Flèche Wallonne: Kreuziger looking to improve on fourth place finish from last year's race

Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)

Dimension Data 's Roman Kreuziger will race Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne hoping that he can improve on the fourth place he took at last year's race, and hoping, too, that his team's fortunes soon change. The Czech rider will lead the African WorldTour team with Enrico Gasparotto and Michael Valgren , with all three riders left disappointed with their performances at last weekend's Amstel Gold Race, where they had made up the entire podium in 2018, with Valgren having won from Kreuziger and Gasparotto 12 months ago before they all joined Dimension Data for this season. On Sunday, Kreuziger was the team's highest-placed finisher at Amstel in 18th place, with Gasparotto and Valgren taking 41st and 52nd, respectively. Kreuziger now heads to Flèche on Wednesday searching for a podium place at the Belgian one-day race – the second of the three Ardennes Classics – which takes the riders over the famous ...

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Gilbert’s Roubaix win, a new Hour Record: Weekly News Digest

Supported by It’s okay to admit it – sometimes you’re just too busy to stay up to date on every bit of news from the world of cycling. Need a recap of the week’s biggest happenings? No problem. The final Daily News Digest of the week will be a Weekly News Digest, with highlights from the headlines of … The post Gilbert’s Roubaix win, a new Hour Record: Weekly News Digest appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Impey leads Mitchelton-Scott hopes for Amstel Gold

Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)

South African road race and time trial champion Daryl Impey will lead the Australian Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour team at the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands on Sunday, hoping that he can add to the team's already impressive haul of 17 victories so far this season. In 2019, only Deceuninck-QuickStep – with 24 wins – and Astana (22) have won in 2019 more often than Mitchelton, who currently share a win-tally with Bora-Hansgrohe. Impey – who successfully defended his national titles in February on the back of retaining his Tour Down Under crown in Australia in January – enjoyed a break from racing between finishing the Volta a Catalunya in late March and Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl, and is now raring to go for the hilly Dutch one-day race. "I've changed things around a bit this year, and I am trying a different approach by going to altitude before the Ardennes," he ...

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There’s gold in them there hills!

A look to Sunday’s first parts of the Ardennes trilogies Something that reliably winds me up is the very notion of a guilty pleasure. It is, as we say nowadays, signalling. The message is, “I like [x] but I consider myself better than the people who like [x]. I’m more of a [y] person, but by some fluke I just happen to like [x] more than [y].” Nope. You like what you like, and so long as you aren’t harming anyone, crack on. Me, I’ve got no guilt. I like watching property shows, listening to Kenny Rogers, and eating donner kebabs when sober ( though not for £60 ). I like other things, too, but I feel no guilt about any of those choices. In related news, I like the Ardennes races. I don’t think I’m supposed to, as a cycling fan. I think I’m supposed to have more sophisticated ...

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Going for gold: Where your money should be for the Amstel Gold Race

Joe Robinson 18 Apr 2019 Cyclist picks out the best bets for Amstel Gold Race this Sunday The Amstel Gold Race is a different beast these days to what it once was. Until 2017, the entire day centred around the Cauberg. For 260km, the peloton would tour the rolling Limburg countryside, heading up climbs, turning into narrow roads – left, right, left, before hitting the Cauberg. It's a climb that's less than a mile long, not overly steep either, but swamped with local support on race day – mostly Dutch fans packing the roadside, urging the day's strongest riders on to the summit in pursuit of ultimate victory. To win Amstel Gold required you to keep some bullets in the gun for the base of the Cauberg. If you had something left, you could wind it up, put down the hammer and sprint to victory. Just ask Philippe Gilbert, who ...

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Aldag: Valgren's talent hasn't just gone

Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) shows off the new Assos jersey

It has been a punishing spring for the Dimension Data team with just two wins this season and sickness wrecking their chances in the spring Classics. Marquee signing Michael Valgren has been unable to showcase his talent but Dimension Data's head of performance Rolf Aldag believes that the Danish rider hasn't become a bad rider overnight and that the team's fortunes and results will improve. "We know why it's been difficult. They were sick and then when everyone else is super good it's just really difficult to catch up again. That's what you have to live with," Aldag told Cyclingnews during the weekend of Paris-Roubaix. Dimension Data signed the entire 2018 Amstel Gold Race podium over the winter with Valgren joined by Roman Kreuziger and the experienced Enrico Gasparotto. Their remaining Classics season will very much depend on those three riders performing at their very best. "The Ardennes are coming. ...

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Valverde back in action at Amstel Gold Race

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde ( Movistar Team ) will return to racing, following a brief break after his Tour of Flanders debut, at this weekend’s Amstel Gold Race . Valverde will lead the Movistar team’s ambitions at the one-day race on Sunday. Having tested out the cobbles a few times in recent years, primarily as preparation for the Tour de France, Valverde made his Tour of Flanders debut at the start of April and finished eighth. The world champion took a short break from racing after De Ronde as he prepared for the main goal of his spring, the Ardennes Classics. Since his first Ardennes campaign in 2005, Valverde has won Liege-Bastogne-Liege four times and Fleche Wallonne on five occasions. The Amstel Gold Race is one that has eluded him so far in his career, however. Valverde has finished on the podium three times in 10 appearances, once taking third and two ...

