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by Mark Zalewski
February 3, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Degenkolb wins rough and tumble Dubai sprint; Damien Howson takes Sun Tour lead with solo victory on Falls Creek; Kristoff fires back with win at Etoile de Bessèges, stage 2; Tony Martin solos to win at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana; Stuyven forging his own path despite past comparisons with Classics kings; Grivko punches Kittel amidst tense crosswinds in Dubai; Should welfare come before winning?; Canyon coming to the US market by summer; Judge rules against lawsuit over Dekker’s tell-all book; Pair recreates 1928 Aussie-Kiwi Tour de France ride in documentary; Cadel Evans joins ride for veterans with PTSD; Video: Crosswinds wreak havoc in Dubai; Skoda ad features career of Bradley Wiggins.
The rush to find the next Tom Boonen is as unfair as Belgium’s post-Merckx search for the new Cannibal: such comparisons are stifling and place unnecessary and unfair pressure on young riders. Jasper Stuyven knows all about that, having himself being saddled with the new Boonen tag in the past. Glittering amateur results such as victory in the world junior road race championship and the junior Paris-Roubaix raised interest in him and led to a contract with the Bontrager-Livestrong setup.
Subsequent performances included third in the espoir Liège-Bastogne-Liège and overall victory in the Volta ao Alentejo, as well as a pro deal with Trek Factory Racing in 2014. Cue the hype, heightened expectations in Belgium and, somewhat inevitably, an anti-climax.
“The Belgian media did put some pressure on me,” Stuyven tells CyclingTips, relaxing prior to the team’s evening meal at a Spanish training camp. “But then you see that in 2015 I had some bad luck and then you don’t count anymore. That’s the Belgian media. So I’m not really worried about that ever.
“I just put the pressure on myself and I don’t really care about what the media wants to write about me.”
Stuyven knows how things work: his country is crazy about the sport, the national media is given plenty of space to write about cycling and that in turn leads to greater exposure for the up and coming riders.
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