Lefevere: Alaphilippe can win almost anywhere

Patrick Lefevere announces his new multi-year deal with Deceuninck

Julian Alaphilippe ’s triumph at Milan-San Remo may have been the biggest of his career, and the biggest of Deceuninck-Quick Step ’s season so far, but team boss Patrick Lefevere sees much more in the Frenchman’s future. After seeing his team’s plan carried out to perfection on the Poggio on Saturday afternoon, the veteran manager insisted that Alaphilippe can win almost anywhere, ruling out just one race, Paris-Roubaix. "We knew he was strong, but the great thing is that he makes good progress every year," Lefevere said in an interview with Sporza . "Julian wins a bunch sprint in Tirreno-Adriatico – you could call that a surprise, but not in San Remo. And he beats the strongest riders. "It’s become difficult to choose. Julian wins Milan-San Remo, he can compete in the Walloon [Ardennes] classics, and he was king of the mountains at the Tour de France. I think the ...

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Van Aert continues to impress with sixth at Milan-San Remo

Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

The Via Roma in San Remo played host to cycling's superstars on Saturday afternoon, with the likes of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) all bested by the indomitable Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at Milan-San Remo . And within that star-studded elite group was also Wout van Aert ( Team Jumbo-Visma ) – the 24-year-old three-time cyclo-cross world champion in only his third road race of the season. The Belgian finished sixth, taking another outstanding result after his third place at Strade Bianche two weeks ago. At 291km, Milan-San Remo was the longest race Van Aert had ever ridden, but he has already shown that he knows his way around these mammoth road races. Last year saw him debut at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, finishing in ninth and 13th place, respectively. He was on the podium at the late-season European Championships road ...

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Under-the-radar Degenkolb at his 2015 Milan-San Remo level

John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) wins the final stage of the 2019 Tour de la Provence

While the majority of the Milan-San Remo pre-race circus has focused on the array of options at Deceuninck-QuickStep and the uncertain form of former three-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), one former winner of the La Classicissima has gone virtually unnoticed. At Trek-Segafredo 's hotel on the outskirts of Milan, riders almost outnumbered journalists, but John Degenkolb is experienced enough to know that if he wins on Saturday the media and their limelight will come flooding back. Those with short memories perhaps need reminding that Degenkolb won Milan-San Remo back in 2015, during a purple patch that also saw him claim Paris-Roubaix. He was, for a spring campaign at least, the man of the moment. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but Degenkolb's dramatic stage win during last year's Tour de France suggested that the German was finally back to something like his best. Another ...

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Are the routes of the Monuments growing stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Are the Monuments going stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Are the routes of the Monuments going stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Balancing tradition and change: Are the routes of the Monuments going stale?

Daniel Ostanek 22 Mar 2019 With Liège-Bastogne-Liège changing its route, Cyclist asks whether it is time for the other Classics races to follow suit? Let’s talk about race routes, shall we? They’re the bread and butter of pro cycling – the roads, hills and cobbles which make the races we all love. From Alpe d'Huez and the Arenberg to the Mur de Huy and the Stelvio, the sacred routes that the calendar visits year after year are where legends have been built and memories made, over decades of racing. Take Paris-Roubaix . The Hell of the North follows a tried-and-tested formula, heading north from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix. Along the way, the famous cobbles of the Trouee d’Arenberg , Mons-en-Pevele and the Carrefour de l'Arbre are always there – the main attractions and biggest tests on the road to glory. The route announcement for this year’s edition – ...

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Relive the 2018 Spring Classics with THE HOLY WEEK

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins 2018 Paris-Roubaix in the Roubaix Velodrome

The Spring Classics are in full swing after 'opening weekend' in February and with the first of the five Monuments, Milan-San Remo , just around the corner. Why not relive last year's cobbled Classics with Cyclingnews ' premier film THE HOLY WEEK, which is on special offer until Paris-Roubaix held on April 14. You can now download to buy for just $2.49, while 72-hour rentals are available at $1.99. The Holy Week details two iconic Monuments beginning with the 2018 Tour of Flanders won by Niki Terpstra and culminating at the 2018 Paris-Roubaix won by Peter Sagan in the Roubaix velodrome. The film is not just a highlight of the race winners but is developed through the eyes of the riders, team staff and the devoted roadside fans. Cyclingnews went behind the scenes to capture the essence of the cobbled classics, and the emotions of one of the most compelling ...

