Winners and Losers From the Week in Stage Racing

Alright, the first week of (real) World Tour stage racing is in the can. Some riders saw their stock go up, while others were left searching for answers. Let’s have a look at who came out on top, who didn’t and what that means moving forward. Winner: Sam Bennett The Irish Fastman had a pretty good 2018 with 3 stage wins in the Giro and a smattering of other better than expected results. For his sins, he lost his spot on the Giro roster to Pascal Ackermann. And now he is pissed. While handling his displeasure through the media swimmingly, his 2019 is so far going even better, with a win at UAE and now two stage wins at Paris-Nice, including an extremely impressive navigation through traffic to take stage 6, that really showed his chutzpah. Maybe the better competition went to Italy, but it’s not exactly nobodies that he’s ...

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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 'pure class' in Paris-Nice crosswinds, says Rowe

Team Sky's Egan Bernal and Luke Rowe in the crosswinds during stage 1 at Paris-Nice

It was a bruising afternoon for many on the opening day of Paris-Nice , but Team Sky could be pleased with their efforts as Luke Rowe guided Michal Kwiatkowski and Egan Bernal through the crosswinds that blew the race apart. A number of high-profile general classification riders were caught out and lost time as the race repeatedly split into echelons, including defending champion Marc Soler (Movistar). Ivan Sosa was one of them for Sky, but their two leaders were always up front and out of trouble. More than that, they were regularly on the front foot. Rowe, who missed the opening weekend of the Classics through illness, was a driving force in the key echelons in the final 50km. Kwiatkowski, who won Tirreno-Adriatico last year, was also aggressive and took advantage of the intermediate sprints to pick up five bonus seconds, which, in a race that has been decided by ...

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Crosswinds, crashes catch out GC contenders at Paris-Nice

Team Sunweb's Martjin Tusveld fell hard during stage 1 at Paris-Nice

Crosswinds, crashes and a fast opening stage combined to knock nearly a dozen potential general classification contenders down the rankings after stage 1 at Paris-Nice . Pre-race sprint favourite Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) suffered the biggest blow, going down in a crash 65km into the 138.5km stage and having to abandon . Riders losing the largest amount of time among the GC men were Colombians Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates) and Ivan Sosa (Team Sky), both of whom hit the ground during the stage and finished 4:31 and 4:32, respectively, behind stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma). Other GC riders who fell victim to the conditions and racing included Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at 2:51, Domenico Pozzovio (Bahrain-Merida) at 2:48, Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data) at 2:44, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) at 1:04, defending champion Marc Soler (Movistar) at 1:03 and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) at 1:02. Sosa, who was runner-up ...

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Paris-Nice: Groenewegen wins opening sprint

Dylan Groenewegen wins the Paris-Nice opening stage

Dylan Groenewegen ( Jumbo-Visma ) came out on top in a pulsating opening stage at Paris-Nice with a win ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep). Last year's overall winner Marc Soler (Movistar) lost time, finishing in a second group, while other potential GC rivals also finished well down after the race was peppered with cross winds and crashes. Groenewegen and his Jumbo-Visma team were well-placed throughout the race, and the Dutchman was too strong in the finale, taking his third win of the season. He came around Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) in the final 100 meters, after the Italian had opened his sprint far too early. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) looked to be in the mix, but he had no response when Groenewegen hit the front. Ewan started his sprint further back, and although he came through the field, he was unable to challenge Groenewegen, who now ...

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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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Defending champ Soler will return to Paris-Nice with Quintana

Defending champ Soler will return to Paris-Nice with Quintana

Movistar's Nairo Quintana will make his European season debut at Paris-Nice Sunday alongside defending champ Marc Soler. Read the full article at Defending champ Soler will return to Paris-Nice with Quintana on .

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The Agony and the Ex-Stani

Oh, Captain! My Captain!

One man’s battle to pick a VDS squad The final Thursday Thoughts piece of 2019 comes out, fittingly, on a Saturday/Sunday night. I didn’t want to run this before the deadline but so much of my offseason writing has been leading up to picking a team that I thought I’d show my workings, as it were, for the last exam on the 2018/19 offseason. I know it is a bit self-indulgent, but I’m sure you’ll all enjoy the chance to talk about your own, undoubtedly superior, teams. I’ve loved writing this series (especially the “ Team PdC ” column. Thanks for your company and bring on the season proper. My philosophy I know you’re all desperate to hear the approach to team-building that led me to finish 182 nd in 2018. To that, I’d say the following: Shut up. I finished 3 rd in the 2018 Ed’s draft league and ...

