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La Flèche Wallone 2015

Waremme to Mur de Huy

Wed. 22nd April, 205.5kms

Fleche-wallone-logoAfter an exciting finish to Amstel Gold Race in Holland on Sunday, the focus now switches to the Belgian Ardennes with La Flèche Wallone on Wednesday, followed on Sunday by 'La Doyenne', Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Mur is a fearsome finish to La Fleche Wallone and has an extra special significance this year, being the finish for a stage in this summer's Tour De France.


Amstel Gold Preview

Maastricht to Valkenberg

Sunday 19th April, 258kms

amstel-gold-race-logoThe 50th running of the Amstel Gold Race starts in Maastricht in the Kimburg region of the Netherlands on Sunday morning. There's a fantastic line-up looking to kick-start their Ardennes campaign in style, with Philippe Gilbert looking for back-to-back victories and his fourth victory in total in the race. 


De Brabantse Pijl 2015

Wednesday 15th April, 203kms

brabantse logoAfter a brilliantly exciting Paris-Roubaix last  Sunday (well a brilliant last 15kms or so!), the final race of the 'Flanders Classics' of the season takes place Wednesday with the De Brabantse Pijl or 'the Brabantse arrow'. This is generally one for the punchy riders who can sprint a bit, there's lot of little climbs, lots of cobbles, but more often than not ends in a reduced sprint finish of some sort. 


Paris-Roubaix 2015 Preview

Sunday 12th April, 253.5kms

Paris-R-logoCan anyone stop King Kristoff? The Norwegian is in incredible form at the moment and continued his dominance of spring races with yet another win in the crash-marred Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. He has now tumbled yet again to as low as 7/2 to win L'Enfer du Nord, a ridiculous price given his record in the race! 


Scheldeprijs 2015

Wednesday 8th April, 215.3kms

2015 scheldeprijs logoThe 2015 Scheldeprijs, like the Tour of Flanders just a few days before is missing two of it's biggest stars this year in Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish. Coincidentally, like Boonen and Cancellara who have both won Flanders three times, Kittel and Cavendish are also three times winners of the Scheldeprijs. Marcel Kittel has dominated this race for the past three years, but misses out this year as he is still recovering from the bug that has affected him this season.  


Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 

Monday April 6th to Saturday April 11th

Pais-Vasco-logoThe Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, or the Tour of the Basque Country as it's known to us non-Basques, started Monday with a stage to and from Bilboa which had a Cat 2 climb near the finish but it wasn't enough to split things up significantly and quite a large group fought out the finish. In the end Michael Matthews won the stage from a bunch sprint after hanging in there over the final climb of the day.  


Tour of Flanders 2015 Preview

Sunday 5th April, 264.9kms

2014 ronde podium

It's Ronde time! But it's a Ronde that sees two of it's greatest stars absent from the start list, two men that have won six out of the last ten runnings of the race. Tom Boonen has been making noises of a possible return for Paris-Roubaix, he is training hard apparently, but the three-time winner is missing this year, and how the rudderless Etixx-QuickStep could do with his head and experience at the moment.. 


E3 Harelbeke Preview

Friday 27th March, 215.3kms

E3 Harelbeke logoE3 Harelbeke takes place on Friday and is the first taste of the cobbles proper in 2015 for most of the big favourites for the Monuments to come. As it contains a lot of the climbs and cobbles of the Tour of Flanders, all of the main contenders will be here to get in some serious practice with only nine days to go to the Ronde. Peter Sagan won it last year and managed to keep his hands to himself this time on the podium, much to the amusement of Niki Terpstra who finished 2nd.  


Dwars door Vlaanderen 

Wednesday 25th March 2015, 200kms

Dwars logoNiki Terpstra returns to try to win the Dwars door Vlaanderen for the third time in four years after a superb solo victory last year and in 2012. Last year he won by 17" from a very annoyed Tyler Farrar, annoyed by the fact that he should have won had they not let Tersptra get away. In 2014 he won by an even bigger margin, 47" over Chavanel and de Kort. In between Oscar Gatto won the sprint from the break, but Tersptra led the second group home in 11th place.   


Volta a Catalunya 2015

Monday March 23rd to Sunday March 29th

2015 catalunya logoAfter the eagerly awaited battle between Contador, Froome, Nibali and Quintana failed to materialise at the Tirreno-Adriatico, the Volta a Catalunya takes on an added importance in shaping the seasons of some of the big GC riders. Froome didn't start because of a chest infection, Quintana put them all in their place with a superb attack on the Queen stage to Termanillo, Contador lacked the power to go with him and Nibali just wasn't fit enough to be a challenger. 


