Preview: Your guide to the 2018 Tour of Flanders

We’re deep into cobbled classics season and it’s now time for the second Monument of the year: The Tour of Flanders, or De Ronde, as it is lovingly known. This Sunday’s race will be the 102nd edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the biggest bike race in Belgium and one of the biggest one-day races … The post Preview: Your guide to the 2018 Tour of Flanders appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Stybar back at his best ahead of Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix

Zdenek Stybar talks with director Wilfried Peeters at the Quick-Step team car

The wolfpack of the Quick-Step Floors team is ready to take on the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix . At the team's press conference on Friday, the riders were beaming confidence ahead of the Holy Week. Also beaming were the alumni present in Wielsbeke to celebrate 20 years of Quick-Step sponsorship. Former riders Oscar Freire, Andrea Tafi, Paolo Bettini, Carlos Barredo, Mark Cavendish and now-directeur sportif Tom Steels were all steeped in the team's legendary 'vincere insieme' (win together) philosophy that was created when the sqaud was sponsored by Mapei and continues to this day. This year, the ethos has so far turned out 20 victories by ten different riders, with 7 out of 10 wins in the Belgian races. Niki Terpstra and Yves Lampaert have shown themselves to be on form with wins in E3 Harelbeke and Dwars door Vlaanderen, respectively. Philippe Gilbert , the defending Ronde champion, has yet to ...

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Lampaert basks in a moment of stardom before Tour of Flanders

Yves Lampaert celebrates his second consecutive win at Dwars doors Vlaanderen

It's been a special week for Yves Lampaert . The 26-year-old Belgian rider rode impressively in the breakaway at E3 Harelbeke with winning teammate Niki Terpstra and then captured a repeat victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen. It's only natural he's suddenly found himself on the list of contenders for the Tour of Flanders , but he played down his stature. With his aggressive racing style and spontaneous post-race chat in his thick West-Flemish dialect, he's gained a lot of attention in Flanders. Over the last few days, it was hard to miss him on the radio and TV. For a moment, he's become the new Tom Boonen. "Becoming the successor of Tom Boonen isn't possible. I'm a good rider but not a champion like Tom. That's not a disgrace. Winning the Ronde? If everything goes my way then that's possible," Lampaert said at the Quick-Step Floors pre-Ronde press conference. Later, ...

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UAE Team Emirates build team around Kristoff for Tour of Flanders - News Shorts

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) on the Koppenberg

UAE Team Emirates has built their team around Alexander Kristoff for Sunday's Tour of Flanders. The Norwegian won the 2015 edition ahead of Niki Terpstra in a two-up sprint. He may not be on the list of favourites this year but he will aim for another strong performance. "I won't be the favourite for Flanders, but the recent classics here in the north pushed my level higher, so I hope to be one of the protagonists," Kristoff said in a team press release. Although he is lacking in Classics success this season, he has had winning results in the early-season stage races at Tour of Oman and Abu Dhabi Tour. He was also fourth at Milan-San Remo. "It doesn't matter if I arrive at Flanders without any 'big' win because this is 'the race' and anything and everything can happen." UAE Team Emirates roster for Tour of Flanders: Alexander Kristoff, ...

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Tour of Flanders: Gilbert admits he's not as strong as last year

Philippe Gilbert at the Quick-Step Floors press conference

Philippe Gilbert 's extraordinary Tour of Flanders victory last year came as little surprise in the context of the preceding fortnight, during which he had already made several resounding statements of intent. A defending champion can hardly fly in under the radar, but the Belgian's form this time around is certainly far less clear. Twelve months ago, Gilbert burst Dwars door Vlaanderen apart in the first outing of the main cobbled classics period, finishing second behind teammate Yves Lampaert. He went on to finish second at E3 Harelbeke and then won the Three Days of De Panne, before unleashing himself on that famous 55km solo raid at the Ronde. This year, after finishing 75th at Milan-San Remo, he was second once again at E3 – this time behind a teammate in Niki Terpstra – and 17th at Gent-Wevelgem, while he chose not to race in the week leading up to ...

