Javatrans and Leijona-tuote. During the 2014 season, at least 14 boys will participate in international races, following the international rules of attending with a six man strong team in each race.
The first kickoff was held with 14 boys at Solvalla Idrottsinstitut between January 31st and February 2nd. The aim of the camp was to inform the boys, their coaches and parents about the project and what it would be all about. Charly Wegelius (Garmin-Sharp), Kjell Carlström (IAM Cycling), Kimmo Kananen (Shimano), Jani Paju (Fustra), Juho Suikkari and Marko Vauhkonen all acted as instructors during the weekend. Focus was also set on the comprehensive training programs and the professionals shared their knowledge with the coaches. As cycling is a sport where proper set-up and equipment matter, the boys were instructed about the importance of an accurate bike fit and the impact it can have in both comfort and efficiency on the bike. These instructions were provided by Shimano Nordic and Fustra. The technical and tactical aspects were also highlighted and presented both with interactive conversations and through watching some interesting videos. The importance of nutrition during both training and racing was equally highlighted. Fincycling team is energized with PowerBar products.
Our boys made a trip to Estonia during Easter. The team consisted of Simo Terävä (16), Jonne Itkonen (16), Jaakko Hänninen (17), Ville Hirvenoja (17), Walteri Lepistö (18) and Lauri Koski (18). In Estonia we lived and trained together with the National Junior cycling team of Estonia who live and train in Audentese Sports-school in Otepää. A race was also scheduled for Sunday, a national race with 271 cyclists at the start line, among them ex-professionals and team Alfa Baltic, a professional team from Latvia. The Fincycling team started off well and the boys executed and followed the pre-planned race tactics all the way. A good effort was rewarded with a great 14th place for Waltteri Lepistö (5th in the youth classification). Toomas Kirsipuu, a legendary Estonian ex professional cyclist was also impressed by the Fincycling team effort. Toomas, who today actively supports the local junior cyclists, also participated in the race and therefore closely followed the Fincycling team in action.
April 26th and 27th marks the official cycling season opening in Turku, Finland. Fincycling took part with a team consisting of Aleksi Hänninen (18), Sasu Halme (18),Waltteri Lepistö(18), Antto Tunkkari (18) and Arttu Suvisaari (18). Charly Wegelius, former world-class professional cyclist and today one of the sports directors at Team Garmin-Sharp flew to Finland and joined the team on Saturday morning. Charly Wegelius was the sports director for team Fincycling during the weekend. Having such a person in the team as Charly gives the boys in Fincycling the best possible guidance and support on their way to the world elite. The race tactics was again executed close to perfection and our rider Aleksi Hänninen was in the 12-man breakaway, which went all the way to the finish. The race was won by a Latvian professional rider, Maris Bogdanovics, and Aleksi finished 10th overall being the best junior.
The Finnish spring classic, Turun Sanomien kortteliajot the following day was another good performance by the team. The race plan was executed once again well, and especially Sasu Halme had a strong day in the saddle being at the front throughout the race and fighting at the final bunch sprint. TWD-Länken, the number one road cycling team in Finland this time had more riders and a stronger team and made a good leadout for the winner Ilari Kahila. Sasu Halme crossed the finish line as 7th rider and secured the junior overall win with Aleksi Hänninen taking overall second place for team Fincycling (Pavel Sveshnikov 3rd).
During the weekend Kilpapyöräily ry. also organized a cycling season 2014 - opening gala as a part of financing its own operations. The work done by the association has drawn a great attention in significant cycling countries, therefore many professional teams and cyclists donated valuable items for an auction held at the gala. Items were donated by reigning road cycling world champion Rui Costa (Team LAMPRE-MERIDA), Team SKY, Sylvain Chavanel (Team IAM Cycling), Daniel Martin (Team Garmin-Sharp) and the reigning Finnish road cycling champion Jussi Veikkanen (Team FDJ.fr) to mention a few. The project also awoke interest and enthusiasm, which culminated in the auction.
–A great project to support our youth, educating both internationalization and cycling at the same time, Marko Toivonen, Sales Manager of DMP Diesel added.
He became the owner of a valuable Team Sky signed jersey.
The first international race, La Coupe du Président de la Ville de Grudziadz (UCI 2.1), was ridden in Poland between May 1st and May 5th. The race included 5 stages with a total length of 408,1 km.
