Giro Stage 9 Preview: The Prime Minister Stage

I love the mountains as much as - wait no, more than the next guy but I will always be a staunch defender of stages like this: a reasonably long time-trial with plenty of climbing. What mountain stage can guarantee minutes worth of time gaps between overall contenders, can guarantee a huge GC shakeup and vouchsafe that the best rider will win? After eight days in which we’ve been starved of GC battles, this is where a rider can put himself on the road to wearing pink in Verona. Hence, I am dubbing it the Prime Minister stage. It will be as decisive as any queen stage, in fact it probably has more power. However, it lacks the romance and mysticism of an Alpine battle. The route is a classic formula for causing pain — part flat, part climbing, with the climbing probably just-about doable on a TT bike, though ...

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Giro Stage 8 Preview - Rainy Day at the Beach

The Giro’s east coast answer to the west coast’s Milano-Sanremo, the longest stage of this year’s race at 239 kilometers takes the riders up the Adriatic coastline from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro with a tricky finish reminiscent of the descent off the Poggio onto the Via Roma. THE COURSE Stage 8 will take the peloton up the north-east coast of Italy on a tour of the beaches in that region, with the beautiful scenery likely to be obscured by predicted rain and thunderstorms. The stage is an allegorical microcosm for what the Giro has felt like so far— a beach vacation where you’re holed up inside your Airbnb the entire time with several bored children due to the constant downpour outside. It’s semi-pleasurable as it’s better than work but damn if you can’t wait until the sun comes out so you can get outside. Luckily, I’ve seen the forecast and ...

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Giro Stage One Preview: Early Fireworks

If you’re planning to win this year’s Giro, you’d better be ready from the gun Saturday sees the start of the Giro, the start of the 2019 grand tour season, and the start of all things mountainous for the year. We’ve had the classics, hope you enjoyed them. Now it is time for the long races, and we are starting with fireworks. Getty Images/iStockphoto Bologna. Fireworks. Oh, shut up. As we’ve said in several of our previews, the first week is pretty quiet. Except, that is, for stage one. Stage one is lively. I’ve talked about it a reasonable amount in my look at the TTs . It even got a mention from Will , as the 27 th toughest mountain in the race – he was ranking on difficulty, not significance. On significance it finishes much higher. A reminder of the course: Also, a reminder of that closing climb: ...

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Mamma Mia! Who’s Gonna Win this Giro?

Italy and mothers go together like pasta and meatballs, and it is fitting that this Giro will start the day prior to Mother’s Day (at least for the US and Italy). This year, having an Italian mother got some good press after Alberto “Mamma di Pasti” Bettiol won the Tour of Flanders. Bettiol earned that nickname from Jonathan Vaughters because like a good Italian son, he still lives with his mother and “suffers” on the bike from her pasta cooking and offering tendencies. I appreciate that, having a mamma di pasti of my own (what part of Italy is my mother from, you ask— well, Northern New Jersey). Embarrassingly, my two younger brothers lived with my mamma di pasti until their early 30s. My mamma di pasti still cried when they moved out. Anyway, I digress. Let’s bring this mother back to the Giro. Perhaps my favorite chapter of Dino ...

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Preview: Everything you need to know about the 2019 Giro d’Italia

Classics season is behind us and the Tour de Romandie is now complete. That can only mean one thing — it’s time for the Giro d’Italia. The 102nd edition of the Giro starts in Bologna this Saturday and concludes in Verona on June 2. Ahead of the first Grand Tour of the season we take … The post Preview: Everything you need to know about the 2019 Giro d’Italia appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Lopez leads strong Astana team in Giro d'Italia

Miguel Angel Lopez celebrates winning the 2019 Volta a Catalunya

After finishing third last year, Miguel Angel Lopez ( Astana ) will look to take a few steps up on the final podium of the Giro d'Italia and claim the top position. The Colombian rider comes in as one of the major favourites and will be supported a strong team of climbers in the season's first Grand Tour. The 25-year-old made his first Grand Tour podium when he finished third in the Giro in 2018, and taking the young rider classification in the process. He confirmed his status as a serious contender with he repeated his podium place in the Vuelta a Espana later in the year. It was his second visit to the top 10 after finishing eighth in 2017, winning two stages and the young rider ranking. This year he already has two stage race titles under his belt, winning his first stage outing at the Tour Colombia ...

