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Benelux Challenge - Discussion
Benelux Challenge

Race Profile


Welkom in België, welkom in Nederland, and since I don’t speak Luxembourgish, welkom in Luxemburg! A very interesting six day stage race that includes a prologue, flat stages, hilly stages and even cobbles, no idea who will win this! The startlist is quite small, with only 120 riders, and a lot of them weak domestiques. The amount of riders that are clear favourites is quite low. Only five I think, with one joker. As there are so many different terrains, we’ll just cover each one of them, and I’ll tell you who I think are the favourites to win the seventh edition of the Benelux Challenge! First, we’ll have a look at the prologue specialist.

TT Prologue
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Janse van Rensburg7878
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Dumoulin7878
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Li7878
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Kalaba7078
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Ghyselinck7777
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Quaade7876
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Nechita7676
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/and.png Kireva7576
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Rosas7576
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Mygind7276

The race starts with a prologue in Maastricht, home base of Minions manager Marco, and it shows. Three of his riders on the list of prologue specialists, with the top favourite probably being pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Janse van Rensburg. Other favourites for the stage win and first yellow jersey are all CT guys: pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Dumoulin, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Li, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Ghyselinck and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Quaade. None of those should be looking to win the GC though. Let’s find out who the best sprinters of the pack should be.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Kristoff74678277
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lpu.png Gaviria76728184
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nca.png Kump74778180
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Salleh70598080
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Van Asbroeck75718078
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Kalaba74697979
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Stauff73647979
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Houle78757978
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Canelon77577883
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Boev72657878

Top favourite for the sprint seems to be Lierse’s pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lpu.png Gaviria. Although the flat stage(s) finish in The Netherlands, you never know if he can survive until the end in stage three to give his team win on home soil in Leuven. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Kristoff and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Salleh might be strong competitors, but let’s not forget about pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nca.png Kump. The Slovenian rider is probably the second strongest sprinter on the list, and the first GC favourite we come across, as he is a good puncheur and not too shabby on the cobbles. Winning seconds in (a) sprint(s) could be vital towards winning the GC and keeping his team in the relegation battle.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Van Asbroeck should also not be underestimated, while a calm second stage might be in favour of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Kalaba, who could have two chances to take yellow in the first two stages. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Houle is another good sprinter who is a decent puncheur, but he won’t be Xero’s leading man, as we’ll see later. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Boev is Philips’ free agent, and has already been performing very strong in C2 and C2HC. Can he perform against PCT riders as well?

Time to take a look at one of the more deciding factors of the stage race, the riders’ puncheur capacities.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Claeys66826371
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cap.png Di Maggio65825175
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Benoot75787671
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Juul-Jensen70787079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Barbin68785776
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Tsatevich62777575
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nca.png Kump66777380
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cap.png Mutsumine69775871
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Felline66775778
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Caruso68775376
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lpu.png Skjerping70775265
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cap.png Dieteren70775166
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Roux64775174
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Selander68766376
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eur.png Lavery71766377

Purely looking at their puncheur skills, the top favourites should be pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Claeys and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cap.png Di Maggio. They might be able to get some nice stage results, but as they are not the best cobblers at all, a strong GC position should probably be out of reach, definitely for the Italian. Looking at some names below them we find four of the, according to me, GC favourites. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Benoot, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Juul-Jensen, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Tsatevich and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nca.png Kump. As explained earlier, the Slovenian could win vital bonification seconds on flat stages, but is it enough to compete with the all-roundedness of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Benoot on home soil? That remains to be seen. It is interesting to see that two of the pre race favourites in a C1 race are CT riders.

Still one favourite and one joker to go though, and we’ll find those in the list of the cobblers.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/and.png Summerhill73837672
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/and.png Machado63797267
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Bush63787573
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Debesay74777579
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Kristoff67777369
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Schreurs67777575
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Van Lerberghe66777574
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/t3a.png Insausti64777673
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Benoot78767574
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Tsatevich77757473
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Paprstka69757470

Stage four has some cobbles, and it quite hilly. If the break doesn’t take it, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/and.png Summerhill is the clear favourite for the stage win. Nevertheless, I consider the American a joker for the GC instead of a favourite because of his terrible prologue stat. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Debesay should finish well on this stage as well as in the other hilly stages and the prologue, therefore the Xero rider is one of my five GC favourites. The other favourites for both the stage and GC win should be pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Benoot and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Tsatevich.

Enough previewing and talking to myself, I’ll leave the rest of it up to you. Here’s the startlist of the Benelux Challenge, good luck to everyone!


