2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Previewcyclingmole

Sanremo > Cuneo 150.2km Some will say sprint, others will say break, it’s a well-designed stage at this point in a grand tour.  Weather Sunny and warm. The Climb 9.8km at 6.8% is a proper climb, despite its cat 3 rating. With a tailwind to help, this is way over the limit of all the fast men, but the position of the climb gives them hope. All the fast men will be praying the climb is done at tempo. Finale A tricky finish. We have 8 roundabouts between 5km to go and the flamme rouge, that’s a lot, even by...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Previewcyclingmole

Parma > Genova 204km The cat 3 climb at the end of the stage is a hard one, it’s too much for the sprinters in the race, that means we’re in for another edition of breakaway bingo. Only van der Poel could survive it from the GC group, but Alpecin-Fenix won’t be interested in chasing all day long. This is a great stage for the breakaway, which means it could take a very long time for the right move to go, and at this point of the race we almost have an unlimited amount of riders who’ll be interested in...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 11 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 11 Previewcyclingmole

Santarcangelo di Romagna > Reggio Emilia 203.6km This stage was meant to be a quiet day for the GC riders, with a boring sprint stage anticipated, but all of that changed thanks to a late increase in the wind strength. Just yesterday, the prediction was for a quiet day, but tonight’s forecast will spread panic amongst the peloton. Weather We’ll have an easternly wind blowing around 20-25km/h throughout the whole stage. As the riders head north-west, it’s crosswind for almost the whole day. Echelons Feast your eyes on this. This is taken from Veloviewer, the little red bar at the...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Previewcyclingmole

Pescara > Jesi 196.1km A stage with a very boring start, but the second half looks great. Constantly up and down, a route that will likely be too hard for many fast men, but not all. Will we see anyone try and control the early break? That’s the big question of the day. Weather Scorchio! There isn’t much wind about, but it will be a crosshead wind for the start of the stage. Key Points It all depends on when the action kicks off. The first two cat 4 climbs come with a lot of the day still to come;...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Previewcyclingmole

Isernia > Blockhaus 191.2km The GC battle starts here. Make no mistake, this is an enormous day of cycling. We have five categorised climbs and 5015m of climbing, this will be a hugely significant day in the battle for the pink jersey. As we have a rest day on Monday, and the next GC day isn’t until next weekend, expect to see all the big teams come out swinging. I’m expecting an epic day, one that we’ll remember for a long time. Weather Cloudy sun and nice temperatures, but there is a chance of a thunderstorm near the end of...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Previewcyclingmole

Napoli > Napoli 153.1km After today’s fun, Saturday brings another cracking looking stage. We have a lap circuit around the streets of Napoli, and it has a bit of everything. There might only be 2210m of climbing, but this is a hard day in the saddle. Weather Very pleasant.  Key Points This is the lap circuit which is done on four occasions. We have two main climbs 2km at 6% & 800m at 8%), and lots of fast descents. The bunch leave the circuit and head back to Napoli with around 25km to go. This is the final 20km of...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Diamante > Potenza 196.2km When I first looked at the Giro route, this was a stage that caught my eye. 196km in length, 4500m of climbing, and without a mountaintop finish. It’s a beautifully designed stage, one that’s certain to be for the breakaway, and it’s a day that many different types of riders will think they can win. Key Points The first of the climbs is this cat 1 effort, it’s long but not that difficult. Monte Grande Di Viggiano is 6.4km at 9.2%, but the organisers have decided it’s only a cat 2 climb! Believe me, this is...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Palmi > Scalea 192km After today’s excitement, it’s back to a standard sprint stage, this time on the Italian mainland. Weather This is a great stage for echelons, it’s a shame nobody told the wind. It’s going to be a lovely day for the bunch. Finale I joke you not, the final turn is with over 100km to go. The road does contain a few bends, but it’s basically a straight road for a very long time. There are a few roundabouts dotted along the way, the final one comes with 3.5km to go. As only the right-hand side is...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Catania > Messina 173.8km The final stage in Sicily, one that should be for the fast men. There’s only 2000m of climbing, but over 1000m of that comes in the cat 2 climb, which crests with 100km to go. Will the climb be ridden at tempo? Or will someone look to up the pace? Weather A beautiful day with lots of sun and not much wind.  The Climb The cat 2 effort is 19km at 4%, which will certainly test the legs of a few. The issue is the 100km from the crest to the finish, will we see anyone...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Avola > Etna 171.7km The first of the mountain stages. The bunch have had a rest day to enable the race to move from Hungary to Sicily, and we’re now ready for two stages on the island. Mount Etna has become popular finish for the race, this is the 5th time we’ve had it since 2011, but different sides have been used in the various editions of the race, this time they approach the climb from a new direction. It’s unlikely we’ll see any big gaps between the main GC riders, but we will start to see who won’t win the...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Kaposvár > Balatonfüred 201.1km A stage for the fast men. Weather Cloudy, with a small risk of rain. Finale Looks easy, but it isn’t. The road for much of the finale isn’t the widest. We’re talking about a standard two-lane road, but I’ve seen wider, especially considering we’re going to get a bunch sprint. It’s one of those stages where securing a good early position will be important, it’s likely we’ll see the teams at the front block the road until the final 5km. Contenders Mark Cavendish – with Van Lerberghe, Ballerini and Mørkøv to lead him out, Cavendish has a...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Budapest 9.2km ITT The second stage is a relatively short TT. Route We have 8km of flat, followed by 1.2km at 5.1%. The flat section is technical, it contains lots of corners, but not is all what it seems. Most of the roads are incredibly wide, which means the corners are also wide and can be taken at pace. The flat section is where the TT specialists will hope to gain some seconds, they’ll need a little buffer for the climb. The climb starts with some very steep slopes, but they don’t last for long. It quickly settles in at...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Budapest > Visegrád 195.4km Who’s going to be good enough to wear the pink jersey? We have a standard looking stage to get the race off and running, but it does have a sting in the tail. An old-fashioned battle between the sprinters and puncheurs is ahead of us. Weather Cloudy, but still warm, with temperatures reaching 23 degrees. Echelons The forecast for the strength of the wind has changed in recent days, getting a little stronger. You can see from the wonderful graphic above the speed of the wind and the exposed nature of the road. This is a...

