The first Grand Tour of the season is finally among us. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying the Giro d’Italia has the greatest history and the best climbs- something I do every May. By July, I’m absorbed with the madness of the Tour de France and I’m always staggered by the difficulty of the climbs in the Vuelta come September.
Following John Degenkolb’s magnificent win at Paris-Roubaix the World Tour bid farewell to the cobbles and will soon return to Belgium for the next Monument. Liège-Bastogne-Liège takes place this Sunday but is preceded on Wednesday by the other Ardennes classic; La Fleche Wallonne. The two races, once held on consecutive days, offer hillier routes than the
It is around this time every year that Paris-Roubaix arrives. It’s one of the races that riders will circle in their diaries or in the case of Bradley Wiggins this year- the only race. It’s a race so expansive in history that it carries an aura that the other Monuments can’t quite match. They may
Alexander Kristoff won the Tour of Flanders last weekend making it no Belgian winners for three years – the longest wait for the home nation since Fiorenzo Magni’s hatrick in the 1950s. But this race was just the latest in a series of fantastic Kristoff performances confirming just how good he is as a classics rider.
Tomorrow morning 238 riders will start the 99th Tour of Flanders, or Ronde Van Vlaanderen to give the race its proper, untranslated name. The race is the second Monument of the year and the first on the cobbles of Belgium. Unlike Paris-Roubaix the cobbles and race length provide only half the challenge with hilly sections also
Chris Froome, returning from illness, may have gone to Volta a Catalunya as team leader but it was team-mate Richie Porte who underlined his fantastic start to the season with another World Tour win. The first Girona climbs confirmed Froome was just riding for fitness and when Porte was given the chance to lead he showed strong legs
At 293km, Milan-San Remo is the longest of the five Monuments and is sometimes referred to as a ‘Sprinters Classic’. This year the recent trend of sprint wins continued with Giant-Alpecin’s John Degenkolb delivering from a reduced bunch. The German endured the climbs well and played the waiting game well into the final kilometre. Last year’s
With March comes two of the first big UCI Stage Races of the Year; Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Though the former has history and prestige, Tirreno-Adriatico’s route across Italy attracted a host of the best climbers. The ‘Race of the Two Seas’ started and ended with a time trial and contained a Queen Stage that ended