The Pro-Conti and SSR Corner

Don’t be calling my win at Trofeo Laigueglia merda piccola.

Where we discuss all things shit small Welcome to what I hope will be a bi-weekly column on the pro-conti ranks and upcoming shit small races. I had a lot of fun last season previewing the SSRs that don’t get a lot of coverage in the SSSRSSP (Shawn’s Shit Small Race Shit Small Preview) series and want to continue highlighting these races and what’s happening in the pro-conti (and continental) ranks without necessarily doing a big preview for each race. WITHER SSR RACING? I’ve now spent approximately 2,326 hours writing about vds, 47,248 hours conducting vds drafts, 2.2 x 10 22nd power years researching my vds team, and today, while watching Le Samyn, and then wondering why Florian Senechal only scored 100 points for his first professional victory, was the first time that I realized that Ursula lowered the categories downward for many of the SSR races. All of these ...

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Calmejane considering cobbled classics campaign

Third place for Lilian Calmejane of Direct Energie

Direct Énergie may have a surprise in store for the cobbled classics, with Lilian Calmejane considering participation in the races for the first time this season. In an interview published on the team’s Youtube account, the 26-year-old cited Roubaix and Flanders winner Niki Terpstra joining the team as his inspiration. “I think it’s the right moment,” Calmejane said. “We have a team that’s well-suited to those races, and we have a guy in Niki Terpstra who can be a super teacher. That’s one option. “The other option is that I rest up and, if we’re lucky enough to get an invite, do Pais Vasco in favour of preparing optimally for the Ardennes Classics – above all Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That’s the question mark at the moment.” Calmejane has never raced the cobbled classics before, so any potential foray would likely be more of a learning experience and supporting Terpstra. The Frenchman raced ...

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Kwiatkowski sets sights on Liege, worlds

Kwiatkowski sets sights on Liege, worlds

The Sky rider says he wants to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège this season. Read the full article at Kwiatkowski sets sights on Liege, worlds on .

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Julian Alaphilippe: Everyone expected me to win the Worlds

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)

France's Julian Alaphilippe had nothing short of a fantastic season in 2018: a stage win at the Oro y Paz in Colombia, two stage wins at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, followed two weeks later by victory at Flèche Wallonne , and then a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and two more stage wins at the Tour de France , where he also won the polka-dot jersey. Just a week after the Tour, the 26-year-old won the Clasica San Sebastian , and then took a stage win and the overall title at both the Tour of Britain and the Tour of Slovakia in September. It was natural, therefore, that Alaphilippe's name should crop up among the top favourites for the UCI Road World Championships road race in Innsbruck, Austria, later that month: a punchy parcours, with a sting in the tail in the shape of the Höttinger Höll climb ...

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Cummings: Sometimes a bad experience can be a good one

Steve Cummings before the start of stage 3 at Volta a Catalunya

It has been a season to forget for Steve Cummings . Or maybe not. The British rider has had a frustrating and winless campaign, but is determined now to use it as a force for change. “It’s good you know, sometimes you need a season like that,” he told Cyclingnews at the Vuelta a España , where he had his Grand Tour fill after missing out on selection for the Tour de France. “You rip everything you’ve been doing apart and it’s an opportunity to change some things and go forward. I think it’s just given me a chance to explore everything really, lots of new ideas. That’s how I see it, anyway.” Cummings had enjoyed a highly successful spell since joining Dimension Data in 2015, and seemed liberated and rejuvenated, even in his late 30’s. He won a stage of the Tour de France in his first year and ...

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Sergio Henao set to leave Team Sky for UAE Emirates

Sergio Henao (Team Sky) at the Vuelta a España team presentation

Sergio Henao is set to leave Team Sky at the end of the season and ride for UAE Team Emirates from 2019. The 30-year-old appeared to confirm the move when interviewed by Colombian television station Caracol at the Vuelta a España. UAE Team Emirates confirmed to Cyclingnews that the deal was "advanced" but, having not prepared their own announcement, denied it had been finalised. "It's my last year at Sky. I've already signed with UAE Emirates," Henao said. Henao turned pro with Team Sky in 2012, having chosen to ignore contract offers a couple of years previously to continue his development in Colombia before making the move to Europe. He finished ninth overall at the 2012 Giro d'Italia in what was his debut Grand Tour and supported Chris Froome to Tour de France victory in 2016 and 2017. His personal highlight in Sky colours came with victory at last year's ...

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Viviani leads Quick-Step Floors at Vuelta a Espana

Elia Viviani celebrates his victory

Quick-Step Floors have announced their eight-man squad for the 2018 Vuelta a España , which starts in Malaga on August 25. The Belgian team's star turn will be Italian sprinter Elia Viviani , who heads to Spain having missed the Tour de France, and should be firing on all cylinders if his Giro d'Italia performance in May is anything to go by. The 29-year-old won four stages and came away with the purple sprinter's jersey at the Giro, and went on to win three stages at the Adriatica Ionica and then the Italian national championships road race. Denmark's Michael Mørkøv and Italian Fabio Sabatini have been tasked as being Viviani's principal lead-out men, but the entire team will be expected to lend a hand to ensure that the team continues its run of having won stages in the last eight Grand Tours. "Elia has had a tremendous season, and will ...

