Strade Bianche: Tuscan delicacy

Is it possible that Strade Bianche is the most anticipated race of all on the calendar save for one or two that the Flemish hype machine have managed to elevate to almost God-like status? I think it probably is. Last year we engaged in a debate over whether it is in fact the sixth monument already and the opposition to such an outrageous claim was surprisingly mellow. It may not be but it’s probably not far off in many people’s minds. That said, it’s still pretty early days and Strade is really just the opening salvo in perhaps the most intense period of the year, Paris-Nice, Tirreno, Sanremo all follow like a string of pearls and the coming weeks promise to be a blur of high caliber World Tour racing. The race also suffers from rubbing up against Paris-Nice this weekend. Like always some riders you’d desperately want to see ...

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Sickness wipes out Dimension Data from Opening Weekend

Dimension Data work for Edvald Boasson Hagen at the front of the bunch

On paper Dimension Data headed into the Opening Weekend with one of the most competitive squads. They boasted last year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Michael Valgren, perennial Classics contender Edvald Boasson Hagen, an injury-free Giacomo Nizzolo and a strong support squad that included Julien Vermote and Lars Bak. However, due to illness the team failed to post a single finisher in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne , while Valgren could only manage 45th in his defence of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . For a team on the up after two early-season wins, the Opening Weekend brought them back to earth with a bump. Valgren had been honest enough on the eve of Omloop to admit that he had been sick in the week leading up to the race. The Danish rider, who joined from Astana during the winter, told Cyclingnews at the start of Saturday's race that he just recovered from a cold. However, the ...

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Astana take the fight to Deceuninck-QuickStep at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Davide Ballerini and Magnus Cort Nielsen take pulls in the breakaway at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

On the face of it, 20th place was scant consolation for Astana in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with the team one of the few squads willing and able to go toe-to-toe with a dominant Deceuninck-QuickStep. Although Alexey Lutsensko pulled out of the race after his exploits 24 hours ago in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Astana squad rallied in Kuurne with Davide Ballerini and Magnus Cort making the key selection of the race on the Varent stretch of cobbles with 66km remaining. The move was sparked by eventual winner Bob Jungels, with Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First) the only other riders who could follow. When Jungels surged clear with 16km to go there was no response from those left in his wake, and although the remnants of the break were swallowed up by the pursuing bunch, with Hugo Houle the best Astana rider over the line, their director ...

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Zdenek Stybar outfoxes rivals to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Supported by Zdenek Stybar played off the strength of his adversaries and used a perfectly time attack in the final kilometres to win his first Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The post Zdenek Stybar outfoxes rivals to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad appeared first on CyclingTips .

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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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Valgren has homework done ahead of Opening Weekend

Michael Valgren (Dimension Data)

Opening Weekend is around the corner and Michael Valgren , it seems, is ready. The Dane caught the eye at the Volta ao Algarve with a strong showing on the summit finish at Alto da Fóia on stage 2, though he preferred to focus on the training and racing miles logged through the winter months. "I just know that I did my homework in December and January – and in February too – so I know I’ve trained enough. I just need to find the freshness in the legs and be lucky. I know I’m pretty good," Valgren told Cyclingnews in Faro. "But last year, I wasn’t feeling great in Ruta del Sol and then the next week I won on the Opening Weekend, so I don’t really compare too closely from year to year, because sensations can change in a week." A year ago, Valgren’s triumph at Omloop Het ...

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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Who are the favourites?

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Who are the favourites?

Joe Robinson 25 Feb 2019 Where should your money be for the first Classic of the year, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, this Saturday? Can you smell it? It's the smell of the opening Classics weekend and the cycling season starting for real . Saturday marks the beginning with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad before the double-header is completed on Sunday with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Two contrasting races but both a brilliant gauge to see who is fighting fit to race the cobbles and who may be slightly off the pace. Omloop acts as a distilled version of the Tour of Flanders , taking the peloton on a 199.8km route from Gent to Ninove with the passing of 13 hills and seven cobbles sections in between, making a true day for the Classics specialists within the bunch. The race's real spice should be provided by the Muur van Geraardsbergen/Bosberg double punch within the last 27km of ...

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2019 Neo Pros to Watch

Watch out Jasper, there’s a new chocolate boy in town!

and to agonize over including (or not having included) on your vds team As the hour of reckoning approaches to submit your FSA DS team, I figured now would be as good a time as any to make a list of new riders that you should consider dumping your much-agonized-over selections for (or rue that you didn’t pick after having submitted already). Later in the season, Andrew may have a post that discusses the neo pro riders with an actual expert on the matter. This is no such post. This post is simply a missive from a malcontent with no particular special insight (if there’s really any question on this point, simply refer to my last year’s neo pro post ) designed to make your FSA DS decisions even more maddening. Before we get to the list, I want to try to try to dispel one long-held belief-- that a ...

