Degenkolb wins in Roubaix, Porte Crashes Out

Van Avermaet still in yellow after a breathless cobbles stage On the day when much of the world’s sporting attention was focused on the World Cup final in Moscow, the Tour served up a thrilling and significant appetiser on the cobbles leading into Roubaix. This was the most exposure to cobbles in a Tour for 35 years and it had the impact that would be expected. At the end of three and a half hours in the saddle, the stage was won by Jon Degenkolb, with Greg van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert in second and third. The GC race was also shaken up, Richie Porte failing to finish, and Rigoberto Uran losing significant time. Greg van Avermaet retrained the yellow jersey. Degenkolb, however, deserves the headlines, leading out the sprint, the 2015 Paris-Roubaix winner holding off the 2017 winner to pick up his first ever Tour stage and complete his ...

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Tour Stage Nine: Omigod omigod omigod cobbles Cobbles COBBLES!

Arras – Roubaix (157km) We’re going to Roubaix. Bumpily. Here’s the official stage profile: Here is the less widely used profile, that is actually of some value: So, before we look at the runners and riders, what are we actually dealing with here? There are just over 21km on cobbles, with 15 named secteurs. You’ll see some areas that aren’t on the Paris - Roubaix route, but there’s some familiar secteurs, too. Of particular note, Mons en Pevele, a 3km (5*) secteur is raced in part here, as a 900m section. That is among the tougher sections, but pales in comparison to the full 1.8km secteur of Camphin en Pevele, rated 4* in Paris-Roubaix and raced as the penultimate secteur on Sunday, inside the final 20km. The map is below, but for a detailed preview, it is worth putting up with some of the irritating editorial aspects of this video ...

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Tour Teams Power Poll: Themes for Teams via The Bard

The Bard knows his Tour themes.

A Dylanesque ranking of the Tour’s top fifteen. I’m not the most plugged-in person here at the Cafe come Tour Time [insert complaints about children and the non-stop celebrations of the end of the school year]. I’m also on vacation, which is a mixed bag when it comes to thinking straight. In theory it’s a good thing. In theory... Which makes me the perfect person to write a Tour power poll. Power Polls are the greatest device ever invented by and/or for blogging, because you can define them any way you want, even though it sounds like a definitive ranking of the “best teams.” At the Tour, “best” is too complicated a matter for people to agree on, since it could mean either the maillot jaune (boring) or most influential overall. It can also mean in absolute or relative terms, the latter being relative to either other teams or to ...

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Astana name team to support Fuglsang at Tour de France

Jakob Fuglsang finished second overall at Tour de Suisse

The Astana team have named their eight-rider squad for the Tour de France with Jakob Fuglsang confirmed as team leader, with Magnus Cort targeting the sprint finishes. The line-up includes several Classics riders and rouleurs to protect Fuglsang in the opening nine stages in Brittany and across northern France, especially on the key stage across the cobbles to Roubaix. Fuglsang finished second behind Richie Porte (BMC Racing) at the recent Tour de Suisse and seems on track for the Tour de France. The Dane won the Criterium du Dauphine in 2017, but then crashed hard on stage 11 of the Tour de France and eventually quit the race on two days later. He finished seventh in the 2013 Tour de France and believes this year’s route, including the testing first week in Brittany on the on the Roubaix cobbles, suits him. “It looks interesting, it looks hard. For me, I ...

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Vinokourov says Astana's future is secure until 2020

Astana GM Alexander Vinokourov answering questions

Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov was in Israel for the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia and confirmed that he has secured the future of his Astana team until at least 2020. The WorldTour team was reportedly struggling to secure funding for daily operations at the start of the season after the Kazakh government failed to make any contract payments in the first part of 2018. Vinokourov revealed the financial problems in an interview with the Kazakh publication Vesti.kz , published in late February, in an attempt to force the government’s arm. His actions appeared to have worked, with the Astana riders also showing their worth with a series of victories in the first few months of the season. Alexey Lutsenko won the Tour of Oman , Michael Valgren won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Amstel Gold Race , while Astana won three out of five stages at the Tour ...

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By the numbers: What it takes to win at the men’s Ardennes Classics

With the Ardennes now behind us, the 2018 Spring Classics season has come to a close. Before we turn our attention to the Giro d’Italia, however, it’s worth looking back at the Ardennes Classics in some detail. In the following article, former pro Stephen Gallagher from Dig Deep Coaching breaks down each of the men’s … The post By the numbers: What it takes to win at the men’s Ardennes Classics appeared first on CyclingTips .