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Geraint Thomas 'on track' for Tour de France defense

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

Geraint Thomas ( Team Sky ) says he is on track to defend his 2018 Tour de France title when the race rolls out of Brussels on July 6 despite a relative lack of race days so far this season and his high-speed crash last week at Tour of the Basque Country. In an interview with the BBC 's BeSpoke podcast , Thomas said he's not far off the form he had last year at this time, and he knows what he's got to do to reach Tour de France fitness. Thomas has raced rather anonymously in the peloton over his 16 race days of far this season, starting the Volta a Valenciana in February. He finished 12th in Strade Bianche, but a stomach bug forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico on stage 4 last month. Thomas most recently rode Tour of the Basque Country, where he emerged relatively unscathed from ...

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Fuglsang reacts after losing Basque Country podium spot

The final podium: Ion Izagirre, Dan Martin and Jakob Fuglsang

A fascinating week of racing at the Tour of the Basque Country came to a controversial end on Sunday, after Astana 's Jakob Fuglsang found himself first racing to a podium spot and even standing on the final podium, before being retroactively demoted due to a decision by the race organisers. Over a minute after the Dane had finished, and unbeknownst to him, race leader Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) had taken a wrong turn in the closing metres of stage 6, losing vital seconds as he sought to hang on to third overall. One of the six men from the chase group to suffer the impromptu detour – due to either rider or marshal error – Buchmann was later given the same time as those riders who stayed on course. That meant that he gained 12 seconds on Fuglsang, who ultimately finished five seconds down in fourth. Fuglsang, who had stood ...

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Ion Izagirre wins the Tour of the Basque Country

Ion Izagirre celebrates on the podium with his daughter

Ion Izagirre ( Astana ) claimed overall victory at the Tour of the Basque Country after he placed fourth behind stage winner Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) on a breathless final leg around Eibar. Overnight leader Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was distanced on the category 1 ascent of Azurki by a five-man group featuring Izagirre, Yates, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Dan Martin and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). Although there were more than 65km to go, this move had the firepower to hold off a disorganised chase, where Buchmann had to shoulder the bulk of the pace-making on the remaining climbs. Up front, Martin tried to distance Izagirre on the final classified ascent of Asensio, but was unable to break the Astana man's resistance. On the run-in to the finish, Yates took advantage of a short, unclassified ascent with 3km to go to punch his way clear, and he held off his fellow escapees ...

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Tour of the Basque Country: Buchmann wins stage 5

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins stage 5 at Pais Vasco

Emanuel Buchmann continued Bora-Hansgrohe 's string of success with a brilliant solo victory during stage 5 at the Tour of the Basque Country on Friday. The German rider attacked on the penultimate ascent and held his gap up the slopes of Usartza before descending into the city of Arrate to take the win by a minute over the chase: runner-up Jon Izagirre (Astana), third-placed Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and fourth-placed Jakob Fuglsang (Astana). Buchmann's dominant performance meant that he took the overall race lead from teammate Max Schachmann, who was distanced on the final climb. Buchmann now leads the race by 54 seconds over Ion Izagirre, while Schachmann, who won three stages, dropped to third place at 1:04 back. "It's incredible. It's already the fourth stage win for us, and on the queen stage, and now with the leader's jersey, it's really cool," Buchmann said in a post-race flash interview. "We ...

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Tour of the Basque Country: Schachmann wins another on stage 4

Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) finish first and second

Max Schachmann ( Bora-Hansgrohe ) secured a third stage victory and retained his overall lead at the Tour of the Basque Country in Arrigorriaga on Thursday. The German all-rounder was part of a late-race breakaway of four, ignited by Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) over the final Zaratoma climb, and then sprinted to the stage 4 win ahead of Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana). Yates finished fourth. The four-kilometre climb over Zaratoma had a max grade of 11 per cent and peaked with just five kilometres to the finish line. Mitchelton-Scott led the reduced peloton up the climb, setting up Yates for a searing attack over the top. He cleared the field but was joined by Schachmann, Fuglsang and Pogacar on the wet-and-twisty descent. Once onto the city streets of Arrigorriaga, Pogacar made the first attack, but Schachmann was quick to respond and connected with his back wheel. ...

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Tour of the Basque Country: Schachmann wins stage 3 in Estibaliz

Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins stage 3 at Tour of the Basque Country

Maximilian Schachmann ( Bora-Hansgrohe ) claimed a second stage victory and added to his overall lead in the Tour of the Basque Country on stage 3, sprinting up the final climb in Estibaliz to top Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Enrico Battaglin (Katusha-Alpecin). A crash with 6km to go took down a large portion of the front of the peloton, including green jersey holder, stage 2 winner and second-placed overall Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and third-placed Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky). As a result, Schachmann’s lead ballooned to 33 seconds over Ion Izagirre (Astana), with teammate Patrick Konrad now third on the same time. Now with more comfortable buffer in the rankings, Schachmann thanked his team but acknowledged that there are still some difficult stages to come. “I don’t know what to say. I have to say thank you to my team. I knew I didn’t come to the team as ...

