The weekly spin: Rating the winners and losers of the 2019 spring classics

It was late in the race, and Julian Alaphilippe, the most successful rider of the spring classics, knew he would not be defending his team’s title at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Though his Deceuninck–Quick-Step teammates had spent the day keeping him sheltered from the wind and setting pace at the front of the peloton, the inclement weather had adversely … The post The weekly spin: Rating the winners and losers of the 2019 spring classics appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Winners and Losers from the Ardennes

In which I form an opinion from highlight reels So, I’m going to try something here. For reasons outside of my control, I really enjoy the Ardennes classics. For reasons outside of my control, I wasn’t able to watch a single one of them this season (hey, keepers of pro cycling: I have shit to do on Wednesday mornings, get your scheduling together). But, unfortunately, I am tasked with writing a Winners and Losers column for a sequence of races that I didn’t get to watch. Now, this has the potential to be the easiest task in the world. The winners were indeed Mathieu Van Der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang and the losers were literally everyone else, and that should be the self-referential end of the column. But I do have to my advantage highlight reels, results sheets and a list of personal expectations and VDS-hopes-and-dreams that are ...

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Poels takes top-10 finish in Liège at Team Sky last-ever race

Wout Poels (Team Sky)

Wout Poels finished tenth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège , giving the British WorldTour team a quiet farewell to sponsor Sky before the team assumes its new name and ownership as Team Ineos on May 1. Poels won Liège in 2016, and was at the head of affairs on the final climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, but Astana's Jakob Fuglsang who made the decisive move at the top of the climb, taking eventual runner-up Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Michael Woods (EF Education First) with him initially, before soloing to the victory in Liège. Poels finished alone as the 10th rider home, just ahead of Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens and Team Sky teammate Michal Kwiatkowski. "I think we hoped as a team for at least a podium finish, but in the end this was the maximum we could do today," Poels said via Team Sky's website. "At the beginning, it was really ...

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Liege-Bastogne-Liege Preview

La Doyenne of all monument previews Well, it has been an interesting week to be more or less entirely away from the cycling world. I saw and enjoyed the last few minutes of the men’s Amstel Gold, which was special (and entirely bonkers). I’ve been keeping a bit of an eye on the Tour of the Alps, which has done wonders to maintain my faith in the future stars of Team Sky/Ineos, and in Fausto Masnada. I didn’t see a minute of Fleche Wallone, which is fine by me. On Sunday, though, I’ll be back to paying attention. With the year’s fourth monument coming up, I’ve picked a good day. Let’s get right into it. Routes and practical information Easter weekend was spectacularly warm and sunny across the UK, and clearly across the Netherlands too. The forecast for Sunday is less good, both in Edinburgh (you don’t care) and Liege ...

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A guide to everything you need to know about the 2019 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Joe Robinson 26 Apr 2019 On Sunday, the 2019 Spring Classics come to an end with Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Here's all you need to know about the Old Lady's 2019 outing Words Joe Robinson This Sunday will see the close of the 2019 pro cycling calendar's first chapter. Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the last of the Spring Classics and tailends a scintillating period of racing that started all the way back in early March on the cobbles of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Like all exciting moments in your life, the Spring Classics campaign goes quickly. In six weeks we have rattled through 11 one-day WorldTour races across four different countries with even more semi-Classics sprinkled in between. It's not long now till all of our focus will be turning to the beautiful chaos of the Giro d'Italia but before then its La Doyenne , the Old Lady that is Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The oldest Monument there is, ...

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24 things you need to know about the 2019 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The Spring Classics come to a close this Sunday with Liege-Bastogne-Liege. It’s one of the oldest and most prestigious one-day races on the planet, and a race that’s had quite a shake-up in 2019. In the following preview we tell you everything you need to know about both the men’s and women’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The men’s … The post 24 things you need to know about the 2019 Liege-Bastogne-Liege appeared first on CyclingTips .

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The weekly spin: Deconstructing Mathieu van der Poel’s improbable Amstel Gold victory

It was one of the most thrilling finishes of a spring classic in modern history. After trailing by one minute with three kilometers remaining, cyclocross world champion Mathieu van der Poel, in his Amstel Gold Race debut, towed a chase group back into contention and improbably caught and passed the leaders with 125 meters remaining. … The post The weekly spin: Deconstructing Mathieu van der Poel’s improbable Amstel Gold victory appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Fleche Wallonne: Who are the favourites?

