New French GC star in the making? Junior star Paul Seixas climbs like a pro to win prestigious Pays du Vaud and Classique Alpes

Junior cycling fans are already well familiar with the name Paul Seixas. The 17-year-old climber from Lyon already made waves in the peloton during his first season in the junior category, but it's only now in his second year that he's fully showing what he might capable of.

Seixas already made a strong debut in 2023, when he was multiple times on the verge of big victory, but it wasn't to be then. The 2005 stars Jørgen Nordhagen and AJ August were a tad bit too big of a taste for Seixas. Note that the American turned pro with INEOS Grenadiers already last year, while the Norwegain junior world champion in cross-county skiing is set to join the ranks of Visma | Lease a Bike in 2025. And the year younger Seixas was able to go head to head with the two on multiple occasions. There was no doubt big future laid ahead of the Frenchman already then. But nobody could have foreseen the dominance we were yet to witness in 2024.

It's not a secret that level of junior cycling has exponentially grown in the past years with more and more riders ready to turn pro at the age of 18. Remco Evenepoel's win at San Sebastian 2019 or Joshua Tarling's European ITT title in 2023 are prime examples of this trend.

Back to Seixas what have seen so far and what can we expect from the young rider who is wearing the Decathlon AG2R U19 jersey for a second consecutive year now?

First let's go a week back in time to review what happened at Swiss Tour du Pays de Vaud. The four-day Nations Cup stage race returned after a year-long hiatus with a rare queen stage at the junior ranks. The third stage visited the notorically famous Villars-sur-Ollon climb. The one that will be challenged not less than twice by the pros at the upcoming Tour de Suisse.

On the 8.9km climb at 8.4%, Seixas showed his opponents their place when he arrived to the top with 1:23 advantage over the chasing duo. This alone is an impressive feat, but Seixas clocked a time of approximately 25 minutes. That is only 40 second slower than Remco Evenepoel at Tour de Suisse 2023. Such time would put Seixas in the contention for the top 10 in the race.

As if that wasn't enough showcase of power for Seixas, he approached the popular Classique Alpes Juniors with even greater appetite, blowing up the race on Col du Mont Turnier (11.9km a 5%) where only two other riders could follow the demonic pace. But Seixas took no hostages later on the Mont du Chat (8.6km a 7.9%), dealing fatal blow to last attempts to hold on to the rider in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes outfit. Arriving to La Bridoire, Seixas held a gap of more than four minutes to second place Adria Pericas.

How long did I take Seixas to crest the Mont du Chat? 25:52 is a time that makes heads turn. For a comparison, 2019 race winner Valentin Paret-Peintre, who has performed splendidly at recent Giro d'Italia, was a full minute slower than Seixas on Saturday.

Then the question arises which team will snatch the young Frenchman's services. Whether his next steps will see him stay at the massively improving Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale or another team will have a better offer Seixas. Both officially and unofficially, there should be no definite deal signed by the youngster, but we can only imagine his agent's phone is ringing non-stop.

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