Skip to main content

Cunego's director guides South Africa's U23 Worlds hopefuls

Image 1 of 3

Burry Stander racing for South Africa at the World Championships

Burry Stander racing for South Africa at the World Championships (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 2 of 3

South African Jaco Venter held the first KOM jersey

South African Jaco Venter held the first KOM jersey (Image credit: Shane Goss)
Image 3 of 3

Under 23 world champion Burry Stander (Specialized)

Under 23 world champion Burry Stander (Specialized) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Lampre directeur sportif Brent Copeland will put aside his normal duties with Damiano Cunego this week to direct South Africa at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

One of his responsibilities will be to look after South Africa's three-man Under-23 team. They will race the technical 13.8-kilometre circuit 13 times on Saturday; a total of 179.4 kilometres that will include 3185 metres of climbing.

"They have to race up front as much as possible. The more they race at the back, the more energy they throw away," Copeland told Cyclingnews. "Everyone knows that and wants to race at front, that's what makes it so hard."

This year's course in Mendrisio has two climbs, the Acqua Fresca and Novazzano, the second being the more difficult and coming only 2.5 kilometres before the finish. The numerous corners on the course will also force the cyclists to sprint many times on each circuit, said Copeland.

Jaco Venter, fourth overall at the Tour de l'Avenir, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and recently crowned Under-23 mountain bike World Champion Burry Stander are South Africa's three riders for the Under-23 road race. Venter will also race the time trial. The 22-year-old recently finished third in Avenir's stage eight time trial.

"Venter will do all right in the time trial, but there is a lot of climbing in the road race for him. He will need to watch the riders who are going well. The circuit will suit Stander, especially on the descents and the climbs. They are a lot like what he finds in a mountain bike race. The big question mark will be the distance."

Copeland said the strongest teams for the Mendrisio circuit should be Italy, France and Germany. He wants his riders near the front for two reasons: a possible win and to impress professional teams looking to sign riders.

Copeland was one of Lampre's directors at the recent Vuelta a España, where Italy's Cunego won two stages. Cunego is a favourite to win the elite men's road race Sunday.

Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world -