Highlights of 2017: Part I

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Time to look back at the 2017 season and pull out a few highlights. First up is the Tour of Flanders which is such a great race that the fear is the action on the day won’t live up to the high expectations. Only it did thanks to the return of the Kapelmuur and the comeback of Philippe Gilbert.

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Team Victory Rankings

We’re one quarter of the way through the cycling season already. 25% of the season’s racing days have been ridden. As we go into the peak classics season Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Giant-Shimano lead.

But as you’ll see below the win rate has almost no correlation to a team’s World Tour ranking, winning often doesn’t mean a team tops the rankings. Plus there’s the Pro Conti chart below.

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In Search of a Better Reputation

Pro cycling is beautiful sport but follow some of the sponsors behind the teams and they’re not always as clean as the riders are supposed to be. Look at the pro peloton today and you’ll find teams representing despotic governments, accident-prone chemical companies and a range of other questionable sponsors.

One by one each of these sponsors might have its place but does their collective presence say something about pro cycling?

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Tour de France Wildcards

With the Giro making its picks for May, ASO will also choose four teams for 2013 Tour de France. Who gets the golden ticket?

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Boyer Fired From Cofidis

Eric Boyer Bikini Women Tour de France

Eric Boyer has had happier times in July. That’s him in the picture “reaching out” to a fan on the last stage of the 1992 Tour de France. This year he faces sitting at home after being fired as manager of the Cofidis team.

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The Transfer Season That Lasts All Year

Vincenzo Nibali

There are reports in La Gazzetta Dello Sport that Vincenzo Nibali has signed with Astana for 2013 and beyond. The Sicilian apparently has a €2.3 million contract and will move to the Kazako-Italian team with loyal helpers Alessandro Vanotti and Valerio Agnoli.

Astana needs a big signing. They have only five wins this year, although other teams would welcome two spring classics, two stages of the Giro and one in the Tour of Catalonia. Still, the team needs more points to avoid relegation troubles.

For months now Nibali has been linked to Astana but nobody can confirm any move because the rules prevent formal contracts from being signed and any related news must be kept quiet until 1 September. However Nibali is a big name rider and his move from one team to another is equivalent to a significant move on a chessboard, for rival teams must respond with their moves. The transfer of a top rider can destabilise a team and upset a sponsor. But these moves are happening right now. The transfer season lasts all year

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David Moncoutié and the good news

Fans of cycling have every right to feel a bit hard done by right now. But it’s not all bad news. I bring you David Moncoutié and his win on Mont Faron, taking the stage and the overall of the Tour Méditerranéen. He joined Cofidis it first started in 1997 and has been with the … Read more

Where do the French riders live?

Above is a map of France. Look closely and you’ll see coloured dots marking where riders from each of the four main French cycling teams are from. I’d been wondering if the teams had any regional bias towards signing riders and finally got round to charting where the riders are all from. Bbox, now Europcar, … Read more

Management troubles with Europcar and Cofidis?

Rous on the loose The season hasn’t started and we’ve yet to see the official colours of the Europcar team but things have not got off to an auspicious start. The team’s number two directeur sportif Didier Rous has just resigned. A refugee from Festina, Rous apparently became a changed man under Jean-René Bernaudeau and … Read more

The other side of Cofidis

The Cofidis team are one of my favourites. This wasn’t always so but the arrival of Eric Boyer has help to clean up a messy team. Boyer has brought Dutchman Vincent Villerius in as a full-time coach, something worth noting given many bigger teams don’t have a full time coach on their books. Things aren’t … Read more