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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Milan-San Remo highlights: Alaphilippe’s masterclass

Julian Alaphilippe shows off the new Deceuninck-Quick-Step jersey

The yearly seven-hour battle between the sprinters and puncheurs that is Milan-San Remo has once again come and gone, and for 2019 we can strike another one up to the latter – the third in a row for that most versatile of rider groupings. Julian Alaphilippe ( Deceuninck-Quick Step ) was the man to continue the mini-streak on Saturday afternoon, pulling off a masterful display in the finale. The Frenchman was ably aided by his powerful Quick Step team on the final climb of the day, the legendary Poggio, before launching over the top. He wasn’t alone though – far from it, in fact. The best of the best had joined him, with the last two winners Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) up there, along with legends of the modern era Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), among others. After navigating the potential treachery of the ...

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Milan-San Remo: Fourth leaves Peter Sagan disappointed yet again

Peter Sagan waves to the crowds at the start

Peter Sagan ( Bora-Hansgrohe ) was called for anti-doping after finishing fourth at Milan-San Remo , giving him to time to reflect and analyse his race and his fourth place behind Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) but his disappointment was still clear to see when he returned to the Bora-Hansgrohe team bus. Sagan had chased after Alaphilippe when the Frenchman attacked on the Poggio and was there as the sprint began in the Via Roma. But as he looked for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), the sprint exploded on the left with Alaphilippe proving to be unbeatable. Sagan has raced Milan-San Remo nine times and finished in the top five on four occasions, but the first monument of the season continues to be out of reach. “I was close but again not first…” Sagan said, speaking to the media, including Cyclingnews , at the team bus. “The race just happened like that after the ...

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Alaphilippe Wins Milan San Remo

Deceuninck Quick-Step Rider Bags His First Monument Julian Alaphilippe won Milan San-Remo on Saturday afternoon, comfortably winning a sprint from a group of ten that went clear over the top of the Poggio. He was joined on the podium by Olivier Naesen and Michal Kwiatkowski. This year’s first monument went according to the script, with a large break given plenty of room on the road and building up a sizable gap. The ten riders, including six Italians and four representatives of Novo Nordisk, were steadily reeled back in as the race hit the coast in perfect weather. Quick Step, UAE, Lotto Soudal and Groupama-FDJ were among the teams working at the front and by the foot of the Cipressa only Fausto Masnada was left in front. Getty Images Masnada was caught on the earliest slopes of the penultimate climb and there were few fireworks on the climb, though a daring ...

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The Pro-Conti and SSR Corner: The Cobbles and Crashes Edition

Ack! Cees Bol win

It’s been slow on the SSR front for the last few weeks, though we did get an exciting and rainy edition of Industry and Artichokes, as well as exciting (to different degrees) but crash-marred editions of Nokere Koerse and the Bredene Koksijde Classic. Max Schachmann took the big Artichoke, while Cees Bol and Pascal Ackermann respectively won the two Belgian SSRs. Too bad that Sunweb is SSR-phobic, or we may have had the chance to see Bol dominating more races. Ackermann’s victory in the-race-formerly-known-as-Handzame was dominant, and likely gave him some assurances against an Irish Giro takeover, but how does a single one day SSR victory compare to Sam Bennett’s 2 WT victories at Paris-Nice? It’s a good problem for Bora to have, though, as they now have three of the best sprinters in the peloton and the competition amongst them is resulting in some great performances. As the heart ...

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Valverde and Landa headline Movistar at Milan-San Remo

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

World champion Alejandro Valverde headlines Movistar ’s team for Milan-San Remo , while Mikel Landa will make his comeback from injury at La Classicissima on Saturday. Landa sustained a broken collarbone in a crash during his first race of the season, the Trofeo Ses Salines, Campos, Porreres, Felanitx at the Challenge Mallorca in January. He has been side-lined ever since, but will ride Milan-San Remo before staying in Italy to tackle next week’s Settimana Coppi e Bartali. The Basque rider is also expected to line out at the Tour of the Basque Country next month. Landa has stated his intention to ride both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2019. Milan-San Remo was a relatively late addition to Valverde’s racing programme, and he will then line out at the Volta a Catalunya, which gets underway 48 hours later. The Spaniard last appeared at Milan-San Remo in 2016, when ...

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Bernal left in disbelief after winning Paris-Nice

Egan Bernal in the yellow jersey

Team Sky's Egan Bernal took the biggest win of his career so far when he landed the overall classification of Paris-Nice on Sunday, and said that the reality of what he's achieved may take some time to sink in. Bernal's win came in large part thanks to his ability to have finished up at the front of the race in the windy opening couple of stages, thanks to sterling work by teammate Luke Rowe, in particular, who gave him plenty of 'on the job' training, shouting to tell the diminutive climber where he needed to be, while around them their rivals lost their heads and, early on, their chances of winning the race. Bernal then struck the killer blow on stage 7, with its summit finish on the Col de Turini, to take the leader's jersey, having matched Movistar's Nairo Quintana and putting time into his other rivals. "I can't ...

