Milan – San Remo: Race Preview

The year’s first monument is upon us The smell of cut grass. The days lengthening. The Masters from Augusta. The sound of [insert local fauna as appropriate] [insert distinctive sound] in/on/beside [insert recognisable local architecture or flora as appropriate]. Milan-San Remo. Yes, spring* is coming, folks, and so is the season’s first monument. Italian cycling, never without a poetic narrative, has the first big race of the year, starting in a corner of Europe where winter isn’t too far forgotten, and finishing in the glitz, colour and sunshine of the Mediterranean coastline. Well, that’s the theory, anyway – the weather doesn’t always align with the narrative. * In the Northern hemisphere. Chris has given us the colour and the history of the race. Conor feels confident that he can tell us all the winner. Which leaves me to look at how the race will unfold. It is a pretty familiar ...

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No Milan-San Remo for Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) gets to the finish line in La Rosiere, but not within the time cuts

Dimension Data have revealed their line-up for Milan-San Remo , confirming that 2009 winner Mark Cavendish will be absent. The South African squad will instead be led by sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. Cavendish has raced every edition of La Classicissima since winning on his debut 10 years ago, but has endured a complicated couple of years due to Epstein Barr Virus. The 33-year-old took an extended break in the second half of last year after the virus came back for a second time, and has been easing his way back into racing in 2019. After finishing the Vuelta a San Juan and UAE Tour, where he primarily worked for teammates, he suffered a setback at Paris-Nice last week as he struggled in the crosswinds and abandoned on stage 2. Cavendish is clearly some way short of full strength, as he was absent from the seven-man team for Milan-San Remo announced by ...

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Winners and Losers From the Week in Stage Racing

Alright, the first week of (real) World Tour stage racing is in the can. Some riders saw their stock go up, while others were left searching for answers. Let’s have a look at who came out on top, who didn’t and what that means moving forward. Winner: Sam Bennett The Irish Fastman had a pretty good 2018 with 3 stage wins in the Giro and a smattering of other better than expected results. For his sins, he lost his spot on the Giro roster to Pascal Ackermann. And now he is pissed. While handling his displeasure through the media swimmingly, his 2019 is so far going even better, with a win at UAE and now two stage wins at Paris-Nice, including an extremely impressive navigation through traffic to take stage 6, that really showed his chutzpah. Maybe the better competition went to Italy, but it’s not exactly nobodies that he’s ...

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Deceuninck-QuickStep confound their rivals with change of sprint tactics

Julian Alaphilippe on the Tirreno-Adriatico podium after winning stage 6

Deceuninck-QuickStep finished first, third and sixth in the stage 6 bunch sprint at Tirreno-Adriatico , but their biggest prize was outwitting their rivals in the final test before Milan-San Remo, confirming their strength, depth and tactical finesse for every possible kind of finish on Saturday. Julian Alaphilippe won in Jesi on Monday after taking over sprinting duties from Elia Viviani, with the Italian fooling the rivals who were sitting on his wheel by letting his teammate open a decisive gap before he started to sprint. Viviani then kicked late to pass Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the final metres to finish third behind Alaphilippe and Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy). In a perfect display of team racing, Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Stybar rode hard all day to control the break and then Michael Mørkøv and Max Richeze did a superb job in the final kilometres, with the Argentinean confirming ...

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Peter Sagan: Things will be totally different on Saturday at Milan-San Remo

Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) in San Juan

The Deceuninck-QuickStep riders and team staff hugged each other and celebrated at the team bus after Julian Alaphilippe's surprise sprint victory at Tirreno-Adriatico , happy to have taken win number 18 of the season and to have outwitted their sprint rivals. The mood was not so celebrated at the other buses, with an air of embarrassment and frustration that Deceuninck-QuickStep had won again. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) are expected to be Deceuninck-QuickStep's biggest rivals for Milan-San Remo, but they were caught out by Elia Viviani's decision to let Alaphilippe contest the sprint. The 195km stage to Jesi was the last chance for the sprinters and their teams to test their form and tactics before Saturday's Milan-San Remo. Deceuninck-QuickStep showed they are ready for any scenario and able to change tactics on the go. Their rivals can only learn from their mistakes and hope the fatigue ...