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28 things you need to know about the 2019 Amstel Gold Race

The cobbled classics are done and it’s time now for the Ardennes Classics, starting with the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday. Ahead of this Dutch one-day race, we bring you up to speed on all you need to know about both the men’s WorldTour event and the Women’s WorldTour event. The basics Amstel Gold is … The post 28 things you need to know about the 2019 Amstel Gold Race appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Boasson Hagen gives Dimension Data hope for Paris-Roubaix

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) attacks at Scheldeprijs

Dimension Data have spent the past two off-seasons adding to their squad with the respected riders of Julien Vermote, Michael Valgren and Lars Bak in an attempt to bulk up their Classics squad and support Edvald Boasson Hagen . Boasson Hagen kicked off the 2019 season with a victory on his first race day in Volta Comunitat Valenciana and, alongside the new signings, gave Dimension Data plenty of promise for the spring. Sickness struck down the Classics squad at Volta ao Algarve, however, and the team has only managed a single top-ten during the entire Classics campaign through Giacomo Nizzolo – another new signing for the team – at De Panne. After Boasson Hagen's setbacks, a respectable 32nd place at the Tour of Flanders last Sunday is nothing to be sniffed at. The Norwegian showed his improved form further on Wednesday with a strong 10-kilometre attack in the finale at ...

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Tour of Flanders: Rating the top contenders - Podcast

Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First

In the latest episode of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you by Sportful , Pinarello and Floyd's of Leadville , we hear from John Degenkolb, Michael Valgren and Adri van der Poel. On the eve of the Tour of Flanders we look at the form of the pre-race favourites and take on the challenge of rating Peter Sagan , Niki Terpstra and Wout van Aert . The race is the second Monument of the season, and Cyclingnews will have complete live coverage on Sunday. You can follow the action throughout the day, right here . To subscribe to the Cyclingnews podcast, click here . Sponsor message Born in the Italian Dolomites, Sportful has been making athletes faster, more efficient and better protected since 1972. Sportful has a rich and successful racing history; optimising performance for athletes who have gone onto win Grand Tours, one-day classics, and the World Championships. Sportful ...

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Valgren bemoans 'stupid bike riders' after neutralisation chaos at Dwars door Vlaanderen

Michael Valgren (Dimension Data)

The neutralisation of Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday certainly looked chaotic, and that was confirmed from within the peloton as Michael Valgren ( Dimension Data ) hit out at "stupid bike riders" who kept fighting for position even though the race had been stopped. The breakaway and peloton were waved to a halt with 76 kilometres remaining to allow for ambulances to access riders who'd crashed in the women's race, which was behind schedule and set to use the same section of the course over the Kluisberg and Knokteberg. Though Valgren finished with the main peloton, 20 or so seconds down on winner Mathieu van der Poel, he found himself chasing for the best part of 20 kilometres when the race resumed. The reason, he explained, was riders jostling to be near the front, even when the race was being slowed and indeed when it was at a standstill, as ...

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Gent-Wevelgem Preview

You always remember your first time. Whether it be your first kiss, your first job, your first love, or the first time you had Richie Porte on your vds team. Well, the first time I watched Gent-Wevelgem, I witnessed a Welshman and future Tour winner being blown off his bike by a gust of wind and a coked up pirate escaping for victory, so please excuse me if I have fond memories and perhaps too high of expectations for this race. Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images Geraint Thomas, taking a flyer Gent-Wevelgem gets a bad rap as ostensibly the sprinter’s cobbled classic. However, a pure sprinter has not won in Wevelgem since Cipollini in 2002. Elia Viviani almost pulled it off last year, but was left sobbing in the fetal position on the side of the road after Peter Sagan pipped him on the line. Quick Step men also ...

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Valgren and Boasson Hagen lead Dimension Data charge for E3

Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) shows off the new Assos jersey

Michael Valgren and Edvald Boasson Hagen will lead Dimension Data 's efforts to capture what would be the African WorldTour team's fourth victory of the season at the E3 BinckBank Classic on Friday. Valgren only joined the team this year from Astana, with whom he won last season's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold, and the Dane is hungry for more success with his new squad at this year's Classics. Although the 27-year-old has so far failed to fire this year, finishing well out of contention at the Omloop earlier this month, Valgren chose to skip last weekend's Milan-San Remo in order to concentrate on training for the cobbled Classics. "I'm really looking forward to getting back to racing after Tirreno-Adriatico," Valgren said on his team's website. "I think that it was a good idea that I pulled out of San Remo to get some good training done, and I've ...

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E3 BinckBank Classic Preview

A familiar sight in 2019

The best non-monument cobbled classic can’t stop getting in the way of itself. (There’s a saying that I’ve only heard used in West Virginia that seems oddly appropriate - The E3 organizers can’t stop stepping on their own dicks). The always-exciting racing is often overshadowed by the organizer’s sexist provocations in advertising the race. This year’s addition to their chauvinistic oeuvre was this: Honestly, the body paint thing standing alone is kinda neat. The message, though, is at best muddled— “Who will crown himself prince in Harelbeke?” First, in the Frog Prince fairy tale, it’s a princess that kisses a frog, which turns the frog into a prince. (And actually, in one of the original editions of the Frog Prince fairy tale, it wasn’t a kiss by the princess that turned the frog into a prince, but rather the princess smashing the frog against the wall in a fit of ...

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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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