Joe Robinson 24 Apr 2019 The dreaded Mur de Huy awaits for the men's and women's peloton Fleche Wallonne, the midweek cooler flanked by the Ardennes' more explosive and coveted siblings, Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege . It's a race that's all about one thing, the Mur de Huy. After 195km of racing for the men and 118.5km for the woman, the eventual winner is decided by who can climb this 1km long, 11.1% wall the fastest. Climbing from the town of Huy, the surviving few will claw their way past the surrounding detached houses with their built-in garages and the free-standing chapels until reaching the grand Notre-Dame de la Sarthe church that marks the summit and the Mont Mosan theme park that one tourist, Quoc-Thai Ngo, described in a recent review as 'Ok but I have seen more impressive'. What will be more impressive is the way in which both ...

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Wellens amazed by Van der Poel but confident for Amstel Gold Race

Tim Wellens puts in a move

With Tim Wellens in good form to start the season, Lotto-Soudal are among the teams looking for a strong result at Amstel Gold Race . The Belgian took third at Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, and named the men he finished with as the main favourites for the first in the Ardennes trilogy, picking out Corendon-Circus phenom Mathieu van der Poel for particular analysis. Wellens finished behind the 24-year-old and Julian Alaphilippe at Wednesday’s race. The duo are among most people’s favourites at Amstel, with Wellens saying that even his own grandmother sees the Dutchman as near-unbeatable. "A few days ago I was with my grandmother, just before Brabantse Pijl," Wellens said in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad . "She asked ‘is Van der Poel riding? Yes? Oh, then it’s for second place.’ "I had to laugh a lot about that, but it will be true every now and then; every ...

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Gilbert’s Roubaix win, a new Hour Record: Weekly News Digest

Supported by It’s okay to admit it – sometimes you’re just too busy to stay up to date on every bit of news from the world of cycling. Need a recap of the week’s biggest happenings? No problem. The final Daily News Digest of the week will be a Weekly News Digest, with highlights from the headlines of … The post Gilbert’s Roubaix win, a new Hour Record: Weekly News Digest appeared first on CyclingTips .

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There’s gold in them there hills!

A look to Sunday’s first parts of the Ardennes trilogies Something that reliably winds me up is the very notion of a guilty pleasure. It is, as we say nowadays, signalling. The message is, “I like [x] but I consider myself better than the people who like [x]. I’m more of a [y] person, but by some fluke I just happen to like [x] more than [y].” Nope. You like what you like, and so long as you aren’t harming anyone, crack on. Me, I’ve got no guilt. I like watching property shows, listening to Kenny Rogers, and eating donner kebabs when sober ( though not for £60 ). I like other things, too, but I feel no guilt about any of those choices. In related news, I like the Ardennes races. I don’t think I’m supposed to, as a cycling fan. I think I’m supposed to have more sophisticated ...

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Going for gold: Where your money should be for the Amstel Gold Race

Joe Robinson 18 Apr 2019 Cyclist picks out the best bets for Amstel Gold Race this Sunday The Amstel Gold Race is a different beast these days to what it once was. Until 2017, the entire day centred around the Cauberg. For 260km, the peloton would tour the rolling Limburg countryside, heading up climbs, turning into narrow roads – left, right, left, before hitting the Cauberg. It's a climb that's less than a mile long, not overly steep either, but swamped with local support on race day – mostly Dutch fans packing the roadside, urging the day's strongest riders on to the summit in pursuit of ultimate victory. To win Amstel Gold required you to keep some bullets in the gun for the base of the Cauberg. If you had something left, you could wind it up, put down the hammer and sprint to victory. Just ask Philippe Gilbert, who ...

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28 things you need to know about the 2019 Amstel Gold Race

The cobbled classics are done and it’s time now for the Ardennes Classics, starting with the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday. Ahead of this Dutch one-day race, we bring you up to speed on all you need to know about both the men’s WorldTour event and the Women’s WorldTour event. The basics Amstel Gold is … The post 28 things you need to know about the 2019 Amstel Gold Race appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Van der Poel: I think this victory is very important

Mathieu van der Poel and Tim Wellens on the Brabantse Pijl podium

Mathieu van der Poel ( Correndon-Circus ) took his fourth win of 2019 and checked off another box on his rapidly growing road resume Wednesday at Brabantse Pijl , beating recent Monument winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in a four-up sprint in Overijse, Belgium. "I knew I had a chance in the sprint, but you're never sure," Van der Poel said. "I chose to turn on from the front, so I wouldn't get trapped and be able to ride my own sprint. When I started, I felt that I would be able to continue to the finish line. "The region is familiar territory to me," he said. "As a young rider, I have ridden here a few times already. So I knew that I could manage the Schavei. The rest of the race was harder than expected. My race was already successful when I could slip along with the favourites. That ...