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Movistar announce Colombia 2.1, Valencia rosters

Nairo Quintana congratulates Winner Anacona for winning stage 5 in San Juan and taking the race lead

Fresh off Winner Anacona's overall win last week at the Vuelta a San Juan , Movistar have announced their rosters for the upcoming Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana , which runs February 6-10 in Spain, and the Tour Colombia 2.1 , a six-day race that starts February 12 in Medellin. World champion Alejandro Valverde will begin his season in Valencia, defending the tittle he won last year, and also in 2007 and 2004. Jürgen Roelandts, a stage winner in 2018, will support Valverde, alongside Rafa Valls, Rubén Fernández, Nelson Oliveira, Carlos Verona and Héctor Carretero. The five-day Spanish race begins with a 10km opening time trial that has an uphill finish in Orihuela. The race also includes a mountain-top arrival to Alcossebre on Saturday and stages with hilly finishes on Thursday and Friday. In Colombia, director Pablo Lastras will lead a six-man squad that is similar to the one that ...

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Offseason Capsule: Movistar

Not a cobbles juggernaut, but impressive uphill There aren’t many riders who’ve had as good a season aged 38 as Valverde put together. Whilst there were some positive signs for the future, this was another year where Movistar looked far too close to a one-man team. What we said last year Last year’s coverage was pretty down on the team’s performance in 2017 and concerned about the lack of “middle” to the squad, a concern amplified in the comments. I saw progress for Carapaz and Soler, and was optimistic about Landa’s chances in the Giro, though a little less positive about Quintana in the Tour. I mentioned the Ardennes and the Worlds for Valverde, which hardly took clairvoyance. All in all, a reasonable enough preview of a predictable enough season. Most of it was dedicated to discussing the team’s approach to grand tours, and you should prepare for more of ...

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Unzue: You can't write off Nairo Quintana

Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué with Nairo Quintana

Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué has recognised that 2018 has been a difficult season for Spain's only WorldTour squad, but insisted that "apart from in the Grand Tours, the team have raced well". In terms of wins, Movistar have had four fewer victories than in 2017, dropping from 31 to 27. Alejandro Valverde 's World Championships victory - albeit with the Spanish national squad - has, however, helped considerably to put a shine on the year. As Unzué put it, "it kind of saved the season for us." On another plus side, there was a big win in Paris-Nice for Marc Soler and a repeat victory in the Volta a Catalunya with Valverde. His failure to win two races he has dominated in recent years, Liège-Bastogne-Liège or Flèche Wallonne this spring, was another setback. But as Valverde himself pointed out, those defeats have to be placed in the context of ...

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The next Contador? Enric Mas’ bright future is here already

Supported by At the summit of Monte Oiz, the finish of stage 17 of the 2018 Vuelta a España, the riders found themselves climbing into the fog. With the sun hiding behind clouds, it was hard to see even a handful of metres before you. The people standing behind the finish line were expecting the red shadow … The post The next Contador? Enric Mas’ bright future is here already appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Peter Sagan returns to Australia for 2019 Tour Down Under

Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan puts on another green jersey at the Tour de France

Bora-Hansgrohe 's Peter Sagan will start his season in Adelaide, Australia, for the third year in a row when he lines up for the Tour Down Under in January next year, race director Mike Turtur announced on Monday. The current world champion enjoyed huge crowd support in both 2017 and 2018, and will be welcomed again in 2019. "To have the most popular rider in the world coming back is terrific," Turtur told Cyclingnews . "It's not only Peter's ability as a bike rider that attracts spectators, but also the way he races: his aggression on the bike. And then off the bike, his laid-back attitude and his just-get-on-with-the-job approach is appreciated by a lot of people, too, I think." Starting his season in Australia clearly suits the 28-year-old Slovakian: Sagan went on to win Gent-Wevelgem in March and Paris-Roubaix in April this year, before winning the Slovakian national championships ...

