- Published on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 00:04
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Wed Aug 9th, 54.6kms
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Wed Aug 9th, 54.6kms
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sat Aug 6th, 220.2kms
San Sebastian, Spain
Sat July 30th, 220.2kms
June 5th to June 12th
We start to get towards the serious end of the Critérium du Dauphiné now with a weekend trilogy of tough mountain stages. It starts with the uphill finish to Vaujany, followed by the Queen stage to Meribel on Saturday and then the final stage to Superdevoluy on Sunday.
June 5th to June 12th
The opening stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné include a fascinating uphill TT over just 4kms, a couple of stages for the sprinters and an early test for the climbers on the uphill finish to Chalmazal on stage 2.
June 5th to June 12th
The Critérium du Dauphiné starts on Sunday the 5th of June with a very short, but nasty 4km prologue from the ski station at Les Gets. The race sees most of the key contenders for the Tour De France lining up to test each other ahead of the Grand Boucle, which starts in a month's time in Mont St Michel in Northern France.
Unfortunately I won't have time to do a big preview of the Tour of Romandie this week, I've a lot on this week and next and need to prepare for the Giro! The race looks like it may well be affected by bad weather anyway which makes it a minefield for betting and there isn't much value at the top of the market in a ring-rusty Froome and Simon Spilak.
So we had the same 1-2 in Fleche-Wallone as twelve months ago, with Valverde leading home Alaphilippe, will we see a similar result in Ans on Sunday afternoon? Can anyone stop the imperious Valverde? For a man that was possibly not at 100% going in to FW, he certainly put his rivals to the sword in devastating fashion.
Marche-en-Famenne to Mur de Huy
After a dramatic Amstel Gold Race on Sunday we move on to the famous climb of the 'Wall of Huy' in La Flèche Wallone on Wednesday. It's a very different finish to the AGR with the finish line at the top of an extremely steep climb, where only the punchiest of riders have a chance. No sprinters win this race..
BMC are not on the startlist for the Giro del Trentino again this year, so Richie Porte will not be here to defend his title from a year ago. Instead though, we have last year's runner-up Mikel Landa, three-time winner Damiano Cunego and 2012 winner Domenico Pozzovivo amongst the starting lineup looking for the win.
Maastricht to Berg en Terblijt
The 51st running of the Amstel Gold Race starts in Maastricht Sunday, kick-starting a week of top-class racing in the Ardennes, culminating in Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday week. As always, there's a fantastic line-up battling it out for the honour of sipping a glass of Amstel on stage with ladies wearing beer-mat hats.
Leuven to Schoten
Wed 13th April, 205.3kms
After one of the most dramatic and exciting races I think I have ever see in Paris-Roubaix last Sunday, we move on to the final race of the 'Flanders Classics' on Wednesday with the Brabantse Pijl or 'the Brabantse arrow'. This is a race for the punchy sprinters, with plenty of little hills, some cobbles, but almost always ends in a reduced sprint finish of some sort.
Peter Sagan looks to join some of the greats of the sport with a Flanders - Roubaix double, something only achieved 12 times in the past, significantly twice by both Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara. And who would put it past him after his demolition job on Sunday in Flanders. As he put it himself, "none of them want to work with me, so I dropped them all!"
The sprinters get a chance to shine on Wednesday in the Scheldeprijs, the traditional sprinters classic of the northern cobbled races. This is the 104th running of the Scheldeprijs and it's the oldest of all the Flanders races. Marcel Kittel has dominated this race in recent years, winning it three times in a row from 2012-2105.
Monday April 4th to Saturday April 9th
The Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco,or otherwise known as the Tour of the Basque Country starts Monday with a quality lineup of climbers, including Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Dan Martin taking each other on again just over a week after their battles in the Tour of Catalunya.
It's all been building to this. Greg Van Avermaet has turned from nearly man in to a bonafide superstar; Peter Sagan has finally won a race in the rainbow stripes; Alexander Kristoff seems to have recovered from illness and is back winning again this week on the roads of Belgium..
Stage 6 - Sant Joan Despi to Vilanova i la Geltru
Saturday March 26th, 197.2kms
Woet Poels?! What was that about eh..? The Sky man made the break shortly after out man Kiryienka tried and just failed to get away, unlucky with that. It's clear though that Sky were happy to try to get up the road today than work for Swift, glad I steered clear of him. Definitely was a day to keep stakes small though so no major harm done. In Harelbeke we were unlucky with the forever-second Peter Sagan, I haven't caught up on the race yet, but sounded amazing!