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Alaphilippe wins bunch sprint on stage 6

Julain Alaphilippe wins stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico

Sometimes, the plan doesn't quite come together, yet still, Deceuninck-QuickStep go on winning. It's that kind of year. The penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico seemed to lend itself to Elia Viviani's sprinting talents, but instead, it was Julian Alaphilippe who claimed victory for the Belgian squad in Jesi. Deceuninck-QuickStep spent much of the afternoon working to peg back the day's early break and when the men in blue massed on the front of the peloton in the final kilometre, the scene looked set for Viviani to land his second stage victory of the week. The Italian champion seemed to lose his way somewhat in a chaotic finale, however, and opted to latch onto Peter Sagan's rear wheel as the sprint unfolded. Up ahead, meanwhile, his teammate Max Richeze was delivering a pitch-perfect lead-out for the irrepressible Alaphilippe, and the Frenchman, though hardly on his preferred terrain, produced a scorching acceleration to ...

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Viviani defeats resurgent Sagan in chaotic Tirreno finale

Viviani defeats resurgent Sagan in chaotic Tirreno finale

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) imposed himself for a maiden win at Tirreno-Adriatico, winning the bunch sprint in Foligno, beating triple world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) came safely home to retain the lead in the overall classification.

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Nizzolo sprints to fourth at Tirreno-Adriatico despite early crash

Giacomo Nizzolo crashed early in stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico but still finished fourth in the sprin

Giacomo Nizzolo 's day at Tirreno-Adriatico didn't get off to a great start on Friday during the 224km third stage from Pomerance to Foligno when he crashed in the opening half of the race. The 2016 Italian champion recovered well, however, finishing fourth in a bunch sprint won by countryman Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) as his torn jersey revealed the damage from earlier in the day. Nizzolo ( Dimension Data ) fell hard on his left shoulder and side, temporarily stopping alongside the road to gather himself before determining he could go on. Once he made contact with the peloton, his teammate Ben King helped to guide him back to the front of the peloton before Reinardt Janse van Rensburg dug deep in the final three kilometres to set up the team's chances. The technical finale suited Viviani and runner-up Sagan, however, as the duo fought for the win ahead of ...

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Racing Analysis: An early look at the state of the world’s best sprinters

The early season is always full of fast finishes. Where do the sport's top sprinters stand? The post Racing Analysis: An early look at the state of the world’s best sprinters appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Viviani scared that some riders still think about doping

Elia Viviani wins stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico

Elia Viviani ( Deceuninck-QuickStep ) has admitted that the idea that some riders could still be doping despite the Biological Passport leaves him ‘scared’ and worried that everyone in a team could lose their jobs due to one person’s actions. Viviani beat Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) in a highly technical sprint in Foligno on Friday at Tirreno-Adriatico but as Italian national champion and an Olympic champion on the track, he is considered a flag bearer and spokesman for Italian cycling. There have been suggestions that more cyclists may be involved in the Operation Aderlass blood doping investigation in Austria and Germany after Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler confessed soon after police raids. The investigation is allegedly centred around Dr. Mark Schmidt, who worked in cycling with the Gerolsteiner team in the late 1990s, with between 40 and 70 blood bags reportedly found in a garage. ...

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Gaviria accepts Viviani beat him fair and square

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates)

Fernando Gaviria ( UAE Team Emirates ) was disappointed to have a mistake lead to a third place finish in the sprint on stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico but sportingly accepted defeat and congratulated his good friend and respected rival Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on his victory in Foligno. "I tried to set up the sprint as best I could, but I made a mistake and so Elia won. I can only congratulate him," Gaviria said. "I was in the wrong position and started my sprint a little late. Elia jumped before me and got it just right. I'm still happy but know I could have done better." Gaviria was ahead of Viviani going into the testing final kilometres but the high-speed shuffle in the series of corners left him on Viviani's wheel on the exit of the last sweeping last corner. When the Italian champion accelerated out of the saddle in ...

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Peter Sagan shows he is back on form with second in Tirreno-Adriatico sprint

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peter Sagan ( Bora-Hansgrohe ) showed he has recovered from a nasty bout of gastroenteritis by finishing second behind Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) but ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) in the high-speed sprint finish on day three of Tirreno-Adriatico in Foligno. Sagan revealed he lost four kilograms and missed five days of training at the end of his altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada before travelling to Tirreno-Adriatico. He was unsure what impact the illness would have on his form and was just glad to be able to start his final stage race before Milan-San Remo and the cobbled Classics. The former world champion dropped out of the peloton on the climb up to Pomerance on stage 2 but handled the long 226km ride across southern Tuscany and Umbria on Friday and was able to contest the sprint finish. "Although my form is still not at the level it ...

