UCI Men 2014




Final Countdown
Dateline: 14-Oct-2014
It’s mid October and the road race season is firmly in end of season mode. With the current structure to the race calendar it is the World Championships that mark the beginning of the end. And with Sir Bradley saying goodbye with a win in the time trial championship Britain’s chances of future victories look that bit more unlikely. Unlike Poland where Michal Kwiatkowski’s world road title might well be a sign of futures  successes.

But racing does continue - notably in Italy. Here Ireland’s Dan Martin won what used to be called the Tour of Lombardy. A race where Britain’s only three representatives, the Yates brothers and Ben Swift, failed to finish. But at least Team Sky did send a team and had some finishers. Two things they avoided at recent 1.HC races - for example Paris-Tours, Giro dell'Emilia and GP Bruno Beghelli. Perhaps they don’t need the ranking points or TV coverage any more. Sky did however send a team to the doomed Tour of China, where the race enters its final stage today with Philippe Gilbert leading that man Martin by just 3 seconds. This effectively marks the end for 2014’s road racing - but with cyclo-cross already in full swing and the European track championships starting tomorrow there will be plenty for fans to watch over the northern winter.

DSCF0717wHome and Away
Dateline: 10-Sep-2014
The Tour of Britain is today up to Stage 4 and in Spain the Vuelta is into its final phase. In both the struggle for victory still has some British hopefuls.

At home Ben Swift keeps trying to win the sprints (as does Tyler Farrar - here after the finish in Llandudno with Swift >) and Bradley Wiggins keeps hoping to gain enough time to take the leader’s jersey. While Mark Cavendish seems resigned to playing the team role pulling on the front of the bunch. But at least in his case team mate Michal Kwiatkowski has been able to take a stage as well as the overall lead (together with the points jersey ahead of Swift).

While in Spain Chris Froome clears lacks some of his previous sparkle but has plugged away in a war of attrition against a dominant Contador. Today with four more stages still to go the top five riders are - Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde at 1:36, Chris Froome at 1:39, Joaquin Rodriguez at 2:29 and Fabio Aru at 3:38. No others are within five minutes of Contador.

The fortune tellers predict that Froome will overtake Valverde and collect his second 2nd place in the Vuelta come Sunday. But even they are not prepared to predict if Wiggins will take 28 seconds out of Kwiatkowski or guess who will run out the victor in London.

Update 14-Sep-2014
Racing is still in progress but it looks almost certain that Team Sky will come away with 2nd in Vuelta - as Froome is confirmed as the one closest to a dominant Contador - and with a 3rd in the Tour of Britain. Since Wiggins has won the time trial but was still too far behind to challenge Dylan Van Baarle who seems likely to win by 10 seconds from Michal Kwiatkowski. But there is still a bit of racing left ...

Overall it looks like Sky will be happy to take another podium in a grand tour - but less so about the team’s performance in their home tour. A race where other British riders seemed to gain more air time and results.

No Easy Rides In Spain
Dateline: 2-Sep-2014
Today’s time trial provided the first reference point for the overall GC contenders - marking the point where most of the terrain and racing formats had been tested. For the specialists, so far, things have gone closely to plan; with top TT rider Tony Martin winning today, sprinters taking the flat stages and the serious climbers doing well in the mountains.

And after 10 stages the general classification is starting to take shape. At close of play today these 10 riders lie within 3 minutes of each other - 1 Alberto Contador, 2 Alejandro Valverde, 3 Rigoberto Uran, 4 Winner Anacona, 5 Christopher Froome, 6 Joaquin Rodriguez, 7 Samuel Sanchez, 8 Fabio Aru, 9 Robert Gesink, 10 Damiano Caruso. This lead group had contained Nairo Quintana before his crash today. A fall that cost him an estimated 3 minutes.

Subject to Quintana being fit to continue unhindered he could make up significant ground in the coming mountain stages but Froome’s relatively poor result today (3 places behind team mate Vasil Kiryienka) does not provide much support for the theory that he will be Contador’s main rival for the final red jersey.

