Stybar extends with Deceuninck–QuickStep as Belgian squad build for the future

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Zdenek Stybar has signed a new two-year contract with Deceuninck–QuickStep , continuing his role in the Belgian team's Classics squad while also helping and mentoring the team’s younger talents. Stybar will be 34 in December but won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke this spring and helped his teammates to success in others races, confirming his own ability and his generosity as a teammate. Deceuninck–QuickStep won 77 races in 2018 and have already won 41 races this season. Stybar is a former world cyclo-cross champion but successfully transferred to road racing in 2011 when he joined Patrick Lefevere’s set-up. The Czech rider has also won Strade Bianche and a stage at the Tour de France. He is on Deceuninck–QuickStep’s long list for this year’s Grande Boucle. "Extending my contract means a lot to me. I have a great relationship with everybody in the team and I’m happy that they always ...

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The weekly spin: A freewheeling interview with Peter Sagan

It’s a Friday afternoon in Sacramento. In 48 hours, Peter Sagan will take his second victory of the 2019 season, narrowly out-sprinting American Travis McCabe in front of the state capitol building. But that’s unknown in this moment. Right now, Sagan is fresh out of an Amgen Tour of California press conference, the same one … The post The weekly spin: A freewheeling interview with Peter Sagan appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Van Hooydonck signs contract extension with CCC Team

Nathan Van Hooydonck leads the breakaway

One of Greg Van Avermaet's most-trusted Classics lieutenants, Nathan Van Hooydonck , has signed a contract extension with CCC Team , keeping the Belgian with the team until at least the end of the 2021 season. The 23-year-old joined the WorldTour team's previous guise as BMC in May 2017, having graduated from the BMC Development Team programme, which he'd been part of since 2015. When BMC became CCC Team for the 2019 season, Van Hooydonck continued his association with the Jim Ochowicz-run outfit, and has now been rewarded for his hard work and consistency – particularly as part of Van Avermaet's spring Classics line-up. Although Van Avermaet was unable to replicate his successful season of two years ago, when he won Paris-Roubaix, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem and the E3 Harelbeke, Van Hooydonck rode strongly in support of the Olympic road race champion at this year's Classics, helping his team ...

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Roger De Vlaeminck is still racing

Roger De Vlaeminck’s record speaks for itself. In a career spanning nearly two decades he notched up more than 160 victories, not least four Paris-Roubaix titles (the equal record), three wins at Milan-San Remo, six overall titles at Tirreno-Adriatico (with 15 stage wins), and a massive 22 stage victories at the Giro d’Italia. He won … The post Roger De Vlaeminck is still racing appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Ochowicz: CCC Team didn't have the head count for the Classics

Greg Van Avermaet and Jim Ochowicz address assembled media at the CCC Team press conference

CCC Team general manager Jim Ochowicz said his team will look to bolster its Classics roster for next year in order to better support star rider Greg Van Avermaet , who netted just two Classics podium finishes this year after having previously won Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the E3 Harelbeke. "We didn't have the head count to fight the battle with other teams that had a little more ammunition than us," Ochowicz told Cyclingnews on Sunday in Sacramento after the finish of stage 1 of the Tour of California . "A one-rider shot at the Classics is a little tough. You can see it with other teams, too, that have the same thing we've got to fight with. But we still get our piece of the cake every once in awhile, and our plan is to really build up a little bit more for 2020, and probably ...

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Tour de Yorkshire: Defending champion Van Avermaet and Pauwels to lead CCC

CCC Team's Greg van Avermaet looks ready for Paris-Roubaix

Defending Tour de Yorkshire champion Greg Van Avermaet will line up for the British stage race in Doncaster on May 2 alongside the winner of the 2017 edition, Serge Pauwels , making their CCC Team the one to beat on paper. Van Avermaet hasn't enjoyed as successful a spring Classics season as he would have liked, with his second place at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad his best result, versus an early 2017 campaign when he won the Omloop, the E3 Harelbeke, Gent Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix. He now hopes for a change of fortune in time for a race that he'll also use to scout out the course for this year's road world championships , which also take place in Yorkshire, in September. "It's always a nice feeling to line up at a race with the number one on your back as defending champion," said Van Avermaet on his team's website. ...

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What we can learn from how the pros eat during the Spring Classics

For many WorldTour riders, the Spring Classics period is the pinnacle of their season. Months of training, attention to detail with equipment selection, and knowing the race routes back-to-front have the riders as ready as they can be. But nutrition isn’t something that gets talked about a lot around the Classics season. For all the … The post What we can learn from how the pros eat during the Spring Classics appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Van Avermaet: Amstel Gold Race is my last chance to get a good result this spring

CCC Team's Greg van Avermaet looks ready for Paris-Roubaix

Greg Van Avermaet ( CCC Team ) has ridden consistently well so far through the Spring Classics, but the two-time winner at Omloop Het Niewsblad, 2017 Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke has come up empty so far in 2019 with just one chance remaining to put a check in the win column at a Classic. The 33-year-old Belgian will line up Sunday for Amstel Gold Race with a strong squad backing him and a high motivation to improve on his Amstel-best of fifth in 2015. "Amstel Gold Race is my last chance to get a good result this spring," he said. "I was really disappointed after Paris-Roubaix, knowing that I had the legs for a better result so, I am motivated to line up at Amstel Gold Race and turn things around. I have had good legs throughout the classics, and although I am missing a big result, I think ...

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Going for gold: Where your money should be for the Amstel Gold Race

Joe Robinson 18 Apr 2019 Cyclist picks out the best bets for Amstel Gold Race this Sunday The Amstel Gold Race is a different beast these days to what it once was. Until 2017, the entire day centred around the Cauberg. For 260km, the peloton would tour the rolling Limburg countryside, heading up climbs, turning into narrow roads – left, right, left, before hitting the Cauberg. It's a climb that's less than a mile long, not overly steep either, but swamped with local support on race day – mostly Dutch fans packing the roadside, urging the day's strongest riders on to the summit in pursuit of ultimate victory. To win Amstel Gold required you to keep some bullets in the gun for the base of the Cauberg. If you had something left, you could wind it up, put down the hammer and sprint to victory. Just ask Philippe Gilbert, who ...

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Politt takes breakthrough second place at Paris-Roubaix

Nils Politt pounds his huge frame – bike and body – over the cobbles

Nils Politt ( Katusha-Alpecin ) called his second place at Paris-Roubaix one of his best days on the bike. Politt finished runner up to Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) riding clear of an elite group with just under 15 kilometres to go. The German earned dark horse status for Paris-Roubaix after an extremely consistent Classics campaign, but he wasn’t so sure about his chances against some of the more fancied contenders. Indeed, there were times that Politt looked like he was going to pay for his efforts earlier in the race. However, he put in a huge acceleration on sector three, Gruson, and quickly distanced a fatiguing Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who had been sat in his wheel. Only Gilbert had the legs to make it across the widening crevasse he had opened up. “I’m in my fourth year as a pro now and to get second place in Paris-Roubaix is such a ...

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Van Avermaet on the hunt for a second victory at 'The Hell of the North'

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) at the Tour of Flanders

CCC Team leader Greg Van Avermaet will line up in Compiègne, France, on Sunday morning, hoping to repeat his Paris-Roubaix victory of 2017, with a first Tour of Flanders title having continued to allude him in Belgium last weekend. "I love Paris-Roubaix. Obviously, I make no secret of my desire to win the Tour of Flanders, but Paris-Roubaix is a really special race for me," Van Avermaet said on his team's website, just a couple of days out from the start of the race. "It was even before I won it in 2017 , and, of course, since then it holds a special place in my career as my first and, so far, only Monument win. I would love to win it again." Van Avermaet arrived at Roubaix two years ago having won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem in the build-up to the race, as well ...

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No jealousy at Deceunick-QuickStep, says Stybar

Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

It was perhaps a measure of Zdenek Stybar's current position in the firmament of galacticos at Deceuninck-QuickStep that he was excused duty at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday with an eye to the weekend's main event, the Tour of Flanders. Tom Boonen once shed light on the hierarchy within Patrick Lefevere's star system by explaining how, following the retirement of Johan Museeuw in 2004, he was promoted from being "a midweek guy" – a winner of races like Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke – to a leader trusted with the onerous task of carrying off victory in a Monument. Stybar, already winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the E3 BinckBank Classic, has been the most successful of Deceuninck-QuickStep's quartet of Ronde leaders so far this season, but he insists that his status was no different to a year ago. He will set off from Antwerp on an equal footing with Bob ...

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Flanders Friday: A Classics Apology Tour

This is literally the story of the classics. Literally. It’s time to talk frankly about the Classics. What? No, not the bike races. I’m going to let you in on the Podium Cafe’s dirtiest little secret. For years we have insisted on writing story after story about the “classics” and the “monuments”, knowing full well that the majority of people finding these stories through Google searches are in fact looking for information about the literary classics or a list of famous structures. For every Tom Boonen-obsessive coming directly to the Cafe for a serving of cycling red meat, we register at least three clicks from people who thought they were getting a story about the Taj Mahal or Moby Dick. Most of them go away confused about what just happened, and maybe a little bit angry, but by then the click has been registered and another five cents goes into ...