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Viviani wins stage 3

Elia Viviani wins stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico

Elia Viviani ( Deceuninck-QuickStep ) claimed a tightly contested stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico, beating sprint rivals Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) had a relatively quiet day and retained his race lead. The technical finish contained a number of tight corners and Viviani's class, timing and expert support paid off with the Italian coming around Sagan's wheel with the line in sight. Sagan had been caught at the front from too far out, and intelligently eased off to allow Viviani's team to close an important gap. The former world champion would eventually open the sprint using Viviani's leadout but the Italian national champion had too much speed. Gaviria looked to be out of contention inside the final kilometre but delivered a brave sprint before closing in on Sagan just before the line. The win marked Viviani's fourth of the season after triumphs at the ...

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Peter Sagan soldiers on in Tirreno-Adriatico as his health improves

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peter Sagan (Bora- Hansgrohe ) may have suffered an untimely puncture on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico but the three-time world champion believes that he's back on track after a recent bout of illness threatened to scupper his early spring classics campaign. Sagan came into Tirreno-Adriatico on the back of a stint of altitude training in Sierra Nevada. However, a stomach virus left him unable to train for several days, and he was forced to remain in his hotel room as his body recovered. He skipped Bora-Hansgrohe's team time trial recon on Tuesday and escaped a fall when a spectator walked out in front of the German team during their race effort a day later. On stage 2 Sagan lost contact with the lead group with 22 kilometers remaining, while Milan-San Remo rival Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) powered clear to take the stage and extend his incredible run that started in January ...

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Viviani eyes up sprint finish at Tirreno on Friday

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) leads bunch on stage 2 of Tirreno

Tirreno-Adriatico can expect its first bunch sprint at this year's race when stage 3 finishes in Foligno on Friday, where Elia Viviani is hoping to take his fourth victory of the season, and his Deceuninck-QuickStep team's 17th. While most of the world's best sprinters are currently racing in France at Paris-Nice, arguably the world's best sprinter is plying his trade in Italy – and Viviani is going to take every opportunity he gets to add to his and his team's win-tally. "When there aren't many chances, you can't it mess up," he told reporters at Tirreno on Thursday. "You've got to get it right, and Friday is the first chance we've got, and we'll give it a go – even if we saw at the UAE Tour that Fernando Gaviria is the rider to beat." The Italian road race champion is racing on home soil for the first time this ...

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Flanders Friday: Looking for Clues

Dylan Groenewegen wins in Paris-Nice

Are we learning anything about what’s to come in a couple weeks? Was there any news of the Cobbled Classics this week? I didn’t see any. Most of the reporters are in France or Italy, fussing over the events in front of them. You can read Sporza and get your daily update on Wout Van Aert (was his Strade Bianche ok? Will he owe his old team a bunch of money?) but even I have my limits there. No, there’s nothing. Les Amis are scrubbing the horrible pavé in France and that’s about it. So now is a moment to poke around and see what there is to learn about the individual riders who will contest the great classics around the corner. Does Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico tell us anything about what’s to come? Backing up, the two early spring stage races are must-rides for all the classics guys, from Milano-Sanremo ...

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Sagan having a rough ride at Tirreno

Sagan having a rough ride at Tirreno

Sagan says he was bedridden for days at the end of his Sierra Nevada training camp, and now he's just trying to make it through Tirreno-Adriatico. Read the full article at Sagan having a rough ride at Tirreno on VeloNews.com .

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Sagan and Olympic champ van der Breggen to race Tour of California

Sagan and Olympic champ van der Breggen to race Tour of California

Three-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and reigning Olympic and world champion Anna van der Breggen have scheduled a trip to America this May to race the Amgen Tour of California, organizers confirmed Wednesday. Along with a provisional list of star riders, the race also named the 19 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams that […] Read the full article at Sagan and Olympic champ van der Breggen to race Tour of California on VeloNews.com .

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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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Tour of California announces 2019 teams

The Tour of California takes off from Pismo Beach in 2015

Organisers of the Amgen Tour of California men's and women's races released their 2019 team rosters today, with both races featuring multiple returning champions to battle it out past iconic California landmarks and up some of the state's most notorious climbs. The Amgen Tour of California men's race will feature the US national team for the first time this year when the race rolls out of Sacramento. USA Cycling will field a roster of riders whose trade teams aren't competing in the race, joining 18 other teams on the roads from the start in the Golden State's capitol on May 12 to the finish in Pasadena on May 18. Thirteen WorldTour teams have signed up for the men's race in its third year on the WorldTour calendar, joining five Pro Continental teams and the US national team to form the biggest men's field yet. Defending champion Egan Bernal (Team Sky) ...

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