The Art of Racing Over 7 Days

What does it mean to be a one-week specialist? From 2014 to 2017, Alberto Contador was the undaunted master of week-long stage races. Having finished on the podium of WT one-week stage races (see the races I used for this analysis below) a whopping 10 times, including 3 wins. It would be easy for you to rush to interpret that this means that Grand Tour excellence translates to week-long results, until I tell you that over that time frame, Alberto Contador finished on a Grand Tour podium just once. In the twilight of his career, Contador was a shell of himself when it came to the big 3 week races, but was simply unparalleled when it came to the week-longs. [Full disclosure: Contador was also a week-long asskicker when he was a great GT rider as well… but we’ll get to that later.] You often hear the adage: “Rider X ...

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Porte could make Tour of California debut as preparation for Tour de France

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) rode a good race to finish second on stage 2 of the 2019 Herald Sun To

Richie Porte ( Trek-Segafredo ) could ride the Tour of California for the first time in his career as part of his preparation for the Tour de France . Porte is riding a slimmer race programme this season with the hope of having fresher legs for the Grand Boucle. Porte told Cyclingnews that he might head stateside this May and hang around for a training camp before returning to Europe. "We'll see it how it all goes, but I'll probably race California and then stay there for a bit of altitude and then the next big goal is the Dauphine," Porte told Cyclingnews . "That's the race where I need to be going and then the Tour. It's a bit of an unprecedented run. Normally, I hit the Tour with more race days in the legs." Porte said that he is a bit behind where he'd like to be at ...

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Bardet story 'still to be written' at Paris-Nice

Romain Bardet in the 2019 AG2R-La Mondiale jersey

Romain Bardet says that his 'story is still to be written' at Paris-Nice and that it is a race he would like to perform at before he retires. Bardet returns to the eight-day race to lead AG2R La Mondiale for the first time since he was disqualified following stage 1 of the 2017 event for holding onto his team car. Bardet has raced solely in France so far this season and is using Paris-Nice as part of his preparation for the Tour de France later in the year. It is his fourth race of 2019 after kicking off his campaign at the Tour du Haut Var at the end of February, where he finished second overall. He has finished in the top 10 in all but one of his race days so far and says that he's feeling strong, but is reticent to make any predictions about what that could ...

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Flying Too Close to the Sun: Paris - Nice Preview

Race to the sun, my ass.

There’s always a discussion around this time about which is the better race-- Paris - Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico-- as the peloton gets split between the two races. The consensus view is usually that TA is the better race-- it gets the better riders and has the better route. Here’s the thing, though. Anyone that still believes that has not been watching PN during the last three years. Each of the last three years has been a barn burner of a race, easily in contention for best week long stage race of the year as well as race day of the year and probably only losing out on those honors due to its placement on the calendar-- before the spring classics and all of the grand tours cloud our collective memories. 2016 saw Geraint Thomas take the GC victory over Alberto Contador by a mere 4 seconds and saw a vintage ...

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Dr Richard Freeman testosterone tribunal adjourned without public hearing

British Cycling pursuit team 2007

Peter Stuart 5 Mar 2019 Ex-Team Sky and British Cycling doctor’s MPTS trial has been adjourned after four weeks of private hearings The long anticipated tribunal of former Team Sky and British Cycling team doctor Dr Richard Freeman has been adjourned after four weeks of private legal arguments, meaning that the public remain unaware of any evidence behind the allegations surrounding Dr Freeman’s alleged use of testosterone on athletes . The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) announced today, Tuesday, that the tribunal had been adjourned, with a new tribunal set to consider the case at a future date, as yet unspecified. The tribunal had been set to commence on 6th February, but it was delayed while a preliminary legal argument was heard in private. The nature of this preliminary legal argument is not known, but it became clear that an adjournment may be likely as the scheduled four weeks for ...

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Howes embraces special assignment at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Alex Howes (EF Education First) at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

In 2012, Alex Howes was a late call up at Amstel Gold Race and the American made an instant impact, infiltrating the break and making it to the last ascent of the Cauberg. It was a highly impressive ride for an athlete making his debut in the race. Seven years on, and once again a late call up, the EF Education First rider was repeating the trick on his cobbled Classic debut in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . Given that this year's break came after Howes was forced to miss a portion of last year's season due to a hyperthyroid condition, and has already called his 2019 campaign a second neo-pro year, Saturday's performance in Belgium represented even great comparison to his Amstel exploits from seven years ago. "That was the first Classic and it was fun to be put on the breakaway assignment. I don't know what the story was ...

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Astana continue winning streak at Ruta del Sol

Astana win the team classification at Ruta del Sol

Jakob Fuglsang has continued Astana's spectacular start to 2019 as he racked up the team's sixth stage race win of the season in the Ruta del Sol on Sunday, taking their 11th victory of the year. Fuglsang did not win a stage in the Ruta del Sol but his consistent placings throughout an event, which is considered the toughest early-season race on the European calendar, placed the Dane on top of the overall ranking. Second at Alcala de los Gazules summit finish on stage 1 and second again in the stage 3 time trial, keeped Fuglsang snapping at the heels of the early race leader Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal). Then Astana collectively acted as the springboard that Fuglsang needed to claim his first stage race victory since the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné. Their ferociously strong team-work isolated the Belgian on the crunch mountain stage 4 through the Sierra Nevada on Saturday. ...

