Why the 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was so underwhelming

Joe Robinson 26 Feb 2018 There were a few clear reasons as to why the first cobbled Classic of the year was not that exciting This weekend, for many, sparked the true start of the cycling season with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. This cobbled one-day Classic usually produces electric racing and builds the anticipation for the upcoming Tour of Flanders to palpable levels. However while Michael Valgren's (Astana) canny attack led to an impressive solo victory , I couldn't help but to feel a little unsatisfied with this year's race. Bucking the trend of recent years, the 2018 Omloop did not produce the fireworks on the much loved cobbled climbs between the usual culprits that we are used to seeing. Below is a little looks at why we may have all been left underwhelmed by this usually tantalising race. If it isn't broke, don't fix it On paper, Omloop ...

Read on Cyclist More Like This


Trentin: The most nervous opening weekend of my life

Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

After seven seasons with Quick-Step Floors, Matteo Trentin signed a two-year deal with the Australian registered Mitchelton-Scott for the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Wins were coming thick and fast in his final two seasons for the Belgian outfit and moving away from such a successful team may have been questionable to some. However, the lure of a bigger role in the Classics combined with a new challenge was too exciting a prospect to turn down, and one that already shows promise. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne , 55th and 16th place respectively, don't pay Trentin justice for the two big performances during each race. Mitchelton-Scott's new signing was visible in both races, making it into the final selection at Omloop, as well as being part of one of the most promising breakaways during Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Speaking to Cyclingnews after Sunday's race, Trentin analysed the weekend's action, "No results, so we can't ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Abu Dhabi Tour: Stage 5 highlights - Video

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins stage 2 at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) continued his early-season winning comeback from the crash that ended his 2017 Tour de France with final day stage and overall Abu Dhabi Tour honours. The Spaniard was unstoppable in the summit finale at Jebel Hafeet, taking all before him and relegating Astana's Miguel Angel Lope z to second on the stage and third on GC. "As long as I continue winning, I will continue riding," Valverde said. "I don't know if I'm the best rider in the world, but I'm a rider who wins big races and is always up there." Race leader at the start of the stage, Rohan Dennis (BMC), had already been distanced on the climb and soon after the majority of the peloton as Valverde and Lopez skipped away. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) lead home the first chase group at 15 seconds but had to settle for fourth place overall. Wilco Kelderman ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Valverde wins Abu Dhabi Tour with final stage victory

Alejandro Valverde wins the final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) claimed the final stage and with it the overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour. The Spaniard edged out Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) atop Jabel Hafeet after the pair had dropped their rivals inside the final kilometres. Overnight leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) cracked on the climb and conceded 1:42 to Valverde. Valverde took the overall race from Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) with Lopez rounding out the podium in third. The race inevitably came down to the final climb with Movistar pushing the pace alongside Astana. The day's early break of Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac), Mathias Brandle (TrekSegafredo), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Rudy Barbier (AG2R La Mondiale), Fredrik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Bresciani (Bardiani CSF), Nicolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo), Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk) initially held a lead of over 10 minutes but on the early slopes of the climb their advantage was clipped to within two ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Boonen regrets Quick-Step deal didn't go through

Tom Boonen signs a T-shirt for a fan after the team presentation on April 8, 2017 on the eve of the

Legendary pavé specialist Tom Boonen surprisingly didn’t join his former Quick-Step Floors wolfpack but instead stepped into a new role with the 'Captains of Cycling' at the rivaling Lotto Soudal team, announced last week. Captains of Cycling is the crowdfunding group behind the Lotto Soudal team. The 37-year-old Belgian will also advise the team, mostly on the technological front. On Saturday, Boonen was spotted at the finish of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in front of the team bus of third Belgian team, Veranda's Willems - Crelan. "I’m a freelancer now," Boonen joked. "My friend is the driver of the bus and I hopped in to see the final kilometres of the race. Why I came to the race? I came to have a look around," Boonen smiled. He glanced back on a hectic week and commented on the performances of the Lotto Soudal riders and cyclo-cross world champion Wout Van ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Stybar leads Quick-Step's failed charge in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Zdenek Stybar attacks at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