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Today at the Tour: Alaphilippe’s emotional day in the Alps

He plays the drums. He was a junior cyclocross star. He can pop a mean wheelie. And now, Julian Alaphilippe is a Tour de France stage winner. On Stage 10 from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand, the 26-year-old Frenchman took his first Tour stage win by riding into the daylong breakaway and then catching lone leader … The post Today at the Tour: Alaphilippe’s emotional day in the Alps appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Uran to lead EF Education First-Drapac with a dream of winning the Tour de France

Rigoberto Uran (EF-Drapac)

Rigoberto Uran will lead the EF Education First-Drapac team at the upcoming Tour de France set to begin in the Vendée region on July 7. The Colombian finished a remarkable second place behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) last year, and the team will return with a dream of winning the overall title. "The objective is quite simple," said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters in a team press release. "We start the race trying to win the Tour de France. "Is that optimistic and is that pushing the limits of our team? Absolutely. But we were second place last year. We have a little bit stronger team this year, and we have a parcours more suited to Rigo than last year. We have Rigo, who is stronger than he was last year. So we're going in with the idea of trying to win the race." In last year's Tour, Uran won the ...

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Movistar sending veterans to support three Tour de France leaders

Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa - Movistar training on the Paris-Roubaix cobbles

The Movistar team has chosen its most dedicated and experienced veteran domestiques to support its trio of general classification contenders Nairo Quintana , Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde at the Tour de France. 24-year-old Marc Soler, the winner of Paris-Nice, is the least experienced, with only one Grand Tour under his belt - last year's Vuelta a Espana. The other four riders selected - Andrey Amador, Daniele Bennati, Jose Joaquin Rojas and Imanol Erviti have a combined total of 66 Grand Tours between them. The 2018 Tour de France begins in the Vendee region of western France on Saturday July 7 and ends in Paris on Sunday July 29. The three-week Grand Tour includes a 35.5km team time trial and a stage on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. The Alps come before Pyrenees with the 31km stage 20 time trial expected to decide the final overall winner. Landa told Marca last ...

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Landa: Movistar might have the strongest team at the Tour de France

Mikel Landa Meana (Movistar) and Hugh Carthy (EF Education First - Drapac) on the move suring stage

Mikel Landa believes the Movistar could have a team that is as good as, if not stronger, than Team Sky at next month's Tour de France . Landa was Chris Froome's most important rider at last year's race but moved to Movistar over the winter and forms part of a three-pronged GC attack with Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. "It could be that Movistar will be the strongest at the Tour this year. I am happy with the team, it is really strong and we will resolve things out on the road. At least we will be at the level of Sky in the past years," Landa told Marca . Landa and his two co-leaders were paraded in front of the press at Movistar event in Madrid earlier this week. Team manager Eusebio Unzue was quizzed as to how he would balance three riders of equal billing, a question that ...

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LottoNL-Jumbo announce Tour de France squad

Race leader Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo)

Dutch WorldTour team LottoNL-Jumbo have revealed the eight riders who will represent them at the 2018 Tour de France , starting in Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile on July 7. The team will be led by 31-year-old Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk and the recent winner of the Tour of Slovenia, Primoz Roglic . For the sprints, Dylan Groenewegen – winner of the final stage of last year's Tour on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – will give the likes of Marcel Kittel, Fernando Gaviria and Mark Cavendish a run for their money for stage wins, and has to be considered one of the favourites to take the green jersey. Kruijswijk's best Grand Tour finish came at the 2016 Giro d'Italia, when he infamously crashed on the descent of the Colle dell'Agnello on stage 19 while in the pink jersey as leader of the race. Going into the stage, Kruijswijk had an overall lead of three minutes ...

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Gaviria brings winning sprint to Tour de Suisse

Quick-Step Floors' Fernando Gaviria wins stage 5 of the 2018 Tour of California in Elk Grove

Quick-Step Floors announced their seven-man roster that will line up at the Tour de Suisse held from June 9-17. The Belgian team has won 10 stages, and aim to increase that tally with Philippe Gilbert targeting the punchy stages and Fernando Gaviria eyeing the sprints. The team also includes sprinter Maximiliano Richeze, Tim Declercq and Iljo Keisse, along with Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Yves Lampaert and Enric Mas, who won a stage of Pais Vasco. The team returns to racing after spending time training at altitude ahead of the Swiss event. "Most of our riders are just back from an altitude camp, so we have to see how they are easing back into racing," said team director Tom Steels in a team press release. This year's nine-day race starts with an 18.3km team time trial in Frauenfeld and finishes with a 34km time trial in Bellinzona. There are two summit ...

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Valverde to miss Tour de Suisse after illness

Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa.

Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa will lead the Movistar team at the Tour de Suisse but Alejandro Valverde will not line-up alongside his fellow team leaders after a cold hampered a key moment of his training at altitude. Valverde has revealed he will miss the Tour de Suisse and instead ride the much easier and much shorter La Route d'Occitanie – formerly known as the Route du Sud - between June 14-17. He neither confirms or denies that he will ride the Tour de France . "After several days of struggling with a bit of a cold, we've decided with the team to return to racing at the Route d'Occitanie. We will continue to work and face an exciting second part of the season," Valverde wrote on social media. Quintana, Landa and Valverde had been expected to ride together as Movistar's Grand Tour dream team but they will now ride ...