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Fuglsang just 24 hours away from victory at Ruta del Sol

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) moves into the overall lead at Ruta del Sol

Jakob Fuglsang ( Astana ) looks all but certain to take overall victory in the Ruta del Sol after a strong showing on the three toughest stages of the race have propelled him into the overall lead following stage 4 on Saturday. Second overall before the crucial stage 4, Fuglsang's long chase, almost unaided, at the head of the little group of GC favourites on the crunch climb of Hazallanas did not succeed in bringing back Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). But with overnight race leader Tim Wellens dropped and rapidly shedding time, Fuglsang pushed to maintain his goal of taking the overall lead. The Dane was second on the Alcala de los Gazules uphill finish, second in the time trial and finally third on the toughest mountain stage in Granada on Saturday. Consistency has brought Fugslang within sight of what would be his first stage race victory since the Critérium du ...

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Bardet to begin season at Tour du Haut Var

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) stage 21 Tour de France

AG2R La Mondiale 's Romain Bardet will set his season in motion at the three-day Tour du Haut Var, which begins in Vence, near Nice, in southern France, on Friday. Bardet brought the curtain down on his 2018 season when he was a non-finisher at Il Lombardia in mid-October, and so is now champing at the bit to get racing again after four months away from competition. "I'm happy to get back to racing. Since turning professional in 2012, I've never started a season so late," Bardet said on his team's website. "It gave me the opportunity to indulge in some other sports and lay a solid foundation of preparation," he said, "and I'll be using these races in February as a way to prepare for my first UCI WorldTour goals that come in March. But it's a real pleasure to start racing in France, especially when it's a race ...

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Astana takes 1,2,3 in Vuelta Murcia opening stage

Pello Bilbao (Astana)

Astana hogged the top three spots on stage 1 of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia with Pello Bibao taking the honours after a late attack, and teammates Omar Fraile and Luis Leon Sanchez completing the set. World champion, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), finished fourth in the bunch sprint to the line, while Bilbao leads the race with one stage to go. The day belonged to Astana, who caught the early break, set a furious pace on the final incline and then launched attacks, first through Leon Sanchez, then Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang, and finally through stage winner Bilbao, who came into the race with strong form after a recent third place overall in Valenciana. It was the 28-year-old's first win since the penultimate stage of last year's Criterium du Dauphine. "It is a very nice victory for me! Honestly, it was not easy to do the decisive move ...

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Roson handed four-year ban for biological passport anomalies

Jaime Roson wears the white jersey

Jaime Roson (Movistar) has been handed a four-year ban by the UCI after anomalies were found in his biological passport. Movistar had already suspended the 26-year-old but have since confirmed, through their holding company Abarca Sports, that they have terminated his contract. “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Jaime Roson Garcia,” a statement on the UCI website read. “The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (Use of a prohibited substance) based on abnormalities detected in his Biological Passport and imposed a 4-year period of ineligibility on the rider.” Roson was notified of the findings at the end of June last year, several weeks after his last race at the Criterium du Dauphine. The anomaly occurred in January 2017, when Roson was still racing at Caja Rural. He was immediately suspended from racing ...

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Chris Froome to start season at Tour Colombia after training at altitude

Chris Froome to start season at Tour Colombia after training at altitude

Joe Robinson 12 Feb 2019 Froome to be joined by Bernal and Sosa for second edition of Tour Colombia Chris Froome will begin his 2019 season at the Tour Colombia later today as he begins preparations for a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title in July. The six-time Grand Tour winner will co-lead Team Sky at the South American stage race with Egan Bernal, who enters the race as defending champion. The race will also offer a team debut for young South Americans Jhonatan Narvaez and Ivan Sosa, while Jonathan Castroviejo and Sebastian Henao complete the team. The Tour Colombia takes place from 12th to 17th February and begins with a 14km team time trial around Medellin. The race, which is only in its second edition, offers a stern early season test with four mountain stages and multiple days at altitude. This is much different to Froome's usual season race ...

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Adam Yates claims first victory in eight months at Valenciana

Adam Yates attacked in the final kilometre to take victory

A double attack by Adam Yates ( Mitchelton-Scott ) on the toughest climb of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana has netted the Briton his first victory in eight months. Yates' previous victory was also a summit victory, coming atop Mont Blanc in the Critérium Du Dauphiné as the 2018 Tour de France loomed into his sights. This time round, his win on the Ermita de Santa Lucía in Valencia has given him fresh motivation and a big morale boost for the whole of 2019. Yates fended off the race’s key favourite Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) not once but twice on the brutally steep slopes of Santa Lucia. After the Mitchelton-Scott rider attacked with 1.5 kilometres to go, the world champion came across, but Yates promptly went again. Valverde followed him all the way to the line, but was unable to get round him and was forced to settle for second. ...