Milan San Remo 2015 Preview

Sunday 22nd March, 293Km


Milan San Remo kicks off the Classics and what a race we should have in store. The season has been bubbling along nicely, but this Sunday is what a lot of the season so far has been preparation for - 'La Classicisima di Primavera'. Alexander Kristoff comes here ready to defend his title with five victories already this season and is sure to go close again this year.  


Tirreno-Adriatico 2015

Wednesday March 11th to Tuesday March 17th

Tirreno logoThe organisers of Tirreno-Adriatico must have been pinching themselves with the line-up of superstars that were taking part this year. Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, Vuelta winner and last year's T-A winner Alberto Contador, Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana and recent Vuelta a Andalucia winner Chris Froome are all here for an early season battle.


Paris Nice 2015

Sunday March 8th to Sunday March 15th

pn-logoThe Omloop and KBK may have signalled the start of the Classics season proper, but Paris-nice kicks off the serious racing for those with Grand Tour ambitions in 2015. Ok, the four best GT riders in the world are all going to Tirreno - Adriatico, but there is still a quality field taking to the start of the "Race to the sun". Last year's winner Carlos Betancur has gone to Tirreno, but 2nd and 3rd place Rui Costa and Arthur Vichot return. 


Strade Bianche 

San Gimignano to Siena

Saturday 7th March 2015, 200kms

stradeThe Strade Bianche is an interesting race - in terms of the history of cycling, this race has none really to talk about, it has only been around since 2007. But what it lacks in history it makes up for in great racing. The 'Strade Bianche' is named after the chalk roads which make up some 70kms of the course, criss-crossing over the rolling hills of Tuscany. 



Sunday 1st March 2015, 197kms

kuurne-logoThe second leg of the Belgian Cobbled weekend of cycling takes place on Sunday with Kuurne-Brussells-Kuurne. Whereas the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is one for the pure Classics specialists, KBK is one for the sprinters traditionally.

A sore throat takes André Greipel out of the race, but there are still a lot of quality sprinters present to do battle Sunday afternoon. 


Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Gent to Gent

Saturday 28th February 2015, 200.2kms

omloop logoThe 70th running of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad signals the start of the season proper for many. The first taste of the mud and the cobbles of Belgium and for some the first races in the cold and wet following a month in the sun of the middle-east. The Omloop can be run in brutally harsh conditions compared to the 40° heat of Qatar or Oman, and the riders often face snow and icy conditions.


Vuelta a Andalucia 2015

Wednesday February 18th to Sunday February 22nd

andalucia logo 2015The organisers of the Vuelta a Andalucia, or the Ruta del Sol as it's more commonly known, must have been pinching themselves when Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome announced they would be taking to the start line this year. Unfortunately a crash in the road nationals for Quintana means we are denied the chance of seeing the three tops guns battling it out for early season supremacy.  


Tour of Oman 2015

Tuesday February 17th to Sunday February 22nd

oman-logoAfter a training spin around Dubai, Vincenzo Nibali heads to the Tour of Oman looking to lay down a marker for the start of the season. With two-time winner and defending champion, Chris Froome, heading to the Vuelta a Andalucia this year, it will be interesting to see who steps up to challenge Nibali, with the race likely to come down to the ascent of Green Mountain again on stage four. 


Tour of Qatar 2015

Sunday February 8th to Friday February 13th

2015-qatar-logoThe Tour of Qatar has been a race for the sprinters in the past, with Tom Boonen winning it a record four times, and Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter and Mark Renshaw also on the honours list. Niki Terpstra won it in 2014 though on the back of a break on the very first stage, holding his lead all the way to the end from his team-mate Boonen and Jurgen Roelandts.  


Dubai Tour 2015

Wednesday February 5th to Saturday February 8th

dubai logoThe Dubai Tour returns for its second edition, having been upgraded a level to a 2.HC UCI ranking. 2014 winner, Taylor Phinney, is of course still in rehabilitation following his horrific leg injury last year so won't be here to defend his title. Instead, there are a number of world class riders here to try to pick up the bling-a-licious trophy, designed by the famous Italian car designer Pininfarina. 


Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise 

Allauch to Marseille

Sunday 1st February 2015, 139.7kms

Grand-Prix-Cycliste-la-MarseillaiseI wasn't going to do a preview for this race as I wasn't sure any bookie would price it up seeing as there have been no prices for the Majorca races. But Paddy Power have priced it up so I'm going to take a late and brief look to see if there is anyone appeals. 


Tour de San Luis 2015

san-luis-2015-logoThe ninth running of the Tour de San Luis starts on Monday afternoon in Argentina. A race that was once dominated by the locals, the race has grown in importance and popularity in the last few years to now see the season launch for the likes of Giro Champion Nairo Quintana, World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Mark Cavendish. 