Third Time Lucky?
Dateline: 23-Aug-2014
Over a month has gone by since Le Tour. And it’s now just a memory illustrated in magazines and recalled in the yellow bikes and bunting still decorating its route through Yorkshire. The post Tour criteriums and follow-up races have passed, along with the summer stage races. For British fans the national pro tour is still a few weeks away - but there are still few international season highlights ahead. The big one being the third and final of the grand tours - the Vuelta a España.

In the past the Vuelta was a warm-up tour - being scheduled ahead of the Giro. Now it has become an opportunity for riders to make amends for a lack of results earlier in the year. And at the top of that season recovery list are Alberto Contador and Chris Froome. Both aimed for TdF victory but crashed out. Now both need to do well to maintain the status as GC leaders. But it is going to be hard for either to win - even if on top form. And Contador seems unlikely to have that. Certainly the withdrawal of Chris Horner removed a major contender but there are still some strong opponents. Nairo Quintana, Joaquim Rodriguez, Alejandro Valverde, Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru all figure highly in the experts predictions - and there even a few Brits to support this year. However predicting the Vuelta is even more difficult that either the Giro or Le Tour - so best to simply watch and learn ...

Full coverage on satellite TV with highlights on terrestrial TV and plenty of web coverage - from today. Y viva España

Sky Fall
Dateline: 18-Jul-2014
Today’s first Alpine stage provided a testing ground for the remaining GC contenders. And Valverde seemed as if he was going to be the one most likely to dent Nibali’s lead. But his attack just provoked a crushing response from Nibali as he rode away to take his third stage win. Before the final showdown the leading young French riders showed that they have a real chance of sharing out some high GC places amongst themselves this year.

But for British fans the sight of first Thomas and then Porte loosing touch with the leaders was disappointing. Nieve did stay back to help Richie but the gap to Nibali continued to grow - slowly at first but then more rapidly. So much so that Thomas got back up to the Team Sky duo and all three trailed across the finish line together some 8m38 behind Nibali.

Now there are plenty more stages ahead where there could be some big time gains (and losses) - with tomorrow being one of the key ones. But unless there are some dramatic reversals of form we have already seen the end of Sky’s Plan B, C and D in this single stage. The end of the 2014 Tour dream plus the Tiernan-Locke case cannot have made for a happy week. Time to hire a couple of those young French future stars Dave?

Racing Gets Too Real?
Dateline: 15-Jul-2014
A week further into the race and the Tour de France is still rewriting everyone’s predicted scripts. The loss of both Froome and Contador took out two riders who were the 1st and 2nd favourites and the only remaining previous winners. Not something that has often - if ever - happened before. Then we have two more stage victories for Germany - making five wins out of ten stages by three different riders. Record books are being searched but it seems to be a first. Certainly it was Tony Martin’s first ever road stage - rather than time trial - stage victory in the Tour. A win that also uniquely gave him the polka-dot jersey; even if for only one day. Then we have Nibali winning the stage and so taking the yellow jersey - for a second time. We also saw him riding exceptionally well on the wet cobbles of Paris-Roubaix - finishing ahead of specialist and previous winner Fabian Cancellara.

Meanwhile Richie Porte only managed 7th place behind Nibali in the tough 10th stage - yet the overall standings were still so fluid that this moved him up to 2nd on GC! But top prize for effort must go to Martin who followed up is solo Stage 9 win by pacing Michal Kwiatkowski for tens of kilometres. At one point Kwiatkowski had a big enough advantage to be GC leader on the road. But when an exhausted Martin pulled over at the start of the penultimate climb Kwiatkowski’s initial confidence quickly faded and he finished the stage over two minutes behind Nibali.

So now the leader board looks like this - 1 Vincenzo Nibali; 2 Richie Porte at 2:23; 3 Alejandro Valverde at 2:47; 4 Romain Bardet at 3:01; 5 Tony Gallopin at 3:12; 6 Thibaut Pinot at 3:47; 7 Tejay Van Garderen at 3:56; 8 Jean-Christophe Péraud at 3:57; 9 Rui Costa at 3:58 and 10 Bauke Mollema at 4:08. Again an unusual situation for recent years with so many French riders making their marks. And despite their problems Team Sky also have Geraint Thomas and Mikel Nieve in the mix at 14th and 15th respectively - should the team need Plan C, or even D, before Paris.

