Jan Tratnik floats away on the descent off the Bosberg with only Nils Politt giving chase as both Matej Mohorič and Stefan Küng dip their heads, too tired to chase. Visma-Lease a Bike won, just not in the manner we expected.
Time for some Belgo-sadism. You’ve seen the early season races in sunshine, admired the coastlines and the climbs, the bright sunlight, the early blossom. Now the sport goes north to take on roads and tracks best viewed seen from the comfort of the sofa, especially given the weather forecast.
This Saturday looks like Visma-Lease A Bike versus the field with Wout van Aert and his team mates taking on a peloton without, for now, Mathieu van der Poel, Tadej Pogačar or Remco Evenepoel and so opportunities abound for others.
We’re in Year 2 of the three year World Tour promotion and relegation cycle. Here’s a look at the current standings and the challenges for some teams.
Should the pro cycling calendar be changed? Sure, and events can move dates like the Vuelta a España going from April to August. New races can appear, think of the Tour Colombia or the upcoming Strade Bianche. Should the pro cycling calendar be reformed? Oh yes, after all who is against reform?
Pro cycling has a complicated calendar with more days of racing in a year than actual days. It’s complex in other ways, with confusing blocks of racing at times, the branding of different tiers of event and more. A lot of this is ripe for reform and it’s coming. But easier said than done and be careful what you wish for.
The Tour of Oman has concluded with Adam Yates winning thanks to his stage win on the Jebel Al Akhdar. He and Jan Hirt surged clear on the climb. Yates looked like a coiled spring in the final kilometre just waiting to make his move and then jumped in the final 200m to take the stage and GC.
When the wildcard invitations for the Tour de France were announced the only surprise was the timing, who predicted 11.04am on 18 January? We knew already Lotto-Dstny and Israel-Premiertech qualified automatically. The elective picks went to Uno-X and TotalEnergies, same as last year. No surprise but for these two teams, especially the latter, invitations could be hard to come by next time.
Nairo Quintana’s doctor is to face trial this September following police raids at the 2020 Tour de France.
You might have seen the headlines but Breton newspaper Le Télégramme broke the story and has a lot of detail that is not elsewhere thanks to an article by their journalist Jean Saint-Marc. It’s behind a paywall and a lot of the coverage in English and more on the story has come from the free but brief AFP newswire story that confirms the trial date, outlets have padded their pieces out with summaries of Quintana’s tramadol case rather than the detail covered by Le Télégramme. But it’s worth subscribing to the paper and exploring the Télégramme article as it has a lot more detail…
Frank Bonnamour has been provisionally suspended by cycling’s governing body the UCI due to “unexplained abnormalities in his Biological Passport”. Here’s a guide of what this means.
Loyal readers might already know but some of the procedure and management has changed since we last explored this issue and there have been a slew of published decisions too.
The route of the 2024 Critérium du Dauphiné route has been unveiled and here is a closer look at the course including a tough “new” climb. The race will take place from Sunday 2 June to Sunday 8 June.
The Etoile de Bessèges opening stage is cancelled because of protests by farmers. As it happens the race and the farmers’ union were in contact to make sure the the race would be ok. Alas the stage is off because of the knock-on effects of protests elsewhere.