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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Look unveils new Keo Blade Ceramic Carbon pedal

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) shows off the new Look Keo Blade Ceramic Carbon

French company Look has released updates to its popular pedals with the new Look Keo Blade Ceramic Carbon pedals. Ceramic bearings have been introduced to the existing versions of the pedals, reducing friction by 18 percent, as well as improving the bearings' longevity by four to six times, according to Look. The new pedals are manufactured in France and have a claimed weight of 110g. In a press release from Look, Romain Bardet ( AG2R La Mondiale ) – who raced using the pedals for the first time at Paris-Nice this past week – said: "I have been riding Look pedals for 19 years and, in them, I have found an ideal partner; a subtle blend of technology and craftsmanship to accompany and support me in my wildest dreams." A combined pedal and cleat stack height of 14.8mm should offer great power transfer, which can be combined with three different ...

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Paris-Nice: Stage 5 time trial start times

Michal Kwiatkowski in yellow after stage 4 at Paris-Nice

Paris-Nice continues on Thursday with a 25.5km time trial around Barbentane that should provide greater definition to the overall standings ahead of the tough final three days in southern France. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) carries the yellow jersey into stage 5 and he lies 5 seconds ahead of 2009 winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) in the overall standings. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is third, at 10 seconds, with Egan Bernal (Team Sky) a further second back in fourth place overall. 149 riders remain in Paris-Nice after its wind-buffeted opening half. Julien Vermote (Dimension Data) will be the first man down the start ramp on Thursday, setting off at 13:18 local time. Riders roll off at one-minute intervals thereafter, with the top ten riders on GC setting out at two-minute intervals. Start times to watch out for include Bob Jungels (15:27), Wilco Kelderman (15:31), Nairo Quintana (15:33) and Romain Bardet (15:44). Kwiatkowski ...

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First tests for tramadol carried out at Paris-Nice

Christopher Froome heads to anti-doping control

The second stage of Paris-Nice on Monday saw something of a landmark for professional cycling as the first tests for tramadol took place. Six riders, including stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), were tested for the controversial painkiller, according to Het Laatste Nieuws . Tramadol is not on the World Anti Doping Agency's list of banned substances – it remains on their 'monitoring list' – and the UCI moved to prohibit it independently, with the new regulations coming into effect at the start of March . Tramadol is an opioid-based painkiller that has been said to have been abused by pro riders seeking the performance-enhancing effects of the dulling of pain sensations during intense efforts. It is also said the drug can cause drowsiness and is seen as a danger in terms of crashes. After a WADA report last year found tramadol use in cycling was higher than any other endurance ...

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Daily News Digest: More details on Kelly Catlin, a standard for Road Tubeless

Supported by Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today: Crosswinds blow apart Paris-Nice; Rigoberto Uran breaks his collarbone; more details on Kelly Catlin’s tragic passing; and the industry finally establishes a proper standard for Road Tubeless rims and wheels. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest. Story of the Day: Crosswind triangle … The post Daily News Digest: More details on Kelly Catlin, a standard for Road Tubeless appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Crashes and crosswinds batter Paris-Nice again

Crosswinds caused splits on the Paris-Nice peloton

The record books will state that Dylan Groenewegen won stage 2 of the 2019 Paris-Nice in a reduced bunch sprint with the remnants of the main field finishing just a few seconds behind but that one fact does not do the race justice after another epic day of crosswinds and echelon racing that saw the action never let up for even a single moment of the 165km stage. By the time Groenewegen made his way to the podium to collect his second bouquet of the race and the yellow jersey, stragglers were still crossing the line in ones and twos, some of them with the jerseys ripped from a day that saw numerous crashes and several abandons, including Mark Cavendish, Louis Meintjes, Rigoberto Uran, Warren Barguil and last year's third-place finisher Gorka Izagirre. The race has yet to reach a time trial or an uphill finish yet has seen back-to-back ...