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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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Egan Bernal gives Team Sky its sixth Paris-Nice win in eight years

Pedestrian zone cyclist.JPG

22-year-old Colombian holds off attack from Movistar's Nairo Quintana to win Race to the Sun

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Bernal wins Paris-Nice

The final Paris-Nice podium (L-R) Nairo Quintana, Egan Bernal, Michal Kwiatkowski

Egan Bernal ( Team Sky ) secured overall victory at Paris-Nice after a tense final stage which saw his yellow jersey come under attack by Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Ion Izagirre (Astana) took the stage win in Nice, attacking on the final climb of the day to leave behind the remains of the elite break group led by Quintana. The Spaniard quickly built a stage-winning gap, staying upright on the descent to secure the win, 19 seconds ahead of Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb). Quintana, meanwhile, attacked 50km out, echoing similar moves against Team Sky by Alberto Contador in 2016 and 2017. But like the legendary Spaniard, Quintana would fall short. He was the virtual leader at several points, but ended up only taking four seconds on Bernal at the finish. The Movistar man attacked on the Côte de Peille to link up with the remnants ...

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Paris-Nice highlights: A tale of two Colombians - Video

Daniel Martinez (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale)

The seventh stage of Paris-Nice was a tale of two Colombians as Daniel Martinez ( EF Education First ) claimed the stage win on the Col de Turini and Egan Bernal ( Team Sky ) stepped into the yellow jersey of race leader. The battles for yellow and for the day’s victory were fought separately as a large 39-man breakaway, which included Martinez, escaped up the road over the stage’s early climbs. The peloton kept them at close quarters initially, holding them at around 2:30 for some time, before letting the rope slack. As the stage reached its denouement, the 39 became just four as Martinez went up against Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis). Each took their turn to try and distance his companions, but it was Martinez’s attack under the flame rouge that did the intended damage. The Colombian took six seconds out ...

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Campagnolo launches Super Record 12-speed EPS electronic groupset

Campagnolo has today announced an electronic version of the Campagnolo Super Record 12-speed groupset – in both rim and disc brake versions – is now available following the launch of the mechanical version last year. The iconic Italian brand has also announced a new wheelset to their Wind Tunnel Optimised Campagnolo Bora WTO range, claiming "a new era in terms of aerodynamic carbon wheels", which is available as a rim or disc-brake option. Cyclingnews first spotted electronic versions of the Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupsets at the WorldTour opener of the Tour Down Under in January. Movistar , Lotto Soudal and UAE Team Emirates have all been using the groupsets throughout the season so far. The new Campagnolo Bora WTO 45 wheels are focused on all-round racing and sit alongside the deeper-rim Bora WTO 60 and Bora WTO 77 wheels, which were launched alongside the mechanical 12-speed groupset last year. ...

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Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed: Details and first-ride review

It was hardly a secret that Campagnolo would upgrade its Super Record EPS electronic groupset to 12-speed; the company even told us that outright a few months ago, and sponsored riders have already been using it since the start of the season. But now it’s finally here, and we have all the details. Updated Ergopower … The post Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed: Details and first-ride review appeared first on CyclingTips .

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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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Paris-Nice 2019: Who are the favourites and who will win?

Joe Robinson 8 Mar 2019 From Colombian talent to Northern grit, here are the riders to watch at Paris-Nice Paris-Nice has had a stroke of luck this year. With rival Italian stage race Tirreno-Adriatico deciding to ignore the Apennine mountain range in favour of a mixture of flat and rolling stages, any climber looking to get some early-season miles in their legs has opted to race in France. As a result, the field for the 2019 edition of the 'Race to the Sun' is one of the strongest for years, with plenty of punchy, one-week experts and high-ticket Grand Tour performers all fancying their chances of taking victory on the French Rivera in just over a week's time. It's no secret that the two most explosive days of racing should come on Stages 6 and 7. Stage 6 is the race's only true mountain-top finish as the peloton heads to ...

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Van Aert hoping to improve on last year's dramatic third place at Strade Bianche

Wout Van Aert makes his debut for Jumbo Visma

With the memories of third place at last year's Strade Bianche still fresh in his mind, Wout van Aert heads to this Saturday's race with the full backing of WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma – and hoping to go one or two places better. The Belgian's tumble from his bike on the final climb up to the finish in Siena's Piazza il Campo at the 2018 race, and his subsequent struggle to remount, had hearts in mouths all around the world, but with a good 30-second buffer back to fourth-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Van Aert's podium place was safe – even if he'd hoped to catch runner-up Romain Bardet (AG2R) before the finish. But in a video interview posted on Jumbo-Visma's website, Van Aert said that "giving up was not an option". "It's the race people have talked about most since I started cycling," he said. "It left an impression on many ...

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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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Valverde skips Strade Bianche to prepare for Tour of Flanders

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The Movistar team have confirmed that Alejandro Valverde will not ride Strade Bianche or Tirreno-Adriatico, and will only return to racing at the Volta a Catalunya later this month. The world champion finished second overall at the recent UAE Tour and won the first mountain finish to Jebel Hafeet. However, he ended the race feeling unwell and, with the Tour of Flanders and the Giro d’Italia major goals in the coming months, he has opted to rest up and do a block of important training instead of racing. With Tuscan local Daniele Bennati also out due to a recent illness and Mikel Landa still recovering from a fractured collarbone, Movistar will field a young team for Strade Bianche. Richard Carapaz will make his European season debut after riding the Vuelta a San Juan and the Colombia 2.1 stage races in South America. Also in Movistar’s seven-rider roster are Nelson Oliveira, ...

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