The Pro-Conti and SSR Corner: The Cobbles and Crashes Edition

Ack! Cees Bol win

It’s been slow on the SSR front for the last few weeks, though we did get an exciting and rainy edition of Industry and Artichokes, as well as exciting (to different degrees) but crash-marred editions of Nokere Koerse and the Bredene Koksijde Classic. Max Schachmann took the big Artichoke, while Cees Bol and Pascal Ackermann respectively won the two Belgian SSRs. Too bad that Sunweb is SSR-phobic, or we may have had the chance to see Bol dominating more races. Ackermann’s victory in the-race-formerly-known-as-Handzame was dominant, and likely gave him some assurances against an Irish Giro takeover, but how does a single one day SSR victory compare to Sam Bennett’s 2 WT victories at Paris-Nice? It’s a good problem for Bora to have, though, as they now have three of the best sprinters in the peloton and the competition amongst them is resulting in some great performances. As the heart ...

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Flanders Friday: Rough Roads...

Action in Nokere Koerse

Tragedy, near-misses and hope for better days The Belgian spring cobbled classics season resumed this week and it was an emotional experience from start to finish. The most important news of note was the tragic death of 19-year-old Stef Loos, who was taking part in the Alfred Gadenne Grand Prix last weekend when the peloton departed from the race course, eventually onto open roads. Loos was killed, and several others injured, when a van struck the riders. The race itself, held in Dottignies near the linguistic border just south of Ronse, is dedicated to the memory of a local mayor who was murdered two years ago. The tragic death of Loos deepens the sadness surrounding the event. The cycling community in Belgium suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Stef Loos. The thoughts of everyone at Belgian Cycling are with his family, friends and team-mates at this sad time. ...

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Van der Poel to continue Spring Classics campaign despite nasty crash at Nokere Koerse

Van der Poel to continue Spring Classics campaign despite nasty crash at Nokere Koerse

Joe Robinson 21 Mar 2019 High-speed collision in bunch sprint on cobbles sees Dutchman taken to hospital Mathieu van der Poel says he will continue his Spring Classics campaign as planned despite a nasty crash in the finale of Nokere Koerse yesterday. The cyclocross World Champion had earmarked a selection of Belgian one-day Classics to ride this year, including Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, as he looks to he steps up his focus on road racing this season. Yesterday saw the start of this campaign at the Nokere Koerse. Van Der Poel was an active presesnce for most of the race and was contesting the final sprint when he was caught in a high-speed collision with Team Sunweb's Max Walscheid on the cobbled climb leading to the finish line. Big win for @TeamSunweb 's @ceesbol1995 at #NokereKoerse %uD83D%uDC4F Well wishes to those riders caught up in the crash at ...

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D'hoore undergoes surgery for broken collarbone after Drentse 8 crash

Jolien D'hoore wins Women's WorldTour round at Driedaagse De Panne

Jolien D'hoore ( Boels Dolmans ) will undergo surgery to repair a broken collarbone sustained in a crash at the Drenthe Acht van Westerveld over the weekend. The Classics specialist could be forced to skip a portion of the upcoming block of one-day races to recover from the injury. "This is hard to accept, with all the nice races coming up," D'hoore wrote in a post on Twitter. D'hoore crashed on a descent roughly 60km into the race, more popularly known as Drentse 8. It has been speculated that a gust of wind caused her and Lotta Lepistö (Trek-Segafredo) to crash. D'hoore was immediately taken to hospital, where X-rays showed the broken collarbone. She has returned to Belgium and underwent surgery on Saturday, reported Nieuwsblad.be . Boels Dolmans announced in October that they had signed D'hoore for the 2019 season . She joined the team having spent one year with ...