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Alaphilippe: I made a good move at a good moment and, voila, I won Strade Bianche

Julian Alaphilippe wins the 2019 Strade Bianche

Julian Alaphilippe rode his dust-covered bike into the Strade Bianche post-race press conference on the third floor of a building overlooking the Piazza del Campo in Siena, buzzing with joy and satisfaction after winning the new Italian Classic on his debut on the dirt roads of Tuscany. The Frenchman and his Deceuninck-QuickStep team rode a perfect race, and he out-manoeuvred Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) over the top of the steep Via Santa Caterina climb to the centre of Siena, riding down into the crowd-packed Piazza del Campo to win as if he had just won the Palio horserace that also finishes in the spectacular central square. "I'm just so happy. It was my first big goal of the season," he explained. "Even if the start of the season was good already, to win Strade Bianche is incredible. I made no mistakes." Alaphilippe is now 26 and maturing year-on-year. In 2018 he ...

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Van Aert confirms huge potential with second podium at Strade Bianche

Wout Van Aert on the 2019 Strade Bianche podium

Wout van Aert ( Jumbo-Visma ) again finished third at Strade Bianche and was again understandably proud of his performance after going in the decisive attack with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), catching them after a long solo chase and staying away on the Via Santa Caterina climb to step onto the podium in the Piazza del Campo. Last year Van Aert went on a long attack with Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and went so deep and was so tired that he fell off his bike at the summit of Via Santa Caterina. This time he was able to enjoy the moment so much more. "If you compare it to my three cyclo-cross world titles, the first is by far the easiest one to win. To confirm all the good things from the first time is always more difficult, but I’m happy I did it, I’m happy ...

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Bardet story 'still to be written' at Paris-Nice

Romain Bardet in the 2019 AG2R-La Mondiale jersey

Romain Bardet says that his 'story is still to be written' at Paris-Nice and that it is a race he would like to perform at before he retires. Bardet returns to the eight-day race to lead AG2R La Mondiale for the first time since he was disqualified following stage 1 of the 2017 event for holding onto his team car. Bardet has raced solely in France so far this season and is using Paris-Nice as part of his preparation for the Tour de France later in the year. It is his fourth race of 2019 after kicking off his campaign at the Tour du Haut Var at the end of February, where he finished second overall. He has finished in the top 10 in all but one of his race days so far and says that he's feeling strong, but is reticent to make any predictions about what that could ...

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Strade Bianche: Tuscan delicacy

Is it possible that Strade Bianche is the most anticipated race of all on the calendar save for one or two that the Flemish hype machine have managed to elevate to almost God-like status? I think it probably is. Last year we engaged in a debate over whether it is in fact the sixth monument already and the opposition to such an outrageous claim was surprisingly mellow. It may not be but it’s probably not far off in many people’s minds. That said, it’s still pretty early days and Strade is really just the opening salvo in perhaps the most intense period of the year, Paris-Nice, Tirreno, Sanremo all follow like a string of pearls and the coming weeks promise to be a blur of high caliber World Tour racing. The race also suffers from rubbing up against Paris-Nice this weekend. Like always some riders you’d desperately want to see ...

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Van Aert hoping to improve on last year's dramatic third place at Strade Bianche

Wout Van Aert makes his debut for Jumbo Visma

With the memories of third place at last year's Strade Bianche still fresh in his mind, Wout van Aert heads to this Saturday's race with the full backing of WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma – and hoping to go one or two places better. The Belgian's tumble from his bike on the final climb up to the finish in Siena's Piazza il Campo at the 2018 race, and his subsequent struggle to remount, had hearts in mouths all around the world, but with a good 30-second buffer back to fourth-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Van Aert's podium place was safe – even if he'd hoped to catch runner-up Romain Bardet (AG2R) before the finish. But in a video interview posted on Jumbo-Visma's website, Van Aert said that "giving up was not an option". "It's the race people have talked about most since I started cycling," he said. "It left an impression on many ...

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REVIEW: Bollé Shifter Sunglasses with Phantom Lens Review

REVIEW: Bollé Shifter Sunglasses with Phantom Lens

We ride and review Bollés new, retro-futuristic SHIFTER cycling glasses. Here's how their style, build, and Phantom lens technology perform after months of real-world bike rides.

