“Fabio Aru can win this race” murmur the Italian’s hardcore following. “He’s climbed another place” note the believers as the former Vuelta winner creeps towards the top ten just 1:08 behind new leader Simon Yates. Unfortunately, the number of fans who still believe in the Italian is dwindling. You could even argue that nobody truly believes that Aru can have a say on this year’s Vuelta. When did things become so hopeless for Italy’s bright young climber?
There are a handful of times throughout each year where cycling fans are treated to two great races a day. This season we’ll see Scheldeprijs clash with Pais Vasco, the Tour of Britain boldly take on the Vuelta Espana and, of course, a World Tour battle between Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. These are usually enjoyable occasions with deliberately spaced out start times allowing for maximum enjoyment and the potential for double viewing. I turn to March 10th 2016 for an example; Zdenek Stybar bounced up a finale in Pomarance and a short while after Nacer Bouhanni took out a stage of Paris-Nice. I had picked out both riders hours before and landed by far the luckiest bet of my life off a meagre £0.75 stake (see bottom of this post).
Steering this preview back on track, next week we’ll be refreshing live feeds for not one, nor two, but three races peppered with top World Tour talent. Both the Vuelta Andalucia and Volta ao Algarve kick off on Wednesday, one day after Arabian racing continues with the Tour of Oman. Here’s my picks for the race.
I haven’t been able to figure out if I love the Tour Down Under because it’s the glorious curtain raiser for the pro cycling season or if the race itself is one of the best. I’m leaning towards the latter with intriguing startlists and a distinctly non-European feel making the race a must watch at the start of the season. This year I’m reserving mammoth race previews for the Grand Tours so here’s my Tour Down Under quick picks.