What’s the right amount of sprint stages?

After a cold winter, we all look forward to the first proper hot day. We might even get bored of waiting and jump on a plane to our favourite coast. And then – when we do get some real sun – we all know someone who will declare: ‘This too hot, far too hot’.

Do we even know what we want anymore? Do we like bunch sprints as much as we thought? We’ve all been waiting for a sprint showdown of the calibre provided by this year’s Tour; are we really already bored? Maybe you can have too much of a good thing.

Sagan

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Tour de France 2017: The Big Preview

Next weekend sees the return of cycling’s most famous race. The Tour de France is the race even your non-cycling friends will have a passing interest in. It’s the one that might make it on to the evening news or the back page of the paper. Nobody wants to hear that your favourite stage of Paris-Nice was actually more exciting because – in reality – nothing can compete with Le Tour.

Chris Froome returns to France this year seeking a place amongst the greats with a fourth win in five years. Nairo Quintana – half way through a tepid and doomed Giro/Tour double – was pencilled in as Froome’s biggest challenger but a raging Richie Porte has finally got his act together and will now start as the main danger.

Cycling : 99th Tour de France 2012 / Stage 20

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Dubai Tour: (Hatta) Damn it!

If it wasn’t obvious enough from my Just Pro Cycling Twitter feed – I find the Dubai Tour a pretty enjoyable race. As a result, this is the third straight year I’ve posted about it. Considering I’ve never dedicated a post to great races such as Etoile de Bessèges, Vuelta a Burgos or the Baloise Belgium Tour, it’s fair to say there’s some preferential treatment going on. Dubai is a stage race balanced between the hordes of genuine fastmen and a handful of chancers who believe they can turn the tables on the race’s one hill.

kittel-dubai

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Winners and Losers of the 2016 Season

We can’t lie to ourselves any longer; the pro cycling season is over. It’s far too soon to start counting down the days until January’s Tour Down Under (is it?) and there’s plenty of time to reflect on the last ten months. Where better to start than with this year’s winners and losers?

For the second year running I’m leaving out World Champion Peter Sagan. By now, everybody must be sick of hearing me wax lyrical about his outstanding talent. His string of near-misses has well and truly ended and he’s been on target at all the big races this year – a theme that should continue for the rest of his career. Instead I’ve opted for winners who’ll recall 2016 with particular fondness, having made a breakthrough or landed a major result.

The ‘losers’ will all have one thing in common; disappointment. Some distance from being bad riders, my selection highlights those who, for whatever reason, couldn’t get the job done and fell short of their goals.

cavendish-1

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