A stage that should be for the sprinters, with a few lumps along what is an untypically flat stage for Catalunya. There is a little lump 5kms from the finish that you can barely see on the profile below that could see some late attacks ahead of a likely sprint finish.
A really hard stage to call again tomorrow, a break could make it but I haven't a clue who could make it tomorrow, it was quite a random selection got away today after all. Maybe we could try Kiryienka again at 50/1, he might try again tomorrow - it's a pretty crap price compared to 150/1 today, but I think we rang the alarm bells with them about him by picking him today and he nearly getting away. Pieter Weening could also try again now he had a day to recover, he's 100/1.. They might be bigger elsewhere, but I am severely limited on battery power and don't have time to look around right now!!
If it does come to a late attack we could see Roche giving it a go again at 33/1, but if it comes to a sprint, it really is impossible to try to pick any of them with confidence. Gerrans, Impey, Swift, Gilbert, Meersman.. they could all be there, or nowhere.. Maybe Gerrans seeing as he 'won' the bunch sprint behind today for 6th place and he won't mind that little lump near the finish. Gilbert at 18/1 might offer some value, as he could go in the break of the day, go late on that little lump, or could be up there in the sprint like on stage 2. Not a day for big stakes again though.
0.5pts each-way on Philippe Gilbert at 18/1 with Bet365
0.25pts each-way on Vasil Kiryienka at 50/1 with Bet365
0.2pts each-way on Pieter Weening at 100/1 with 365
None that interest me right now..
The E3 Harelbeke takes place Friday and is the next installment in the run of cobbled classics in Northern Europe, with Gent Wevelgem coming up on Sunday and the daddy of the Belgian Classics, the Ronde Van Vlaanderenon April 3rd.
Niki Terpstra missed out last year in his attempt to win this race for the third time in four years when on a wet and muddy day, Etixx's leader played team-man and backed off when Kwaitkowski went up the road, but he couldn't stop TopSport Vlaanderen landing their best result in many a race with a 1-2 thanks to Jelle Wallays and Edward Theuns.
Monday March 21st to Sunday March 27th
After two interesting races at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, both of which were materially affected by the weather, race organisers and punters alike will be hoping for better conditions for the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya which begins on Monday the 21st March in Calella
Saturday 19th March
Milan to San Remo, 291Km
Milano San Remo... 'La Classicisima di Primavera'. The first monument of the season starts on Saturday morning in Milano and some six and a half hours, and 291 kilometres later they come charging down off the Poggio to the finish line on Via Roma in San Remo.
Wednesday 9th to Tuesday 15th March
Tirreno-Adriatico may, on the face of it, look a less interesting race this year than Paris-Nice, but the startlist is stellar, and the two TTs aside it should make for a fantastic week of racing too. A number of punchy stages and a climb-fest of a Queen stage will test the riders ahead of a final duel in the time trial along the coast.
Sunday 6th to Sunday 13th March
Stage racing in Europe starts in earnest with a double-header this week. Paris-Nice kicks things off on Sunday, with Tirreno-Adriatico starting Wednesday the 9th. In recent years Paris-Nice has played second fiddle to Tirreno-Adriatico in terms of attracting the star GC names, but this year we have probably the strongest line-up starting P-N in a long time.
Siena to Siena
In only its 10th year, the Strade Bianche has achieved an enviable reputation as one of the most looked-forward to races of the spring. It's a world away from the middle-eastern races and a break in the rhythm between the cobbled classics of the northern european season openers.
After the cobbles and the hellingen of the Omloop, the sprinters get their chance to shine on the second day of this opening weekend double-header with the flatter parcours of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Last year Mark Cavendish just got the better of Alexander Kristoff in a bunch sprint, but with no Dimension Data in the race, Cav will not be here to try to defend his title and take a record equalling third win, Tom Boonen being the only man to have won the race three times.
Wednesday February 17th to Sunday February 21st
The Vuelta a Andalucia, or the Ruta Del Sol as it is more commonly known, is the second of the key early season warm-up stage races this week after the Tour of Oman. Looking at the start list though, it too seems to have lost out in terms of popularity though to the Volta a Algarve this week.
Tuesday 16th to Sunday February 21st
The Tour of Oman completes the trilogy in the middle-east and so far we have had lots of wind and sand and some surprising results. Two sprinters have won the GC in Dubai and Qatar in Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish, but it's unlikely we're going to see a sprinter win in Oman, Green Mountain will see to that.
