What’s Going on in Catalunya?

I examine one of my favourite races, about a day later than I intended. Ladies and gentlemen, March is coming to a close and Milano-Sanremo is out of the way, so you know what that means: Yes, it’s time for World Tour stage racing in what most people will tell you is Spain. In a fortnight it’s time for the Euskal Herriko Itzulia but for now we’re in Catalunya for the Volta. Both of these races are clearly the standout cycling events of the next month and I will not hear anything to the contrary. I’m not sure of the reasons behind this, but it seems that Catalunya occupies a strange spot in the form graphs of riders where they can’t be on form to win the race if they’re going to win the Tour — hence Chris Froome would win an early season race, take a short break, then ...

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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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Valverde, Quintana, Porte, Froome headline deep Catalunya field

Valverde, Quintana, Porte, Froome headline deep Catalunya field

Watch last year's winner Alejandro Valverde and team mate Nairo Quintana do battle with Richie Porte and Chris Froome at the 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on SBS VICELAND, live from super early in the morning, Tuesday 26 March.

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The Art of Racing Over 7 Days

What does it mean to be a one-week specialist? From 2014 to 2017, Alberto Contador was the undaunted master of week-long stage races. Having finished on the podium of WT one-week stage races (see the races I used for this analysis below) a whopping 10 times, including 3 wins. It would be easy for you to rush to interpret that this means that Grand Tour excellence translates to week-long results, until I tell you that over that time frame, Alberto Contador finished on a Grand Tour podium just once. In the twilight of his career, Contador was a shell of himself when it came to the big 3 week races, but was simply unparalleled when it came to the week-longs. [Full disclosure: Contador was also a week-long asskicker when he was a great GT rider as well… but we’ll get to that later.] You often hear the adage: “Rider X ...

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Porte could make Tour of California debut as preparation for Tour de France

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) rode a good race to finish second on stage 2 of the 2019 Herald Sun To

Richie Porte ( Trek-Segafredo ) could ride the Tour of California for the first time in his career as part of his preparation for the Tour de France . Porte is riding a slimmer race programme this season with the hope of having fresher legs for the Grand Boucle. Porte told Cyclingnews that he might head stateside this May and hang around for a training camp before returning to Europe. "We'll see it how it all goes, but I'll probably race California and then stay there for a bit of altitude and then the next big goal is the Dauphine," Porte told Cyclingnews . "That's the race where I need to be going and then the Tour. It's a bit of an unprecedented run. Normally, I hit the Tour with more race days in the legs." Porte said that he is a bit behind where he'd like to be at ...

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Flying Too Close to the Sun: Paris - Nice Preview

Race to the sun, my ass.

There’s always a discussion around this time about which is the better race-- Paris - Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico-- as the peloton gets split between the two races. The consensus view is usually that TA is the better race-- it gets the better riders and has the better route. Here’s the thing, though. Anyone that still believes that has not been watching PN during the last three years. Each of the last three years has been a barn burner of a race, easily in contention for best week long stage race of the year as well as race day of the year and probably only losing out on those honors due to its placement on the calendar-- before the spring classics and all of the grand tours cloud our collective memories. 2016 saw Geraint Thomas take the GC victory over Alberto Contador by a mere 4 seconds and saw a vintage ...

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Porte to miss Paris-Nice and ride Volta a Catalunya

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) rode a good race to finish second on stage 2 of the 2019 Herald Sun To

Richie Porte has withdrawn from Paris-Nice and will instead line out at the Volta a Catalunya later this month. The Trek-Segafredo rider suffered a bout of bronchitis after starting his season in Australia and has decided to alter his race programme in the wake of a low-key performance at the recent UAE Tour. Porte started his 2019 season with second overall at the Tour Down Under, where he won atop Willunga Hill for the sixth year in a row. He then took fifth at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour but struggled in the UAE last week, placing 50th overall. "A bronchitis sustained after the Jayco Herald Sun Tour has caused a setback in Richie’s build-up to the spring races, and his performance in UAE Tour confirmed this. Given these circumstances, Paris-Nice unfortunately comes too early for Richie," Trek-Segafredo team doctor Scott Major said in a statement released by the team ...

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How Well Do Early Season Results Predict Full Season Performance?

Just walk away.