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Q&A: Michael Valgren — Denmark’s next big thing is already here

Q&A: Michael Valgren — Denmark’s next big thing is already here

The classics winner Valgren believes he can win Tour of Flanders. He also talks about his passion for cycling equipment and how he came to the sport. Read the full article at Q&A;: Michael Valgren — Denmark’s next big thing is already here on VeloNews.com .

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Offseason Capsule: Astana

Another middling season for the pyjama-clad team We pretty well have a formula for Astana year on year these days. 2018 followed that formula, but with an unexpected injection of classics excellence early in the year. That bug has been fixed and normal service will resume in 2019. What we said last year I had a memory that the comments on my Astana capsule picked up on how little love I gave to a Valgren-led cobbles squad. Not so, that came with my first cobbles ranking . I was down on the cobbles team and missed Valgren’s great year (though he was on my list of potential hilly-classics winners, fortunately). I am pleased that I gave praise to Bilbao, who proved a valuable lieutenant in the hills, and that I was more positive about Lopez than Fuglsang, who performed in line with my luke-warm preparation. Was I overboard on Lopez? ...

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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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Ewan hoping to make amends in Geelong

Ewan hoping to make amends in Geelong

Ewan keen to deliver first official victory in Lotto-Soudal jersey on home roads. Read the full article at Ewan hoping to make amends in Geelong on VeloNews.com .

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Preview: Your guide to the 2019 men’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (or just “Cadel’s Race” for short) is the first one-day event on the 2019 men’s WorldTour. This Sunday’s race is the fifth edition and if previous outings are anything to go by, it’s sure to be an intriguing and hard-fought contest. Here’s what you need to know about … The post Preview: Your guide to the 2019 men’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Town Down Under’s lack of buses pleases riders

Town Down Under’s lack of buses pleases riders

Teams don't bring their coach buses to the Australian WorldTour race, so each squad is given two cars and a van to use. Read the full article at Town Down Under’s lack of buses pleases riders on VeloNews.com .

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Tour Down Under: Porte takes sixth consecutive Willunga win, Impey seals overall victory

Tour Down Under: Porte takes sixth consecutive Willunga win, Impey seals overall victory

Bevin loses grip on GC to allow Impey to become first rider in race's history to retain title. Read the full article at Tour Down Under: Porte takes sixth consecutive Willunga win, Impey seals overall victory on VeloNews.com .

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Impey wins the 2019 Tour Down Under as Porte takes Willunga

Daryl Impey celebrates winning the 2019 Tour Down under

Richie Porte ( Trek-Segafredo ) claimed his sixth straight win on Willunga Hill on stage 6 of the 2019 Tour Down Under as Daryl Impey ( Mitchelton-Scott ) became the first rider in the race's history to retain his crown. Porte attacked several times on the final ascent, first to battle back and catch Wout Poels (Team Sky) and then to push clear inside the final 600 meters. Impey, just as he did in 2018, paced his effort perfectly to finish just a few bike lengths behind Porte and Poels. Overnight race leader Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) battled through the stage but was dropped on the first ascent of Willunga Hill, clearly suffering the effects of his stage 5 crash. In the battle for the overall, Impey finished clear of Porte by 13 seconds, with Poels rounding out the podium four seconds later. Impey came into the final stage seven ...

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Tour Down Under: Philipsen wins stage 5 after Ewan is relegated

Tour Down Under: Philipsen wins stage 5 after Ewan is relegated

Jasper Philipsen is declared the winner of the Tour Down Under's fifth stage after Caleb Ewan is relegated for irregular sprinting. Read the full article at Tour Down Under: Philipsen wins stage 5 after Ewan is relegated on VeloNews.com .

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Tour Down Under: Impey wins stage 4

Tour Down Under: Impey wins stage 4

2018 Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey tops Patrick Bevin to win stage 4. Read the full article at Tour Down Under: Impey wins stage 4 on VeloNews.com .

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Tour Down Under: Sagan sprints to his first win of 2019

Tour Down Under: Sagan sprints to his first win of 2019

Peter Sagan sprints to victory in stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Read the full article at Tour Down Under: Sagan sprints to his first win of 2019 on VeloNews.com .

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