The Quick-Step Floors team failed to clinch the win on Saturday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . Philippe Gilbert finished fifth behind winner Michael Valgren (Astana). The team's dedicated sprinter Fernando Gaviria was no longer present up front and the most active Quick-Step rider of the day was 32-year-old Czech champion Zdenek Stybar , while most of his other teammates - except Yves Lampaert - were below the radar. Stybar featured in the lead group that enjoyed a gap of thirty seconds over the peloton in the final kilometres, battling for the victory. That was until Valgren escaped in the final kilometre and the pace dropped. Eventually, most riders in the group were caught by the peloton. Shortly after crossing the finish line in 20th place, Stybar was shouting into his radio and asking why he wasn’t told that the peloton was coming up. "I didn't know the group was coming ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Abu Dhabi Tour: Stage 4 highlights - Video

Rohan Dennis (BMC) in the green and gold

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) claimed stage 4 victory in the Abu Dhabi Tour time trial, moving himself into the overall lead ahead of the final day. The Australian champion had a tidy gap of 14 seconds over second place Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky), with BMC's Miles Scotson took third. Dennis was one of the favourites going into the stage, but his day was made a little bit easier when his biggest rival Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) suffered a puncture out on course. Dennis started the day in the middle of the pack, with a 13-second deficit to race leader Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors). His time of 14:21 was more than enough to put him into the leader’s red jersey, but he faces a summit finish on the final stage if he wants to keep hold of the jersey on the final day. To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Bardet wins Classic de l'Ardeche

Roman Bardet wins Classic l'Ardeche

Roman Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) won the Faun Environnement - Classic de l'Ardeche Rhone Crussol on Saturday in France. He made a final attacked to force other teams to work but then soloed to the victory 47 seconds ahead of Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) and 56 seconds ahead of Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie). "I had a lot of fun, just racing without a second thought, being able to take a risk. After my injury, I did not know where my condition would be," said Bardet, who injured his arm in a domestic accident . He required stitches and a splint to treat a cut and a small muscle injury to his left forearm. He took two weeks off to recover. Bardet noted that this is his first official start to the season, although he did place 8th behind his winning teammate Alexandre Geniez at the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Michael Valgren takes surprise victory

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Michael Valgren takes surprise victory

Joe Robinson 24 Feb 2018 Astana make most of numerical advantage with Valgren taking first cobbled classic of the season Michael Valgren made the most of Astana 's numerical advantage in the final kilometres to take a surprise victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . As one of three Astana riders in the lead group, the young Dane managed to launch himself from a group of 12 close to the finish, gaining a large enough gap to take him to victory. Team Sky 's Lukasz Wisniowski battled to second place with an ever aggressive Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Drapac) holding on for third. Thanks to the company of teammates Alexey Lutsenko and Oscar Gatto, the sheer numbers of Astana were enough to beat the likes of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Wout Van Aert (Verandas Willems–Crelan). Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2018: How the day unfolded Omloop Het Niewsblad, for many, marked the beginning ...

Read on Cyclist More Like This


Dennis takes Abu Dhabi lead after time trial victory

Rohan Dennis rides to victory

Rohan Dennis ( BMC Racing ) surged into the overall lead at the Abu Dhabi Tour after taking victory in the key time trial on stage 4. The Australian completed the 12.6km course in a time of 14:21, some 14 seconds quicker than his closest rival Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky), while his teammate Miles Scotson finished third a further two seconds back. Dennis now leads Castroviejo in the overall standings by the same margin he beat him by in the time trial. World champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) was one of the favourites going into the stage but suffered a mechanical, which was fatal to his chances of victory. After three straight days for the sprinters, the overall classification was game for almost anyone with a decent time trial in their arsenal. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) would roll out last as the race leader, but his advantage over much of ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Quick-Step Floors meet the press ahead of Belgian opening weekend - Gallery

