The ten-stage Tour de l’Avenir concluded Sunday with overall victory going to Norwegian Tobias Foss.
In the leader’s jersey briefly after stage three, the 22-year-old reclaimed yellow after stage eight and held onto it until the end. The member of Uno-X Norwegian Development Team further confirms his talent after finishing third this year at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Espoirs. Next year he joins UCI WorldTeam Team Jumbo-Visma.
Widely considered a ‘Tour de France for the young’, this 7th and final event on the UCI Nations’ Cup U23 calendar traditionally reveals the upcoming generation of top international road cyclists.
Having said that, we certainly don’t need to wait a generation to see them perform at the highest Elite level: 2018 winner Slovenian Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the Amgen Tour of California this year, while Colombian Egan Bernal found
himself on the top step of the 2019 Tour de France overall podium (not to mention Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse), just two years after his victory at the Tour de l’Avenir.
This year was the 56th edition of the Tour de l’Avenir which included nine road race stages plus a team time trial on day two.
The 23 national teams participating included four teams that were absent in 2018: Belarus, Canada, Eritrea and Hungary. They competed alongside two regional teams from France and a mixed team from the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC).
The UCI WCC enters a team each year to showcase up and coming talent from different nations. The team is made up of the centre’s own trainee athletes who are based in Aigle, Switzerland, supported by invited cyclists from other countries.
Sporting the UCI WCC’s colours this year, Ireland’s Ben Healey won the 159km fifth stage from Espalion to Saint-Julien-Chapteuil. The 18-year-old applied constant pressure on his four breakaway companions who gradually dropped away, leaving
him to celebrate victory. Healy’s UCI WCC team-mates in France were fellow Irishman Darragh O’Mahony, two Czechs Petr Kelemen and Vojtech Sedlacek and Moroccan Imad Sekkak.
The 10 stages of this year’s Tour de l’Avenir were won by riders from Denmark, Switzerland, Great Britain, Ireland, Colombia, Australia, Hungary and Ecuador.