2022 Giro d’Italia Sprint Classification Preview – The Maglia Ciclamino

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2022 Giro d’Italia Sprint Classification Preview – The Maglia Ciclaminocyclingmole

The fight for the Maglia Ciclamino is always a hard one. We have sprinters here who plan to leave during the second week, we have some who’ll try to say until the end but won’t make it through the mountains, and we have those warriors who’ll manage to haul their arses all the way to Verona. Here’s the points breakdown: a & b stages – 50, 35, 25, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. c stages – 25, 18, 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. d & e stages – 15, 12,...

2022 Giro d’Italia KOM Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia KOM Previewcyclingmole

The fight for the Maglia Azzurra, the blue jersey, should keep us interested deep into the final week. Here’s a breakdown of the point structure: Cima Coppi – Passo Pordoi Stage 20 – 50, 30, 20, 14, 10, 6, 4, 2, 1 points Cat 1 – Stages 4, 7, 9×2, 15×2, 16×3, 17×2, 19, 20×2 – 40, 18, 12, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1 points Cat 2 – Stages 5, 7, 9×2, 14×4, 15, 19 – 18, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points Cat 3 – Stages 7, 9, 12×3, 13, 14, 17, 19×2 – 9, 4, 2, 1 points Cat 4 – Stages 1, 2, 3, 6, 8,...

2022 Giro d’Italia Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Previewcyclingmole

Strap yourselves in, the first grand tour of the year is about to begin, it’s Giro time! Stage 1 The race begins with three stages in Hungary, the first of which ends with a climb of 4km at 4.9%. This will make it too hard for almost all of the sprinters, and a certain Mathieu van der Poel will be eyeing up a pink jersey to go with his yellow one. Stage 2 A short TT in Budapest. The distance of 9.2km should keep most of the GC contenders close together, especially as the final 1.3km averages 5%. After going...

2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Aigle > Villars 15.7km ITT The rarely spotted mountain TT. We start with 6km of flat, then the mountain begins. The climb is 9.8km at 7.9%, it’s a proper alpine test. We were here back in 2018, with Egan Bernal beating Primož Roglič by just 4 seconds. That day the route didn’t contain the 6km of flat before the climb, it might not sound much, but it does have a big impact on the day. Teams will have to carefully consider the bike they use, road or TT? A lot will come down to personal choice, but some will also...

2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Aigle > Zinal 180.1km The big GC day, especially if a mountain TT isn’t your thing. We have four cat 1 climbs and 2 cat 2s, overall, it’s 4060m of climbing. The finish might not look that hard, but after a demanding day in the saddle, we’re likely to see big gaps on GC. Three of the cat 1 climbs come quite early in the stage, they’re not going to see serious action but will generate fatigue in the legs for later. Weather The forecast all week has been for lots of rain in this stage, but now there’s some...

2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Valbroye > Valbroye 165km It’s not hard enough to be a proper GC day, but the finale of the stage is tough enough to see some gaps between the top riders. We’re not talking anything hugely significant, but enough to hurt someone’s GC ambitions. I’m hoping for lots of attacks in the final 20km. Weather Cloudy, but quite mild for this time of year. Finale We have two categorised climbs in the final 20km of the race, perfect for those who want to attack. The first one is 4.6km at 4.7%, which is then followed by a fast descent. The...

2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Echallens > Echallens 168.8km A rare easy day in Romandie. Just one categorised climb, and 2500m of ascension, this is about as easy as it gets in this race. We don’t have many sprinters here, but with QuickStep, Ineos and UAE happy if we get a sprint, that’s what we’re likely to get. Weather Another cracking day. Finale With 16km to go, the bunch hit this unclassified climb. Just 4.6km at 3.6%, it’d be amazed if any of the sprinters get dropped. Relatively easy, with the final turn coming with 2.5km to go. At this point the bunch head out...