If Nibali can maintain his current form and avoid those crashing around him then he could join a very select band of Tour de France winners from Italy. It may be hard to believe but only Pantani [in 1998], Gimondi [in 1965] and Nencini [in 1960] have won here since the days of Fausto Coppi.

Away from the Tour de France Peter Kennaugh did not simply hang on to his 11 second GC lead from Stage 1 in Austria but increased it to over a minute by the finish in Vienna. He also won the points classification. And there are rumours that Sir Dave may be contemplating improving his French - either with a new TdF GC rider within Team Sky or by a move to the new national velodrome near Paris.

Now For Some Real Racing
Dateline: 8-Jul-2014
At last all the forecasting and promotion is over and the real racing at the Big Event is underway. And already the prepared script needs to be rewritten as Marcel Kittel wins all three of the sprinters’ stages - despite being pushed close today. So the riders enter the Hell of the North tomorrow with Vincenzo Nibali still wearing the leader’s jersey that he took after Stage 2 into Sheffield. If only a few of the worries about Stage 5 turn out to be correct then it will be a critical day for favourites. However one day of cobbles is just the start. Next there will be the build-up towards the Vosges mountains and a tough stage for Bastille Day next Monday. Let’s hope we don’t loose any more riders through crashes. The loss of Cavendish, Schleck and Henderson plus damage to Froome, Gerrans, etc is quite enough thanks.

Looking back at the three UK stages ASO must be over the moon with the millions of spectators and hours of TV coverage. It made the standard TV coverage of 3hrs for today’s stage seem too quiet and short! Vive Le Tour ...

Meanwhile elsewhere it was good to see new British champion Peter Kennaugh winning then holding on to the GC lead at the Tour of Austria. It may not be a headline event but it does provide more ranking points that being a domestique in the Tour.

Tour de France Predictions - 2
Dateline: 1-Jul-2014


Chris Froome



Alberto Contador



Vincenzo Nibali



Alejandro Valverde



Andrew Talansky



Rui Costa



Tejay Van Garderen



Jurgen Van Den Broeck



Richie Porte



Bauke Mollema



Joaquim Rodriguez



Chris Horner


The odds being offered have not been changing a lot over the past month - but the racing has made some pundits rethink their predictions.

Checking the betting today the top four are still the same but then things get significantly reshuffled. Rodriguez moves down from 5th to 11th and Porte drops from 6th to 9th, Van Garderen stays at 7th while Kwiatkowski is now just off the list at 13th. But Kreuziger and Uran are off the start list entirely. To fill the gaps Andrew Talansky is now 5th with Costa at 6th and Jurgen Van Den Broeck at 8th. Bauke Mollema and Chris Horner join the favourites for the first time.

For a race starting in Britain there are few British starters - certainly fewer than expected. David Millar has been dropped by Garmin. Alex Dowsett has been dropped by Moviestar. Netapp-Endura have made Scott Thwaites a reserve and Sky did not include either of their top two in Sunday’s British road race championships - Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift. Irishman Dan Martin is also missing. However Nicolas Roche is there and Orica-GreenEdge have yet to announce their team. [update 13:30: Simon Yates has made the Orica-GreenEdge team]

But even though Chris has retained his betting place something is telling me that he will not be collecting the winner’s yellow jersey in Paris. And Alberto has that determined look of a person with something to prove. And only the top spot will do come the 27th of July. His task made that bit harder now that key teammate Kreuziger has been replaced by a tired and reluctant Rafal Majka.

However I was never any good at making predictions ...

Team Sky Lineup for TdF Announced
Dateline: 27-Jun-2014
After all the guesses, polls and expert assessments the Sky squad for the 2014 Tour de France was announced this afternoon. It will, of course, be lead by Chris Froome with support coming from Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Bernhard Eisel, Xabier Zandio and Danny Pate.

So this almost completes the Tour start list and it’s just this week’s national championships to resolve the jerseys to be worn before all the teams head to Leeds.

Speaking of which Sir Bradley smashed the field last night - despite the heavy rain - to take the British time trial jersey by over a minute from Sky team mate Thomas with previous winner Dowsett back in third. He plans to be back to track training on Monday in preparation of the Commonwealth Games [update: after spending Saturday at Wimbledon]. So it looks like Wiggins has his own list of priorities for the rest of this season - and is motivated to achieve them.

