Valverde so near and yet so far at Milan-San Remo

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde 's seventh place at Milan-San Remo , which came as having been part of the 12-man lead group, was the Movistar rider's best finish yet at La Classicissima – a race that continues to elude and frustrate the world champion. It was a case of so near, and yet so far: the 38-year-old Spaniard was right where he needed to be on the Via Roma, but was never really a challenger to 26-year-old winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), whose greater concerns as the line approached were AG2R's Oliver Naesen, 2017 Milan-San Remo winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and former world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). "It's been a spectacular Milan-San Remo, both because of the high level of racing and the great weather," Valverde said on the Movistar website. "Being up there with the top contenders and finishing with the first group, after 20 days with no racing, is something ...

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Are the routes of the Monuments growing stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Are the Monuments going stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Are the routes of the Monuments going stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Balancing tradition and change: Are the routes of the Monuments going stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Racing Analysis: An early look at the state of the world’s best sprinters

The early season is always full of fast finishes. Where do the sport's top sprinters stand? The post Racing Analysis: An early look at the state of the world’s best sprinters appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Peter Sagan soldiers on in Tirreno-Adriatico as his health improves

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peter Sagan (Bora- Hansgrohe ) may have suffered an untimely puncture on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico but the three-time world champion believes that he's back on track after a recent bout of illness threatened to scupper his early spring classics campaign. Sagan came into Tirreno-Adriatico on the back of a stint of altitude training in Sierra Nevada. However, a stomach virus left him unable to train for several days, and he was forced to remain in his hotel room as his body recovered. He skipped Bora-Hansgrohe's team time trial recon on Tuesday and escaped a fall when a spectator walked out in front of the German team during their race effort a day later. On stage 2 Sagan lost contact with the lead group with 22 kilometers remaining, while Milan-San Remo rival Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) powered clear to take the stage and extend his incredible run that started in January ...

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Woods renews with EF Education First

Michael Woods (EF Education First) rode strongly on the way to his stage win

Michael Woods , runner-up at the 2018 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, has signed a "multi-year" contract renewal with EF Education First , the team announced today. Woods, 32, has scored three UCI wins with the team since signing in 2016, including a stage at the Vuelta a Espana last year along with stage wins at the Tour of Utah and the Herald Sun Tour. The former collegiate runner was also third at the UCI Road World Championships Road Race in Innsbruck last September. "The direction of the team, the idea of exploring the world – it all really meshes with what I believe in," said Woods. "I feel very fortunate to be on a team that values what I naturally value – education, exploration, community." Woods started his cycling career relatively late. He played hockey growing up before finding success in running. He set the Canadian junior record in the mile (3:57:48) and ...

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Peter Sagan: Nobody's beaten on the start line

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

On Wednesday evening, after his first race day in over a month, Peter Sagan ( Bora-Hansgrohe ) sat down with reporters, including Cyclingnews, and spoke at length about his return from illness, about targeting Milan-San Remo, and about the new generation of riders who are coming through and ready to usurp him. It was a baptism of fire for the three-time world champion as he returned to action at Tirreno-Adriatico, his first outing since the Vuelta a San Juan. Having spent much of last month training at altitude at Sierra Nevada before getting sick for a week – and losing four kilos, he told reporters – the opening team time trial stage at Tirreno saw Sagan having to avoid an errant spectator on the course, who took down his teammates Rafal Majka and Oscar Gatto. "Today I survived – despite what happened during the race," said Sagan. "I was pretty ...

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Poels shares leadership with Thomas for Team Sky at Tirreno

Wout Poels (Team Sky)

Team Sky 's Wout Poels starts Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday in a joint leadership role with Geraint Thomas , and is relishing racing there again for the first time since 2016. The previous year, at the 2015 Tirreno, Poels won a stage, which was his first win for Sky having joined them that season, and the Dutchman hopes that this year's 'punchier' route – which only takes in central Italy's muri , rather than any high mountains – will suit him as the winner of the 2016 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "They say it's more for the Classics guys, but I won a Classic," Poels said of this year's Tirreno route and his victory at Liège. "I really like Tirreno. I've done it quite a lot of times, and at Vaconsoleil I won the white jersey as best young rider [in 2012]. "I've been in the top 10 three times" – eighth in 2012, ...

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Alaphilippe eyes Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo hat-trick

Julian Alaphlippe says he wants to try and win Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo

Buoyed by Deceuninck-QuickStep 's early season run of success and his own victory at Saturday’s Strade Bianche, Julian Alaphilippe has admitted that a hat-trick of victories at Strade Bianche , Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo is possible. Davide Rebellin and Philippe Gilbert are the last two riders to win the Ardennes hat-trick – Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne – while Fabian Cancellara is the only rider to have won all three of the Italian March races, in 2008. Now, Alaphilippe is ready to give it a try, having built his early season around the March races, considering them more important than a second victory at Flèche, which he secured last season. "I don't know. I hope I can do it. I’ll certainly try my best," replied Alaphilippe when Cyclingnews asked about the chances of him completing the Italian Trittico . "Strade Bianche was my first big goal – maybe more ...

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Photo gallery: Strade Bianche, road cycling’s sixth Monument?