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A Classic Run

Serry and Jungels at La Flèche

In a middlin’ spring season, one name stands out The spring classics are a wrap! Before letting them go, I wanted to pause long enough for posterity. What was it we’ll remember in ten years? That’s easy... Quick Step. But that might not be all. We saw a few quasi-historic results. We saw some people we wanted to get excited about do exciting things. Let’s run through them. Getty Images Sagan alone on the Pavé A Bit of History in the Making Peter Sagan and Niki Terpstra both completed their career Flanders-Roubaix double, entering... not Nirvana, but at least the Sotapanna stream. The pair became the 11th and 12th riders since 1980 to notch wins in both Monuments, an illustrious list apart from maybe some EPO-soaked entries. Suffice to say, winning two fairly different monuments tends to say really good things about riders. In Terpstra’s case, he was just the ...

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In-form Valgren newly optimistic for Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Michael Valgren (Astana Pro Team)

Following last Sunday’s victory in Amstel Gold Race , not to mention the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad victory from February, Michael Valgren (Astana Pro Team) certainly has reasons to be optimistic about his chances of a third top result on Sunday. Looking further back, the Dane has ‘previous’ in Liège-Bastogne-Liège , as well. In 2012, and again in 2013, he won the U23 version race, on both occasions with lone breakaways. Speaking to Cyclingnews earlier this week, before placing 50th in La Flèche Wallonne - a race that does not suit his talents as a racer, and which he later Tweeted he had “survived” - Valgren talked of his hopes for this Sunday. "I'm looking forward to Liège, not just because it’s a bigger race, but because it’s a bigger goal," he said. "Together with Jakob [Fuglsang] I hope that we can use our team strength again, and I can pay ...

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Liège: A Farewell to Ans

La Doyenne makes its final appearance in the ‘burbs When was the last time you truly loved an edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège? On some level it will always be a beautiful race, winding around the Ardennes, past the farms, on skinny Belgian roads, some of which go uphill for quite a while. The concept of an out-and-back, two vastly different legs connecting the same poles, is brilliance. The history of the race can’t be forgotten. We love it, it’s a monument. But when have we loved the race on race day itself? That’s a subjective matter — I was fond of the Poels and Gilbert wins of the last decade, and the Hamilton victory in 2003 and Di Luca win in 2007, until I finally accepted the underlying reality. That’s about it. I can describe and rank the enjoyability of the last 13 or 14 Tours of Flanders without looking up ...

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Preview: Your guide to the 2018 men’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the third and final of the so-called Ardennes Classics and the last race on the Spring Classics calendar. Held in the French-speaking Wallonia region of southern Belgium, Liege is the oldest of the sport’s five Monuments and one of the hardest one-day races on the calendar. Ahead of Sunday’s 104th edition of “La … The post Preview: Your guide to the 2018 men’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege appeared first on CyclingTips .

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CyclingTips Podcast: Roadside repairs and the secret to Amstel Gold

CyclingTips Podcast

There are tools and skills you need to bring on every ride — what are they? This week’s Nerd Alert tackles roadside and trailside repairs, including what should be in your saddle bag or tool roll. But first, Michael Valgren won Amstel Gold in exactly the same way he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. What’s his … The post CyclingTips Podcast: Roadside repairs and the secret to Amstel Gold appeared first on CyclingTips .

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La Flèche Wallonne Preview: The inevitability of death, taxes, and Valverde

If Liege-Bastogne-Liege is known as La Doyenne, then its sister race, La Fleche Wallonne, should be properly known as La Dame Ennuyeuse as it has been as predictable as any race this side of Scheldeprijs. Also acceptable would be La Dame Espagnole as the last six years have all be won Spaniards: Joaquim Rodriguez, Dani Moreno, and Alejandro Valverde x 4. Only the most ascetic of fans would be clamoring for live coverage of the entire race, as it is often only the last three minutes of the race that are interesting. And those last three minutes of the sprint up the Mur de Huy are invariably fun to watch even if it’s more of the brute strength variety of entertainment rather than the intellectual, strategic delights of some of the other classics. (There’s also something to be said for the deluded optimism of holding out hope for the rider ...