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Bastianelli on track to defend Gent-Wevelgem title

Marta Bastianelli (Virtu Cycling) wins Omloop van het Hageland

Marta Bastianelli has had a triumphant start to the 2019 season under the colours of her new team Virtu Cycling . The European champion has won Omloop van het Hageland and Ronde van Drenthe , and looks on track to win a second consecutive Gent-Wevelgem on March 31. Gent-Wevelgem marks the fifth round of the Women's WorldTour. The series kicked off on March 9 at Strade Bianche, won by Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott). It then travelled to the Netherlands for Ronde van Drenthe this past weekend, where Bastianelli won a breakaway sprint ahead of Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) and Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo). Bastianelli now leads the Women's WorldTour individual classification with 300 points, after combining points earned from her victory at Ronde van Drenthe and fourth place at Strade Bianche. Van Vleuten is now sitting in second place with 200 points and Blaak is third with 185 points. There ...

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The weekly spin: A conversation with E3 organizers about that poster

Two women, nearly nude, covered in body paint and wrapped around one another to form the figure of a frog. The tagline: “Who shall crown himself prince in Harelbeke?” What is this, you ask? What does it mean? And what does it have to do with bike racing? It was the visual campaign for the … The post The weekly spin: A conversation with E3 organizers about that poster appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Flu keeps Demare from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad start

Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

Arnaud Démare 's Classics campaign will have to wait past the Opening Weekend in Belgium as the French sprinter has not yet fully recovered from influenza he picked up last month at the Volta a Algarve, according to a report in L'Equipe . Groupama-FDJ will not replace Démare in Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad line-up, according to the L'Equipe report, and he will likely not start Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne , where he was runner-up to Jumbo-Visma's Dylan Groenewegen last year. The team made the decision Friday after Demare was unable to finish stage 5 of the Portuguese race on February 24. Démare has started Omloop every year since 2014, with his best finishes coming last year with ninth, and two 10th-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. With the exception of 2015, he's followed Omloop with the more-sprinter-friendly Kuurne and finished sixth and second there over his past two tries. Démare put in ...

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Flanders Friday: Frogs and Wolves Edition

A daring poster, and a baffling Omloop squad This week in the minutiae of the classics... I know everyone is saying it’s Omloop/KBK Weekend, and of course it is. Everybody likes to start geeking out on the Cobbles as of Saturday morning. But there’s geeking out on the cobbles, and then there’s looking past the Omloop because it’s Le Samyn Tuesday coming up! Le Samyn happens just south of Ronse in the quiet, lovely spaces of northern Wallonia , where the languages meet but really you’re still more or less in the Flemish Ardennes. It’s the third act of the early-season trilogy of cobbled races, separate from Nokere Koerse, Driedaagse De Panne and the Ham Sandwich. You can draw conclusions from Saturday’s results, but personally I’d give it til Tuesday before we can say that things are really shaping up. Le Samyn went to Niki Terpstra last year, so as ...

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Siggaard feels no added pressure wearing bib no. 1 at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Christine Siggaard celebrates her win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Christina Siggaard ( Team Virtu Cycling ) took the biggest win of her career at last year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and will line up with the bib no. 1 on her back at the kick-off to the classics season on March 2 in Belgium. In an interview with Cyclingnews , the Danish one-day specialist said she feels no added pressure to defend her title – just pure excitement. "I'm super excited to be wearing number 1," Siggaard said. "I don't feel more pressure than what I put on myself. The team wants to perform as much as we always do, so we'll fight for it." While many other riders have started their seasons in Australia and Spain, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be the first race of the year for Siggaard. She lines up with a revamped squad that also includes former world champion Marta Bastianelli. Bastianelli, who won the European ...

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How to watch the 2019 Spring Classics

How to watch the 2019 Spring Classics

The Spring Classics kick off this weekend, and it’s often one of the highlights of the year for many avid WorldTour followers. Here’s everything we currently know about where you can find live coverage and highlights in the UK, US and Australia. Paris-Roubaix 2018 tech gallery: 101 images from the Hell of the North Specialized claims 99g S-Works EXOS 99 is lightest production shoe ever made The Spring Classics 2019 overview The term ‘Classics’ acts as a bit of an umbrella that encompasses a range of events. Included in this are the two Opening Weekend races: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne–Brussel–Kuurne. These are followed by further one-day Classics races: Milan–San Remo, E3 Binckbank Classic, Gent–Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and Paris–Roubaix. After Paris-Roubaix, the Ardennes Classics kicks off including Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The Monuments refers to the five oldest and most prestigious races in the ...

