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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Van Avermaet: I have the same feelings as last year

BMC and Greg Van Avermaet at Gent-Wevelgem 2018

A year ago, when Greg Van Avermaet ( BMC Racing Team ) scarcely misplaced a pedal stroke all spring, opportunities seemed to fall into his lap at every turn. Twelve months on, the Olympic champion can't quite seem to catch a break, no matter how he tries. Such are the glorious mysteries of the cobbled Classics. The difference between his Gent-Wevelgem this year and last is a case in point. This Sunday twelve months ago, a running contretemps between Peter Sagan and Niki Terpstra allowed Van Avermaet to all but ghost of the front of the winning break in the company of Jens Keukeleire and claim victory in the two-up sprint on Vanackerstraat. This time out, Van Avermaet looked to force a way clear of the front group a mile outside Wevelgem only to find his attempt quickly snuffed out, with Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willem-Crelan), Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) ...

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No regrets for Lefevere after Quick-Step Floors loses Gent-Wevelgem

Patrick Lefevere speaks to the press after Gent-Wevelgem

The Quick-Step Floors team fell just short of adding a twentieth win to their tremendous early-season success at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. The team's sprinter Elia Viviani got boxed in and missed out on the chance to duel with world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) for the win. Viviani finished as runner-up and was massively disappointed . Team manager Patrick Lefevere wasn't as disappointed as Viviani and emphasized that the team once again was represented in the finale with the most riders. In contrast to the E3 Harelbeke on Friday, the team opted to put its money on their sprinter in Wevelgem. In Harelbeke, they wanted to get riders up the road with Niki Terpstra completing a long solo victory. "You have to take the risk to gamble on your sprinter. We had four guys in the decisive move. We hired a sprinter and we had to give Elia the confidence. There's ...

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Three Pete: Sagan holds off Viviani to take a third Gent-Wevelgem title

World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the 80th edition of the Belgian classic Gent-Wevelgem Sunday, holding off Italian Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) in a small bunch sprint. With the win, Sagan becomes one of six riders to win the Belgian race three times. He’s also become the most successful rider in … The post Three Pete: Sagan holds off Viviani to take a third Gent-Wevelgem title appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Schachmann braves cold and rain in Volta a Catalunya to take first WorldTour win

Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) in the breakaway before winning stage 6 of the Volta a Cat

Germany's Maximilian Schachmann ( Quick-Step Floors ) braved atrocious weather conditions in the Volta a Catalunya on Saturday to secure his first-ever WorldTour win. Schachmann and Burgos-BH’s Diego Rubio were off the front of the shortened stage for nearly 100 kilometres, with a margin that never rose above three and a half minutes as Michelton-Scott chased hard behind, with the break only 18 seconds ahead at the finish. In a stage run off at a ferociously fast average speed of 45.461kph, Schachmann said afterwards that the extreme cold, with temperatures hovering around freezing all day, heavy rain and sleet, had made racing brutally tough. "I think there's maybe one per cent of the bunch that like this kind of weather, and I'm not one of them," the German said. "I can't imagine how cold it was in the bunch because I was riding hard the whole day, just shaking on ...

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Landa crashes but survives E3 Harelbeke in Tour de France practice session

Mikel Landa gets ready for the start of E3 Harelbeke

Among the thick frames and muscular builds of the archetypal Classics ‘strongmen’, there was one rider who stood out like a sore thumb at the sign-on for E3 Harelbeke on Friday. Mikel Landa , the 60kg Basque climber, was in town for a baptism of fire on the cobbles ahead of the Tour de France . Landa was in a playful mood ahead of the race as he explained he’d never raced over a cobblestone in his life. “Never, no.” In training? “No, never!” With stage 9 of this year’s Tour covering 21.7 kilometres of cobbled roads, across 15 separate sectors usually reserved for Paris-Roubaix, Landa is one of many Tour de France contenders flying into Flanders this fortnight for a taste of pavé – even if the flatter, rougher sectors of northern France are a slightly different beast. “We have an important stage during the Tour de France and ...

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E3 Harelbeke: Terpstra and Quick-Step Floors too good

E3 Harelbeke: Terpstra and Quick-Step Floors too good

Niki Terpstra and Quick-Step Floors dropped a long-range bomb on the peloton to win the 206km E3 Harelbeke spring classic.

