Pre-Classics Season Power Rankings

Ladies and gentlemen, congratulations. You have made it. We have all made it. We have braved the offseason, the 4am Tour Down Under, piecing together tweets to form a picture of what happened in Oman and watching Amaro Antunes having his annual peak in the Algarve to arrive here, bare days before the joy of Omloop het Nieuwsblad. [The box on Conor’s desk wrapped in four whole rolls of packaging tape, hitherto motionless like all good packages, begins to move, almost imperceptibly] Ahem, anyway, as is customary here at the Café, before clip meets pedal and wheel meets cobble, it’s time to look at where all the teams stand ahead of the Omloop. Ah, the Omloop- [Tape rips suddenly. A mighty groan emerges from the box as it bursts open, revealing...] Ta flippin’ da, bitchez. Cuddles! How have you been? You bastard, I’ve been in Edinburgh for nearly two years. ...

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How to watch the 2019 Spring Classics

How to watch the 2019 Spring Classics

The Spring Classics kick off this weekend, and it’s often one of the highlights of the year for many avid WorldTour followers. Here’s everything we currently know about where you can find live coverage and highlights in the UK, US and Australia. Paris-Roubaix 2018 tech gallery: 101 images from the Hell of the North Specialized claims 99g S-Works EXOS 99 is lightest production shoe ever made The Spring Classics 2019 overview The term ‘Classics’ acts as a bit of an umbrella that encompasses a range of events. Included in this are the two Opening Weekend races: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne–Brussel–Kuurne. These are followed by further one-day Classics races: Milan–San Remo, E3 Binckbank Classic, Gent–Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and Paris–Roubaix. After Paris-Roubaix, the Ardennes Classics kicks off including Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The Monuments refers to the five oldest and most prestigious races in the ...

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Jakobsen shows winter work with Volta ao Algarve victory

Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) celebrates his leader's jersey

The evocatively-titled Avenida dos Descobrimentos in Lagos owes its name to the town's past as a shipbuilding hub during the Portuguese Age of Discovery, and the harbourfront boulevard hosted the finish of stage 1 of the Volta ao Algarve , where Fabio Jakobsen ( Deceuninck-QuickStep ) suggested that his winter preparation has been watertight by winning on his first race day of the new season. A reduced leading group contested the sprint finish in Lagos after a crash split the peloton with a shade over seven kilometres remaining, but Jakobsen never gave the impression of navigating troubled waters. In the finishing straight, he watched as Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) floundered after opening the sprint from distance, and then cruised past at a considerable rate of knots to claim the honours. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) took second on the stage ahead of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), but neither man ever looked like ...

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Jakobsen extends contract with Deceuninck-QuickStep

Fabio Jakobsen celebrates his victory on the final stage of the Tour of Guangxi

Fabio Jakobsen has signed a contract extension with Deceuninck-QuickStep that will keep him at the Belgian squad until the end of 2021. The Dutchman turned professional with the team last year, winning seven races in his debut season. "I am very excited to continue with the team until at least 2021," Jakobsen said in a statement released by the team on Tuesday. "Deceuninck-QuickStep is the team to be in, as I can learn so much and make important progress here. In the future, I want to be one of the best sprinters in the world and win big races, and Deceuninck-QuickStep is the squad who can help me reach all these goals. I'm living the dream with the best team in the world and I'm grateful for the trust and the support I continuously receive." The 22-year-old Jakobsen signed with Quick-Step last year after three seasons with SEG Racing Academy. ...

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Sunderland tapped to lead Flanders Classics

Sunderland tapped to lead Flanders Classics

Australian ex-pro set to streamline Flanders Classics programme and promote it to more international audience. Read the full article at Sunderland tapped to lead Flanders Classics on VeloNews.com .