2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

La Grande Béroche > Romont 178.6km The first road stage of the race is a lumpy one, and it has an uphill finish. The finish was used back in 2019 when David Gaudu took the win, you need a punch to cross the line first. Weather A cracking day in Romandie, see, it does happen. It will be a little on the windy side, but it shouldn’t impact the race. Key Points The final 22km is constantly up and down. The climbs aren’t long, but they’re tough enough for those without a sprint to think about going on the attack....

2022 Tour de Romandie Prologue Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Prologue Previewcyclingmole

Lausanne 5.2km ITT A nice prologue to get the race started, one where the gaps should be very small. Weather The forecast suggests it will rain in the morning, but clear for the race starting in the afternoon. Route There are a couple of drags, but nothing that will worry a professional cyclist. More important than the gradients are the number of corners the riders must deal with, those with the best cornering skills will have a significant advantage over the rest. The distance is also important, just 5.2km, which is perfect for those with track experience. The distance and...

2022 Tour de Romandie Overall Preview

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2022 Tour de Romandie Overall Previewcyclingmole

The classics are over, it’s time to focus on stage races. The peloton head to Romandie for its usual mix of punchy stages and big mountains. Prologue A technical prologue to kick off the race, especially if the roads are wet. There are quite a few corners to deal with, GC riders will have to be very careful if it’s wet. Stage 1 The opening road stage ends with two laps of an undulating circuit that contains many little kickers. The final kilometre averages 7.4%, this isn’t a stage for the sprinters. Stage 2 2500m of climbing, this is about...

2022 Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Preview

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2022 Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Previewcyclingmole

Bastogne > Liège 141.8km The final spring classic is here, one last chance for the big hitters to go toe-to-toe. SD Worx took the spoils in Strade Bianche and Flanders, Trek-Segafredo won Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix and FDJ landed Amstel and Flèche, it shows that we no longer have one outstanding team, this season we’ve seen Trek-Segafredo and FDJ take huge steps forward. Missing from the list of winners are Movistar, with Annemiek van Vleuten cutting a rather frustrated figure in recent weeks. The scene is perfectly set for another brilliant race. Weather Cloudy sun and the wind will be around...

2022 Men’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Preview

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2022 Men’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Previewcyclingmole

Liège > Liège 256.9km Liège is the last of the classics for a while, it marks the end of the first section of the cycling season. We have the usual mix of those who’ve been racing since the opening weekend, up against the GC riders who are starting to hit top form. As always, it will be a brilliant race to watch. Weather A little bit cloudy, but it should stay dry. Temperatures will reach around 15 degrees and the wind will be around 15km/h, coming from the north-east. Key Sections La Redoute is really the start of the finale...

2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Lienz > Lienz 114km Now, this is what you call a stage. Just 114km in length, and apart from the opening 34km of flat, the rest of the day is going to be crazy. There might only be two categorised climbs, but some of the uncategorised climbs are incredibly difficult. Despite looking very strong, this won’t be an easy day for Bahrain to control. Weather There’s some rain around for most of the stage, but the bunch might get lucky and avoid it. If they do get wet, the difficulty of the stage will increase. The Climbs First up is...

2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Niederdorf/Villabassa > Kals am Grossglockner 143km Another day that will interest the breakaway, but will the GC men come out to play? Weather Cloudy at the start, but the sun will be out for the end of the stage. The wind isn’t strong, but it will be a tailwind for most of the final 65km. Early Climb This cat 2 climb is 7.2km at 5.8% and starts after just 23km of racing. If you are a climber down on GC, you hope the break goes here.  Finale Harder than it looks. Nothing is categorised, but this is a grippy finish...

2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Lana > Villabassa 154.4km Guess what? That’s right, it’s another flat finish! This is the easiest of the GC days, but it still contains a rather nasty climb, and this time it’s closer to the finish. It should be another fun day out in the Alps. Weather There’s a small chance of a rain shower in the afternoon, fingers crossed it stays away. The Climb 5.8k at 8.3%, it’s a nasty one. There’s lots of double-digit sections for the climbers to get stuck into, and as the road rises for 10km before the climb, it should see quite a big...

2022 La Flèche Wallonne Preview

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2022 La Flèche Wallonne Previewcyclingmole

Blegny > Mur de Huy 201.9km It’s time for the Mur de Huy. The lap circuit has changed back to what it was in 2019, with the reintroduction of Côte de Cherave, a harder climb than the one that replaced it in the last three editions. Hopefully it teases some long-range attacks, just like it used to do. Weather Cloudy sun and temperatures will be around 15 degrees. The wind will be around 15km/h and will come from east, I doubt it has any impact on the race. Finale The downhill run into the tight left corner that starts the...