What the UK really needs now is a promoter willing to organise some six day races at the growing list of available velodromes. The dream team of Wiggins-Cavendish would not only draw big crowds but extend their respective racing careers by a few seasons at least.

British Stars Crash Out in Switzerland
Dateline: 15:55 18-Jun-2014
With Bradley Wiggins not starting today, after his crash yesterday, and Mark Cavendish being brought down in the final 300 metres today things are not going to plan. All those British fans hoping to see all the British stars perform - or at least appear - at the Big Start in Yorkshire and in London are getting worried that hopes will be dashed when the racing starts in just over two weeks time.

British riders aside, the GC favourites for the 2014 Tour seem less clear cut than in recent years. In fact this year could see younger riders taking over the podium places from the familiar names that are currently leading the betting. Despite this growing possibility Contador looks to have the best form amongst the old guard - but may run out of useful team mates well before Paris.

Team Sky Win
Dateline: 16:30 15-Jun-2014
The top British team took the final stage of the Dauphiné - but it was Mikel Nieve that survived from the breakaway group to win by a few seconds from fellow break riders Bardet, Adam Yates, Talansky, Van Den Broeck and Van Garderen. In the battle between Contador and Froome for the GC it was again Team Sky versus a solo Contador. But this time Alberto attacked earlier - and took some 1m30secs out of Froome on the Montagny climb. He held on to the lead on the descent and then took another 2mins out of Froome on the final climb to Courchevel Le Praz. However that was not enough to stop Andrew Talansky taking overall victory. And Froome’s slide backwards, despite plenty of team support, meant that Adam Yates became best British finisher at 6th overall.

Meanwhile at the Tour De Suisse the experts’ views that Wiggins would benefit from the two time trial stages has so far failed to materialise. Sir Brad only managed 14th place behind Tony Martin in the opening TT and so started stage 2 behind team mate Peter Kennaugh (who came 11th) and only 9 seconds ahead of fellow Sky riders Sergio Henao and Philip Deignan. Then today Deignan came close to victory just loosing the sprint to breakaway companion Cameron Myer with the bunch at 14secs. This time gain moved Deignan up to 7th on GC but how Wiggo has fared today is still not confirmed. [now confirmed as in the main bunch]

So a first and a second today for Team Sky. A few seasons ago that would be have been a good result. But now there is sense of disappointment as the nominated leaders fail to impress - when measured against raised expectations and the performances of the others hoping for victory in Paris next month.

Update: 16:30 16-Jun-2014
Sagan wins Stage 3 but Wiggins fails to hold on to the leaders. He now looks even less likely to play a lead role in any Grand Tour this year.

Tables Turned At The Dauphiné
Dateline: 15:44 14-Jun-2014
The first day of the big finish weekend proved that Froome had the team but Contador had the legs to take 20 seconds out of Chris over the last couple of kilometres - and so the yellow jersey. Clearly it’s now all down to the last day and the final big climbs ...

Two Out Of Two At The Dauphiné
Dateline: 15:20 9-Jun-2014
Two stages gone and two wins for Chris Froome - both times ahead of second favourite for Le Tour, Alberto Contador. So it looks like both are taking victory - in both races - very seriously. Will the Dauphiné turn out to be an accurate predictor for the July outcome? Only time will tell ..

ps For those of you still thinking about a trip to the World Championships in Ponferrada better be prepared to camp out - a search today showed few hotels with any rooms left with the cheapest of them being offered at £295 per night!

Tour de France Predictions
Dateline: 7-Jun-2014
Still plenty of racing on the cards for June but such is the importance of Le Tour that the riders, fans and media all have it has their dominant topic. And as usual we have taken advantage of crowd sourcing to make predictions about the likely Tour winner in Paris.

Chris Froome 5/6

Alberto Contador 9/4

Vincenzo Nibali 15/2

Alejandro Valverde 16/1

Joaquim Rodriguez 28/1

Richie Porte 28/1

Tejay Van Garderen 33/1

Roman Kreuziger 40/1

Rui Costa 50/1

Michal Kwiatkowski 66/1

Rigoberto Uran 66/1

The views of the fans prepared to bet money on who will be the Tour winner - as at 7-Jun-2014 - are reflected in the adjoining table. And not surprisingly the top four are Froome, Contador, Nibali and Valverde. However up to yesterday Wiggins was in at number five. And for the few that don’t already know Sir Brad appeared as a guest on BBC Breakfast yesterday and told the world that he would not be riding.