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Movistar extend Soler power with new contract

Movistar's Marc Soler in the white jersey after stage 2

Marc Soler has signed a contract extension with Movistar . The new deal, announced Saturday, sees the 24-year-old sign an improved deal until the end of the 2021 season. Soler already had a deal in place for 2019 but his continued success this year, coupled with a solid ride at the Tour de France in July has netted the Spaniard a revised contract. Soler joined Spain's WorldTour team in 2015 and duly won the prestigious Tour de l'Avenir that same year due to consistently impressive rides in the mountains. Last season saw Soler improve his all round skillset and he finished 8th in the Tour de Suisse and third overall in Volta a Catalunya. He made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana last summer but this year has seen the rider take another step forward. In March he won Paris-Nice with a dramatic last-day ride, while was ...

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Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas secures historic first Tour victory as Dumoulin wins Stage 20 time-trial

Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas secures historic first Tour victory as Dumoulin wins Stage 20 ti

Pete Muir 28 Jul 2018 The Welshman gears up to become third Briton to win Tour de France Team Sky's Geraint Thomas has made history by becoming the third Briton – and first Welshman – to win the Tour de France. There is still one more day of racing to go, however, barring accident, the final stage into Paris is usually a procession that has no bearing on the eventual outcome of the race. Thomas's third place on today's individual time-trial was enough to keep him at the top of GC. Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin won the stage with a time of 40'52", which was enough to secure his second place spot on the podium for the overall. Team Sky's Chris Froome took second place in the time-trial, just one second behind Dumoulin, which helped to move him up into third place overall, after Lotto NL-Jumbo's Primoz Roglic lost 01'11" in ...

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The peloton’s perspective on Tour de France’s stage 17 experiment

Stage 17 of the Tour de France was fun to watch, but was it fun to race? We asked riders throughout the peloton. Read the full article at The peloton’s perspective on Tour de France’s stage 17 experiment on .

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Stage 19: Lourdes save us!

Lourdes – Laruns (201km) The Route After the experiments with new climbs, gravel traverses and short stages, the final mountain stage of the 2018 Tour de France is a return to a very traditional stage. Not that there’s anything wrong with a bit of tradition; these are tough roads and challenging climbs. In fact, we’re doing three-quarters of the circle of death, ascending and descending Aspin, Tourmalet, and Aubisque (the Peyresourde was the warm-up for stage 17, on our previous visit to the Pyrennees - before yesterday’s inexplicable trip to Pau, which Conor has dissected ). That’s a lot of climbing. Before we get into the runners and riders, the mountains may be well known, but it is worth a quick look at them individually. Leaving Lourdes, the riders head through the village of Bagneres de Bigorre, of which I’m fond because I love Tony Hawks’ book (the comic, not ...

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Tour de France: Quintana is the Zwift Rider of the Day

2018 Tour de France Zwift Rider of the Day

Nairo Quintana ( Movistar ) takes the Zwift Rider of the Day prize for his solo victory on stage 17 of the Tour de France . The Colombian jumped away from the GC group at the bottom of the final climb of the day, the recently paved Col du Portet, sweeping up the remains of the break en route to victory. The shortest road stage of the Tour since 1988 (or 1996 if you're counting Bjarne Riis' victory on the shortened stage to Sestriere) was expected to be all-action from the get-go - especially with the starting grid thrown in. For the most part, though, the miniscule 65km stage was largely raced like a regular mountain stage. A break got away early, Team Sky set the tempo at the front of the peloton, and the action came on the final climb. The speculated-about kamikaze attacks from fringe GC riders never ...

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Quintana takes stage 17 of Tour de France; Thomas consolidates, Froome cracks

Supported by He’d been below par for much of the race but Nairo Quintana proved best on stage 17 on Wednesday, racing to the second Tour de France stage win of his career. The Colombian attacked on the last of three climbs on what was a unique 65 kilometre stage to Saint Lary-Soulan/Col du Portet, caught those … The post Quintana takes stage 17 of Tour de France; Thomas consolidates, Froome cracks appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Tour de France: Quintana wins short stage 17 atop Col du Portet

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) wins stage 17 at the Tour de France

Nairo Quintana ( Movistar ) won stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday, attacking on the final climb and riding alone to the summit of Col du Portet for his first Tour stage win in five years. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) finished second, 28 seconds behind, while overall race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) fought off all challengers on the final climb to finish third at 47 seconds and keep his yellow jersey. Four-time champion Chris Froome saw his chances for a fifth win fade in the final kilometres as he finished 1:35 down on Quintana. "It was a hard day, but we'd prepared well for it," Quintana said at the finish. "It went as exactly as we'd planned. We had Valverde and Soler up front, and their riding helped shake out the peloton. We knew it was a stage for pure climbers, and we showed our ...

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