2022 La Flèche Wallonne Féminine Preview

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2022 La Flèche Wallonne Féminine Previewcyclingmole

Huy > Mur de Huy 133.1km After dominating the race for the last 7 years, it’s time for Anna van der Breggen to step aside and let someone else become the Queen of the Mur de Huy. She’ll be hoping the crown is passed to one of her teammates, but a few others will have their eyes on the prize. Weather A little on the cloudy side, but it’s not bad conditions for a bike race. Finale The downhill run into the tight left corner that starts the Cherave climb is hugely important, it shouldn’t be underestimated. The Cherave climb...

2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Primiero > Lana 154.1km This stage has the most amount of climbing in the whole race, it’s not an easy day out for the bunch.  Weather Cold at the top of the first climb, but the rest of the day should be nice and pleasant. Key Climbs Straight from the gun the bunch are faced with this bad boy. 21km at almost 6% and the climb goes up to almost 2000m above sea level, this is a tough way to start a stage. Coming at the start means it’s unlikely we’ll see big GC attacks, but those teams with multiple...

2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour of the Alps Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Cles > San Martino di Castrozza 161.1km The type of stage we get depends on the attitude of the big teams in the peloton. The cat 2 climb is hard enough to put many into difficulty, but cresting 50km from the end could put some off trying something. Weather Cloudy sun and not much wind. The Climb The hard bit is the opening 11km which averages 7%, it should really be a cat 1. We then have a long section of false flat before the KOM points are handed out, this section distorts the overall average of the climb, making...

2022 Tour of the Alps Overall Preview

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2022 Tour of the Alps Overall Previewcyclingmole

The final preparation race for many ahead of the Giro, and the organisers stick with their obsession of not having a mountaintop finish. All I ask for is one, I wish the organisers would listen. Stage 1 The big cat 2 climb is 10.5km at 7%, but it crests with around 50km to go, so I doubt we’ll see a big selection. This one should end in some sort of sprint. Stage 2 The day begins with 20km at 5.9%, welcome to hell! The cat 1 climb is a tough one too, 16km at 6.5%, again cresting with 50km to...

2022 Paris-Roubaix Preview

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2022 Paris-Roubaix Previewcyclingmole

Compiègne > Roubaix 256.6km The cobbles are calling, it’s time for the hell of the north. Weather A beautiful day for a bike race. The wind will be around 18km/h at the start of the day, coming from the east. That means a lot of crosswind in the opening stages of the race, which will make it very hard for the break to form. It’s also worth noting that the hardest sectors of the race will have crosswind or cross/tailwind. Pavé Normally, things kick off in the Arenberg Forest, I don’t see this year being any different. After that the...

2022 Paris-Roubaix Femmes Preview

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2022 Paris-Roubaix Femmes Previewcyclingmole

Denain > Roubaix 124.4km After last year’s historic first edition, the women’s peloton head back to Roubaix. A day fraught with danger, but with a huge prize at the end. Weather A lovely day out with lots of sun and mild temperatures. The wind will be a constant 17km/h and coming from the east means a lot of crosswind throughout the day, but it shouldn’t be strong enough to cause any serious splits. Pavé 17 sectors totalling 29.2km, which is an awful lot when you consider the race is only 124km. The first seven sectors are all tough and quite...

2022 Men’s Amstel Gold Race Preview

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2022 Men’s Amstel Gold Race Previewcyclingmole

Maastricht > Valkenburg 249.4km A race we’ve not properly seen since 2019, due to a cancellation in 2020 and a closed circuit in 2021. Thankfully, the real race is back, and it’s the usual mix of punchy climbs and narrow roads. Positioning is important in all races, but especially in this one, this is what makes it a constant battle in the final 50km. This also means we normally see quite a few crashes; the roads just aren’t wide enough to fit the whole peloton. Weather A sunny day in the Netherlands with temperatures sitting around 10 degrees.  Finale The...

2022 Women’s Amstel Gold Preview

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2022 Women’s Amstel Gold Previewcyclingmole

Maastricht > Valkenburg 125.9km After another brilliant edition of Flanders, the peloton rolls into the Netherlands, and we hope for another cracking race. Weather Sunny, but with temperatures not getting above 10 degrees, it will feel a little on the nippy side. Lap Circuit The riders do three laps of this circuit, which features the Geulhemmerberg (900m at 5%), Bemelerberg (900m at 5.1%) and the Cauberg (800m at 7.4%). The race ends the way the men’s race used to, with the Cauberg topping out just 2km from the finish. Tactics SD Worx were back to their dominant best in Flanders,...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Eibar > Arrate 135.8km The final stage, it’s another belter. Just like in Paris-Nice and Catalunya this is another race that ends with an incredible stage. It changes slightly from year to year, but it always delivers. After some tactical days, we’ll have to see how the teams approach this one. Last year, it exploded very early, we’ll have to wait and see what this year brings. Weather There’s a little bit of rain in the area, they might get lucky and miss it. Key Points After 38km of racing, the fun begins. We have a cat 2 climb quickly...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Zamudio > Mallabia 163.1km Get ready for another fun day in the Basque Country. So far, the race has been a little on the tactical side, this stage should be one for the big hitters. Weather Mild, and the wind will be stronger than in recent days. There is a chance of rain towards the end of the stage, that will make the final descent a little tricky. Key Points The final categorised climb of the day is this cat 2 effort. Overall, it’s 7.1km at 5.3%, but the opening 3km averages 9%.  This is the rise to the finishing...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Gasteiz > Zamudio 185km Another day with brutal gradients! With 2729m of climbing, this stage is easier than today, but it could still be selective. Weather A nice day with temperatures getting above 20 degrees. Key Points This stage is all about the last two climbs, the first of which is 1.9km at 11.1%.  The final climb of the day is officially 6.3km at 5.9%, but that hides the horror contained in the opening 2km where the gradient averages almost 11%. From the crest there is just under 20km to go. Picture This is the final 300m, you can see...