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Tips from the pros: Three rules for riding in crosswinds

The fundamentals are straightforward. Call them the three Ps of riding crosswinds: Positioning, Planning, and Power. The post Tips from the pros: Three rules for riding in crosswinds appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Demare reassured by condition as Classics approach

Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

There is a growing community of French expatriates in southern Portugal, and it felt as though as a sizeable portion of their number had gathered around Arnaud Démare as he warmed down after placing second in the sprint on stage 4 of the Volta ao Algarve in Tavira. Démare met their inquiries with good humour before Groupama-FDJ directeur sportif Frédéric Guesdon politely nudged his way through for a more formal debriefing of the sprint, which was won by Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma). The frustration of taking another second place on this race – he was beaten by Fabio Jakobsen on the opening day in Lagos – was tempered by the quality of his physical performance. "My team did a great job. We waited a bit longer than the first day, our timing was good, but I lost my place on the last corner with 500 metres to go," Démare told Cyclingnews ...

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Stybar: I was never really lucky at the right moment

Zdenek Stybar was back on the cyclo-cross circuit fro Zolder

Sometimes the game just doesn't break your way. On 72 different occasions last year, a Quick-Step Floors rider mounted the podium as a race winner, but somehow the honour evaded Zdenek Stybar . A clutch of third-place finishes at the tail end of the season were the closest he came to a winner's bouquet, though the Czech's most notable body of work came in two very different supporting roles in April and May, when he helped to tee up Niki Terpstra at the cobbles and then guide Elia Viviani at the Giro d'Italia. "I really had a lot of pleasure in the wins of my teammates, and I helped a lot of them to win their races, like at the Giro and the Classics," Stybar told Cyclingnews in Portimão ahead of the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve . "Of course, for me, it was a bit of a ...

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History will be the judge of Operacion Puerto links, says Cipollini

Of course Mario Cipollini (Italy) had perfect hair on the podium after winning the 2002 Worlds

Mario Cipollini has said that "history will be the judge" of his implication in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal and insisted that his conscience is clear. In February 2013, La Gazzetta dello Sport published alleged evidence of Cipollini's links to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and claimed that he had used EPO and undergone a series of blood transfusions during the 2002 season, in which he won Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and the World Championships in Zolder. Operacion Puerto has been rumbling on since 2006 after police raids on the office of Fuentes in Madrid. Several cyclists were identified as patients of Fuentes from the documentation and blood-bag code names kept by the doctor and punished, including Ivan Basso and current world champion Alejandro Valverde. However, Spanish courts have so-far stopped the World Anti-Doping Agency from identify athletes via DNA testing. Cipollini threatened legal action against La Gazzetta dello Sport and dismissed the ...

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Terpstra and Van der Poel confirmed for Tour of Flanders

Terpstra and Van der Poel confirmed for Tour of Flanders

Joe Robinson 7 Feb 2019 Direct-Energie and Corendon-Circus among seven ProContinental invites at De Ronde Niki Terpstra and Mathieu van der Poel will be among the ProContinental firepower racing the Tour of Flanders as both Direct Energie and Corendon-Circus gain wildcard entries. Terpstra will return as defending champion although as leader of the French Direct Energie team following his departure from QuickStep over the winter. The ageing Dutchman was among a collection of riders to be let go from Patrick Lefevere's WorldTour team as he struggled to secure the financial future of his team . Belgian PVC company Deceuninck eventually stepped in albeit after Terpstra had signed with his new team. Terpstra's move to Direct Energie was somewhat of a surprise, with many assuming he could have found a place in the WorldTour, although this change of scenery will allow him to become unprecedented Classics leader. The 34-year-old will now ...