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Against the Odds – A gambler’s look at RdV and Roubaix

This is precisely how I see myself.  Precisely.

Insight through gambling as we prepare for back-to-back monuments You might have heard, there’s a bike race coming up in Flanders. There’s a couple of people at the café who think it is worth watching. The boss has already done a definitive preview (that’s gone up early so that he can spend Friday throwing his family out of the house and changing the locks, and Saturday preparing his frites station and lining up his beer, before genuflecting at a statue of Boonen and going to bed early. One assumes). Me? I’m as excited as the rest of you, and like the rest of you I’m throwing myself into the prediction business, the only way I know how – with gambling! This is, in effect, a bonus. Read Chris’ stuff, comment, vote for the likeliest winner, throw yourself into the preview… then come back here and look at the value. The ...

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Ronde Van Vlaanderen Preview: Who, Where and a Dash of Why

How does this day sneak up on me even though I’ve been waiting for it to come for, oh, about the last nine months? Anyway, the wait is over, the warm-ups have been applied to whatever purpose, and there will never be a better time to tap all those kegs of Kwaremont and Jupiler, for people who actually want to drink it. The Ronde van Vlaanderen is upon us. But before getting down to business, let me digress a moment... You already know, probably, that Vlaanderens Mooiste means Flanders’ most beautiful -- the nickname of the Ronde van Vlaanderen that also pretty well captures how a lot of people feel about it. More than a few of us consider it wielrennens mooiste , the most beautiful race in the sport. That’s a subjective opinion and you aren’t required to share it. You probably don’t if high mountain environments are more ...

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Preview: Your guide to the 2018 Tour of Flanders

We’re deep into cobbled classics season and it’s now time for the second Monument of the year: The Tour of Flanders, or De Ronde, as it is lovingly known. This Sunday’s race will be the 102nd edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the biggest bike race in Belgium and one of the biggest one-day races … The post Preview: Your guide to the 2018 Tour of Flanders appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Dwars door Vlaanderen - Race debrief

Yves Lampaert celebrates on the Dwars door Vlaanderen podium

Race: Dwars door Vlaanderen (WorldTour) Date : March 28, 2018 Distance: 180km Weather: Constant rain, 8-10 degrees. Podium: 1st Yves Lampaert ( Quick-Step Floors ), 2nd Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb), 3rd Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) Winner's quote : "We went into the last kilometre and I tried to have a gap of 10 metres, then started to sprint full gas. I knew if they gave me five seconds in the last kilometre then it would be difficult to bridge it again. Most of us were already on the limit - it was a hard day, a hard race, also with the weather conditions it was not easy, with all day rain." Critical point: When an attack containing Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) is caught after the second ascent of the Knokteberg, Sep Vanmarcke launches an attack on the last difficult sector of cobbles ...

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Lampaert: I'm on the same level as Gilbert, Terpstra, Stybar for Tour of Flanders

Yves Lampaert won Dwars door Vlaanderen and all he got was this toy pony

Yves Lampert may not possess the palmarès of Philippe Gilbert, Niki Terpstra, or even Zdenek Stybar, but he underlined his status and leadership credentials within the Quick-Step Floors team with a victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The Belgian came of age with a solo win in this very race 12 months ago, and his doubling up – combined with the way he lit up E3 Harelbeke on Friday – has put himself right in the frame for the Tour of Flanders. Alongside Terpstra, who went on to win solo in E3 Harelbeke, Lampaert has been the most eye-catching Quick-Step rider of the Classics so far, although race situations have meant that Gilbert and Stybar haven't yet been let fully off the leash. Consequently, with just four days until the Tour of Flanders, there was an obvious line of questioning in the race winner's press conference in Waregem. "I ...