2022 Men’s Scheldeprijs Preview

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2022 Men’s Scheldeprijs Previewcyclingmole

Terneuzen > Schoten 198.8km You’d better hold on to your hat, otherwise it might blow off. The red in the above picture shows the crosswind sections in this race, as you can see there’s quite a lot of them!  Weather Rain and lots of wind. At the start of the race the wind will be around 40km/h, which will feel a lot more in this exposed part of the world. It’s crazy to think that the opening 75km of the race is an exposed crosswind. When you throw in some rain, this is going to be one of those epic...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Laudio > Amurio 181.1km Stage 3 and the GC battle is going to get started. We have 3509m of climbing, it’s going to be a tough day in the saddle. The day ends with a circuit that contains two steep climbs; this lap is done on two occasions. Despite the final climb cresting 24km from home, expect to see big attacks. Weather It will be a cloudy day, but it should stay dry. With temperatures hitting 15 degrees, it will feel relatively warm. Key Points These are the two climbs in the lap circuit, you can see that they are...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Leitza > Viana 207km It’s one of those days where you think it’s going to be a breakaway, but probably ends up in a sprint. The start is good news for the break, as is the lack of sprinters in the peloton. The bad news for the breakaway is the whole field are close on GC, and you can’t simply ask good climbers not to take their chances and jump in the morning move. The chances of the morning break depend on its size, lack of a GC threat and which teams miss out. Weather Cloudy sun, with temperatures getting...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Hondarribi 7.5km ITT The race begins with a short TT, one that doesn’t contain much flat road. The first climb starts after 1.5km of the effort, it is 1.44km at 3.8%, but the opening 600m does average 8%. Once the climb has been crested, and the KOM jersey is given out, there is a fast descent which ends with 3km left. In this section there are two climbs: 400m at 4.5% and 250m at 7%. Given the amount of climbing in just 7.5km, this is a tough TT. Weather Cloudy sun and the wind will be the same for all. Contenders...

2022 Itzulia Basque Country Overall Preview

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2022 Itzulia Basque Country Overall Previewcyclingmole

After the fun of Flanders, the racing continues over in the Basque Country. As usual, the race features lots of double-digit gradients, something most of us love. With sickness ripping through the peloton, we’ll have to wait and see who’s healthy enough to challenge for the overall win. The good news is that the weather will be much nicer than it’s been in the last week. Stage 1 We begin with a short TT, with some gorgeous views out to the Bay of Biscay. Just 7.5km long, it features three little kickers, which means it shouldn’t see big gaps between...

2022 Men’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen Preview

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2022 Men’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen Previewcyclingmole

Antwerp > Oudenaarde 272.5km The big one is here! Now that we’ve had time to process Van Aert’s absence, it’s time to focus on the race.  Weather When the race starts the temperature will only be 2 degrees, and it will only reach a maximum of 7 degrees. Luckily, the sun will be out and there won’t be any of snow that the region had in the last couple of days. Getting your clothing right will be very important, as will the timing of removing the extra layers. Key Point For me, the finale starts with the approach to Berg...

2022 Women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen Preview

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2022 Women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen Previewcyclingmole

Oudenaarde > Oudenaarde 158.6km It’s time for Flanders. For the first time, the women’s edition features the Koppenberg, a climb that makes the race significantly harder. We’ve had lots of sprint finishes in recent races, the attackers will be hoping for a tough race and not another Balsamo win. Weather Starting in the afternoon means the women’s race will get the better of the conditions. We’ll have lots of sun, but temperatures won’t get above 7 degrees. Key Point In the space of 32km, the bunch must tackle the Koppenberg, Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg, Oude Kruisberg, Kruisberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. This...

2022 Men’s Dwars door Vlaanderen Preview

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2022 Men’s Dwars door Vlaanderen Previewcyclingmole

Roeselare > Waregem 183.7km The organisers have decided to significantly change the race, introducing roads that are rarely seen in big races. We still have climbs and cobbles that we’re used to seeing, but at first glance the route does like easier than previous editions. What the profile doesn’t show is the narrow roads, this will make life difficult for teams looking to organise a chase. Sprinters will still have a chance, but the race isn’t straightforward. Weather A cloudy day in Belgium, but it will stay dry. Temperatures will be around 14 degrees. The wind will be around 18km/h,...