Now this came as a surprise to many experts. Cycling Weekly had rated Wiggins as a 9 out 10 chance to make the team at the end of May - and splashed the headline “Now it’s Wiggo for the Tour de France” the week before. For those that saw the live TV interview the topic of him riding the Tour came across has a secondary question- after the ones about his trip to Paris for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. But it had all the signs of being a carefully prepared public relations attack. And considering how few in-form Tour winners have been excluded from their own team it is a significant story. But the underlying question is why the big splash now. Even if Froome has to pull out of Team Sky’s lineup for Leeds then it would be Porte that stood in as leader not Wiggins. Certainly a Tour starting in England without Wiggins would be a big disappointment for the Yorkshire backers - and fans. And has I understand the rules Wiggins cannot join another team mid-season to get a ride.

So it looks like that’s what’s going to happen ... Sky are going try to win Le Tour for a third time - by leaving one of their biggest stars at home. Bon chance, mes amis!

Colombia1Colombia Heads The Field
Dateline: 31-May-2014
Even the mighty Zoncolan failed to change the positions of the two leading riders as Nairo Quintana finished at the summit just ahead of rival Rigoberto Uran but minutes behind stage winner Michael Rogers. The threat from an improving Fabio Aru did not materialise and so the final GC looks likely to be-
1 Nairo Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step at 03:07
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:04
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 5:46
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale at 6:41

With the rest of the top 10 being Majka, Kelderman, Evans, Hesjedal and Kiserlovski. In the end it was yesterday’s time trial that set the final positions rather than today’s monster climb. For the sprinters there is still tomorrow’s stage but even so Nacer Bouhanni seems likely to keep the jersey (with Ben Swift a creditable 5th). Amongst the climbers Julian Arredondo is the clear winner and obviously Quintana will take the Young Rider’s white jersey to go with the pink. As for Team Sky it must be Dario Cataldo that did most overall to boost the team’s presence - in breaks, on climbs and in the final time trial. Plus he will finish 2nd to Arredondo in the climber’s competition.

Now there’s just five weeks before Yorkshire hosts the start of another three weeks of sporting drama. And the British fans have be building up to this unique experience for ages .. Let’s wish them well!

Highs and Lows - Part 3
Dateline: 24-May-2014
The big mountains are here and the final sort out begins. According to the pundits Cadel Evans should be in the lead at this point by having done better than the climbers in the time trial. But instead he is playing catch up with Rigoberto Uran - the unpredicted TT winner.



Today’s GC


Nairo Quintana



Joaquim Rodriguez



Cadel Evans



Rigoberto Uran



Michele Scarponi



Domenico Pozzovivo



Dan Martin



Ivan Basso



Rafal Majka



Wilco Kelderman



Fabio Aru



Wout Poels


In fact it is worth reviewing what has happened to the pre-race favourites as against today’s GC standings (see right). And the most striking thing is that four of the top eight are relatively unexpected names - even though Majka did take 7th in last year’s Giro. Will he stay in a podium place or even be the surprise victor? We will only know for certain next Sunday.

Meanwhile tough luck still dogs Team Sky as this time it is Dario Cataldo that is robbed of today’s stage win within metres of the line - by a fast finishing Enrico Battaglin. And to make matters worse Sky’s GC leader - Kanstantsin Siutsou - was forced to retire after a crash earlier in the stage.

But the biggest potential bad news could arise from the crash of the lead TV camera motorbike into someone, who looked to be a marshal, standing in the middle of the road on a fast section. The TV pictures cut out on impact and then RAI avoiding showing anything from their other mobile cameras at that point on the course. Let’s hope that the outcome is not has bad has it looked.

More Highs and Lows
Dateline: 18-May-2014
Less than half way into the Giro but already there has been plenty of drama and action. With live TV coverage and minute by minute web postings you will have already have your own highs and lows - but here are a few personal observations.