Oof, should've came here, would've possibly been a great race for us
Manager of the greatest team in the world
DK Žalgiris
Sprinters race Banana

Nemolito's cursed reporting Sad

It's not Bonifazio Shock

Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
A contender for every terrain (except cobbles because of a clash with Macskako) which could bring us a lot of points or backfire immensely.

Funny how you call Maastricht our home base when the second stage literally starts in my hometown :lol:
Manager of Minions
AI please work, AI please work, AI please work...

Thanks for the preview Nemo, sure the reports will be great as ever no matter the outcome. If this race works out as I know it could then it will be a great last hurrah to give us a bucket of points before the late season slide away from the top 5 begins. If not then the slide begins here Pfft
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
4/10/20 - jph27 said "Just need to make sure I don't accidentally promote again."
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
This race is most likely the determining race in regard to whether or not we stay up. Need a mega race from Kumpi!
When I was picking my C1 races, I singled this one out as where we needed to be. It's not just because this is where Marc De Maar got his first win in Carlsberg colors, but because we have a rider who should be uniquely capable of performing well here.

There really aren't that many cobbles, but my hope is that they're just enough to pop most of the pure puncheurs, but not enough to pop JJ (at least for considerable time). It could really go either way though, we'll just have to see. Consistency is key for us, and the startlist isn't too packed, so he has a shot even if he can't match the best on any given day.

Benoot is the obvious favorite I think, and generally I agree with your assessment Nemo. Tsatevich and Kump are good options too, and Kump could definitely gain some bonus seconds if he sprints. Debesay is also a contender, but I'd put him more on JJ's level with just a different rider type since the hills are more prevalent than cobbles.

Lastly, we probably should have brought Bertilsson, but in planning I still thought giving him to AKA might matter.

I'd say top 5 is the goal here, but we'll see what happens. Thanks for the preview!
Hahaha, already by far the worst in the team standings and no riders even close to top 10. Hopefully we can only climb from here Smile

Thank you for the detailted prologue report!
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Can every race be a prologue next season BananaBananaBananaBanana

Four riders in the top eight and all jerseys, that must be a new personal record. Did not expect Rosas to be first but an early start apparently did good. Kalaba in a good position to defend that jersey tomorrow.
Manager of Minions
Congrats Marco!

Average stuff from us. I was wondering why I didn't send WVA here and realised I probably misread the prologue as a flat sprinter stage Pfft
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
Kalaba for the Minions, awesome ride!
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Love to see another Jams stage placing after the sprint in Slovenie, hope he can have a good race here as it’s not a bad one for his skillset really. Obviously the big focus on Debesay who made an ok start here. Looking forward to the rest of it and big congrats Marco!
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
4/10/20 - jph27 said "Just need to make sure I don't accidentally promote again."
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
Quaade continuing to do nothing for me, but cool to see Sulvaran make the top 15! JJ not too bad, beating Benoot, Tsatevich, and Summerhill at least.

Congrats to Marco, now to the real racing!
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
Damn I forgot I was in this race...

Best ITT result of the season for Dumoulin, still should've won Pfft.

Thanks for the report Nemo and congrats Marco Smile
Well that was another special stage, we work so hard to get a gap, then throw away the gap and the stage win because we don't want to lead out Gaviria too soon. Thanks for the report!
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
Kalaba just wanted to take a picture with the manager, no need to start chasing him like crazy Rolling Eyes

Bit of a wonky race from him but at least he's now in yellow. Still looking good on all classifications but the polka dot, but even I can climb up the Amerongse Berg with my normal bike so there shouldn't even be a KoM there :lol:

Thanks Nemolito, congrats beagle!
Manager of Minions
Well good things don't last with Dumoulin. Perhaps the bigger loss is Bovenhuis also losing 3 minutes as we were hoping he'd be able to keep up on both the hills and the cobbles for a good result.

Congrats beagle and thanks for the report!
Congrats to Beagle, good move, hoepfully Kump will be able to produce a better result further into the race, Peak holding KoM is a nice bonus even if it's only going to amount for 3 points at the end of the race!
Nice to see JJ being attentive and well positioned here. I had no belief that the gaps would hold even if they actually did because for flat rated stages gaps just aren't given even when they exist. Top 10 on the stage is cool, though it doesn't score anything for us. I'll take it though if it's any indicator of JJ's fitness going into the next 3 days.

This is the kind of stage where a late attack might have actually worked, so it's not too bad to see it happen. But then again, I don't have a sprinter here. Pfft
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
Given that every point counts for us, I'd be content if we get something, anything from this race
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