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Van Avermaet's Classics campaign ends in disappointment at Amstel Gold Race

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing)

Greg Van Avermaet ’s Classics campaign ended in disappointment at Amstel Gold Race , where he showed strength by attacking in the finale, but could only manage 14th place after missing the decisive move in a race won by Michael Valgren (Astana). The Olympic champion lined out in the Netherlands on Sunday for the final race of his spring, but despite his aggression in the finale, he was unable to put a different complexion on what has been a frustrating spell. Van Avermaet’s Amstel performance was in keeping with the tenor of his Classics campaign as a whole. "I had the legs to be with the best, but I wasn't in front. It's a bit frustrating. It sums up my spring," Van Avermaet said, according to Belga. "It's not the result I came here for. 14th, I can only be disappointed. I felt good, but I didn't sprint for first ...

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Television motorbikes are deciding races, says Lefevere

Patrick Lefevere speaks to the press after Gent-Wevelgem

Patrick Lefevere has decried the influence of television motorbikes on races in the wake of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. The Quick-Step manager complained that the escapees at Amstel were able to shelter in the slipstream of the motorbikes while his rider Pieter Serry was leading the chase on the front of the group of favourites. Michael Valgren (Astana) won Amstel Gold Race after escaping in the closing kilometres in the company of Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott). Quick-Step’s best finisher was Julian Alaphilippe, who was prominent in the finale but had to settle for seventh. “I don’t want to come across as a bad loser, but the role of motorbikes in the race is really scandalous,” Lefevere said, according to La Dernière Heure . “That applies to other races as well as this edition of Amstel. While Pieter Serry was making a maximum effort at the front of the group of favourites, ...

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Valgren beats the best at Amstel Gold Race

Valgren beats the best at Amstel Gold Race

Astana's Michael Valgren won the Amstel Gold Race, beating Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) after a tactical battle at the end of the 263km race from Maastricht.

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8 is the Week; Here are the 9 Top Riders

Races of the week: After week seven, this week we took a breath before the next couple of weeks leading up to the Giro: Amstel Gold Race Brabantse Pijl Tour du Finistère Tro Bro Leon Paris - Camembert TT & RR at Commonwealth Games Team of the week: First named rider is the rider of the week and if a rider has a number in parentheses after their name it means the number of times they have made the select Team of the Week here. 1.Michael Valgren (2). Beautiful Amstel Gold win in two ways: First and like his win at Omloop, he worked beautifully with his teammates, in this case Fuglsang who did a wonderful job repeatedly attacking. Second, three big attacks: the first was at around 4k to go and was slowly pulled back, the second was around 1.5km to go and only Roman Kreuziger could follow. The ...

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Sagan closes out Classics with fourth in Amstel Gold Race - News Shorts

Peter Sagan and Alejandro Valverde at the head of the peloton

Peter Sagan closed out his Spring Classics campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The world champion was heavily marked in an elite leading group of 12 riders but placed the blame for missing the winning move on last week's effort to win Paris-Roubaix. "It was a tough Amstel Gold Race with a very strong pace from the start," Sagan said in a press release. "The breakaway managed to build a very big gap and was brought in, but that required a strong effort." The six riders of the day's breakaway still out front found themselves swept up by first runner-up Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) and third place finisher Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida) on the Cauberg with 28km to go, and Sagan made it into the group with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and eventual winner Michael Valgren and his Astana teammate Jakob Fuglsang. When ...

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Amstel Gold: Valgren wins with late attack

Amstel Gold: Valgren wins with late attack

Michael Valgren used shrewd riding in the final few kilometers to take an impressive at Sunday's Amstel Gold Race. Read the full article at Amstel Gold: Valgren wins with late attack on VeloNews.com .

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Valgren wins Amstel Gold Race

Michael Valgren (Astana) wins

Michael Valgren (Astana) took victory at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, beating Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) in a two-up sprint, with Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida) crossing the line just behind for third after failing to catch the duo. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the sprint for fourth place. It's the second major one-day victory for the Dane after his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad triumph in February, and it came about in similar circumstances as Astana once again exploited a numerical advantage in the lead group in the race's finale. When Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked on the Guelhemmerberg, the penultimate climb of the day, a group of eight riders – plus a few breakaway remnants – went clear, and Astana were the only team with two riders, Jakob Fuglsang joining his compatriot. Fuglsang attacked repeatedly in a bid to put pressure on Valverde and the other big-name favourites in the group, which also contained Sagan, ...

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Great Dane! Valgren takes Amstel Gold Race after late attack

Danish rider Michael Valgren (Astana) took a two-rider sprint to win the 53rd edition of the Amstel Gold Race Sunday in Valkenberg, beating out former Amstel winners Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott), and Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida). World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won a small bunch sprint for fourth just ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). It was the … The post Great Dane! Valgren takes Amstel Gold Race after late attack appeared first on CyclingTips .

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