Performance Anaylsis Giro d’Italia U23
The Giro d’Italia U23 was a successful one for the Academy as we wrapped up the race with two stage wins, two days in pink, two riders within the Top 15 overall and above all a great team performance in the most challenging stage race of the calendar. The road to the race started early in the season as the Performance Team, led by Vasilis Anastopoulos, planned individualized training plans for the riders. “The planning for this year’s Giro began already during the winter period as we knew that this year’s edition would be completely different to the one in 2017. After analyzing the route we knew that it suited to riders like Stevie Williams, Jan Maas and Edo Affini, so their training and racing plans were structured in a way that they would get to their peak condition in late May and June. Each of their training phases had a specific purpose towards this race” highlights our Performance Manager. 

All in all, the Performance Staff of the Academy achieved the difficult task of bringing multiple riders to their top shape through individualized and personalized training plans. “Jan (Maas) and Stevie (Williams), used races like Tour de Bretagne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège as a preparation and we got the confirmation that we were on the right track in Ronde de l’Isard. After that, both headed to Loutraki in order to put the final touches to their form and simulate some racing scenarios, which show us (the Performance Staff) that they were more than ready for the race”. Both riders were joined in Greece by Daan Hoole, who after an impressive season start, 16th overall in Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux, showed that he needed no time to adapt to the U23 ranks. “Daan was in a very high level since the beginning of the season and in Ronde de l’Isard he proved himself a solid helper, so it was a no-brainer to bring him into the lineup and get some high-quality training in Loutraki. Racing and training at this level will make him nothing but stronger in the years to come”. 

The Giro was off to the best possible start for us as Edoardo Affini took the win in the opening prologue, becoming the first Maglia Rosa wearer of the race. Even though that Affini is well-known for his time trialing ability that performance did not come out of the blue. “We started working towards the prologue with Edo in early May. He did not join the other riders in Loutraki but he stayed in Italy and combined some TT training sessions with some days in the track. We knew what we needed, and the results say that we achieved it”. Thymen Arensman and Ide Schelling followed a different path than their teammates in order to arrive in the optimal condition to the set date. “With Thymen and Ide, we took an approach more based on one-day races that suited their abilities in order to improve their shape as well as some short duration camps in the Ardennes. Despite the Thymen’s early crash in which we lost a very valuable helper, we are sure that the form was there. Ide Schelling just confirmed his constant progression and perfectly helped Jan and Stevie in the climbs”. 

Anastopoulos is happy with the team performance in the last 10 days and is positive that this experience will bring our riders into their next development phase.  “We did a very good race and our riders gained some valuable experience for the future. Michel Cornelisse set a proper tactical plan before the race started, so everyone knew what he had to do. For sure we did some small tactical mistakes at crucial points during the race, but that is also part of their development process. To learn through the mistakes and use this experience for the future”.