2022 Women’s Dwars door Vlaanderen Preview

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2022 Women’s Dwars door Vlaanderen Previewcyclingmole

Waregem > Waregem 120.1km The organisers have decided to significantly change the race, introducing roads that are rarely seen in big races. We still have climbs and cobbles that we’re used to seeing, but at first glance the route does like easier than previous editions. What the profile doesn’t show is the narrow roads, this will make life difficult for teams looking to organise a chase. Sprinters will still have a chance, but the race isn’t straightforward. Weather A cloudy day in Belgium, but it will stay dry. Temperatures will be around 14 degrees. The wind will be around 18km/h,...

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Barcelona > Barcelona 138.6km Well, that was bonkers! The rain poured down and two wee guys from South America stole the show. Sergio Higuita is the new race leader, he is 16 seconds ahead of Carapaz, with Almeida sitting 52 seconds down. You might think the GC is over, but not with the Montjuïc circuit to deal with. Both Higuita and Carapaz used up a lot of energy today, how much will they have left for the final stage? It’s going to be a brilliant watch. Weather Much nicer than today, with sun and pleasant temperatures. Key Points The climbing...

2022 Men’s Gent-Wevelgem Preview

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2022 Men’s Gent-Wevelgem Previewcyclingmole

Ypres > Wevelgem 248.9km They dust has settled after a brilliant E3, now it’s time for something entirely different. Yes, the form guide is there from Friday, but this race is significantly easier, especially if the wind doesn’t blow. One of the big factors in this race is the distance, not all the sprinters cope well with the 250km.  Weather Another beautiful day in Belgium, northern Europe is experiencing an unseasonable spell just now. Temperatures will be around 17 degrees and the wind shouldn’t go above 20km/h. We have lots of exposed roads as the bunch head north to Veurne...

2022 Women’s Gent-Wevelgem Preview

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2022 Women’s Gent-Wevelgem Previewcyclingmole

Ypres > Wevelgem 158.9km With the last two world tour wins going to Elisa Balsamo, she will fancy her chances of taking three in a row, which would be one hell of an achievement. This race is one that usually ends in a sprint, but you cannot discount the attackers. Weather Sunny and very nice. The wind won’t get above 20km/h, which will make it hard to create any meaningful echelons. Key Point This is where we see who won’t win the race. In quick succession the bunch must tackle the Monteberg, Kemmelberg, Baneberg and another ascent of the Kemmelberg....

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Salou > Cambrils 169km A great looking stage for the breakaway, especially when you consider the race situation. We have two fast sprinters left in the race, Bauhaus and Groves, both of whom don’t have many teammates to chase on the front. The early cat 1 climb is very hard, the quick men will struggle and lose a fair amount of time, which will be almost impossible to make back up. The whole peloton will know this is a day for the breakaway, which means the pace on the first climb will be hard, we might even see someone relatively...

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

La Pobla de Segur > Vilanova i la Geltrú 206.1km After today’s firecracker of a finish, we have Nairo Quintana as the new leader, but João Almeida sits on the same time as him. This means bonus seconds are going to come into play in this stage, and they’ve been placed near the end of the stage, which is very bad news for those hoping for a breakaway success. The sprints come with 30km and 12km to go, UAE will be very interested in these, as will Bora as Higuita is only 6 seconds down on GC. Both riders would...

2022 E3 Preview

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2022 E3 Previewcyclingmole

Harelbeke > Harelbeke 204.7km One of the best races of the season. It might have a shit name, but this is a golden race. Calling it a mini-Flanders does it a disservice, this is a race that is real test of power and strength. We’ve seen QuickStep dominate the last three editions, but is the balance of power shifting in the classics? Weather A beautiful day with lots of sunshine and temperatures hitting 18 degrees. The wind will reach around 18km/h, so it shouldn’t split the race, but you just never know in this part of the world. Key Points...

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

La Seu d’Urgell > Boí Taüll 167.1km The Queen stage with 3420m of climbing. We have three big climbs, all of them feature steady gradients, but it’s still a big day of climbing. With so many riders still relatively close to the race lead, this is a stage that could get messy. It’s going to be a long day for AG2R and Ben O’Connor. Weather Not a bad day, but it will be cold at the top of the mountains. Just like today, there will be a light headwind on the final climb. The Big Climb 16.2km at 5.7% and...

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Perpignan > La Molina 160.8km First of the GC days and we return to La Molina. History tells us this is a climb where making differences between the best riders is hard, especially with just one ascent. The organisers have tried to make the earlier part of the stage quite hard, but both cat 1 climbs have shallow gradients and won’t have an impact on the race. This stage is all about the final climb. Weather Sunny, but a little cold up at the top of the mountains. There’s a bit of crosswind at the start of the stage, but...