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New kid in town: Fabio Jakobsen is ready to join the sprinting elite

New kid in town: Fabio Jakobsen is ready to join the sprinting elite

Joe Robinson 23 Jan 2019 The 22-year-old has Fernando Gaviria's boots to fill but Cyclist doesn't think this will be an issue Patrick Lefevere personally introduced each and every one of his riders at the Deceuninck-Quick Step team presentation earlier this month. When it came to 22-year-old Fabio Jakobsen, Lefevere regaled a quick anecdote from his neo-pro season last year. 'When Fabio won Scheldeprijs last year he came up to me in the team bus and told me how he was disappointed that Marcel Kittel punctured before the finish,' Lefevere said. 'He was upset because he knew he would have beaten Marcel that day and he wants to beat the best sprinters. I like that.' You could mistake this confidence for arrogance, wishing a 19-time Grand Tour stage winner had made it to the finish so you could beat him. You could also mistake this as arrogance considering the success ...

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Thursday Thoughts: Ranking the races

A look at the calendar for 2019 I don’t know if you guys noticed, but 2019 has started. Even more excitingly, we have the calendar for the VDS races for 2019 . You may have read about it . In my view, the six categories of races is the best combination of “fair” and “simple” anywhere, two things that any rating system should be. That doesn’t mean it is perfect, though. Category three and four races are primarily determined based on “official status” of races and there are a few good races (cough Yorkshire cough) that are in category five despite being superior to a range of 3s and 4s. There are also, as Ursula notes, some races missing – Brabantse Pijl being on the list for now. I can live with those variances. The question for today is, which races would you most like to win? We’ll all have ...

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Roundtable: Five up-and-coming riders to watch in 2019

Roundtable: Five up-and-coming riders to watch in 2019

The pro peloton has a number of young up-and-comers who are in line to emerge as new superstars in 2019. Here are our five favorites. Read the full article at Roundtable: Five up-and-coming riders to watch in 2019 on VeloNews.com .

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Lefevere wants Team Sky and Brailsford to continue but with budget that means he can no longer 'think with his wallet'

Lefevere wants Team Sky and Brailsford to continue but with budget that means he can no longer 'thin

Joe Robinson 9 Jan 2019 Deceuninck-Quick Step boss has sympathy for Brailsford's search for sponsorship although hopes for levelling of playing field Deceuninck-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere is hoping that Team Sky and opposite number Dave Brailsford find a replacement sponsor to Sky for 2020 , although only with a budget that will mean he can no longer 'think with his wallet instead his head'. Some drew conclusions that the announcement of Sky's withdrawal from cycling could have been met with church bells by the remaining 17 WorldTour teams considering the British team's financial dominance over the last decade. The TV broadcaster confirmed it would no longer provide sponsorship as of 2020 meaning that the sport's wealthiest team would have to look for a replacement. Lefevere, who recently turned 64, is hoping they will continue to be a fixture in pro cycling albeit on a much more equal playing ...

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Offseason Capsule: Quick Step

We didn’t see any Quick Step Flaws In 2018, Patrick Lefevre’s boys put together a season for the ages. What does 2019 have in store? Well, they can’t possibly match last year (can they?) but nothing says Christmas on Podium Café like looking back over the most dominant cobbles season we’ve seen in the modern era. What we said last year I’m reasonably pleased with this. I was optimistic about the team surviving the loss of Boonen and continuing to lead the peloton in wins and topping the VDS rankings. I talked up the sprint unit and was optimistic of increased success in the Ardennes, and I also enthused about the chances of many strong cobbles riders between them grabbing a cobbled monument. I was comparatively down on their GC chances and I didn’t see Enric Mas coming. I also missed the sheer onslaught of wins, but I used the ...

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Vuelta Stage 12: Enjoy this while it lasts, lads

Mondonedo – Faro de Estaca de Bares (181km) On the stage This stage is pretty straightforward to preview. I mean, look at this profile: There’s a couple of bumps in the road, but this is a sprint stage. I think there’ll be enough firepower in the peloton to bring back the inevitable break, and the straight, flat finish should help tilt the field towards the pack. There’s no reason to expect wind or road conditions to make it particularly challenging, either. So, if it does all come back together, we’re looking at the usual suspects, by this stage of the race. That means Elia Viviani , Peter Sagan , Giacomo Nizzolo , Matteo Trentin , Danny van Poppel and Max Walsheid . Of those, Viviani is probably the quickest and certainly the most consistently fast. If he gets it all right, without Bouhanni the only guys I can concieve of ...