Philippe Gilbert hands off to Fernando Gaviria as Iljo Keisse looks on

On Saturday, February 24 and Sunday 25, Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of the men’s races at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne , from start to finish, here . Quick-Step Floors used the occasion of the team's press conference preceding Belgium's 'opening weekend' to announce the team's latest initiative: the grand opening of the Quick-Step Pop-Up Store in the Ring Shopping Centre in Kortrijk, about two hours southwest of Gent. With just Dries Devenyns missing, the riders who will take on Omloop and its revised finish - Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra - assumed their spots centre stage with director Tom Steels and manager Patrick Lefevere, taking questions from the assembled media before breaking off for one-on-one interviews. Gilbert, who could tie with Ernest Sterckx ('52, '53, '56), Joseph Bruyère ('74, '75, '80) and Peter Van Petegem ('97, '98, '02) as ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


2018 season will be the last for Jeremy Roy - News Shorts

After securing his first pro win Jérémy Roy was all smiles.

Loyal to FDJ for 16 years, Jérémy Roy announced today that 2018 will be his last season in the pro cycling peloton, according to a press release from the team. "It never is a simple choice, but I've decided 2018 will be my last season," Roy said. "I am proud to belong to the category of the 'One-team men' since team FDJ accompanied me throughout my whole career." Roy, 34, has raced with the French team since 2003. In his career he has won wages at Paris-Nice and Tour du Limousin, as well as one-day races Grand Prix D'ouverture La Marseillaise and Tro-bro Léon, all in France. Roy has competed in nine Tours de France going back to 2008. He did not compete in the Tour last year, racing his second Giro d'Italia instead. "It is not time now to speak of career-change plans or to schedule any 'last day' ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Gilbert points to Molenberg as key climb in new Omloop het Nieuwsblad course

Philippe Gilbert shares a laugh at the Quick-Step press conference ahead of the Belgian 'opening wee

"Time flies…time flies." Philippe Gilbert ( Quick-Step Floors ) wondered where a decade had gone as he looked ahead to Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . The race holds a special place in the Belgian's heart as his first Classics victory, way back in 2006. He won it again in 2008 and, after his spectacular re-emergence as a cobbled Classics rider last year, he has the chance to take a record-tying third on Saturday. Since then, Gilbert has built a mighty palmarès, with two titles at Il Lombardia and one each at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Flanders, to mention just the Monuments. It also contains Amstel Gold Race times four, La Flèche Wallonne, Paris-Tours and, of course, the World Championships. It's the missing Monuments that Gilbert now covets most; Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix are needed for the complete set. Given they are still a few weeks down the line, he ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Viviani consolidates points lead as Abu Dhabi summit finish looms

Elia Viviani leads the points classification too

Sprinters hold the top-seven general classification spots after three stages at the Abu Dhabi Tour , with Elia Viviani ( Quick-Step Floors ) leading Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) by three seconds, and the rest grouped in ones and twos behind. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) breaks up the sprint party in eighth place, 10 seconds back, and Saturday's time trial should shine even more light on the final general classification outcome and provide a buffer for the specialists. The big test will be Sunday's climb to Jebel Hafeet, an 11km ascent that averages 6.6 percent gradient and reaches 11 percent in spots. Kristoff won the opening sprint and held the lead for a day before Viviani won stage 2 in Yas Beach and seized the leader's jersey. The Italian finished fourth to Bauhaus on stage 3 to keep the overall lead, but more importantly, Viviani won ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Bauhaus lays foundations with Abu Dhabi Tour victory

Phil Bauhaus took the win after a photo finish

Phil Bauhaus wasn't being rude when he gazed off over the heads of the journalists who gathered around him in the press tent after stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour , he simply wanted to get a proper look at his win on the television screen positioned over their shoulders. The Sunweb sprinter had every reason to squint carefully at the images, given that his victory was by the tightest of margins in a blanket finish against his fellow Germans Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), and race leader Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors). It took a careful examination of the photo finish before the race jury ruled that Bauhaus had won the stage by mere millimetres from Kittel. Both men had celebrated cautiously past the line without knowing for sure, and Bauhaus had then been whisked off for the podium ceremonies without having a chance to review the ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Abu Dhabi Tour: Bauhaus edges out Kittel on stage 3