2022 Brugge-De Panne Preview

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2022 Brugge-De Panne Previewcyclingmole

Brugge > De Panne 205.9km The surprisingly few days of De Panne! Get ready for a big sprint. Weather A cracking day over in Belgium. Lots of sun and not much wind, it won’t be splitting in De Moeren. Finale The same finish as last year, it’s tricky to get right. We spend much of the final 5km on the main road, right beside the railway tracks. With 2km to go, the bunch head off the big road into the side streets, with a series of corners in rapid succession. You really need a good spot for the turn at...

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

L’Escala > Perpignan 201.9km The second stage should be an opportunity for the pure sprinters. We only have 2306m of climbing over the 200km, with the last of the classified climbs cresting with over 60km to go. Expect to see Bahrain, BikeExchange and UAE look to ensure the break is weak. A small move featuring riders from the Spanish pro-conti teams is exactly what they’re looking for. That will allow them to easily chase it down and set up a big sprint finish in France. Weather A much nicer day with plenty of sunshine. Once again, the wind will be...

2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Volta Catalunya Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Sant Feliu de Guíxols > Sant Feliu de Guíxols 171.4km The opening stage is a tricky one for the bunch. With only 1782m of climbing, you would normally expect this to be one for the sprinters, but I’m not too sure. Some will hope to be there for the finish, but puncheurs will sense a chance to challenge for the win. This is the same finish that was used in stage 2 back in 2019, when Michael Matthews took the win from Valverde, that tells you all you need to know about which riders it suits. Weather Windy! The wind...

2022 Volta a Catalunya Overall Preview

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2022 Volta a Catalunya Overall Previewcyclingmole

The peloton rolls into town for another exciting edition of Catalunya, a race that many can call their home event. Without a TT, the race is wide open and will interest many of the talented climbers here. The organisers have brought back a climb that’s not been in the race for a very long time, one that finishes close to 2000m above sea level. That and the usual mix of filthy weather makes this a tough race for all. Stage 1 A typical Catalunya opening stage, one that will interest the sprinters and puncheurs. The final climb is 4.6km at...

2022 Trofeo Binda Preview

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2022 Trofeo Binda Previewcyclingmole

Cocquio Trevisago > Cittiglio 141.7km The women’s world tour continues with the 47th edition of this race. The route is the same as last year, with four laps of the tricky finishing circuit. To win this race you need to have your climbing legs, having a fast sprint is also a plus. Weather Beautiful sunshine and hardly any wind. Key Point The Orino climb is always the main point of the race. The climb is 2.7km at 4.8% but does have a maximum gradient of 10%. Four ascents mean we get an elimination race, last time up crests with just 7.5km...

2022 Milano-Sanremo Preview

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2022 Milano-Sanremo Previewcyclingmole

Milano > Sanremo 292.9km The first monument of the season is here, it’s time for Milan-Sanremo. The route reverts to normal, and we’ll see the same race we get every year. I’m not a fan, but at least the final 30 minutes is exciting. Weather Not a bad day for a bike race. Interestingly, we’ll have a strong tailwind for most of the day. It’s going to be a fast and tough edition of the race. Key Points This is the Cipressa to the finish line. The Cipressa is 5.6km at 4.2%, followed by a fast descent. Then we have...

2022 Bredene Koksijde Classic Preview

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2022 Bredene Koksijde Classic Previewcyclingmole

Bredene > Koksijde 199km The route is very similar to last year, with the bunch heading south from Ostend, two times up the Kemmelberg, before heading north through De Moeren and then taking on a lap circuit in Koksijde. Most of the riders will be keeping an eye on the weather. Weather Sunny, but the wind is the most important factor in the race. When the bunch start, we’re only talking about 12km/h, but by the time the bunch head through De Moeren the wind will be 22km/h. At this point it’ll be a crosswind, and 22km/h feels like 40km/h...

2022 GP Denain Preview

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2022 GP Denain Previewcyclingmole

Denain > Denain 202.1km The cobbles continue in France with the 63rd GP Denain. The route is the same as last year, which means two finishing laps which feature a total of 12 cobble sectors. With the Tour de France containing a cobble stage, we have a few surprise names on the start list. It’s time to see what Roglič, Vingegaard and Martínez make of the pavé. Weather Nice and sunny, but there will be some wind around. It will come from the north and be around 20km/h. We have a lot of exposed sections, but the cobbles should be the...

2022 Nokere Koerse Preview

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2022 Nokere Koerse Previewcyclingmole

Deinze > Nokere 189.5km The organisers have tried to make the race a little more difficult than previous years, in the hope it doesn’t end in another big sprint. Most of the tinkering has been done in the opening section of the race, before we hit the lap circuit, so I doubt it will have much of an impact on proceedings.  Weather Not a typical day in March over in Belgium, the temperature will get close to 20 degrees. The wind will be around 20km/h all day long, that’s strong enough to cause some trouble. Key Points The lap circuit...