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Thursday Thoughts: Season-long predictions

Your consensus rider of the year

In which we make more nebulous predictions, and have another argument If you haven’t been following along with this series, a few signposts may help. I introduced this mini-series of articles here and the first half ran last week, in which we predicted winners of some of the biggest races. All of that preceded the opening of our unique season-long fantasy cycling game, FSA-DS , for which entries are now open. If you’re new to the site and truly desperate for help with fantasy cycling, do look back over our reviews of each of the World Tour teams this offseason, and my other offseason musings . This week we move onto predictions for the full season, and I should start with a point of explanation for the reader - I deliberately didn’t give the panel any supporting information in setting the questions above. I wanted to see some variety in ...

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Gent-Wevelgem wildcard invitation clears the way for Mathieu van der Poel

Peter Sagan wins Gent-Wevelgem 2018

The organisers of Gent-Wevelgem , Flanders Classics, invited seven wildcard teams to compete in the March 31 race alongside the 18 WorldTour teams, confirming the inclusion of the Corendon-Circus squad of new cyclo-cross world champion Mathieu van der Poel . Last week, Flanders Classics named Corendon-Circus alongside Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Gobert, Wallonie Bruxelles, Direct Energie, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits and Roompot-Charles for Omloop het Nieuwsblad. The same teams earned wildcard spots for Gent-Wevelgem. Flanders Classics announced in December that Van der Poel would compete in Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders and the Brabantse Pijl, so the inclusion of the newly-upgraded Pro Continental team comes as no surprise. Expecations for Van der Poel are high after the stand-out performance of his rival Wout van Aert in the 2018 Tour of Flanders. After surpassing father Adrie van der Poel's cyclo-cross palmares as double world champion, Mathieu van der Poel was asked ...

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Naesen starting 2019 Classics tilt in Valencia

Oliver Naesen of Belgium and Team AG2R La Mondiale during stage 7 at BinckBank Tour

Oliver Naesen ( AG2R La Mondiale ) will start his 2019 campaign this week at the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana with an aim toward the Classics and scoring his first win in one of the big spring races. Naesen started his 2018 season at the Spanish stage race and had a solid run at the Classics, but the big wins have continued to elude him. He came closest at Eschborn-Frankfurt, where he was third, and scored top-10 finishes at Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke, but bad luck and untimely crashes have kept him off the podium of the big Belgian races. "I had a very good winter, but now I'm looking forward to racing again. That way you can quickly erase any questions about your form because the training is never the same as competition," Naesen said in a statement released with his team's Valencia roster announcement. "The goal of ...

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Corendon-Circus and Direct Energie among Omloop Het Nieuwsblad wildcards

Corendon-Circus and Direct Energie among Omloop Het Nieuwsblad wildcards

Joe Robinson 31 Jan 2019 Season draws closer to Spring Classics opener as seven wildcard teams announced Mathieu van der Poel's Corendon-Circus team will get their first chance to test themselves in the Spring Classics at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as the Belgian team take one of the seven wildcard invites to the traditional 'season opener'. The 24-year-old cyclocross star will not be among the team taking to the start line but many of his Classics domestiques will, giving them an opportunity to test their legs before racing Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders later in the season. Three further Belgian teams have been invited: Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Gobert and Wallonie Bruxelles. Niki Terpstra will also be afforded the chance to test his legs at the season opener as his Direct Energie team also receive an invite alongside fellow French ProContinental team Cofidis. Completing the list with be Dutch team Roompot-Charles, the ...

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Corendon-Circus Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Gent-Wevelgem wildcards

Corendon-Circus Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Gent-Wevelgem wildcards

Joe Robinson 3 Feb 2019 Season draws closer to Spring Classics wildcard teams announced for Omloop and Gent-Wevelgem Mathieu van der Poel's Corendon-Circus team will get their first chance to test themselves in the Spring Classics at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad before heading to Gent-Wevelgem later in Spring as the Belgian team takes one of the seven wildcard invites at both semi-classics. The 24-year-old cyclocross star will not be among the team taking to the start line of Omloop but many of his Classics domestiques will, giving them an opportunity to test their legs before racing Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders later in the season. Three further Belgian teams have been invited to both Omloop and Gent-Wevelgem: Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Gobert and Wallonie Bruxelles. Niki Terpstra will also be afforded the chance to test his legs at the season opener as his Direct Energie team also receive an invite alongside fellow ...

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