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Bernal wins Paris-Nice, Izagirre takes the finale

Bernal wins Paris-Nice, Izagirre takes the finale

Team Sky's Egan Bernal resisted Nairo Quintana to claim the Paris-Nice title after Astana's Ion Izagirre won the final stage in Nice.

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Paris-Nice highlights: Another Colombian battle - Video

Oro y Paz winner Egan Bernal (Team Sky)

The final stage of Paris-Nice was another exciting one, with the yellow jersey once again on the line as Egan Bernal ( Team Sky ) was forced on the defensive after Nairo Quintana ( Movistar ) went on the attack 50km from the line. Quintana bridged up to the breakaway on the Côte de Peille, the same climb that Alberto Contador launched his final stage attacks in 2016 and 2017, and also where his Movistar teammate Marc Soler attacked to win the race last year. With three teammates in the break, Quintana vs Bernal became a mini team time trial as Sky led the remains of the peloton in the chase behind. For some time, Quintana was in the virtual race lead, until it swung back to Bernal on the Col de Quatre Chemins and stayed there. Quintana had been forced to work alone since the 30km to go mark, ...

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Bernal wins Paris-Nice

The final Paris-Nice podium (L-R) Nairo Quintana, Egan Bernal, Michal Kwiatkowski

Egan Bernal ( Team Sky ) secured overall victory at Paris-Nice after a tense final stage which saw his yellow jersey come under attack by Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Ion Izagirre (Astana) took the stage win in Nice, attacking on the final climb of the day to leave behind the remains of the elite break group led by Quintana. The Spaniard quickly built a stage-winning gap, staying upright on the descent to secure the win, 19 seconds ahead of Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb). Quintana, meanwhile, attacked 50km out, echoing similar moves against Team Sky by Alberto Contador in 2016 and 2017. But like the legendary Spaniard, Quintana would fall short. He was the virtual leader at several points, but ended up only taking four seconds on Bernal at the finish. The Movistar man attacked on the Côte de Peille to link up with the remnants ...

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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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Paris-Nice 2019: Who are the favourites and who will win?

Joe Robinson 8 Mar 2019 From Colombian talent to Northern grit, here are the riders to watch at Paris-Nice Paris-Nice has had a stroke of luck this year. With rival Italian stage race Tirreno-Adriatico deciding to ignore the Apennine mountain range in favour of a mixture of flat and rolling stages, any climber looking to get some early-season miles in their legs has opted to race in France. As a result, the field for the 2019 edition of the 'Race to the Sun' is one of the strongest for years, with plenty of punchy, one-week experts and high-ticket Grand Tour performers all fancying their chances of taking victory on the French Rivera in just over a week's time. It's no secret that the two most explosive days of racing should come on Stages 6 and 7. Stage 6 is the race's only true mountain-top finish as the peloton heads to ...

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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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Higuita's mid-season transfer to EF Education First brought forward to May

Sergio Andres Higuita (Euskadi) celebrates winning the white jersey at Volta a la Comunitat Valencia

When the favourites moved to the fore on the toughest stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia last weekend, it was hard to miss a figure in the bright orange colours of the Equipo Euskadi squad amongst their number. That rider was up-and-coming Colombian Sergio Higuita, who, at 21, held his own on the final ascent of Hazallanas and the long drop back to Granada in a select group of six chasers on stage 4. Not only that, Higuita was finally second on the stage, one of the best results in his pro career, as he took the small group sprint behind solo winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). After beating WorldTour racers of the calibre of Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre (Mitchelton-Scott), Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in the small group sprint on Saturday, Higuita then received a large hug of congratulations from the Equipo Euskadi team staff. But the ...

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Ruta del Sol: Simon Yates wins stage 4

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 4 at Ruta del Sol

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) has hit the ground running in his first race of the 2019 season, winning stage the toughest mountain stage of the 2019 Vuelta a Andalucia , as the aggressive racing in the Sierra Nevada mountains cracked Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) took the race lead. The 2018 Vuelta a España winner stormed out of a rapidly fragmenting lead group roughly five kilometres from the summit of the brutally difficult Hazallanas climb, crossing the top of the last ascent of the stage with 44 seconds advantage. Yates then managed to keep the chasing group, led by an Astana trio of Fuglsang, Ion Izagirre and Pello Bilbao and also containing his brother Adam, at a distance on the long, fast descent back into Granada and the finish. Former race leader Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) had a tough day, crashing early on, getting dropped at the foot of ...

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