Russian Andrey Klyuev won the road race of the European Championships for Espoirs ahead of Ignas Konovalovas from Lithuania. The competition was held Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Ignas Konovalovas (VC La Pomme Marseille), who had already taken fourth place in the time trial, joined the sole leader, Klyuev, with a counter attack on the last climb of the race. The duo never did get a lead above 20 seconds but it was enough for them to reach the finish line 13 seconds ahead of the charging field for a two-up sprint, with the Russian prevailing.
The field sprint was won by Latvian Normunds Lasis (Latvia) to get the bronze medal. Daniel Martin, also riding for VC La Pomme Marseille and turning professional with Slipstream next year, has had health problems since the 'Ronde de l'Oise' and abandoned 30 kilometre from the finish, after being present in a breakaway. He is now trying to recover for his August program.
Konovalovas, not particularly known for emotional outbursts, was visibly happy after getting the silver medal, declaring "I am really satisfied," accompanied with a huge, unusual grin on his face. The Lithuanian also took 5th place in the European Championships on the track in Cottbus, Germany, the week before. All in all a very successful week for the young rider.
The 21 year-old's successes this year, including a second place at the Lithuanian National Championships and the win of the time trial at the 'Ronde de l'Isard' have netted him a contract as a stagiaire for Crédit Agricole this summer.