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Direct Energie and Arkea-Samsic handed final Tour de France wildcards

Warren Barguil and André Greipel in their 2019 Arkéa Samsic kit

Bryan Coquard, Pierre Rolland and the rest of the Vital Concept-B&B; Hotels team will have to make other plans for July, as the final two wildcard invitations to the 2019 Tour de France went to Direct Energie and Arkea-Samsic . Having unveiled the first two of the four wildcard spots in January to Cofidis and Wanty-Gobert, Tour organisers ASO delayed a decision on the remaining two. It looked like a three-horse race between the remaining top French Pro Continental teams, with Vital Concept, established in 2018, going up against the longer-standing Direct Energie and Arkea-Samsic teams. On Friday, ASO announced that the latter two had been given the nod. In terms of personnel, Jean-René Bernaudeau's Direct Energie team, who used to be home to Thomas Voeckler and are eyeing a move to WorldTour level, bolstered their line-up considerably with the signing of former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix champion Niki ...

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Flanders Friday: Rough Roads...

Action in Nokere Koerse

Tragedy, near-misses and hope for better days The Belgian spring cobbled classics season resumed this week and it was an emotional experience from start to finish. The most important news of note was the tragic death of 19-year-old Stef Loos, who was taking part in the Alfred Gadenne Grand Prix last weekend when the peloton departed from the race course, eventually onto open roads. Loos was killed, and several others injured, when a van struck the riders. The race itself, held in Dottignies near the linguistic border just south of Ronse, is dedicated to the memory of a local mayor who was murdered two years ago. The tragic death of Loos deepens the sadness surrounding the event. The cycling community in Belgium suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Stef Loos. The thoughts of everyone at Belgian Cycling are with his family, friends and team-mates at this sad time. ...

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Total to replace Direct Energie as title sponsor ahead of Paris-Roubaix

Niki Terpstra in his new Direct Energie kit during the reconnaissance

Total is set to replace Direct Energie as the title sponsor of Jean-René Bernaudeau’s ahead of Paris-Roubaix , according to a report in L’Équipe . The French petrochemical giant purchased the Direct Energie company last year, and it is anticipated that its branding will appear on the team’s kit from next month. Although Bernaudeau declined to discuss the matter at Paris-Nice last week, L’Équipe reports that the team’s new identity will be formally unveiled ahead of Paris-Roubaix, which takes place on April 14. In the immediate term, the switch from Direct Energie to Total would see a change in team kit, with Bernaudeau’s squad swapping their current black and yellow garb for a blue jersey with red details. In the longer term, L’Équipe anticipates that the arrival of Total as title sponsor will lead to a significant increase in the team’s budget, which currently stands below €10 million per year. ...

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Broken collarbone ends Andrea Tafi’s Paris-Roubaix dream

Supported by Andrea Tafi’s dream of racing the 2019 Paris-Roubaix is over, after the 52-year-old broke his collarbone in a local race in Tuscany over the weekend. In October 2018 the Italian announced his intention to come out of retirement and race the French Monument on the 20th anniversary of his 1999 victory. Tafi wasn’t able to … The post Broken collarbone ends Andrea Tafi’s Paris-Roubaix dream appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Broken collarbone ends Andrea Tafi’s Paris-Roubaix dream

Andrea Tafi - licensed CC BY SA 4.0 by Eric Houdas

Italian had hoped to return to cobbled Monument at age of 52 to mark 20th anniversary of his victory

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Collarbone fracture ends Tafi’s dream of racing Paris-Roubaix

Mapei sweep the 1999 Paris-Roubaix podium with Andrea Tafi taking the victory

Andrea Tafi’s dream of riding Paris-Roubaix on the 20th anniversary of his victory is over after he crashed in a local race near his home in Tuscany and fractured his left collarbone. Tafi won Paris-Roubaix in 1999 and announced in October that he was looking for a professional team that would give him a place on their roster just for this year’s Hell of the North. He struggled to find a team who would give him a contract for a day, but refused to give up on his dream of proving he could still race in the pro peloton even at 52. Speaking to Cyclingnews on Saturday, Tafi revealed that the UCI and Paris-Roubaix organiser ASO had agreed to let him ride a few minutes ahead of the race. He was going to try to hold off the race and celebrate the anniversary of his 1999 victory with the fans ...

