Thursday Thoughts: Ranking the races

A look at the calendar for 2019 I don’t know if you guys noticed, but 2019 has started. Even more excitingly, we have the calendar for the VDS races for 2019 . You may have read about it . In my view, the six categories of races is the best combination of “fair” and “simple” anywhere, two things that any rating system should be. That doesn’t mean it is perfect, though. Category three and four races are primarily determined based on “official status” of races and there are a few good races (cough Yorkshire cough) that are in category five despite being superior to a range of 3s and 4s. There are also, as Ursula notes, some races missing – Brabantse Pijl being on the list for now. I can live with those variances. The question for today is, which races would you most like to win? We’ll all have ...

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The weekly spin: 15 reasons to be excited about the 2019 racing season

Mountain bikers on the road. The debut of a future star. Alternative events. Intra-squad rivalry. The return of a world champion. What follows is a 2019 season preview of sorts, exploring 15 different subjects, stories, and subplots of the upcoming mens’s and women’s racing calendars. The list could have been twice as long. I thought … The post The weekly spin: 15 reasons to be excited about the 2019 racing season appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Offseason Capsule: Lotto Soudal

Can the only Lotto left in town start cashing in some of their tickets? Lotto Soudal are the hipster cyclist’s favorite cycling team-- overwhelmingly Belgian, but not the most successful Belgian team, chock full of young talent, but not the most precocious of the neo pros, and boasting some of the most exciting, but not always successful, riders in the pro-ranks, while still trying to maintain the cycling team as a family but not a business feel (but perhaps not successfully), boasting (but perhaps not for long) Tom Boonen as an “advisor,” and repping the original Lotto before Rabobank thought it was cool. As of late, success has been secondary to style for Lotto, but perhaps that’s about to change. What we said last year Andrew was prescient in his prediction for Lotto’s 2018 season: [W]ith Gallopin leaving and Greipel aging, the odds of maintaining 8th place and matching the ...

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Offseason Capsule: Quick Step

We didn’t see any Quick Step Flaws In 2018, Patrick Lefevre’s boys put together a season for the ages. What does 2019 have in store? Well, they can’t possibly match last year (can they?) but nothing says Christmas on Podium Café like looking back over the most dominant cobbles season we’ve seen in the modern era. What we said last year I’m reasonably pleased with this. I was optimistic about the team surviving the loss of Boonen and continuing to lead the peloton in wins and topping the VDS rankings. I talked up the sprint unit and was optimistic of increased success in the Ardennes, and I also enthused about the chances of many strong cobbles riders between them grabbing a cobbled monument. I was comparatively down on their GC chances and I didn’t see Enric Mas coming. I also missed the sheer onslaught of wins, but I used the ...

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Van der Poel set for Flanders debut in 2019

Van der Poel set for Flanders debut in 2019

Classics fans will have a fresh face to watch for at Tour of Flanders and other spring races as Mathieu van der Poel is set to debut. Read the full article at Van der Poel set for Flanders debut in 2019 on VeloNews.com .

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Chavanel, Roy in last road race at Paris-Tours

Sylvain Chavanel on the Paris-Tours podium after his last road race

Sylvain Chavanel ( Direct Energie ) and Jérémy Roy ( Groupama-FDJ ) raced their final road races at Paris-Tours on Saturday, bringing an end to Roy's 16-year professional career and leaving Chavanel with only Chrono des Nations on October 14 as his final day of racing before closing out 19 years in the pro peloton. In characteristic style, Chavanel went on the attack during the 214.5km 1.HC race from Chartres to Tours, joining a six-man group that gained six minutes on the bunch and eventually swelled to nine before relentless attacking and chasing behind brought Chavanel's final adventure off the front to an end. The 39-year-old Frenchman eventually finished 45th. Roy was 58th. Chavanel's attacking style brought him 45 professional wins over his career, starting with a stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge in 2000 and finishing with a stage at the Four Days of Dunkirk last year. In between, the ...

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Today at the Tour: The Spring Classics in July

The Paris-Roubaix champion won, ahead of a recent winner of Brabantse Pijl. Former winners of Liège-Bastogne-Liège finished third, fourth, and sixth, with a Flèche Wallonne winner fifth, and a former Roubaix winner in seventh. The current Milan-San Remo champion finished 10th. Welcome to the Spring Classics in July. The west coast of France looked a … The post Today at the Tour: The Spring Classics in July appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Today at the Tour: Chavanel says goodbye with panache

Sylvain Chavanel went out in style. No, the 39-year-old Frenchman didn’t win Stage 2 of the Tour de France Sunday; that honor went to world champion Peter Sagan, who dodged a late-race pileup and held off a surging Sonny Colbrelli. But the Direct Energie rider, riding in his 18th and final Tour, spent much of … The post Today at the Tour: Chavanel says goodbye with panache appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Paris-Roubaix dedicates Secteur Michael Goolaerts