The Clasica de Almeria is the second of the one-day races taking part this weekend, with the Vuelta Ciclista Murcia being won by Philippe Gilbert today, outsprinting Valverde and Zakarin quite easily in the end. The Murcia race is one for the climbers and puncheurs, but the Clasica de Almeria is one for the sprinters.
The Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia 'Costa Calida' (phew) is right up there with the longest race name on the calendar. It takes place in the region of Murcia in the south-east of Spain and is now in its 17th year, it was first run in 2000, but up until 2011 it was actually a stage race with 5 stages.
Wednesday February 3rd to Saturday February 6th
The Dubai Tour is now in its third year, as the Emirate continues to splash the cash on the race despite the tightening of budgets as a result of the collapse in the price of oil. Cycling in the Middle East continues to grow despite the lack of fans, with the cash and the warm weather proving too much of a lure for many teams and riders.
The Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise opens the season on the European scene, with riders wrapped up heavily against the cold February conditions. Last year's race saw a surprise winner in Pim Ligthart, as he just held on at the front of a mass sprint, ahead of 2014 winner Kenneth Vanbilsen.
28-31st January 2016
The Tour Down Under and Tour de San Luis have come and gone and have really just confirmed what we expected. The Australians dominated in the TDU, winning every one of the six stages and the overall with Simon Gerrans. Likewise in San Luis, a South American named Quintana won it, but not the one we expected!
Tour de San Luis 2016
San Luis, Argentina
18th January 2016, 920.7kms
The Tour de San Luis kicks off stage racing for 2016, starting just before the Tour Down Under gets the World Tour up and running in Australia. The TDU may get more attention and coverage (and World Tour points), but the tenth running of the Tour de San Luis has attracted its best field ever and could possibly be a better, more interesting race than the TDU this year.
Adelaide, South Australia
19th January 2016, 781.3kms
It's back! Proper road cycling is back! After months of road racing famine, we're ready to roll again with the first stage races of the year, the Tour de San Luis and the Tour Down Under. The Tour de San Luis kicks things off on Monday with the TDU starting in the small hours of Monday morning.
A calendar of the key professional men and women's road races for 2016. Races highlighted in bold are the races I will be writing previews for in 2016. This may of course change during the season, depending on time constraints, but I plan to continue writing as many previews as possible during 2016!
The route for the 2016 Tour de France was announced on the 20th October at the Palais des Congrès. It's a varied route with lots of climbing, two TTs, including a 17km uphill TT to Megève on Stage 18 and a spectacular stage to Mont Ventoux on Bastille day. It starts in Mont-Saint-Michel and spends two stages in La Manche before heading south to Angers.
The Race of the Falling Leaves once again travels between Bergamo and Como, but this year does it in the opposite direction to the 2015 route. In 2014 they travelled from Como to Bergamo and as a result had to crest the Madonna del Ghisallo after only 50kms of the race. This year it goes in reverse and the Ghisallo comes at a more crucial point of the race with just 65kms to go.
The climax of the 2015 World Championships is on Sunday afternoon, starting at 2pm UK time - I'm liking these World Championships from the States, as the times are perfect for evening viewing! The Men's Elite Road Race is always a fascinating affair with many riders in contention for the win, and this year is no exception. Strap yourself in, grab a cup pf tea, there's plenty to discuss..
So after an enthralling Team Time Trial on Sunday afternoon, we move on to the Individual Time trials this week. First up are the Women's Junior Time Trial and the Mens U23 Time Trial on Monday, followed by the Men's Junior Time Trial and Women's Elite Time Trial on Tuesday and the Elite Men's Time Trial on Wednesday.
The 2015 World Championships kick off in Richmond, Virginia in the US this Sunday, and over eight days will bring us a feast of cycling, culminating in the Elite Men’s Road Race next Sunday afternoon. It’s only the second time that the US has hosted the World Championships, the last time was in Colorado Springs in 1986, when Moreno Argentin took home the gold medal.
The Australian national road race championships take place tonight with the Women and U23s kicking things off and the Elite men's race starting at 12pm local time, taking on the usual course around Buninyong in Ballarat.
Donostia-Donostia Klasikoa as it's known to the locals takes place on Saturday the 1st August, less than one week since the end of the Tour de France. It is the 35th running of the race, so it's not exactly the oldest classic in the world, but has built a reputation as a tough and challenging race, favoured by climbers and puncheurs.
Monday 8th to Friday February 12th
The 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.