First the bad luck for the Irish. Dan Martin hitting a drain cover, crashing, retiring and his Garmin team loosing over 3 minutes on the very first day. Then Nicholas Roche being caught in a mass pile-up that left him bike-less then pushed him down from 7th to 80th on GC. Meanwhile Philip Deignan hangs in there at around 90th place as Team Sky tries to make an impression - through either breakaways or a bunch sprints. And even though Swift and Boasson Hagen have tried hard - very hard - using both routes they have just missed out on victory ever time. The toughest luck being a last 50 metre charge by Marcel Kittel in Dublin that robbed Swift of almost certain victory. The fact that Kittel then retired from the race must have made it even worse for Swift - who also came in alone and last on that terrible Stage 6.

In contrast the Australians have been doing well - with Micheal Matthews in the leader jersey from Stages 2 to 8 only to loose it to fellow Aussie Cadel Evans as the mountains got higher. With a rest day tomorrow today’s stage should throw up those with the best chance of overall victory in two weeks time. With Joaquim Rodriguez out and Michele Scarponi loosing over 9 minutes yesterday Cadel is in a good position. But then this race seems certain to have many more highs and lows before the finish in Trieste.

GdI1Highs and Lows
Dateline: 6-May-2014
There cannot have been many times when Britons have won two stage races on the same day. But it did happen on Sunday as Chris Froome had a repeat win at the Tour of Romandie via the final time trial where he even squeezed ahead of world champion Tony Martin. Meanwhile neo-pro Adam Yates won the Tour of Turkey by seconds from Rein Taaramae while Mark Cavendish won four of the sprint stage battles with Elia Viviani.

But looking forward, the big event is the Giro starting in Belfast on Friday. Here the pre-race favourite is Nairo Quintana closely followed by grand tour star Joaquim Rodriguez. According to today’s betting the next favourites are Cadel Evans, Rigoberto Uran, Michele Scarponi, Domenico Pozzovivo, Dan Martin and even Ivan Basso at 40/1.

Back at Team Sky there is yet another problem as Peter Kennaugh is replaced by Chris Sutton for the Giro through more illness. The Giro team was supposed to be built around Richie Porte. But that was before poor form and illness decimated the lineup. Yet it was only a couple of days ago that Sky’s Philip Deignan was quoted with saying "Obviously we won't be outright favourites now but Sebastián Henao and Pete Kennaugh can maybe do a top 10 and then we have guys like Ben Swift and Edvald Boasson Hagen who can go for stage wins as well." But Kennaugh is out and Henao unpredictable at best. Then when you consider that Deignan himself has had less that a week of racing this year and has not tackled a three week race since 2011 you do get the feeling that Yoda was right. If Sky salvage anything from this first Grand Tour of 2014 it will be a big surprise - not just to fans but to the whole team.

After The Dust Has Settled
Dateline: 22-Apr-2014
Tomorrow marks the running of the next of the Spring Classics - La Flèche Wallone. Formerly this was the first half of the Ardennes Weekend - as a warm-up for the historic Liège-Bastogne-Liège. But now there is a four day gap before the final classic - and so there is a better chance that one rider can complete the double. The last man to do that was Philippe Gilbert in 2011. And considering his form when winning last Sunday’s Amstel Gold he could do the Ardennes double again in 2014. If he does he will equal the record held by Davide Rebellin- and himself!

Sunday’s LBL will mark the end of this year’s one-day Spring classics and the start of the tours with the Tour de Romandie beginning on Wednesday. So time to look back at this section of the season - especially at the British rides and Team Sky.

Clearly the loss of Ian Stannard weakened Sky - especially in Paris-Roubaix. But even so there was a point quite late in that race when it looked like Sky could put a powerful trio into the final. Sir Bradley was handling the Hell of the North far better than I - and Fabian Cancellara - expected and made it into the final leading group; along with Geraint Thomas. Everyone knows that Nikki Terpstra lived up to the pundits expectations and won alone by 20 seconds. But there was just a brief few seconds, at Hem, when Wiggins and Thomas looked as they were shaping up for a big effort to bring him back. But it never happened. And Terpstra rode away from the combined horsepower of Cancellara, Vanmarcke, Sagan, Langeveld, Degenkolb and the two world class pursuiters, Wiggins and Thomas. You can only assume that the presence of team mates Boonen and Stybar reduced the enthusiasm of the chasers. Wiggins expressed happiness at his 9th place - giving him confidence for next time. But for Sir Bradley there may never be another chance like the one that got away in 2014.