Michael Goolaerts (Veranda's Willems-Crelan Pro Cycling)

Paris-Roubaix organisers ASO have named a pavé sector in memory of Michael Goolaerts , dedicating it with a memorial ceremony on Sunday. Family and friends of Goolaerts and members of his Veranda's Willems-Crelan team attended the ceremony along with the local mayor and mayor of Goolaerts' hometown. The sector formerly known as Secteur Pavé Chemin de Saint-Quentin will now be known as Secteur Michael Goolaerts. As well as renaming the cobbled sector, a monument has been erected in his memory near the place where he fell. Goolaerts died during this year's edition of Paris-Roubaix after suffering a cardiac arrest on the second cobbled sector, between Viesly and Briastre. The 23-year-old was in just his second season as a professional with Veranda's Willems-Crelan and had contested his second Tour of Flanders the week before, getting into the day's early break. Goolaerts was in the main bunch as the peloton began the ...

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Flanders Classics expands with control of Superprestige cyclocross

Flanders Classics expands with control of Superprestige cyclocross

Joe Robinson 30 May 2018 Dominant force in Belgian racing set to expand onto the mud Organisers of the Tour of Flanders , Flanders Classics, is set to take over the premium cyclocross series of the Superprestige from 2019, bringing the biggest cycling races in Belgium across both disciplines under one company. Announced today, Flanders Classics will assume control of the eight-race series that takes place in Belgium and the Netherlands, and includes the infamous Zonhoven circuit. This will help Flanders Classics take the next step in its push to become one of premier cycling race organisers alongisde the likes of ASO (Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix) and RCS (Giro d'Italia). Currently, the Flanders Classics runs Omloop Het Nieuwblad, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, Schelderijs, De Brabantse Pijl and, of course, its marquee race the Tour of Flanders . However the absorption of these eight key cyclocross races could be more cause ...

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Tim Wellens sticks with Lotto Soudal

Tim Wellens on top step of the Brabantse Pijl podium

Tim Wellens - winner of April’s Brabantse Pijl and a stage and the overall classification at the Ruta del Sol in February - has decided to stay with the Lotto Soudal team, re-signing for a further two seasons. “I think I’m good here at Lotto Soudal, and I want to be part of the plans that [team managers] Paul De Geyter and Marc Sergeant have,” Wellens said in a statement. The Belgian heads into this year’s Giro d’Italia - the only Grand Tour he’ll race this season - with the confidence that a new contract in his back pocket brings. He’ll be on the hunt for stage wins, looking to add to the stage victory he took there in 2016 . “But I also want to evolve in stage races of five to 10 days,” Wellens continued. “I think I have the potential to be a better time triallist, and ...

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Hosking set to sprint at Tour of Chongming Island - Women's News Shorts

Chloe Hosking all smiles with the trophy

Ale Cipollini will be racing two events coming up at the Women's WorldTour Tour of Chongming Island in China from April 26-28 and the Gran Premio Liberazione Pink in Rome on April 25. Chloe Hosking , a former winner of the Tour of Chongming Island, will compete in the three-day event with support from Anna Trevisi, Soraya Paladin, Karlijn Swinkels and Martina Stefani. Marta Bastianelli , winner of Gent-Wevelgem and Brabantse Pijl, will lead the team racing in Rome with support from Daiva Tuslaite, Anisha Vekemans, Mayuko Hagiwara and Ane Santesteban Gonzalez. Bastianelli won the last two editions that take place on the Terme di Caracalla Circuit. The women race 16 laps of the six-kilometre circuit for a total of 96km. "We're going to be in two more races where we can fight for the highest result: Marta is the last winner of the GP Liberazione Pink and we all ...

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A Classic Run

Serry and Jungels at La Flèche

In a middlin’ spring season, one name stands out The spring classics are a wrap! Before letting them go, I wanted to pause long enough for posterity. What was it we’ll remember in ten years? That’s easy... Quick Step. But that might not be all. We saw a few quasi-historic results. We saw some people we wanted to get excited about do exciting things. Let’s run through them. Getty Images Sagan alone on the Pavé A Bit of History in the Making Peter Sagan and Niki Terpstra both completed their career Flanders-Roubaix double, entering... not Nirvana, but at least the Sotapanna stream. The pair became the 11th and 12th riders since 1980 to notch wins in both Monuments, an illustrious list apart from maybe some EPO-soaked entries. Suffice to say, winning two fairly different monuments tends to say really good things about riders. In Terpstra’s case, he was just the ...