A UCI 2.1 race is the highest category for juniors where only national-, Team- and clubs can attend. 176 riders, 36 teams with 10 nationalities entered the race. A major part of the roads were in bad shape, which would make the race really hard. Aleksi Hänninen (18), Marco-Tapio Niemi (18), Lauri Koski (18), Waltteri Lepistö (18), Arttu Suvisaari (18), Erik Relanto (17) formed the Fincycling squad with Mauno Uusivirta as soigneur (former professional cyclist with both Olympic and world championship experience) and Marko Vauhkonen as sports director.
Few Fincycling boys have international experience. The objectives were to work well as a team and use the knowledge learnt during winter and spring from both Kjell Carlström and Charly Wegelius. The race began with a 12, 5 km team time-trial, Marco-Tapio was the only boy to have previous experience of a team time-trial. With a great support from Mauno Uusivirta who has lots of experience of team time-trials the team ended up with 21st place having an average speed of 49, 8 km/h, a really good effort. The following stage was ridden that same day and the rest of the stages in the coming days. Fortunately the condition of the roads was a bit better towards the end. Unfortunate was that two boys did catch a cold in the really chilly weather.
Sports director Marko Vauhkonen was really pleased by all the actions during the race. Attitude, willingness to learn and team spirit could not have been better.
– I really got emotional when I watched our boys execute everything they’ve learnt during the project so far, a really great way to show their respect for all people involved in the Fincycling project. The race in Poland was a great boost in the team self confidence, to the grade where Fincycling actually dominated the race events during the last stage. The whole team worked really hard to push Aleksi Hänninen to a podium place and top 15 overall position that day. Despite hard work, this time the goal was not reached, but the confidence within the team really grew a lot. Experience and confidence are key success factors in developing as a team and a cyclist.
The goals set up for the rookies before the start of the race:
1. Placing among the top third in the team classification. 36 teams started (5-6 man teams) where only 24 managed to finish the race, Fincycling being the 12th best team.
2. At least one cyclist should finish in the top quarter in the general classification. Aleksi Hänninen managed to take 39th place in a very hard race among 124 riders (176 cyclist started the race)
Now it’s time to rest, go to school and prepare for future races. The next race will be between May 24th and May 25th where team Fincycling will participate in AAH Etappiajo, a Finnish national stage race (Elite) in Hyvinkää. When the race in Hyvinkää is finished, the team will immediately head for the next race in Switzerland, where they will participate in 46ème Tour du Pays de Vaud UCI 2.1 between May 29th and June 1st.
Marko Vauhkonen 0400 375 864
Part 2 of the cycling weekend in Turku will be released soon, stay tuned! You can find Part one here.
Enjoy Giro and cycling!
Fincycling opened the national racing season last weekend in Turku.This is the first part of the race report from the weekend and includes the story from Simo Klimscheffskij’n muistoajo - race on Saturday (and loads of pictures and a video). The second part will cover the following day of racing - TS Kortteliajot on Sunday.
Saturday began with the team arriving to Turku at around mid-day. The team for the weekend was built up by 5 guys, Sasu Halme, Aleksi Hänninen, Antto Tunkkari, Waltteri Lepistö and Arttu Suvisaari. Usually the team consists of 6 riders but this time Jaakko Hänninen was unfortunate to be ill just before the race and couldn't participate.
Marko Vauhkonen would serve as the mechanic and Charly Wegelius, also known as the sports director of Team Garmin-Sharp would be the sports director for Fincycling during the weekend. So again, the boys would have a highly skilled and experienced team to back them up.
After a proper briefing by Charly Wegelius, it was time to change to race outfit. I have to say this team kit is really good looking. Not to mention it is the same quality Team Tinkoff-Saxo is racing.
The race would be in Hirvensalo, just outside of Turku, this served as a good warmup for the guys, some 6 km to spin the legs before the race would start.
The race would be 73 kilometers long and be ridden on a circuit with a length of 4 kilometers. The finish would be on top of a 800 m long hill, hard after many laps riding it over and over again.
The race was pretty hectic. On each lap there was at least one breakaway attempt, and the Fincycling guys did a great job in having at least one cyclist at the front at all time, catching up those breakaways. And on one lap the breakaway was succesful, and there was Aleksi Hänninen working to form a proper gap to the peloton.
The final climb was hard as expected and blew the legs out of many riders. Aleksi managed to hang in the last hundred meters and finished 10th. The other guys did tried to attack from the peloton in the final lap but didn't manage to create a gap to the peloton, and finished with the main group. All in all, a strong ride by the whole team, the boys were riding like men.