Is it time we added Strade Bianche to the exclusive list of road cycling’s Monuments? Is it time we put it on the same lofty pedestal occupied by Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia? There’s little doubt Strade Bianche has grown to become one of cycling’s most loved races, and … The post Photo gallery: Strade Bianche, road cycling’s sixth Monument? appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Stomach virus hits Peter Sagan's return to racing at Tirreno-Adriatico

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peter Sagan ’s return to racing at Tirreno-Adriatico has been hit by a stomach virus, with the former world champion unable to train properly for the last five days. Cyclingnews understands Sagan has travelled to Tuscany and intends to start the week-long stage race but the condition of the three-time world champion has been seriously affected by a stomach virus. He has suffered with diarrhoea and has struggled to eat normally for the last five days. Sagan will not attend the pre-race Tirreno-Adriatico press conference on Tuesday afternoon or study the team time trial course. Instead he and some Bora-Hansgrohe teammates will do a short ride from the hotel the team used for the GP Industria & Artigianato race in Montecatini Terme, near Florence to Lido di Camaiore. Fortunately, Tirreno-Adriatico begins with a 21.5km team time trial around Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday, giving Sagan an extra day to recover ...

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Dave Brailsford rode the Strade Bianche sportive this weekend and is almost as quick as the pros

Joe Robinson 11 Mar 2019 The Team Sky manager posted his ride to Strava and proved he is not slouch despite being 55-years-old Dave Brailsford may want to consider offering himself a pro contract for 2019 considering his Strava file after riding this weekend's Strade Bianche Gran Fondo . The Team Sky boss was in town watching the likes of Diego Rosa and Geraint Thomas race on Saturday and decided to give the Tuscan white roads ago, himself, on Sunday. Brailsford, who turns 56 later this month, completed the 139km sportive with 31km of gravel roads in just over four hours, giving him an astonishing average speed of 33.7kmh. The speed would have been faster had it also not been for a puncture in the last 9km of riding. His ability to hold this average speed is made impressive, firstly, because of the numerous steep sections of gravel road en-route ...

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The weekly spin: Alaphilippe, Van Vleuten conquer white roads of Strade Bianche

A pair of first-time champions emerged at Strade Bianche Saturday, though neither could be considered a surprise winner. After 184km of racing, including 63km across white gravel roads, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) got the better of Dane Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) to take the victory in the historic Piazza del Campo in Siena. Former world cyclocross … The post The weekly spin: Alaphilippe, Van Vleuten conquer white roads of Strade Bianche appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Strade Bianche dependably delivers the drama – Gallery

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) makes his winning move at Strade Bianche

Strade Bianche has quickly become a crowd favourite during its first 12 years on the UCI calendar. Is it the often-muddy conditions on the white gravel roads of Tuscany that draws the fans? Is it the epic finale over the series of gravel climbs leading back to Siena that's responsible for the race's quick ascent in the hearts and imaginations of the cycling public? Or is it the predictably frenetic excitement that only an important one-day race can conjure as the potential winners balance on a thin line of luck, preparation and stubborn resilience? The 2018 edition of Strade Bianche had all that and more as the inclement weather kicked the drama up several notches. The precipitation caused no shortage of Tuscany's slippery 'white' mud for riders to deal with, and the cold temperatures knocked the fight out of more than a few of the favourites. In the end, it ...

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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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What we learned from the opening weekend of the Spring Classics

Joe Robinson 4 Mar 2019 QuickStep and Boels-Dolmans to win all the Classics, why a crosswind is the best weather for racing and a goodbye to desert racing According to some, last weekend was better than those days between Christmas and New Year's Eve when all you do is eat chocolate and leftover cold cuts. That's because it was the opening weekend of the Cobbled Classics campaign, what the purists would consider the true start of the season. For the men, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and for the women, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland, each providing their own spectacle, teaching us some interesting lessons for the next few weeks ahead. Unfortunately, it'll be all over far too soon as Paris-Roubaix , the Queen of the Classics, is under five weeks away. Deceuninck-QuickStep are here to party Turns out that Deceuninck-QuickStep are pretty good at racing the ...

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Jungels wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep) takes a solo victory at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Bob Jungels completed an Opening Weekend double for Deceuninck-QuickStep as he soloed to victory at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, 24 hours after his teammate Zdenek Stybar annexed Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . The Luxembourg champion powered away from the decisive break with 16 kilometres remaining and he employed his qualities as a rouleur to hold off the chasing peloton and land victory. Owain Doull (Team Sky) clipped away to take second place ahead of Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie), seven seconds down. Winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège a year ago, Jungels was seconded to Deceuninck-QuickStep’s cobbled Classics unit this season and he produced a remarkably accomplished display in what was only the second Flemish Classic of his career after his 16th place at Omloop on Saturday. Jungels does, of course, have some pedigree on the pavé, having won the under-23 Paris-Roubaix in 2012, and he showcased those skills to force the winning move on the flat stretch ...

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Pre-Classics Season Power Rankings

Ladies and gentlemen, congratulations. You have made it. We have all made it. We have braved the offseason, the 4am Tour Down Under, piecing together tweets to form a picture of what happened in Oman and watching Amaro Antunes having his annual peak in the Algarve to arrive here, bare days before the joy of Omloop het Nieuwsblad. [The box on Conor’s desk wrapped in four whole rolls of packaging tape, hitherto motionless like all good packages, begins to move, almost imperceptibly] Ahem, anyway, as is customary here at the Café, before clip meets pedal and wheel meets cobble, it’s time to look at where all the teams stand ahead of the Omloop. Ah, the Omloop- [Tape rips suddenly. A mighty groan emerges from the box as it bursts open, revealing...] Ta flippin’ da, bitchez. Cuddles! How have you been? You bastard, I’ve been in Edinburgh for nearly two years. ...

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