Published 9/15/2021 6:00 AM
If the European leagues have seen increased media coverage since they opened to professionals in 2016, other continental leagues are also in its shadow. About the world of these competitions.
In some sports, the continental championships have a significant dimension. In football, one only has to take into account the enthusiasm aroused by the Euro or the enthusiasm that surrounded the Africa Cup of Nations to achieve this. In rugby, the Six Nations, which brings together the top six European selections, draws ink from all the sports newspapers each spring. In athletics, the European Championships are even their counterparts in the world, they are contested every year and thus rise to the top of the hierarchy of athletes’ goals.
By relying heavily on events run by branded teams, with a calendar full of famous deadlines, cycling is thus a sign of its culture. If world champion rainbow borders make any runner dream, few make them the main target of their season. Eclectic in their way, random in their manner, exhausted in their form, Realms target only a handful of men each year, only those who have maintained sufficient freshness at the end of the marathon season. In terms of prestige, they therefore fail to match the scarecrow of the tour, as all profiles have the opportunity. Under these circumstances, it is hard to imagine how the Continental Championships could hold such a prominent place in the hearts and goals of cyclists. The number of titles who voluntarily missed the debates in Trento on Sunday proved that once again. But after confining the old continent’s sporting framework for a week, it’s time to look elsewhere, beyond the Atlantic and across the Urals, to discover a series of shadow competitions, limited in scope, crowning local champions each year, or more. Less well known than the pelotons world tour. A short world tour of the Continental Road Cycling Championships.
Asian Cycling Championships
- season period : Unresolved
- Continental Confederation : Asian Cycling Federation
- Heroes of the ruling elite : Yevgeny Gedich (Kazakhstan) and Olga Zabelinska (Uzbekistan)
Iran and Kazakhstan regularly oppose the summit of the glory of the Asian champion | © ERNA
Do you know Yukiya Arrashiro? Current runner in Bahrain Merida and ex-lover of Jean-René Pernot, the sympathetic Japanese recently rode the Vuelta without revealing their identity. Tour du Limousin overall classification winner in 2012 or 9NS From the World Championships in 2010, the Ishigaki native rode well in the international pelotons, collecting in the process a good string of packages. Well, know that in this group there is noticeably the title of Asian champion, collected in 2011 in front of the Uzbek Marjan Halmuratov and the Iranian Hossein Askari.
His coronation thus symbolizes the scope of the Asian Championships. Relatively unknown to the general public, the winners are Gregaris on the World Tour or the leaders of the local continental formations. The Kazakh Yevgeny Gidic (Astana – Premier Tech) or the Emirati Youssef Mirza (UAE Team Emirates), the winners of the last two editions, illustrates the first case perfectly, when the Chinese Xianjing Lyu, the second in 2019, symbolizes the second side. Very tyrannical in the national context that year, the latter logically found himself at the forefront of the Asian Championships, without ever setting foot on European roads.
Additionally, when grouping countries where cycling is difficult to democratize, the event tends to reward the countries that performed best in that exercise. Of the dozens of participating countries, only 11 have managed to win a medal in the men’s event, and Japan, Iran and Kazakhstan alone have taken home 10 of the 16 gold medals awarded since 2004. Among the women, progressive Taiwanese speaks volumes for itself on the charts, with the island nation winning China Sea Island with all releases between 2011 and 2015.
African Cycling Championships
- season period : beginning of May
- Continental Confederation : Confederation of African Cycling
- Heroes of the ruling elite : Ryan Gibbons (South Africa) and Karla Oberholzer (South Africa)
African Cycling Championships | © Africa Sports News
The effect is the same in Africa. Just look at the team’s time trial log to get a good idea of which nations are dominant. For both men and women, Eritrea and South Africa compete for the title each year, with Rwanda and Ethiopia in Africa as referees. This note set the schedule for the African Championships. The two top-ranked nations won 15 of the men’s last 16 in the online event. A statistic for Italy, winner of the last four European Championships, a junior player.
The list of awards thus highlights continental students who are good at cycling, and are Africa’s pioneers in this field. These are the same countries that share and share the organization of the event, as continental locomotives for the development of cycling. Gradually, they rise to the highest level of discipline, throwing more and more local champions into the deep end of the world tour. Unlike the Asian championships, the African winners can influence the European races. This is the case of Ryan Gibbons, reigning champion, very prominent on the roads of the Vuelta, or Louis Meintjes, titled 2015, twice 8NS From the final general classification of Grand KCl.