Santos Tour Down Under 2015  

TDU15 logoAnd so it begins! After months of waiting, off-season scandals, team changes and kit presentations the pro peloton are ready to roll once again with the season opener in Adelaide.

The big news from the race's point of view for the locals is the fact that three-time winner and reigning champ Simon Gerrans will not be taking part having broken his collar-bone in a mountain bike accident over Christmas. 


Australian National Road Championships

aussie-nationals-logoThe Australian national championships take place from Wednesday the 7th to Sunday the 11th January in Balarat, Victoria,west of Melbourne. Although the championships consist of a diverse range of events, I'm going to take a look at the Elite mens TT and the Elite mens Road Race as they are the only races with betting odds available. 


Il Lombardio

Sunday October 1st, 254kms

lombardia logoThe race of the Falling Leaves gets a makeover this year with a new route that finishes in Bergamo. The previous route was predominantly an east to west route that finished in Lecco, this year's route goes almost the complete opposite direction across Lombardy, starting in Como on the west and finishing in Bergamo after a loop in to the mountains north of the city.



Wednesday October 1st, 195.5kms

milano torino logoMilano-Torino takes place this Wednesday and it kicks off the post-World's set of season-closing races. This is a race for climbers and strong punchers with two ascents up the Colle Di Superga inside the last 25kms. 

Milano-Torino is a semi-classic that has been run since 1876, making it Italy's oldest bike race and one of the the oldest races in the world.


An Interview with David McCarthy

davidmac nprtWhat a year it has been for David McCarthy. When he sat down at the start of the season he could not in his wildest dreams have foreseen what lay ahead of him this year. From achieving world-wide noteriety for his selfie with Marcel Kittel, to finishing the season racing against the likes of Arnaud Démare and André Greipel, it has been an incredible year in every sense. 


Grand Prix de Wallonie 2014

Wallonie, Belgium
Wednesday September 17th, 198.2kms 

bakelants kissA short preview for the Tour de Wallonie as I am half taking a week off after a hectic week last week with the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain going on! It was a nice way to end the week though with a 14.7pt profit on Sunday to make up for a poor Saturday with the break in the TOB and Froome losing to Contador on the Ancares.. 


Tour of Britain 2014

11th to 17th August, 1067.4kms

tob2014 logo

The Tour of Britain is back and this year the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirmed that the Tour of Britain would be awarded Hors Categorie status, elevating it into the same league as the likes of Criterium International and the Tour of California. Brad Wiggins is back to defend his title but faces some quality opponents. 


Eneco Tour

11th to 17th August, 1067.4kms


The Eneco Tour kicks off in Terneuzen in the Netherlands on Monday and it will be an exciting week of racing across Holland and Belgium with some fantastic classic-like stages and a TT thrown in early enough in the race to ensure the last few days are super-competitive. 

There's a quality line-up this year, with defending champion Stybar back to try to fend off the likes of Dumoulin, Cancellara, Boom, Gilbert, Van Avermaet and Thomas. 


Tour of Poland

3rd to the 9th August


Hot on the heels of an excellent Tour de France we have the Tour de Pologne, a handy filler for riders preparing for the Vuelta or looking for somewhere to carry good form from the Tour. A mixed course makes it a very open race with local hero Rafal Majka hoping to continue his run of form following his memorable TDF where he took two stages and the KOM jersey.  


Clasica San Sebastian

San Sebastian, Spain
Saturday 2nd August, 219.2kms

gallopin-san-sebastianThe Clasica, or to give it its local name the Donostia-Donostia Klasikoa takes place tomorrow for the 34th time. As classics go it's a pretty new one but has built a reputation as a tough race, favoured by climbers and puncheurs. It contains a mix of riders who are tired after a hard TDF, riders in form from the TDF and fresh riders who didn't do the TDF!


Giro Del Trentino 2015

April 21st to 24th, 2015


While some riders are sprinting up the Mur de Huy or preparing for Liege-Bastogne-Liege this week, others head for some mountain fun in Trentino. The four stages from the Tuesday to the Friday of this week offer a Team Time Trial and three tough stages with two summit finishes.

Can Richie Porte take another stage race win to add to Catalunya and Paris-Nice?    


Gent Wevelgem Preview

Sunday 29th March, 240kms

gent-wevelgem-logoThe racing is coming thick and fast now, DVV was won in spectacular fashion on Wednesday by the Topsport boys, followed by a dramatic E3 Harelbeke on Friday, won in brilliant style by Geraint Thomas. The Flanders festival of cycling moves on to Gent on Sunday for a Classic for the sprinters, in Gent Wevelgem.


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