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“I was on my hands and knees” — The pro’s most miserable days on a bike

To try to make sense of cycling's suffering, we asked a handful of pros about their hardest day on the bike, and what kept them pushing through. The post “I was on my hands and knees” — The pro’s most miserable days on a bike appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Peter Sagan: Nobody's beaten on the start line

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

On Wednesday evening, after his first race day in over a month, Peter Sagan ( Bora-Hansgrohe ) sat down with reporters, including Cyclingnews, and spoke at length about his return from illness, about targeting Milan-San Remo, and about the new generation of riders who are coming through and ready to usurp him. It was a baptism of fire for the three-time world champion as he returned to action at Tirreno-Adriatico, his first outing since the Vuelta a San Juan. Having spent much of last month training at altitude at Sierra Nevada before getting sick for a week – and losing four kilos, he told reporters – the opening team time trial stage at Tirreno saw Sagan having to avoid an errant spectator on the course, who took down his teammates Rafal Majka and Oscar Gatto. "Today I survived – despite what happened during the race," said Sagan. "I was pretty ...

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Irizar: I knew early on that I wasn't going to be a winner

Markel Irizar (Trek - Segafredo) leads the breakaway during stage 13 at the Giro d'Italia

Trek-Segafredo 's Markel Irizar will retire at the end of this season following a 16-year career in which he has dedicated his talents to helping some of the sport’s biggest names achieve their dreams. Professional cycling is made up of leaders and helpers, and Irizar told Cyclingnews that he realised early on in his career that he would not belong to the former. Irizar has two victories on his palmarès: a stage of the 2010 Tour du Poitou-Charentes and the overall title at the 2011 Vuelta a Andalucía. However, he attributes his long career to making the early decision to sacrifice his own ambitions and become a domestique. "I think you understand that if you're not a big talent then you are not going to be a 'killer'," Irizar told Cyclingnews . "There are some things that you should do if you want to survive. I understood from the very ...

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Photo gallery: Strade Bianche, road cycling’s sixth Monument?

Is it time we added Strade Bianche to the exclusive list of road cycling’s Monuments? Is it time we put it on the same lofty pedestal occupied by Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia? There’s little doubt Strade Bianche has grown to become one of cycling’s most loved races, and … The post Photo gallery: Strade Bianche, road cycling’s sixth Monument? appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Hayman: We're using my experience to connect with the riders

Mathew Hayman gets ready to start his final race

Two months after hanging up his wheels as a professional bike rider, Mathew Hayman has immersed himself in his new role as a sports director. The Australian retired at the conclusion of the Tour Down Under in January, bringing down the curtain on a career that spanned two decades. Last weekend he was back in action for his Mitchelton-Scott team – but as a director during Opening Weekend in Belgium. "I did a recon with the boys the other day and I got dropped, which I probably should have been seeing as I've not ridden much for over a month. It confirms you need to train to ride these races," he told Cyclingnews . Hayman's retirement was as well planned and orchestrated as they come. He announced the news last year and used his home WorldTour race as a farewell tour. That said, little can prepare an athlete for the ...

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The weekly spin: Alaphilippe, Van Vleuten conquer white roads of Strade Bianche

A pair of first-time champions emerged at Strade Bianche Saturday, though neither could be considered a surprise winner. After 184km of racing, including 63km across white gravel roads, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) got the better of Dane Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) to take the victory in the historic Piazza del Campo in Siena. Former world cyclocross … The post The weekly spin: Alaphilippe, Van Vleuten conquer white roads of Strade Bianche appeared first on CyclingTips .

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