How can dispatches from January help our VDS choices? Every year it’s the same thing. With stars in my eyes, I fall head over feels in love with a rider who is toeing the antipodean line in the Southern Hemisphere, cleaning up in the Silly Season: those weird early season races that follow the endless summer or just simply brave the dead of winter, which always seem to attract just enough big names to make you think they’re worth your time and effort and attention. Often times those big names win it. But you notice a guy who finished 4th in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Upside Down Beer Drinking Extravaganza, and then he heads to San Juan and finishes maybe 5th, before nabbing a runner-up at one of the Trofeos and then the VDS price list comes out and he’s only 4 points! and he becomes ...

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Porte's focus firmly on bigger picture at UAE Tour

Porte's focus firmly on bigger picture at UAE Tour

Richie Porte has focused on the bigger picture as he clocks kilometres and further familiarises with a new team at the UAE Tour this week, following illness.

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Van Garderen looking for fresh outlook and new motivation at EF Education First

Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First)

They say that a change is as good as a rest and that's what Tejay van Garderen is hoping for as he begins his tenure with EF Education First . Van Garderen signed with the team, run by Jonathan Vaughters, after leaving BMC Racing in their shake-up over the winter. "I think at any point in anyone’s career, I think that a change is good just to get fresh outlooks and new motivation and I'm hoping to pretty much do what I know I can do and that's scoring some good results,” van Garderen told Cyclingnews . Van Garderen spent seven years with the BMC Racing set-up, coming on as one of their rising stars in 2012. He soon made an impact when he beat his team leader Cadel Evans at that year's Tour de France, finishing fifth place overall and winning the white jersey. Another fifth place would follow ...

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Jumbo-Visma win UAE Tour TTT

Jumbo-Visma celebrate on the podium

Jumbo-Visma won the opening 16km team time trial at the UAE Tour , with Primoz Roglic bringing the team home and so taking the first leader's red jersey of the new WorldTour race. Jumbo-Visma set a time of 16:49 for the exposed but fast course in Abu Dhabi, racing at 57km/h thanks to huge turns by Tony Martin, Jos van Emden and Roglic. Team Sunweb were seven seconds slower in 16:56, while Bahrain-Merida set a time of 16:58 thanks to the contribution of world time trial champion Rohan Dennis. The exposed 16km course overlooking the Abu Dhabi skyline sparked some significant time difference amongst the overall contenders. Just like in a Grand Tour, seconds gained or lost in the team time trial will influence the mountain stages and fight for the red jersey. Tom Dumoulin is only seven seconds behind Roglic, with Vincenzo Nibali well placed at nine seconds. Michal ...

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Latour out of UAE Tour after training crash

Pierre Latour after his crash in the UAE

Pierre Latour will miss the UAE Tour after crashing in training after arriving in the UAE. The French rider had been named as the AG2R La Mondiale team leader for the WorldTour race but is set to return to France for surgery, with 22-year-old neo-pro Aurelien Paret-Peintre travelling out to the UAE to take Latour’s place in Sunday’s opening team time trial. "He has a fractured left wrist (scaphoid and lower radius). He will be operated on his return to France and should be unavailable for at least six weeks,” Dr. Eric Bouvat, the medical director of the AG2R La Mondiale team said in a brief statement. Latour posted a photograph of him in the Abu Dhabi hospital after receiving treatment, explaining he crashed after hitting a hole in the road. He had started his 2019 season at the Tour Down Under in Australia but had hoped to shine in ...

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Thursday Thoughts: Lessons from the Drafts

Number One... but not for Pablo

Looking across the four men’s FSA-DS drafts This is the last Thursday Thoughts to come out on a Thursday, but there’s a bonus final edition coming this weekend. Expect something shortly after the (men’s) FSA-DS deadline. Many of us have found the pressure of not submitting teams too much to cope with and have pushed the fateful button. Others are hanging on hoping to avoid injury to their chosen crew. However, some of you are still out there, paralysed with indecision and crippled by choice. Today, I’m joined by Shawn as the two of us try to make your lives even harder. What lessons can we take from the various draft leagues to inform the selection of our main teams? For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Shawn is running three draft leagues this year, as well as a young rider’s draft and a women’s draft. Thanks, Shawn! ...