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Watch: Yves Lampaert wins a rain-soaked Dwars door Vlaanderen

Watch: Yves Lampaert wins a rain-soaked Dwars door Vlaanderen

Joe Robinson 28 Mar 2018 Lampaert attacks in final 500m from a small group of five riders to take second consecutive victory Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) wins a wet Dwars door Vlaanderen from a small group of five escapees after attacking in the last 500m. The group escaped with 20km remaining and managed to ride through to the line. Lampaert caught out his fellow riders and eventually crossed the line alone. Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb) sprinted to second with Sep Vanmarcke (EF Drapac) came in third. This was Lampaert's second victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen after winning the race last year. 'Punching the air... Yves Lampaert!' %u270A The Belgian storms to victory for a second successive time in the @DwarsdrVlaander ! %uD83D%uDC4F #DDV #DDV18 pic.twitter.com/JqNJgEBaeA — Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) March 28, 2018 What happened where at the 2018 Dwars door Vlaanderen? The weather in Flanders was miserable meaning the peloton ...

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Yves Lampaert wins a rain-soaked Dwars door Vlaanderen

Yves Lampaert wins a rain-soaked Dwars door Vlaanderen

Joe Robinson 28 Mar 2018 Lampaert attacks in final 500m from a small group of five riders to take second consecutive victory Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) wins a wet Dwars door Vlaanderen from a small group of five escapees after attacking in the last 500m. The group escaped with 20km remaining and managed to ride through to the line. Lampaert caught out his fellow riders and eventually crossed the line alone. Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb) sprinted to second with Sep Vanmarcke coming in third. This was Lampaert's second victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen after having won the race last year. What happened where? The weather in Flanders was miserable meaning the peloton got underway in a barrage of rain as they rolled out of the Roselare town centre. The race started fast with 40km passing without a breakaway managing to escape. Riders, including the veteran Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) tried ...

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Bora-Hansgrohe name team to back Peter Sagan at Tour of Flanders

Peter Sagan wins Gent-Wevelgem 2018

Bora-Hansgrohe have named the team to support Peter Sagan at this weekend’s Tour of Flanders, with the world champion supported by experienced Classics men Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt. Sagan is aiming to win a second Tour of Flanders title after taking victory in the 2016 edition ahead of Fabian Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke, his first and only Monument success. The 28-year-old Slovakian has had a mixed Classics campaign so far. He skipped the opening weekend in Belgium in favour of altitude training and only made his cobbled debut at E3 Harelbeke last week after taking sixth at Milan-San Remo. The race did not go to plan after he crashed and then missed out on a split, eventually finishing over three minutes behind the winner Niki Terpstra. He later said that he hadn't fell well during the race. He bounced back two days later to take a sprint victory a ...

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Quick-Step Floors opens pop-up store for the Classics

Quick-Step Floors opens pop-up store for the Classics

This article first appeared on Cyclingnews . Aligning with the northern Classics, Quick-Step Floors has opened a pop-up store from February right through until 7 April in Kortrijk, Belgium. The Belgian team has Paris-Roubaix , Tour de France stage and World Championship -winning bikes on display from Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra, Tony Martin, Mark Cavendish and Michal Kwiatkowski. Alongside the historic bikes and other racing memorabilia, team kit is available to purchase as well as the team sponsors' products, including a display of the latest bikes from long-time team-bike-supplier Specialized. Rocket Espresso — who provides coffee machines to an array of WorldTour teams and riders — has a machine in the store and there are several dates to enjoy a coffee and signing session with various Quick-Step Floors riders. The bikes Mark Cavendish's 2013 Specialized S-Works Venge Tom Boonen's 2007 Specialized S-Works Tarmac Tony Martin's 2014 Specialized S-Works Shiv Niki ...

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Alejandro Valverde decides against the Tour of Flanders

Alejandro Valverde decides against the Tour of Flanders

Jack Elton-Walters 28 Mar 2018 Spanish rider hinted at participation in the Tour of Flanders but now looks unlikely Despite an impressive ride at yesterday's Dwars door Vlaanderen, Alejandro Valverde has decided not to ride Sunday's Tour of Flanders. This will come as a disappointment to the neutrals who would have been hoping the veteran Spaniard would have been tempted into riding the Belgian Monument after finishing 11th at a wet Dwars door Vlaanderen. The 37-year old was even on the attack, nipping off of the front on the Kruisberg with eventual winner Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors). However, it now appears that Valverde will not take part in Flanders this Sunday, instead racing the GP Miguel Indurain on Saturday before returning to the Netherlands and Belgium for the Ardennes Classics in late April. Valverde's presence on the start list of Dwars was mostly as cobbles training for Stage 9 of ...