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Haig to lead the line for Mitchelton-Scott at Tour de Suisse

Mitchelton-Scott's Jack Haig makes it to Rome. The Australian was instrumental during teammate Simon

Jack Haig 's impressive super-domestique duties at the Giro d'Italia for Mitchelton-Scott have solidified his role as a team leader for the upcoming Tour de Suisse (June 9-17). The 24-year-old Australian was a key part of Mitchelton's Giro ride, helping both Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves as the team enjoyed five stage wins and a long spell in the maglia rosa through Yates. Haig, now in his fourth full year with the Australian team, had been penciled in for a leadership bid at the Tour de Suisse during the winter, but his consistent climbing at the Giro has enhanced his reputation. "I'm not really surprised by Jack's level," senior sporting director Matt White told Cyclingnews as he headed back from the Giro. "If you look at his age, and that was his third Grand Tour, at every one he's getting better and better. He's certainly stepped it up another level ...

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Week 10’s Team of the Week + More

Races of the week: Just one race this week, the Tour of Romandie Team of the week: And because there was just one race, there’s just three riders on this week’s team. 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. Primoz Roglic. Wins Romandie almost wire to wire. Second on points. Masterful defense since stage 2 and especially on stage 3 : wouldn't let Bernal go and then pipped him at the finish line for second on the stage. serious competitor. Now we get to watch him sandbag prior to the Tour-which he could win. Next race for him is the Tour of Slovenia. 2. Egan Bernal. 2nd at Romandie, winner of the youth jersey, 2nd on KOM, 3rd on ...

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Roglic looking to target three-week races after Tour de Romandie win

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) in yellow after stage 1 at Romandie

Primoz Roglic ( LottoNL-Jumbo ) has said that he would like to target three-week races after he claimed his second consecutive general classification win this season at the Tour de Romandie . A late-comer to cycling after starting his sporting career in ski jumping, Roglic says that it will take time to turn him into a Grand Tour rider. The Swiss race victory comes just a couple of weeks after he beat Mikel Landa (Movistar) to win the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. At Romandie, he held his own against a very strong Egan Bernal (Team Sky) to best him by just eight seconds in the overall standings. “For sure I would like to give myself a try for the biggest races in cycling but as we all know it doesn’t come overnight or in one season, you have to give it time,” Roglic said after the Tour de Romandie’s final ...

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Bernal: I'll try to attack Roglic in Romandie but he's a complete rider

Egan Arley Bernal (Team Sky) wins the stage 3 time trial at Tour de Romandie

Egan Bernal ( Team Sky ) claimed his maiden WorldTour win with an impressive ride in the mountain time trial on stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie . The Colombian set a time of 25:10 over the 9.9km course, and pushed race leader Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) into second place, four seconds down. The win moved Bernal into second overall, and the 21-year-old sits just six seconds off Roglic's lead with two stages remaining. Saturday's stage will decide the overall standings, and while the 149km effort that starts and finishes in Sion lacks a summit finish, it represents the last opportunity to rattle Roglic. Stage 4 includes five major climbs, although the final summit comes almost 30 kilometres from the finish. The chance of creating significant gaps before the finish is slim, with Roglic stating that he expects riders to come back after the final climb. Bernal has already exceeded ...

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Porte searching for confidence boost in Romandie time trial

Richie Porte (BMC)

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) will be looking to set the tone for the rest of his season with a strong performance in the 9.9km uphill time trial at the Tour de Romandie on Friday. With just two more stage races - including Romandie - before his Tour de France challenge in July, Porte is aware that an impressive ride in the Romandie TT will provide a much-needed boost in confidence after a difficult few months. Porte came into the Tour de Romandie without a win since a stage at the Tour Down Under, and he has seen his form affected by illness throughout the spring. He was forced to miss Tirreno-Adriatico in March before pulling out of the Vuelta al País Vasco on the final day of racing. "The Tour Down Under was the last time I was in really good shape. I went to Pais Vasco and got an ...

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Nieve returns at Romandie as Giro d’Italia responsibilities loom

Mikel Nieve Ituralde of Spain and Team Mitchelton-Scott

Mikel Nieve made his long-awaited stage racing debut for Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour de Romandie on Tuesday, as he looks to rediscover his climbing legs before the Giro d’Italia. The former Team Sky rider moved to Mitchelton-Scott for 2018 and was due to race in March. However, a training crash left him with two hairline fractures in his hip. He missed both the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco as a result, before finally making his season debut at Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday. The Tour de Romandie, with its varied terrain, will be Nieve’s first stage race since last year’s Vuelta a Espana, and his continued recovery is centred around finding form for the Giro d’Italia, where he will line up as Esteban Chaves’ key mountain domestique. “I had a bad crash. I was in Sierra Nevada, preparing for Catalunya and Pais Basque, but I had two fissures ...

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