The next part will cover the Finnish spring classic TS Kortteliajot. Last but not least a little sneak peek in the Fincycling team car where Charly Wegelius gives instructions to Aleksi riding in the breakaway.
Note! If you do want to use any of the pictures, please contact me!
Fincycling, the cycling project started by Kilpapyöräily ry. is really moving forward in a great pace. The first race in Estonia 18th - 21st of April is just behind the corner and this is the first time we will see the young boys competing in their Fincycling equipment. Not long after that we will see the boys competing in Turku, Finland where also I will be reporting from. This will be the 26th and 27th of April, with Simo Klimscheffskij muistoajot on Saturday and TS Kortteliajot on Sunday.
Besides these races, on Saturday 26th of April a cycling Gala will be held in Turku. Present will be some big names from the world of cycling as well as influential people in Finland. During the evening some of the names in the Fincycling team will be presented. To support the team, an auction will be held. There are some great items in this auction, for instance the current road cycling world champion jersey by Rui Alberto Faria da Costa, just one great item to mention. All the proceeds from the auction and the Gala will be used to support the Fincycling cyclists. If you have any questions regarding the Gala, you can for instance shoot Suomen Pyöräily nousuun facebook page with a message. The official invitation (in Finnish) you can find here.
Another great thing for supporting the Fincycling team is the Kjell Carlström pyöräilyleiri (Kjell Carlström cycling camp). This is a training camp held in Solvalla idrottsinstitut 1.4 - 4.5.2014 and is a complete package with information about nutrition, how to train right, equipment, how to ride in group and much more. The coaching will be done by professionals such as Carlström himself. This is a unique chance for any active cyclists to improve both knowledge and results with the help of real cycling professionals. More information is found in Finnish and Swedish.
The program for the Fincycling team for April-May looks as following:
- 18.-21.04.2014 Team camp + Karksi-Nuia rattaralli EST 26.04.2014
- SK Muistoajo Turku FIN 27.04.2014 TS Kortteliajo Turku FIN
- 1.-4.05.2014 Président de la Ville de Grudziadz UCI 2.1 POL
- 16.-18.05.2014 3-Etappen-Rundfahrt der Junioren UCI 2.1 GER
- 24.-25.05.2014 AHH Etappiajo Hyvinkää FIN
- 29.05-1.06.2014 Tour du Pays de Vaud UCI 2.1 SUI
It is great to see the Fincycling team gain more and more attention all the time, and it will be really exciting to have the race season opened soon. Besides the Fincycling team schedule, these young boys also compete for their local cycling teams in Finland. So a lot of racing coming up for the young cyclists. And as we all know, that's the only way to make progress and that's the way to do a name for yourself if you want to become a professional cyclist. These boys are on the right track. Let's keep the wheels turning!
Read more about the Fincycling official launch here.
Enjoy and stay tuned!
The project launched by Kilpapyöräily ry, to lift the Finnish competitive cycling to a level where it deserves to be at, was finally publicly presented yesterday. Fincycling.com is the site where you will in the future be able to find all about the Fincycling Team and the progress. Of course I will be closely following this team and the project as well. To have such a professional and experienced squad including big names in cycling, both nationally and internationally known names (Carlström, Veikkanen, Wegelius, Laukka, Kananen and the list goes on and on) makes this project really stand out.
Fincycling is a great example of what passion and will can create. The people involved have invested a lot of their spare time and money to this project, for many it is about giving back to cycling what cycling has given them. It is with great warmth and joy I watch this project progress day by day closer to the season start.
In a couple of months the Fincycling team has taken great leaps forward, and knowing the pace and the passion for the ones working on this project, we are surely going to see some great news in the upcoming months as well.
Fincycling fact sheet:
- Builds on the work of Kilpapyöräily ry founded 19.10.2013
- Includes 27 enthusiasts, 4 Tour de France participants, 11 Nordic Championships medals, more than 600 national cycling medals (and the list goes on)
- Provide young cyclist with a complete assistance package including for instance; personal coaching and training, tutoring, providing assistance in building relationships with media, fans and sponsors, mental training and much more
- Begins with boys 16-18 years old, but will grow to support both genders and also other cycling sports such as track and mountain biking
- First year will consist of 10-12 international races with some 40-60 international racing days
- The door will be open for all potential boys in this age, there will be a rotation in squads going to the different international races
- Budget this year 160 000 €
So stay tuned, the season begins in April, I will keep you updated!