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Alaphilippe misses the win but takes confidence from Brabantse Pijl

Julian Alaphilippe attacks

Julian Alaphilippe ( Deceuninck-QuickStep ) missed out on this seventh win of the season Wednesday at Brabantnse Pijl , finishing second in a four-up sprint at the end of the race to Matthieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), but the winner of Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche will take confidence from his aggressive racing heading into the Ardennes Classics next week. “My team did a superb job, and on the last lap I decided to attack," said Alaphlippe, who abandoned the Tour of the Basque Country last week after being involved in a high-speed crash ion stage 4. "Over the top of the climb we were five riders, and I rode full gas to help this move go all the way to the line." Alaphilippe helped form the winning breakaway when he, Van der Poel, Tim Wellens (Lotto Souydal) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), bridged across to solo escapee Daryl Impey ...

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Van der Poel wins De Brabantse Pijl

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) wins Brabantse Pijl

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) proved strongest in the final sprint between his breakaway companions to win Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday. The Dutch champion led the race onto the final section of the Schavei climb and then launched an unmatched early sprint to take the win ahead of Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in second, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) third and Michael Matthews (Sunweb) fourth. "I'm very happy and also proud to be there with three big names in front, and to finish it off like this is kind of like a dream," Van der Poel said in a post-race flash interview. "I'm really happy and I said before this Classics season that this race suits me the best and I'm glad I could prove that." Van der Poel, who had been one of the most active during the race, formed part of the winning breakaway when he, along with Alaphilippe, Wellens ...

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Tour of Flanders Preview

A look at the big races on Sunday You can keep your Tours de France and your World Championships. For those of us in the know, there’s no better race than the Tour of Flanders. We’ve got a Sunday in the sun coming up, with two superb races over the cobbles to Oudenaarde. More detail and some predictions below. The Men’s Route There’s really very little I can add to what was outlined last year by Chris. The course is, insofar as it’ll matter, the same as last year. The gory details are here – 17 helligen and 5 sections of “flat” cobbles, 270km from Antwerp to Oudenaarde. What maters? Well, the first named obstacle is the Lippenhovestraat after 87km, and the first hellig is the initial passage of the Oude Kwaremont after 119km. We hit the Muur after 171km, and that’s always fun and is arguably where the race ...

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Benoot boosts confidence for Tour of Flanders in Waregem

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)

Four days ahead of Vlaanderen's Mooiste, the Tour of Flanders, the Lotto Soudal team tanked confidence at Dwars door Vlaanderen . Tiesj Benoot rode a strong race and finished fifth in the five-man sprint for victory in Waregem, Belgium. At the Tour of Flanders, the 25-year-old Belgian rider will be flanked by compatriots Jens Keukeleire and Tim Wellens, who was originally scheduled to focus solely on the Ardennes classics. Wellens started the season in style with two victories in Spain and then a third place at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, before starting to fade away in Italy in Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. The Lotto-Soudal team that raced the Belgian classics failed to crack the top-10 at the E3 BinckBank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields. Benoot showed in Strade Bianche that he was good, but not good enough to repeat his breakthrough victory from 2018. In Tirreno-Adriatico he managed a ...

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Cobbles power-ranking: PrE3 Edition

A reshuffle of the list ahead of the heart of the cobbled season Some words of wisdom from the boss, in the comments when I ran the equivalent piece last year: This is always the toughest column to write: it looks like you have relevant data, but only if you don’t look too closely. We still won’t know much about who is really strong until it’s nearly over. But it’s fun to try a guess at it, with or without a surly lump of granite in tow. This is, I fear, all too true. We’ve got some data, and it is of some help. In attempting to set the rankings before the run of E3, Dwars, Flanders and Roubaix (yes, there are other races, but that’s the key four) we’ll look at what Conor thought coming into preseason – and where I agree and disagree with him – plus what ...

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Sicily confirmed as host of Giro d'Italia 2021 start

The route for the 2019 Giro di Sicilia

RCS Sport confirmed the island of Sicily will host the Grand Partenza of the 2021 Giro d'Italia , three stages of the 2020 Giro d'Italia and the returning Giro di Sicilia, having signed a three-year deal with the Sicilian Region. The island hosted stages 4 to 6 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia , where Tim Wellens won on a lumpy stage to Caltagirone, Enrico Battaglin in Santa Ninfa and the explosive stage to Mount Etna, where Simon Yates seized the race lead and his teammate Esteban Chaves won the day. While the island will have to wait until next season for the Giro d'Italia to return, the details of the Giro di Sicilia route for 2019 were announced, where Mount Etna will be the grand finale of the four-day stage race. The 18th running of the sporadically-held race was last held in 1977, 70 years after its first edition. Giuseppe ...

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