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‘I’ve got dreams of winning on mystical mountain stages’

‘I’ve got dreams of winning on mystical mountain stages’

George Scott 4 Feb 2019 British talent James Knox on surviving as a neo-pro at Deceuninck–QuickStep, riding for Julian Alaphilippe & targeting the Giro d’Italia James Knox established himself as one of cycling’s most prodigious climbing talents as an Under-23, finishing second at the Liege–Bastogne–Liege Espoirs and behind Egan Bernal on the Tour de l’Avenir’s queen stage in 2017. But after finding himself in the grupetto at the Tour of Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine in his first year as a professional with QuickStep, the Cumbrian began to wonder whether the WorldTour was a pedal stroke too far. ‘I was thinking, "Shit, if something doesn’t really change now, I don’t know what I’m going to do,’’ Knox tells Cyclist . ‘Those were the two hardest moments. I considered myself a climber but ended up in the grupetto for a week.’ Knox is reflecting on his neo-pro year and a rollercoaster ...

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Offseason Capsule: Astana

Another middling season for the pyjama-clad team We pretty well have a formula for Astana year on year these days. 2018 followed that formula, but with an unexpected injection of classics excellence early in the year. That bug has been fixed and normal service will resume in 2019. What we said last year I had a memory that the comments on my Astana capsule picked up on how little love I gave to a Valgren-led cobbles squad. Not so, that came with my first cobbles ranking . I was down on the cobbles team and missed Valgren’s great year (though he was on my list of potential hilly-classics winners, fortunately). I am pleased that I gave praise to Bilbao, who proved a valuable lieutenant in the hills, and that I was more positive about Lopez than Fuglsang, who performed in line with my luke-warm preparation. Was I overboard on Lopez? ...

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Froome: Giro d'Italia route is 'perfect' for Geraint Thomas

Froome: Giro d'Italia route is 'perfect' for Geraint Thomas

Joe Robinson 1 Feb 2019 Speculation surrounding Thomas' Giro participation continue as Froome backs Bernal in Italy Chris Froome has labelled the 2019 Giro d'Italia course as 'perfect' for Tour de France champion and Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas . Froome has also tipped young teammate Egan Bernal as a potential Giro winner this year at the first time of asking. Froome is the current defending champion of the Italian Grand Tour but will skip his title defence in order to focus on the Tour de France in the summer, aiming for a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey. Thomas has also marked his intentions to return to the Tour in 2019 but speculation has surrounded whether this will be with General Classification hopes. Instead, rumours have circulated that the Welshman may instead target the Giro in May and then race the Tour as a domestique for Froome. Even the Team Sky ...

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Thursday Thoughts: 2019 Race Predictions

Your Roubaix winner? We think so...

In which we pick winners, and have arguments If you didn’t see my piece a fortnight ago , I teed up this column by inviting you all to send in your predictions for the season to come. Many of you did and the full list can be found here . There’s a lot of possible avenues for argument and some potentially interesting thoughts with the unveiling of the FSA-DS price list coming up fast. Next week comes the second half of this predictions game, where we look at the season-long award predictions. To remind you, the races that we predicted, together with the most popular picks from across the fifteen entries, are as follows: We now turn to the editors, and what follows is a lightly edited chat between the brave souls who answered my initial email chain of prediction questions. I hope that the volume of opinion makes up ...

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Adam Yates likely to target Tour de France

Simon and Adam Yates at the Vuelta a España team presentation

Most of the Grand Tour GC hopefuls have confirmed their racing plans for 2019, with the odd exception over whether Geraint Thomas takes on the Giro d'Italia as well as the defense of his Tour de France title. Another British rider yet to publicly confirm his schedule for the season is Mitchelton Scott's climber Adam Yates . His team have not officially announced his full 2019 schedule but the Tour de France has been penciled in. In 2018 the 26-year-old came into the Tour de France on the back of a second place overall at the Criterium du Dauphine. At the Tour he was well placed after the first week but was unable to hold his form in the mountains. He competed in the Vuelta a Espana later in the season and helped his brother Simon Yates and Mitchelton Scott win their maiden Grand Tour title. This season Simon Yates ...

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Brajkovic opens up after accepting 10-month ban

Brajkovic opens up after accepting 10-month ban

'I'm happy that it finally got out. I can start dealing with it and not pretend,' says Brajkovic. Read the full article at Brajkovic opens up after accepting 10-month ban on VeloNews.com .

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The testosterone tribunal: the story so far

British Cycling pursuit team 2007

Peter Stuart 18 Jan 2019 The medical tribunal into Dr Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, could have serious consequences Next month the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, Dr Richard Freeman, will face charges of ordering testosterone to enhance the performance of an athlete , and various acts of dishonesty associated with that charge. It is a serious hearing for the career of Dr Freeman, but it has far wider implications too. When the UKAD investigation into the Team Sky’s delivery of a mysterious ‘Jiffy bag’ package ended in 2017, many thought that the issues was closed. However, UKAD essentially passed on the investigation to the General Medical Council, becoming ‘aware of information that it considered to be of possible interest to the General Medical Council (GMC)’. That information was sufficient for the GMC to bring charges over 11 separate allegations against Dr Freeman, which ...

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