2022 Milano-Torino Preview

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2022 Milano-Torino Previewcyclingmole

Magenta > Rivoli 199.4km No more Superga, the race has moved to this spot in the calendar and it’s back to being a sprint. Sad times all round. The bizarre news is that some teams didn’t get the memo, they arrive without any sprinters! Imagine their shock when they got the road book. The route is dull, it’s a nailed-on sprint. Weather Nice and sunny. Finale Hands up who likes a roundabout? We have them with 5km, 3.3km, 2.7km, 2.4km, 2.2km, 2km and 1.6km to go. This is bonkers! It then calms down for a kilometre, with the final turn...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 8 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 8 Previewcyclingmole

Nice > Nice 115.5km A wet and windy day to finish off the race. After today’s mountain stage, Roglič has an even firmer grip of the yellow jersey, but we’ve seen before that it isn’t over until they cross the line in Nice. This stage is explosive, and if it rains, it will be even harder than before. It really is a beautiful stage, and with friends and family at the finishing line, lots of riders will have that little bit of extra motivation. Weather Wet and windy. The wind will strengthen throughout the day, eventually hitting 25km/h. Most of...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

San Benedetto del Tronto > San Benedetto del Tronto 159.2km The race ends with a sprint stage. We do have a few hills in the opening half of the stage, but then we have a lot of flat which is ideal for the sprint teams to catch the break. When organisers put a sprint stage at the end of the race, it can sometimes give the breakaway riders a little hope, it does depend on how well the fast men have endured the GC stages. We still have a lot of sprinters in the race, quite a few teams will...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Nice > Col de Turini 155.2km The big mountain stage! There was a concern that the weather wouldn’t be good enough to climb to the top of the Turini, but that doesn’t look to be the case. It’s a huge day for Jumbo-Visma and Roglič. Weather Grey and fairly cold, especially at the top of the mountain where temperatures will be below zero. We’ll have a headwind for most of the Turini. Key Points A proper mountain, 14.8km at 7.1%. Last time we were here, Martínez won from the breakaway. Back in the GC group Bernal and Quintana crossed the...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Apecchio > Carpegna 215.2km The Queen stage, with two ascents of Monte Carpegna. This is a very difficult climb, expect to see big gaps. Weather Another nice day, but it will be very cold on the climb. Key Points Almost 5km at 11%, this is a brutal climb. One ascent would be hard enough, but two will break most riders in the peloton. Twice down this descent, it’s a tricky one. Tactics How do you stop Pogačar? The only team with realistic multiple options seems to be Bahrain, they have Bilbao, Caruso and Landa all within 1:24 of the race...

2022 Women’s Ronde van Drenthe Preview

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2022 Women’s Ronde van Drenthe Previewcyclingmole

Assen > Hoogeveen 155.2km The world tour continues. After last weekend’s brilliant race in Strade Bianche, we head to the Netherlands for a race that’s better suited to the fast riders in the peloton. Yes, we have six cobbled sectors, but they happen very early in the race. Weather Cloudy, but relatively warm for this time of year. The wind is fairly strong, reaching close to 20km/h. It will be coming from the south-east, which does mean sections of crosswinds, but will it be strong enough for anyone to split the race? Key Point The Col du VAM is covered...

202 Paris-Nice Stage 6 Preview

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202 Paris-Nice Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Courthézon > Aubagne 213.5km We have a long stage ahead with almost 3000m of climbing. After today’s breakaway success, those that prefer flatter terrain will sense another opportunity to get up the road and take the stage win. It could end in a sprint, but with so many riders leaving the race, I’m not sure we have enough teams wanting to chase. Weather We’ll have wind of 25-30km/h for the whole stage, that’s windy! Coming from the south-east means a lot of headwind throughout the day, but there are some sections of crosswind. Much of the route is well protected...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Sefro > Fermo 154.5km After today’s display of Pogačar power, can anyone stop him from taking consecutive wins? This is your classic Tirreno stage, lots of wall climbs for the riders to get their teeth into. Weather Nice and sunny, with a lot of headwind throughout the stage. Key Points The final 11km is incredibly tough, it has four climbs contained in this short period of time. We have 2km at 8%, 600m at 11%, 650m at 15% and the final 1.5km rises at 6%, with some cobbles thrown in for good measure. This is a brilliant way to finish...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Cascata delle Marmore > Bellante 201.5km It’s the fourth stage and time for the sprinters to move to the side. We have 2970m of climbing, a lumpy opening to the stage and three laps of a circuit that finishes with a tricky climb. Weather Another sunny day. There isn’t a lot of wind, but it will mainly be a tailwind on the final climb. Key Points This climb is done three times in the final 45km. 4.2km at 5.9% doesn’t sound that hard, but as we’ve seen in recent races, it’s all about how hard it’s ridden.  Tactics UAE have...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert > Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut 188.7km A big old day in the mountains. With 3381m of climbing, this is the hardest stage in the race, but will it be a day for the GC riders? We have three cat 1 climbs, a cat 2, a cat 3 and an uncategorised bump cresting with 8km to go. Normally having the last big climb cresting with 30km to go would mean it’s a day for the break, but that isn’t guaranteed in a weeklong stage race. Teams will also be a little worried about the weather forecast for Saturday, there is a chance Col...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Murlo > Terni 170.4km 2083m of climbing in this stage, it’s going to be another sprint. