God’s Own Race: Tour de Yorkshire 2017

This piece was originally written for and published on Cycling Torque. Visit www.cyclingtorque.com to read my full post.

I doubt that many of the Yorkshire folk who pitched up at road side would know that mountains classification winner Pieter Weening took a fantastic Tour de France stage win in 2005 millimetres ahead of Andres Kloden – but I’m not sure how much that matters. The Tour de Yorkshire was far more than a 2.1 UCI road race; it was a showcase for ‘God’s own country’ and an example of how to host a fully-fledged sporting event just three years after inauguration.

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Quick Picks: The Ardennes Classics

Why do I still love the Ardennes? I know Paris-Roubaix is the best classic, I know Flanders is the second best and I’m quickly beginning to think Strade Bianche is the third. Nevertheless, I always look forward to the Ardennes week. Perhaps it’s due to the Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday structure we’ve seen organisers adopt in recent years. Maybe it’s because the trio of races have been won by some of my favourite riders (Dekker, Cunego, Schleck, Martin…). It’s most likely got something to do with the day I spent watching my first live Monument in the cold Liege rain. I’m smart enough to realise they haven’t been great in recent years, but not quite smart enough to adjust my expectations ahead of this year’s races. Here’s all my quick picks, rolled into one big post.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2016

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Quick Picks: Paris-Roubaix

One of my recent Twitter polls asked if we preferred a brilliant edition of Paris-Roubaix or a Tour de France decider on Ventoux/Alpe d’Huez/The Tourmalet.  With 57% of the vote Paris-Roubaix was the winner and it’s considered by many to be the best racing of the season. I’ll always have love for the Grand Tours but there’s no denying I’ve been gearing up for Roubaix over the last few months. It’s the Hell of the North, one hell of a race and this year we’ve got one hell of a startlist. Here are my quick picks.

Roubaix 2016

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Quick Picks: Volta a Catalunya

The Volta a Catalunya dates back to 1911, making it over 20 years older than the Vuelta Espana. It’s therefore no surprise the race has been part of the top tier calendar since the inaugural ‘Pro Tour’ in 2005 and has an honours list stacked with big names. Despite its rich history, Catalunya has never gone stale. Whilst the likes of Paris-Nice have maintained a balanced week of racing, the Catalunya organizers design routes full of rolling hills and sharp climbs. Here are my quick picks for this year’s race.

Cycling: 96th Volta Catalunya 2016 / Stage 3

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Tony Gallopin: What’s Next?

What should we call riders like Tony Gallopin? ‘All-rounders’ seems a fair suggestion but such a tag would cover the likes of Fabio Felline, Michal Kwiatkowski and Edvald Boasson Hagen; three very different riders. Gallopin certainly fits under the ‘Puncheur’ umbrella but that group is expansive and includes plenty of one-day specialists. He’s not explosive enough to be classed with the likes of Simon Gerrans as an Ardennes man and is nowhere near strong enough to be grouped with superior time-trialists such as Rohan Dennis. He used to muck in with the sprinters and actually finished fourth behind Mark Cavendish into Cap Fréhel at the 2011 Tour. As hard as he was to gauge during his time at Cofidis and Radioshack, it was clear he had more to offer than a career pleasing sponsors in early morning breaks.

APTOPIX Cycling Tour de France

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