Apart from Roubaix and the ride by Thomas in De Ronde things have not been going so well for Team Sky. Certainly the Amstel was not good with Edvald Boasson Hagen the best at 39th. Thomas rode but it may have been better for the management to send him on a break a week earlier. Certainly managing the Sky team is much more involved than the relatively stable national track squads - and Sir Dave will have to work hard to hold a competitive team together for the Giro and the big-one - the Tour de France. In fact it will be the highlight of his career if Sky wins in Paris for a third time come July...

YodaSays1Update: 27-Apr-2014 CyclingNews.com have reported this quote from Sir Dave about his team’s problems - “We’ve also got [Jonathan] Tiernan-Locke who’s not racing, Sergio and his cousin [Sebastian] who’ve gone back to Colombia, CJ [Sutton] had a nasty crash and had a hole in his knee, Chris is ill, Pete is ill, and before you know it, it’s the Tour of Romandie next week and the Tour of California right after that [and] you can’t start chopping and changing too much.” And it seems unlikely that Team Sky will figure in the final of today’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège considering the pictures coming in from RAI TV at present. Follow up: Australia’s Nathan Earle was Team Sky’s best - and only - finisher today in 70th place. And did you spot that Sir Dave missed out the Giro from his short term plans? Yoda says - off wheels wagon fall

IMQ29383_300Roubaix Awaits
Dateline: 12-Apr-2014
After Fabian Cancellara’s third career victory in De Ronde last weekend he starts as firm favourite to complete the double - again - at Roubaix Velodrome tomorrow. Few would bet against him - but then Roubaix is the classic that throws up the greatest risks. So Roubaix is very much a lottery; even compared to the carnage at last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. At least the weather forecast is for a dry day - so just the chocking dust from the motor bikes - and further back the cars - will make the ride that bit harder.

And if fate is not kind to Cancellara then who else has a good chance? Well the shortlist of possibles suggested by the pundits is - Sep Vanmarcke, Tom Boonen, Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan, Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet and Niki Terpsta. But only Boonen has the distinction of being a victor at this level. As for previous winner Johan Vansummeren he seems unlikely to have fully overcome the trauma of last week’s crash with a spectator. And Roubaix is too tough a race for anyone not on top form to win.

Further down the possibles list come John Degenkolb, Taylor Phinney, Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Stijn Vandenbergh and Edvald Boasson Hagen - with this trio of Sky riders forming a group that has the potential to repeat the feat of Mapei-GB in 1996; when Johan Museeuw lead team mates Bortolami and Tafi into the velodrome over 2 minutes ahead of the rest.

So despite the popularity of Wiggins in the race reviews it is, I predict, too much to expect a victorious knight tomorrow - but don’t rule out Thomas. He has, after all, already won the junior version ...

A Battle Expected In Flanders
Dateline: 4-Apr-2014
Belgium’s iconic spring classic, the Tour of Flanders, looks set to be a showdown between three of today’s top one-day road stars. You don’t need me to tell you that Fabian Cancellara (13/8 in the current betting), Peter Sagan (3/1) and Tom Boonen (7/1) are going all out for the big win.

For Cancellara and Boonen it would nicely round out their memorable careers and for Sagan it would confirm his claim to being the brightest star of the new generation. If Boonen can take his fourth win then that would seal his place in history. But Cancellara is going to be a very tough nut to crack in what might be his last season in the top flight.

However with 259km and 17 climbs there are others who can upset the ambitions of the three favourites. The most obvious of these, in order, are - Sep Vanmarcke, Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar, Geraint Thomas, Stijn Devolder and Greg Van Avermaet. But as so often is the case in these long, difficult road classics the weather, luck and random developments can upset even the best laid plans. And if you fancy shouting for some less likely victors then Alexander Kristoff, John Degenkolb, Luca Paolini, Sylvain Chavanel and Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen are all in with a good chance.

Whoever gets to the front you can want to watch it all play out on live TV via satellite - where both RAI and Eurosport will have extensive coverage. Sadly the nearest the BBC gets to cycling coverage this weekend is triathlon from New Zealand. But at least London fans can share the big match atmosphere at Look Mum No Hands! ...