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Alejandro Valverde hints at riding the Tour of Flanders

Alejandro Valverde hints at riding the Tour of Flanders

Jack Elton-Walters 28 Mar 2018 Spanish rider hints at participation in the Tour of Flanders in interview with Belgian press Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is in Belgium to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen, the mid-week warm-up race for the Tour of Flanders, which takes place this Sunday. His presence on the start list of Dwars is mostly as cobbles training for Stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France , which will take on 15 secteurs between Arras and Roubaix. In an interview with Sporza , the veteran rider spoke of his aims for Dwars door Vlaanderen, saying, 'I am here for the Tour stage, but I am also ambitious. I am a very competitive rider and wherever I go I want to do well.' However, he also hinted at getting more out of his visit to the Flemish region. 'Sunday in De Ronde? It is not 100 percent excluded,' he told ...

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Gallery: The best of the Cobbled Classics - so far

Jack Elton-Walters 27 Mar 2018 The best images from the Cobbled Classics so far this season. Photos: Offside The 2018 Cobbled Classics are well underway and unfortunately that means they'll soon be over, too. Grand Tours are all well and good but the Classics season is without doubt the best part of the cycling year. To keep the exicitement ticking over as we head for the Tour of Flanders and then the best race on the calendar - Paris-Roubaix - we've put together a gallery of some of the best images from the cobbled races so far. The current crop of photos comes from E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. The former was won by Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) who went away with a teammate, then continued on for an impressove solo victory . That win moves Terpstra up the list of favourites for Flanders and Roubaix, where he won in 2014. ...

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Where should your money be for the 2018 Tour of Flanders?

Joe Robinson 26 Mar 2018 Which riders should you back ahead of the Tour of Flanders this weekend? The Tour of Flanders is the second Monument of the year and tackles 266.5km of the toughest roads in the Flemish region of Belgium. The race is synonymous with the cobbled 'bergs' that pose the most challenging obstacle for the peloton. Among those are the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg which constitute the final two climbs of the day. While not the steepest climb within the parcour, the Oude Kwaremont is one of the longest at 2.2km long. This extended time climbing the cobbles often sees the peloton fragment as the strongest in the race begin to stretch their legs. What makes this climb even more dangerous is the kilometre or so of false flat cobbles that lie at the top of the hill, allowing riders no time to recover. The Paterberg is ...

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Team of the Week: Week 5

Races of the week: Busiest week of the season so far: Two BIG cobbles races in E3 and Gent-Wevelgem One LITTLE cobbles race in Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde THREE French SSSRs in GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut, Classic Loire Atlantique, and Cholet Pays de Loire THREE Stage Races from little (Tour de Langkawi), to medium (Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali) to big (Volta Ciclista a Catalunya) 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. I gotta say that there’s three-four riders who are in contention for Rider of the Week Naturally they all make the team. In this case I order them by total FSA-DS points they’ve earned for the year. That means....wait for it! Alejandro ...

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Quick-Step's E3 Harelbeke dominance sets the tone for cobbled Classics

Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) wins the 2018 E3 Harelbeke

Much of the build-up centred on the chances of rainbow jersey Peter Sagan and ‘golden’ Greg Van Avermaet , the outstanding performers on the cobbles these past two years, but blue was the colour in the aftermath of E3 Harelbeke , as Quick-Step Floors delivered a strikingly dominant showing in the dress rehearsal for next weekend’s Tour of Flanders. Niki Terpstra soloed to victory while Philippe Gilbert won the sprint for second place behind him, but the podium photographs and the results sheet told only a portion of the story. Quick-Step’s blue jerseys massed on the front a little under halfway through the race and there they stayed in various configurations all the way to the finish in Harelbeke. “Racing as racing should be,” read the enthusiastic headline in Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, and the lead article was no less rapturous. “If every team raced like Quick-Step did between Harelbeke ...

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