Phil Bauhaus giving it all he's got in the finish of stage 3

Phil Bauhaus ( Team Sunweb ) took a photo finish win on stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour . Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) took second, and Pascal Ackerman (Bora-hansgrohe) repeated his third place of the previous stage. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) finished fourth on the stage, and retained his overall lead. "To expect to win is difficult. I knew that I was going well at home and my goal was to take a podium or a win and I am super happy that I was able to do it. It’s really nice. We have a super strong team and I am really happy that it worked out here," Bauhaus said. With five riders crossing the finish line almost simultaneously, a photo finish was required, with the decision finally falling in Bauhaus’ favour. It was Team Sunweb’s first win of the season, making them the last WorldTour team to claim a ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Tom Boonen returns to cycling with role at career-long rivals

Tom Boonen returns to cycling with role at career-long rivals

Joe Robinson 22 Feb 2018 A role as shareholder and advisor to the Lotto-Soudal team awaits for the Spring Classics legend Tom Boonen is set to make his return to cycling less than a year after retiring as it was announced that the Belgian would joing forces with Lotto-Soudal as a shareholder and advisor to the team. The four-time Paris-Roubaix champion will join the WorldTour team as a 'captain of cycling', looking to secure funding for the team and the Belgian national team, while also advising on the technology used by the riders. It is said Boonen will also be expected to offer his vast experience to the team throughout the year. This move initially comes as a surprise considering the Lotto-Soudal team were the arch rivals of Boonen throughout his illustrious career as he rode for the fellow Belgian WorldTour team Quick-Step Floors . While the Lotto-Soudal team did ...

Read on Cyclist More Like This


Photo gallery: 2018 Hagens Berman Axeon team camp

Over the past nine years, Hagens Berman Axeon has earned a reputation as the sport’s top development team. Since its debut in 2009, the program has advanced 25 riders to the WorldTour ranks, including Taylor Phinney, Joe Dombrowski, George Bennett, Alex Dowsett, Jasper Stuyven, Ian Boswell, Greg Daniel, and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Four riders from … The post Photo gallery: 2018 Hagens Berman Axeon team camp appeared first on CyclingTips .

Read on Cycling Tips More Like This


Abu Dhabi Tour: Viviani wins stage 2 and takes race lead

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) won an easy sprint on the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour , also taking the race lead. Second on the day went to Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) with Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) third. The win moved Viviani to the top of the GC, tied on time with now-second-ranked Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), with van Poppel in third at four seconds. "I need to break the ice on the first day of a stage race. Usually, I don't win the first sprint. It's been the case again but I was very confident today. Also in the echelons, I felt strong and I was willing to pull. We had Julian Alaphilippe and Enric Mas in the front group," Viviani said. "It was good for our GC but we also wanted to win the stage, so I asked the guys to wait for me and close the ...

Read on Cycling News More Like This


Blue is the new black: rating 2018's pro team kits

Blue is the new black: rating 2018's pro team kits

Felix Lowe 22 Feb 2018 Eurosport’s Felix Lowe casts his eye over the season’s new pro kits Do you remember when Team Sky first started warming down on rollers and colour co-ordinating their hydration strategies? Every other team was soon at marginal pains to copy the new coolest kids in the playground and overnight there were more black kits on display than in a teenage goth’s wardrobe. In 2018 that has all changed. The only team swimming with the black tide – offset with questionable bogey green – is Mitchelton-Scott. (Mitchelton replaces mining giant Orica as the Aussie squad’s main sponsor, and its owner, Gerry Ryan, is digging deep into his own pockets via his wine business, hotel and spa. Think Oleg Tinkov’s La Datcha chalets, but with less vodka.) Sky have ditched black for a translucent kit that will make rainy races look like a wet T-shirt competition. Dare ...

Read on Cyclist More Like This