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Vanmarcke fights back after E3 Harelbeke crash

Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac) leads the chase at E3 Harelbeke

Belgian pavé specialist Sep Vanmarcke ( EF Education First-Drapac ) hasn’t been spared from bad luck in his most recent spring classics campaigns. Last year he suffered with a stomach bug that kept him from racing the classics at his usual top level. This year, Vanmarcke kicked off his campaign on Friday by featuring at the bottom of the pile-up that occurred in a massive crash 110 kilometres from the finish of E3 Harelbeke . The Belgian ended up riding behind a second group that was a minute behind the first peloton. Quick-Step Floors upped the pace and never let the chasers to get back to the front of the race. Nikki Terpstra finished it off for the Belgian team with a solo move, while Vanmarcke fought his way back to the first chase group, claiming a seventh place in Harelbeke from the group that sprinted for second. Shortly after ...

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Van Avermaet makes the best of a bad situation in E3 Harelbeke

Greg Van Avermaet climbs one of the heligen in E3 Harelbeke with Tiesj Benoot and Phlippe Gilbert

A couple of years ago another podium placing in a Spring Classic would have been no good to Greg Van Avermaet ( BMC Racing ). Since his transition from nearly-man to world beater, however, defeat has become a little easier to stomach. He was even able to refer to Friday's E3 Harelbeke as "training," presumably with next Sunday's Tour of Flanders – now the one big absentee from his springtime palamrès – in mind. So there were few regrets for the Belgian as he finished third behind solo winner Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), whom he felt was worth every ounce of his victory. "I was super happy with my legs, with my race," said Van Avermaet. "I put a lot of effort in, it was good training also for me, and in the end, I'm also pretty happy with my result – I'm on the podium. OK, it's not a ...

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Benoot lays down Tour of Flanders marker at E3 Harelbeke

Tiesj Benoot made the final selection  ut couldn't get on terms with Terpstra at E3 Harelbeke

Tiesj Benoot ( Lotto Soudal ) rides with such assurance that it is easy to forget he is still only 24 years old. Then again, after placing fifth in his debut Tour of Flanders three years ago, the Belgian has every reason to feel comfortable amongst the stars of the cobbled Classics. A maiden professional victory at Strade Bianche three weeks ago can only have boosted Benoot's confidence still further, and he showed few inhibitions en route to fifth place at E3 Harelbeke on Friday, where he was arguably the strongest rider not wearing the blue and white of arch-rivals Quick-Step Floors, who claimed first and second through Niki Terpstra and Philippe Gilbert. "It's good for my confidence," Benoot admitted as he sat on the steps of the Lotto Soudal bus after the finish in Harelbeke. "And next weekend's race [the Tour of Flanders – ed.] is longer, so that ...

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Quick-Step Floors defends E3 Harelbeke attack when massive crash split peloton

Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors)

Quick-Step Floors dominated the 61st edition of the one-day classic E3 Harelbeke in Belgium on Friday. At a massive 120 kilometres from the finish line, the Belgian team charged forward and never disappeared from the picture. They finished it off with a impressive solo victory for Niki Terpstra and a second place for Philippe Gilbert . There was a lot of debate about a massive crash in the peloton on a narrowing farm road on the plateau after the La Houppe climb. There was limited space, and numerous riders crashed behind the top 30. The Quick-Step team was already near the front at that moment of the crash, and they upped the tempo from there. "We were in front with the team," said Quick-Step director sportif Wilfried Peeters. "There were narrow roads. We knew that from the recon. There was a deviation. We didn't know there would be a crash. ...

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Sagan: ‘They were playing games with me’

Sagan: ‘They were playing games with me’

Peter Sagan complained of tactics not fitness in the E3 Harelbeke, a race dominated by Quick-Step Floors and its star Niki Terpstra. Read the full article at Sagan: ‘They were playing games with me’ on VeloNews.com .

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Terpstra: The whole race was a big gamble

Niki Terpstra rides solo to the finish at E3 Harelbeke

On and off the bike, Niki Terpstra ( Quick-Step Floors ) tends to carry himself with a swagger that suggests he has never once wanted for confidence, but after soloing to victory at E3 Harelbeke , the Dutchman confessed that his self-assurance had taken a blow during a 2017 campaign plagued by crashes and ill fortune. Victory at Le Samyn three weeks ago seems to have restored Terpstra to his brio of old, however, and at Harelbeke, he paired tactical nous with brass neck to claim a fine solo win ahead of his Quick-Step teammate Philippe Gilbert and an elite group of chasers. As if to prove the point, Terpstra rapped the lyrics of Dutch performer Jebroer during his post-race interview with Sporza. "I do not like apple, I do not like kiwi, I want to go with that banana [go bananas]," intoned Terpstra, who was mercifully more coherent when ...

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