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The next Belgian Classics star? Tim Wellens inches closer to greatness

Tom Boonen. Philippe Gilbert. Greg Van Avermaet. These are the names that have dominated headlines in Belgium in recent years. And now, who comes next? Looking at career progression, it may well be Tim Wellens. The Belgian has been banging on the door for a long time. He’s already a proven winner: take races such … The post The next Belgian Classics star? Tim Wellens inches closer to greatness appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Lotto Soudal put Fleche Wallonne spat behind them before Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal)

Lotto Soudal have put on a determinedly united front for Liège-Bastogne-Liège after a mini-spat after La Flèche Wallonne between Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert. According to La Dernière Heure , Vanendert was sharply criticised by Wellens for failing to work for him, and breaking a pre-race agreement on tactics. On the day, Vanendert finished third on the Mur de Huy, while Wellens took seventh. Lotto Soudal are one of the strongest teams collectively in the hilly Classics this year, and even prior to their Flèche Wallone results, the Belgian squad had won Brabantse Pijl and taken sixth in Amstel with Wellens, as well as tenth in Amstel with Vanendert. But their failure to establish a clear hierarchy on the Mur de Huy did not go unnoticed by their rivals: Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step Floors), who took Lotto’s last big Classic win at Liege in 2011, said, somewhat drily, on Friday, ...

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A future great? Haig impressing in Spring Classics as Giro debut beckons

Chirpy, animated and happily giving interviews, Jack Haig looks like he has just ridden to the shops. Around him are shattered riders, professionals who have dragged themselves to the top of the Mur de Huy and show all the signs of a tough Flèche Wallonne with its exhausting final climb. But, other than some dirt … The post A future great? Haig impressing in Spring Classics as Giro debut beckons appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Boivin secures spot on Israel Cycling Academy's Giro d'Italia roster

Guillaume Boivin trains at Israel Cycling Academy's altitude camp at Sierra Nevada

Canadian Guillaume Boivin has secured the fourth of eight spots on the Israel Cycling Academy roster for the upcoming Giro d'Italia , the team announced today. The Pro Continental team previously announced that Ben Hermans, Krists Neilands and Rubén Plaza will start the Italian Grand Tour when the race rolls out of Jerusalem on May 4. "We decided to secure G's place in the Giro since he proved once again his dedication to the team and his willingness to put the team good before his own ambitions," said team manager Kjell Carlstrom. "He is an experienced and strong rider that we need in the critical and decisive moments in the Giro stages. I really wanted to let him know he is in so he can relax his mind and prepare for the challenge." The team also eliminated two riders - Dutchman Dennis van Winden and Israeli Roy Goldstein - from ...

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8 is the Week; Here are the 9 Top Riders

Races of the week: After week seven, this week we took a breath before the next couple of weeks leading up to the Giro: Amstel Gold Race Brabantse Pijl Tour du Finistère Tro Bro Leon Paris - Camembert TT & RR at Commonwealth Games Team of the week: First named rider is the rider of the week and if a rider has a number in parentheses after their name it means the number of times they have made the select Team of the Week here. 1.Michael Valgren (2). Beautiful Amstel Gold win in two ways: First and like his win at Omloop, he worked beautifully with his teammates, in this case Fuglsang who did a wonderful job repeatedly attacking. Second, three big attacks: the first was at around 4k to go and was slowly pulled back, the second was around 1.5km to go and only Roman Kreuziger could follow. The ...

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Amstel and the Ardennes: Who’s The Alpha Wolf?

This week is a time of transition. Seeing Tim Wellens, and his Lotto-Soudal team, take the victory in Brabantse Pijl yesterday, with nary a Quick Stepper to be found anywhere near the podium, was itself a break in the clouds that have hung over every other team in the sport. Wellens, too, is from the class of climbers who might dip their toes in the cobbled classics (Wellens started the Omloop) but are long gone once the action shifts to Compiègne. It’s time to climb, and that point will be driven home with brute force Sunday at the Amstel Gold Race. This is a great week, for multiple reasons, and one I’d like to stop to appreciate is the fact that all three of the Big Events is both a men’s and women’s race day. This triple pleasure took hold last year when Amstel revived its women’s event, and the ...

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Cobbled rankings: part the third

A team by team look at the 2018 and 2019 cobbled seasons The cobbled season ended in the Roubaix velodrome, as ever. You might think it finished in Overije when Tim Wellens won Brabantse Pijl, to which I’d point out that Tim Wellens won, so we won’t be calling that a cobbled race. What’s that? Tro-bro? Oh, c’mon. It’s a great race, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and I’d like to end with a cracking edition of a fabled monument, thank you very much. Let’s try again. The cobbled season is over. Time, then, to brace myself, put on my heavy gloves and ear defenders, and give Cuddles one last chance to make himself heard. Apart from his comments, which could go anywhere, I’m going to try and shift the focus a little bit towards next year, and look at reasons to be hopeful, and less hopeful, ...

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