Fair play to Valverde…

I spent most of Tuesday night messaging people to tell them why I thought Julian Alaphilippe was going to upset the status quo and defeat Alejandro Valverde on the Mur de Huy. A lot of my points were based on blind faith and I attempted to swat away Valverde’s obvious threat by repeating line like – “yeah, but did you see Alaphilippe at Izulia?”.

La Fleche Wallone 2

Read More »

Advertisements

A Wannabe Walloon

De Brabantse Pijl is cool race. It’s a date to look out for on the calendar and an event I’d one day like to watch live. Starting in Leuven, Brabant, the race is another under the Flanders umbrella. However, it doesn’t feel much like its cobbled siblings – taking place a full 10 days after Ronde – and instead seeks companionship from the upcoming Ardennes week. Brabtanse Pijl is often called a transitional race which allows fans to wave goodbye to the cobbled season and get ready to embrace the hills of Liege.

Sprint Brabantse

Read More »

The Best Nibali?

At the end of 2015 I wrote about the struggles of being a Vincenzo Nibali fan. I had watched him become a star, watched him throw a bottle at Chris Froome, watched him catch a ride from his team car to earn disqualification from the Vuelta, and then watched as he claimed an angry Lombardia title. At the time I found myself looking back to his Liquigas days to remind myself why I liked him so much. It’s far easier these days and Nibali’s stunning victory at Milan-Sanremo reminded me that not only is he the best Grand Tour contender of his generation, but he’s also a highly likeable rider.

Nibali Sanremo 2

Read More »

Do I like Marcel Kittel?

Towards the end of the Dubai Tour – as I made yet another ‘Where’s Wally?’ joke – I began to wonder precisely how much I liked Marcel Kittel. I’m a big Mark Cavendish fan and the fan club rules say I’m not allowed to like Kittel. Riding for Giant, Kittel arrived on the frontline and kicked the Manxman off his throne with a succession of easy sprint wins. Cavendish fought a losing battle in his time with Quick-Step but the rivalry kept him hungry. Moving to Dimension Data, Cav responded by taking four brilliant stages of the 2016 Tour de France. They were great rivals and I needed to pick a side; it was always going to be Cavendish.

Kittel Abandons

Read More »

Five Current Pros You Probably Forgot Won a Grand Tour Stage

There are three races each year which are a little grander than all the rest. The Giro, Tour and Vuelta are responsible for many of our favourite moments and the great stages have been documented countless times. Nevertheless, it’s unrealistic to expect every stage to capture the imagination and even the most ardent fans won’t be able to recall every winner from the last decade. Here are five current pros you probably forgot took success on the big stage; cycling’s very own one-hit wonders.

bettiniphoto_0220827_1_full_670

Read More »

Five Potentially Exciting Things That Could Happen At The Dubai Tour

A few years ago I decided I was going to have a crack at the full cycling calendar. This isn’t to say I wasn’t already a pro cycling super-fan, but it meant making a transition away from UCI flagship events and towards Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. Unfortauntely, Dubai suffers from being very dull in terms of cycling parcours and everything about the race screams ‘bunch sprint’. Nevertheless, here are five potentially exciting things that could happen at this week’s Dubai Tour.

bettiniphoto_0197366_1_full_670 Degenkolb

Read More »

Googling Gonzalo Najar

Much like the probably harmless flu-like symptoms you woke up with on Saturday, it’s never a great idea to Google a cyclist that you’ve never heard of. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with a handful of race reports that probably need translating to your native language. However, if you’re careless, you’ll find yourself staring at an old profile that prints a few random race results, wildly guesses a birth date, and attaches photo of a completely different rider. Things always end badly and you’ll annoy your only cycling friend by talking casually about the prologue of the Tour of Al Zubarah. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist Googling Vuelta San Juan superstar Gonzalo Najar, so you don’t have to.

Gonzalo-Najar-1024x683

Read More »