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Smelling a chance: Degenkolb and Trek-Segafredo look to continue turnaround at Tour of Flanders

John Degenkolb climbs the cobbles at Gent-Wevelgem

It was, John Degenkolb said with a glint in his eye, a non-alcoholic beer. "I mean, we're athletes – we can't drink any alcohol," he protested, playfully. After Trek-Segafredo 's calamitous showing at the E3 BinckBank Classic last Friday, Mads Pedersen suggested the team and staff assemble after dinner in a room in the Weinebrugge Hotel outside Bruges and try, for a moment at least, to forget about their low-key spring to this point. "It was Mads' idea just to sit together after the race and have a beer together," Degenkolb explained at Trek-Segafredo's pre- Tour of Flanders press conference on Thursday. "We put the whole team together – not just the riders, but everyone who was there as part of the team. We said that we needed to keep on fighting and that we weren't going to give up after two or three races that weren't as successful as ...

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The weekly spin: Flanders into Roubaix, pro cycling’s holiest of weeks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s often referred to as Holy Week, the span between the start of the Ronde van Vlaanderen in the port city of Antwerp and the finish of Paris-Roubaix in the arena of the Parc Municipal de Sports velodrome in Roubaix. Officially, it’s called Holy Week because these … The post The weekly spin: Flanders into Roubaix, pro cycling’s holiest of weeks appeared first on CyclingTips .

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De Vlaeminck praises Van Aert and Van der Poel's 'big class' ahead of Flanders

De Vlaeminck praises Van Aert and Van der Poel's 'big class' ahead of Flanders

Joe Robinson 3 Apr 2019 11-time Monument winner was previously critical of Tom Boonen and his Classics exploits Four-time Paris-Roubaix winner Roger de Vlaeminck is a notoriously hard man to impress, having routinely criticised riders such as Tom Boonen. However, two riders in the current peloton have caught the 71-year-old's eye. In an opinion piece for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad , the 11-time Monument winner has praised cyclocross starlets Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel as the strongest Classics riders in the peloton currently. Thinking back to the weekend's Gent-Wevelgem, De Vlaeminck wrote: ' The strongest man in the race? Wout van Aert!' before extolling the quality of both. 'If you have big class, then you can do everything. From the moment Van der Poel and Van Aert became professional cyclists, I knew that they would be two very good road racers. The best in Belgium and Holland. ...

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Deceuninck-QuickStep with multiple options at Dwars door Vlaanderen

Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Deceuninck-QuickStep may have missed out at Gent-Wevelgem at the weekend, but the Belgian team will have plenty of cards to play as they look to resume their run of success at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. Yves Lampaert is expected to leading the way for Deceuninck-QuickStep. He became the first rider to win back to back titles at the one-day race when he took yet a solo victory in Waregem last season. Lampaert will be backed up by Philippe Gilbert, who finished runner-up and helped set Lampaert up for victory in 2017. Both riders have played a support role so far this spring, but Dwars door Vlaanderen will be an opportunity to take advantage of their own opportunities. Zdenek Stybar is absent as he rests up for Sunday's Tour of Flanders. Bob Jungels gives Deceuninck-QuickStep a third option and has shown just how adept he is at taking on new ...

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Wake-up call for Deceuninck-QuickStep ahead of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix

Tim Declercq applies the pressure for QuickStep

Deceuninck-QuickStep 's winning streak in the Spring Classics, starting with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and continuing over Milan-San Remo and the E3 BinckBank Classic, came to an end on Sunday afternoon at Gent-Wevelgem . The Belgian team usually take the initiative in the Classics and force other teams to chase them, rather than having to chase themselves. It often puts them in a position where multiple riders from the team can win the race. “It has been our winning tactic since the '90s, first with Museeuw and then with Boonen," said team general manager Patrick Lefevere. "We had a super Alaphilippe in San Remo, and Stybar was flying last week. One day everybody hopes: next time it’s mine. And that with more than 55 per cent less budget. I’m a bookkeeper, so I know what I’m talking about.” Bookkeeper Lefevere also knew that Belgian champion Yves Lampaert received a new contract ...

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Frites and fields: Portraits of Belgium from E3

Somewhere just before the Taaienberg, near where the soigneurs line up to hold bottles by their lids at arm’s length, a leafy hedge separates the bike race and the party, where Europop beats and old men smoke cigarettes and the heat of a small grill warms hands holding cold beer. The buildings are made of … The post Frites and fields: Portraits of Belgium from E3 appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Hirschi goes the distance at E3 BinckBank Classic

Marc Hirschi (Sunweb)

In Flanders, the day’s early break is expected to recede quietly from view once the favourites take the field and unleash their attacks, but Marc Hirschi ( Sunweb ) refused to yield in the finale of the E3 BinckBank Classic , helping himself to a fine 10th place finish in Harelbeke. Hirschi is part of a notable generation of emerging Swiss talent, and he capped a sparkling amateur career by becoming under-23 world champion on a demanding parcours in Innsbruck last September. This season, he has made the step up from Sunweb’s development squad to the WorldTour outfit. After making his debut at the Volta ao Algarve last month, Hirschi has been given a taste of the Classics in March, lining out at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, before making his bow on the cobbles at Harelbeke, where his brief was to infiltrate the day’s early break in support of ...

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