On Monday, national team rider Riley Pickrell scored a massive victory in State 2 of the Tour de l’Avenir. The 195-km stage came down to a bunch sprint. Polish rider Radoslaw Fratczak thought he had it and did what was not the first, and probably not the last, early victory salute. As he threw his arms in the air, Pickrell threw his bike, stealing the win.
With the result, Pickrell moves up to fifth overall, and second in the points. The Canadian had a good Stage 1 as well, finishing eighth.
The Tour de l’Avenir has been around since 1961, and is considered the Tour de France for u-23 riders. The route will often use some of the stages used in the race’s bigger brother, and many winners of the TdF have done well. Riders like Greg LeMond, Laurent Fignon, Miguel Induráin, Laurent Fignon, Egan Bernal, and Tadej Pogačar have all won both the Tour de l’Avenir (Tour of the future) and the Tour itself.
After the race, an elated Pickrell reflected on the race in an interview posted by his trade team, Israel-Premier Tech Academy. “It was crazy! Team Israel was doing a really strong lead-out, and I was doing my best to feed off of them,” he said. It was a close battle between me and Rotem Tene and Oded Kogut in the sprint, and I managed to come out on top. It’s for sure my best result!”