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Strade Bianche dependably delivers the drama – Gallery

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) makes his winning move at Strade Bianche

Strade Bianche has quickly become a crowd favourite during its first 12 years on the UCI calendar. Is it the often-muddy conditions on the white gravel roads of Tuscany that draws the fans? Is it the epic finale over the series of gravel climbs leading back to Siena that's responsible for the race's quick ascent in the hearts and imaginations of the cycling public? Or is it the predictably frenetic excitement that only an important one-day race can conjure as the potential winners balance on a thin line of luck, preparation and stubborn resilience? The 2018 edition of Strade Bianche had all that and more as the inclement weather kicked the drama up several notches. The precipitation caused no shortage of Tuscany's slippery 'white' mud for riders to deal with, and the cold temperatures knocked the fight out of more than a few of the favourites. In the end, it ...

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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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AG2R's Bardet building to July at Paris-Nice

AG2R's Bardet building to July at Paris-Nice

The pressure on a French rider in a French race cannot be underestimated, more so if your name is Romain Bardet and you are expected to lead the general classification charge at Paris-Nice.

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Time to draw breath

A rare day without racing allows us to take stock of the year so far A midweek pot-luck today, as we draw breath after a start to the FSA-DS season that took in the inaugural UAE Tour, two hilly races in France, Opening Weekend and Le Samyn. There’s no attempt below to be comprehensive, just a few of my thoughts coming out of the first bout of races, with a few diversions for other matters arising. The Joy of Teammates My wish for all of you is that you have someone who’ll do for you in life what Tim Declercq will do for the Deceuninck Quick-Step team in a bike race. Namely, put everything they have on the line in pursuit of your success. His ride in the finale of Le Samyn was the most visible part of Quick Step’s tactical success in the opening three classics, but it was ...

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Gaudu continues strong start to season at UAE Tour

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) on the final climb of stage 3 UAE Tour

While most of the attention was on the battle between world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) on the upper slopes of Jebel Hafeet, there was one young rider never far from their wheels. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is just 22 years old, but the Frenchman coped wiith the aggressive final climb on stage 3 of the UAE Tour better than most of his more experienced rivals. Gaudu, who finished sixth overall at the Tour de la Provence earlier this month, lost just four seconds to Valverde and Roglic to finish third on the stage and move up to third in the general classification, 31 seconds down on Roglic, with four stages remaining. "Yeah, it was a good ride. I liked the last climb, it was a medium percentage, so I just had to follow the team doing a good job on the bottom of the climb. ...

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Pinot wins 2019 Tour du Haut Var

Thibaut Pinot wins the 2018 Il Lombardia

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the final stage of the Tour du Haut Var to the summit of Mont Faron, securing overall victory in the three-day early-season stage race in the south of France. Pinot used his climbing skills and power to make a late attack on the steep climb to the finish. He managed to overhaul late attacker Hugh Carthy (EF Education First), go after French rival Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and then edge clear to win alone. Carthy finished third at four seconds. Pinot finished second on stage 2 and so gained enough time on Mont Faron to secure overall victory and take a moral boosting victory. “This was perfect after the events of the first day,” Pinot said, returning to stage 1 when mimosa pollen on a technical descent sparked crashes and he finished behind Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) in the sprint. “We really wanted to ...

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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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Bardet to begin season at Tour du Haut Var

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) stage 21 Tour de France

AG2R La Mondiale 's Romain Bardet will set his season in motion at the three-day Tour du Haut Var, which begins in Vence, near Nice, in southern France, on Friday. Bardet brought the curtain down on his 2018 season when he was a non-finisher at Il Lombardia in mid-October, and so is now champing at the bit to get racing again after four months away from competition. "I'm happy to get back to racing. Since turning professional in 2012, I've never started a season so late," Bardet said on his team's website. "It gave me the opportunity to indulge in some other sports and lay a solid foundation of preparation," he said, "and I'll be using these races in February as a way to prepare for my first UCI WorldTour goals that come in March. But it's a real pleasure to start racing in France, especially when it's a race ...

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