Dirty, Wet Start in Flanders
Dateline: 1-Mar-2014
Team Sky’s ambition to do better in the big one day races got off to a good start as Ian Stannard took the two up sprint finish at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium a few minutes ago. Greg Van Avermaet was second has the pair managed to hold onto a slender lead over the final kilometers. The chasers were a small group of three from where Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen was able to out sprint 2012 winner Sep Vanmarcke and Niki Terpstra and so join the first ever British winner, Stannard, on the podium.

Despite today’s cold wet conditions the weather has so far been a bit better than last year when this weekend’s second race - Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne - was cancelled because of snow. So Sky have already made a good start to the classics season. Now if Mark Cavendish can repeat his 2012 win at Kuurne the British fans will have plenty to celebrate. And if Paris-Roubaix is cold and wet this year then Ian Stannard must be in with an outside chance.

Sunny Start Down Under
Dateline: 19-Jan-2014
The prelude to the Tour Down Under is under way in ideal racing conditions around the streets of Adelaide - the big event starts Monday...


A Special Year for British Fans
Dateline: 17-Jan-2014
Even the least interested cyclist must appreciate that 2014 is going to be an exceptional year for cycling in Britain. The combination of the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Commonwealth Games and public opening of two indoor velodromes is unique for UK cycle sport. But more importantly the public and the mass media are getting involved to an extent that has not been seen since the 1950s - if ever.

The fact that Leeds, Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Cambridge, London, Belfast, Armagh and Dublin will all host Grand Tour stages this summer has triggered activity that will be widely distributed around the British Isles. With Glasgow, London and Derby each having more cycling events on the road and/or track there is going to be plenty of cycling coverage this year.

In the case of the Yorkshire start for the Tour de France activity and involvement seems even greater than last time - when London was the host city. Let’s just hope that everything goes to plan, the weather is kind and the whole show is not a massive financial miscalculation ...

2014 UCI World Tour Road Races
Dateline: 17-Jan-2014
Here is a quick summary of the headline races for 2014 - this one being taken from the UCI World Tour list. As you can see at this top level the calendar is almost identical to last year.

The World Championships are in the Spain this year from 21 to 28 September. The European season again opens with the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise on 2 February but this year it’s joined by the GP Costa degli Etruschi in Italy. The UK men’s events are the Rutland Melton International CiCLE Classic (27 April), Beaumont Trophy (22 June), RideLondon Classic (10 August) and Tour of Britain (7 to 14 September) - one more than 2013.

21.01.2014 26.01.2014 Santos Tour Down Under
09.03.2014 16.03.2014 Paris - Nice
12.03.2014 18.03.2014 Tirreno-Adriatico
23.03.2014 Milano-Sanremo
24.03.2014 30.03.2014 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
28.03.2014 E3 Harelbeke
30.03.2014 Gent - Wevelgem
06.04.2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres
07.04.2014 12.04.2014 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
13.04.2014 Paris - Roubaix
20.04.2014 Amstel Gold Race
23.04.2014 La Flèche Wallonne
27.04.2014 Liège - Bastogne - Liège
29.04.2014 04.05.2014 Tour de Romandie
09.05.2014 01.06.2014 Giro d'Italia
08.06.2014 15.06.2014 Critérium du Dauphiné
14.06.2014 22.06.2014 Tour de Suisse
05.07.2014 27.07.2014 Tour de France
02.08.2014 Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
03.08.2014 09.08.2014 Tour de Pologne
11.08.2014 17.08.2014 Eneco Tour
23.08.2014 14.09.2014 Vuelta a España
24.08.2014 Vattenfall Cyclassics
31.08.2014 GP Ouest France - Plouay
12.09.2014 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
14.09.2014 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
05.10.2014 Giro di Lombardia
10.10.2014 14.10.2014 Tour of Beijing

UCI Men 2014 UCI Men 2013 UCI Men 2012 UCI Men 2011 UCI Men 2010 UCI Men 2009 UCI Men 2008 Tour de Yorkshire





UCI Men 2014
UCI Men 2013
UCI Men 2012
UCI Men 2011
UCI Men 2010
UCI Men 2009
UCI Men 2008
Tour de Yorkshire


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