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Offseason Capsule: CCC

What can we expect from the newest WT team? Today we wrap up our offseason capsules series with the nineteenth report. CCC have picked up a World Tour license for the first time this season, and are born of a combination of the pro-Conti CCC team and the now-defunct World Tour BMC team. That’s two TLAs* for the price of one. I hate HTEA.** They bring ambition, bright orange jerseys, and a sprinkling of talented riders. What we said last year We didn’t. Obviously. Though we covered BMC , and we wrapped up their final season in the first of these 2018/19 capsules. What we got in 2018 I’ve no desire to rake through BMC’s year again, but will turn briefly to CCC, who had a quiet year. In VDS terms, their 1,309 points would have ranked 27 th as a rider, and they were paced by Jan Tratnik and ...

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Offseason Capsule: Trek - Segafredo

The Battle Action Richie Porte (tm) now comes with a pre-broken collarbone!

Desperately seeking a GC star after a season in which they couldn’t even manage a Zubeldia-esque placing at any of the grand tours, Trek’s signing of Richie Porte got most of the attention during the offseason. What really deserves the attention, however, is the reinvigorated and reinforced classics squad that should be the centerpiece of 2019 for Trek. What we said last year Andrew’s general predictions -- that development of the retained riders would lead to a better 2018, that Trek was weak in the stage races, and that they would rely on Stuyven and Degenkolb-- were on the money, but praising Andrew for being right is boring. Let’s see if he correctly answered the multiple choice question he posed to himself regarding John Degenkolb. That multiple choice question was what was going on with Dege and what will 2018 show us with the following possible answers: Degenkolb is: a) ...

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Richie Porte's Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc eTap — gallery

Richie Porte's Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc eTap — gallery

This article first appeared on Cyclingnews . Richie Porte ( Trek-Segafredo ) began his 2019 season with a new team, a new bike and an unreleased groupset. SRAM's new 12-speed RED eTap AXS groupset was still unreleased at the race — where the Tasmanian finished second on general classification and won the final stage — but was being used by the entire Trek-Segafredo and Katusha-Alpecin squads, as well as Trek-Segafredo and CCC Team in the Santos Women's Tour Down Under. SRAM 12-speed RED eTap AXS HRD review Trek-Segafredo announce SRAM partnership The new groupset opens up new gearing combinations as the extra cog allows for a 10-tooth option on the cassette, as well as a larger bottom gear. Porte opted for the 50/37 chainring option combined with a 10-28t cassette, a similar combination to traditional racing gearing of 53/39x11-25. Trek-Segafredo is one of a number of teams in the WorldTour ...

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Winter is the season for domestiques

Winter is the season for domestiques

Early season races in Australia and South America afford important opportunities for domestiques to win, and these results have a broader impact as well. Read the full article at Winter is the season for domestiques on VeloNews.com .

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Winter is the season for domestiques

Winter is the season for domestiques

Early season races in Australia and South America afford important opportunities for domestiques to win, and these results have a broader impact as well. Read the full article at Winter is the season for domestiques on VeloNews.com .

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'This could be the year' - Team Sky eye Classics Season with anticipation

'This could be the year' - Team Sky eye Classics Season with anticipation

Jamie Finch-Penninger 4 Feb 2019 Happy with how things have gone in Australia, Team Sky are looking to come away from the Classics with something to show for their efforts An aggressive series of performances on top of a long Australian training block has seen Team Sky reap big rewards in the final race of the Australian early season calendar, the Herald Sun Tour. Team Sky emerged with two stage wins from five, the overall win, the young rider's jersey and the mountains jersey after a series of Classics-like manoeuvres put them in positions to dominate the race. Arguably the biggest positive out of the tour has been the cohesion between the riders, many of whom will back up and form the core of the Team Sky squad at the Cobbled Classics . 'To win the last stage was really the icing on the cake,' said Team Sky sports director ...

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Cross Worlds and other new in brief

Van der Poel, Cant take cyclocross rainbows in Denmark We don’t normally do “news in brief” here, but there’s always a barrage of stories at this time of the year and a space to discuss them might prove popular. It’s also good to give some space to the weekend’s big stories, which came not on a road, but in a muddy field. Cyclocross Worlds The 2019 worlds course was in Denmark, for the first time since the 1998 championship in Middlefart (thank goodness I wasn’t writing for the café that year). The course was coastal, cold and exposed, and with a few steep climbs and descents at one end of an otherwise flat course. For all my jibes, the course wasn’t too muddy, though some of the entries to sharp turns and downhills, as you’d expect, were fairly cut up by the end of the week. The competitions began with ...

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