Paris-Roubaix Preview

Gregory Rast, Paris Roubaix 2015

The best for last. The cobbled classics come to an end this Sunday in the Roubaix velodrome. Former race director Jacques Goddet described this race as “the last act of madness”, the decision to take tiny farm tracks with their rudimentary cobbles and use them in a major race. What will Sunday bring: a double for Sagan, a conclusion for Cancellara, a breakthrough for Vanmarke or another story? You’ll be able to see it all yourself as the race is going to be broadcast live from start to finish, a first.

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Ronde Van Vlaanderen Preview

The 100th edition of the greatest one day classic takes place this Sunday. Huge crowds, narrow lanes, rough cobbles, steep hills and more await along the 255km obstacle course. Here’s a preview of the race with the route, riders, TV and more.

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Highlights of 2014 – Part III

It’s easy to see the Ronde as one of the sport’s best races but it doesn’t automatically deliver the best racing. This year’s edition had solid action through the final hour and suspense right until the end.

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Go High and Get Hot

A quick physics lesson. Feel free to skip this one but with the news today that Fabian Cancellara could attack the Hour Record in August at the Aguascalientes Bicentennial Velodrome in Mexico, here’s a quick look at the effect of altitude and temperature on performance.

Within hours of the story appearing in La Gazzetta Dello Sport Cancellara’s Trek team denied the plans saying the focus is on the classics. But if the record attempt is still uncertain the physics is fixed: riding at altitude in Mexico could be just what is needed to break the hour record. It’s not just for elite records either, air temperature can have a big effect on daily riding and Strava conquests alike.

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Highlights of 2013 – Part I

I’m going to pick five moments from 2013. They are a personal choice. With any list you often omit more than you include but I’ll explain each moment. They’re presented in no particular order.

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The Hour Record in the 21st Century

What you can do in an hour? If you can ride more than 49.7km then you can take cycling’s Hour Record. It has been the sport’s blue riband but has fallen from grace, although as you’ll see below, it’s often been forgotten only to get revived.

There’s now renewed interest but the rules demand a retro-style bike. Can it find a new life or does it belong to the past?

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The Moment The Race Was Won: Paris-Roubaix

Cancellara Vanmarcke Roubaix

Paris Roubaix is a race. It’s good to remember this because everyone had Fabian Cancellara as their favourite before the race and after the race everyone saw him holding the winner’s trophy. If you’d missed what happened in between it would possible to shrug and accept that the obvious result occurred, a victory for logic as much as for Cancellara.

Only the 254km race was so good that the result wasn’t known until the final three seconds when Cancellara came out of Sep Vanmarcke’s slipstream on final straight of the Roubaix velodrome to pass the Belgian and lift his arms in celebration. This was the moment the race was won.

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The Moment The Race Was Won: The Tour of Flanders

Cancellara Paterberg

Fabian Cancellara accelerates on the Paterberg and Peter Sagan tries to match him. But the Slovak’s exposed to the stiff breeze and struggling to follow. A gap opens up between the two riders. One metre, two metres and by the time they reach the top the Swiss rider has distanced his arch-rival by a few seconds. This was the moment the race was won.

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The forecast for Sunday

Peter Sagan

It’s hard to get the weather forecast right sometimes so predicting the results a 266km race is a lot harder. Nevertheless, for the fun of it here are some thoughts for Sunday’s elite men’s road world championships, starting with some scenario analysis and then a run through of the favourites.

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