While Norwegian super talents Oskar Svendsen, Odd Christian Eiking, Sven-Erik Bystrøm and Sindre Lunke were expected to shine at the Arctic Race of Norway ahead of next week's Tour de l’Avenir, it's been the young Frenchman Kevin Ledanois who's drawn the most attention.
Ledanois is taking part in his first pro race as a stagiare with Bretagne-Séché Environnement. He was eighth in stage 1 and was also the only rider to make it back up to the peloton in stage 2 after crashing with 8km to go.
Ledanois joined the pro ranks with ambitions. "We’re here to show that if we’ve been picked as stagiares, it’s because we have the fitness," Ledanois told Cyclingnews before lining up in Hammerfest with the French pro continental team. "My pleasure in racing here is even bigger because my dad is also here as a directeur sportif in the convoy."
After directing Thor Hushovd to a win in the inaugural Arctic Race of Norway, Yvon Ledanois came back at the helm of the BMC Racing Team. In the same stage where Kevin Ledanois was eighth, his dad's best rider, Loic Vliegen, who is also a stagiare, was ninth.
"I knew Kevin had skills for cycling but on this occasion, he amazed me," the elder Ledanois said. "He’s had a consistent season as an amateur, his first one as a full-time cyclist. He was sixth at the Tour de Normandie, and he played an important role in Anthony Turgis’ win at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He quit football for cycling at his own initiative, and I discovered the fear as a father. Cycling is a dangerous sport, but I wouldn’t prevent him from doing what he wanted, just like my parents let me cycle when I was young."
Yvon Ledanois rode for Castorama, WordPerfect, Gan and Française des Jeux in the 1990s. He was a stage winner of the 1997 Vuelta a España at Sierra Nevada. "I don’t want to look after my son’s career," he said. "Joona Laukka is his agent."
Kevin Ledanois was very active again on the ascent to Kvænangsfjellet where he finished in the main group 15 seconds behind the Simon Spilak who won stage 3 and Steven Kruijswijk who moved into the lead.
"I’m disappointed," said Kevin Ledanois. "I should have tried to follow the first two to know but I’ll try again tomorrow."
After the finish, Laukka confirmed to Cyclingnews that several big teams have called him to hire the young Ledanois.