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Kittel: I don't really care what other people think about me

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin)

Like Mark Cavendish before him, Marcel Kittel has discovered that when a sprinter reaches a certain, rarefied level, his defeats become more newsworthy than his victories. After winning 26 races during an all-conquering two-year stint at Quick-Step Floors, Kittel must have known that every setback in his maiden season at Katusha-Alpecin would be parsed to the umpteenth degree. The nadir of a difficult debut season came at last month's Tour de France, where Kittel failed to win a stage and was eliminated after finishing outside the time limit at La Rosière on the second day in the Alps. By then, a throwaway line from directeur sportif Dimitri Konyshev in an interview with L'Équipe – "We pay him a lot of money, but he is only interested in himself" – had already generated its share of headlines. Come the third week of the Tour, it was being reported that Kittel was ...

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BinckBank Tour: Jakobsen wins opener in Bolsward

Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors)

Fabio Jakobsen ( Quick-Step Floors ) survived a late crash to win stage 1 of the 2018 BinckBank Tour . The young Dutchman came through the centre of the road in the closing 150 metres to beat Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) to the line. The stage was marred by a number of late crashes in the closing kilometres with road furniture, a tense peloton and wet conditions contributing to the chaos. Quick-Step Floors, however, made light work of the conditions and allowed other teams to shoulder the responsibility of pulling back a late break and then leading out the sprint. In the closing few hundred metres, the Belgian team took the initiative with Jakobsen opening his sprint on the left before drifting into the middle of the road. On the other side, Ewan hit out for the line, while Kittel was forced to start from further back ...

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Ackermann's breakthrough season continues apace in Tour de Pologne

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Such has been the scale of his success, it's hard to believe that Pascal Ackermann 's meteoric rise towards the top of the sprinting hierarchy only began this April. But in terms of wins, at least, that's when the Bora-Hansgrohe fast man's pro breakthrough actually started. In late April, barely 15 months after turning professional, Ackermann took his first win in the last stage of the Tour de Romandie, since when he's netted stages of the Criterium du Dauphine, the German Nationals, the RideLondon-Surrey Classic and now the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne . "I feel really strong in the head and the team stays 100 per cent behind me and do an amazing job always, they trust me and I trust them and that's the formula for victories," the 24-year-old said a few minutes after donning the yellow jersey of leader of the Tour de Pologne. In ...

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Tour de France: Groenewegen comes through in Chartres

Dylan Groenewegen on the Tour de France podium after winning stage 7

With a commanding win during stage 7 at the Tour de France in Chartres on Friday, Dylan Groenewegen ( LottoNL-Jumbo ) confirmed that he's one of the leading sprinters of the young generation. The 25-year-old Dutch rider has had a stellar season so far, with a win in sprinter's festival Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and at least one victory in every stage race in which he has participated. The disqualification for the ignoring level crossing in the Scheldeprijs where he was the top favourite is a side note. As a result, Groenewegen featured on the front pages of many Dutch cycling magazines in their Tour de France preview edition. A win in the first stage would have made him the first Dutch rider in the yellow jersey since Erik Breukink in 1989. That was a lot of pressure to deal with, pressure he received from the outside but likely also from himself. The ...