The African Championships, a true cycling laboratory, tends to become the face of the continent for the UCI. The success of the Rwandan version in 2018 even led the International Foundation to make the former Belgian colony its favorite for organizing the 2025 worlds. It will then be the first in Africa.
Oceania Cycling Championship
- season period : Planet Mars
- Continental Confederation : Oceania Cycling Federation
- Heroes of the ruling elite Benjamin DePaul (Australia), Charlotte Lucas (New Zealand)
Benjamin DePaul during his coronation at the 2019 Oceania Championships | © Caitlin Johnson
As in rugby with the famous rivalry between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, the Oceania Road Cycling Championships have a serious classico vibe. Australia vs. New Zealand, here’s their annual schedule. If this island “continent” includes 16 countries, then only Jean-Charles Guetsch of New Caledonia managed to break the hegemony in 1999. Since then, all medals, including all events, have been distributed to the two Commonwealth countries. In this game, Australia has topped 10 to 4 titles in the men’s online event since 2005 (11 to 3 for women), the date on which the event gained yearly exposure.
Therefore, you realize that it is impossible for these tournaments to be run by selections. Indeed, in the face of a lack of sufficiently broad international competition, they once again took on the model of national championships by arguing between tag teams. So, Benjamin DePaul crossed the line for the last edition held in 2019 with a sky blue jacket for the Sapura Cycling Team. hostility from one country or another. As for the National Championships, big cars are highly favourites, such as the hat-trick achieved by Mitchelton Scott in 2017, through Lucas Hamilton, Michael Storer and Jay Hindley.
This ranking also symbolizes the competitors’ profile. Given the late date of holding these tournaments (mid-March), at a time when continental Gratan had already joined European roads, the winners tend to be young nuggets who continue their learning on their own lands, or champions’ places, with an ambiguous timeline for the general public. Benjamin DePaul has conducted the entire 2019 season in Asia, from the Qinghai Lake Tour to the Langkawi Tour via the Tour of Indonesia. However, his coronation enabled him to recruit the WorldTeam NTT, for which he raced the following year, notably discovering the Vuelta.
Thus, if they only know poor media coverage, including within their geographic region, these Oceania tournaments have great sporting interest, dedicating each year the best hopes of the continent, or offering a good streak of winners from those who have passed under the radar of the world’s top teams. The results never deceive, and they often portray the winners in Europe. Chris Harper, a current resident of Jumbo-Visma, won’t be able to tell you the opposite, he’s the one who will still run in mainland Oceania during his 2018 title.
Pan American Cycling Championship
- season period : beginning of May
- Continental Confederation : Pan American Cycling Federation
- Heroes of the ruling elite : Nelson Soto (Colombia), Paula Munoz (Chile)
Paula Munoz wins the sprint at the end of the last edition of the Pan American Championships in the Dominican Republic | © Agorillo
In terms of competition and competitiveness, it is perhaps the event closest to the European Championships. Jefferson Cepeda, Sebastian Molano, Jonathan Caicedo and Arlenis Sierra won. Even better, his hopeful race has occasionally revealed planetary champions. Prior to winning the Giro, Richard Carapaz won 2013, and was succeeded the following year by Fernando Gaviria, the man with 47 professional victories. Among the women, Trinidadian Tinelle Campbell raised her arms there, two years before joining Team BikeExchange and shining this week on the roads of the Tour de l’Ardèche, notably winning the sixth stage.
With 42 countries to begin with, it has to be said that these US Championships are contested, even if only on their site. Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic are the last host countries, which in turn offer mountainous, flat or mountainous courses, such as the continent on which a young queen rolls her hump. The organization of the event is a prelude to the development of local racing, attracting more and more European teams. Long an exception in this field, the Tour de San Juan has been joined in recent years by the impressive Tour of Colombia in the program of many a WorldTeam, taking Julian Alaphilippe and others from February to more than 2,000 meters above sea level.
Likewise, the findings also emphasize the democratization of cycling in America. If they go on to win the most men’s medals, the Colombians now face competition from a crowd of nations, including Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, but also from Central American nations like the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. On the women’s front, Cuba leads the march, and is the big record holder for titles in the event. If all of these countries do not yet have their own international champion, they tend to do so, with new nationalities emerging at the highest global level. The coronation of Richard Carapaz at the Olympic Games, the pride of Venezuela, is proof of this.
By Jean-Guillaume Langront
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