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Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 first ride review

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 first ride review

You can tell at a glance that this bike is built for speed, with deep wheels nestled into elongated-profile tubes, but let me tell you how it rides: quickly. Tour de France 2018 bikes, gear and tech Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 7.0 review Canyon Bicycles: reviews and buying advice Aerodynamics aside, the taut pedaling platform is remarkable from the first hard pedal stroke. Standing and yanking on the bars, or just diving into a corner with the hips, and the stiff front-end responds similarly: let’s go! Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 highlights Highly aero frameset and wheels but with normal bar and stem Nearly impeccable Shimano Ultegra hydraulic group with 160 rotors Somewhat old school but still super aero 23/25 tires Seatpost that strikes a balance between aerodynamics and comfort Exceptional value Plug and play with two NorCal test rides I borrowed this bike from Canyon North America’s ...

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National Championships Preview

A quick primer on the peloton getting patriotic with some intrastate conflict The best racing occurring in the middle doldrums of the cycling season is just about upon us, and I’m not talking about the Tour. It’s that time of the year when the FSA-DS owners of Ignatas Konovalovas and Gert Joeaar can finally celebrate. I’m of course talking about Nats. As a cycling fan, one of the most frustrating things for me is the inability to find a good central website that has information on all of these races. So, for once in my brief time writing here on PdC, I’m actually going to post something that is informative and not just a barrage of dad jokes, bad puns, and Betancur quips. So let’s get to it and preview some of the national championship courses this year. We’ll be taking a quick look at Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, ...

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5 ways to avoid the royal wedding this weekend

5 ways to avoid the royal wedding this weekend

In case you missed the news, this Saturday it’s the royal wedding in the United Kingdom. If you are looking to escape the incessant coverage of Prince Harry tying the knot with Meghan Markle, we’re here to help. Here are four great cycling events to watch this weekend, plus the old standby that hopefully you were going to do anyway. Time-trial tech at the Tour of California — gallery Scheldeprijs tech gallery: the narrow, the aero and the power (or Power) 1. Amgen Tour of California The Tour of California concludes this weekend with stage 7 on Saturday.Currently, after five stages, Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team tops the GC, and you can catch all of the action live on NBC from 3pm ET, with the last part of the stage live from 11pm BST on Eurosport. If you're not a subscriber to Eurosport, UK readers can subscribe to ...

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Hagens Berman Axeon's Specialized Allez Sprint Comp gallery

Hagens Berman Axeon's Specialized Allez Sprint Comp gallery

This article first appeared on Cyclingnews. An entire generation of professional cyclists have now grown up, raced on, and perhaps even retired using exclusively carbon road bikes. However, US Pro Continental outfit Hagens Berman Axeon is demonstrating that you don't need the latest and greatest carbon bike to be successful in 2018 by riding Specialized's Allez Sprint Comp frameset to victories in Europe and the US already this season. Paris-Roubaix tech gallery: 101 images from the Hell of the North Scheldeprijs tech gallery: the narrow, the aero and the power (or Power) Initially the Trek-Livestrong development team in 2009, Hagens Berman Axeon has evolved to be one of the top developmental squads in the sport with alumni that include Taylor Phinney, Ben King, Sam Bewley, Alex Dowsett, Ian Boswell, Jasper Stuyven, Tao Geoghegan-Hart, Logan Owen, Neilson Powless, Chris Lawless, and Jhonatan Narvarez, all of whom now race at the WorldTour ...

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SSSRSSP World Tour Edition: Eschborn-Frankfurt

Yeah, I know that it’s a World Tour race. But just slapping the WT label on a race doesn’t change its actual SSR character. You’ve got only ten WT teams showing up, and some of them look to be only showing up to pick up a case of Apfelwein or do some banking (Bah Meh and Trek). At least the other German nominally-world-tour-but-probably-SSR-race has a funny sponsor-portmanteau moniker- Euroeyes Cyclassics - and a list of impressive sprinter victories. This race is all German efficiency- it starts in Eschborn and finishes in Frankfurt with a clockwork Alexander Kristoff victory. It didn’t always have such an efficient moniker. The race was originally named the Rund um den Henninger Turm for the Henninger Tower, which was tallest building in Frankfurt at the time- a 33-story tall grain silo, where the Henninger Brewery stored its barley. The tower was demolished in 2013, to make ...

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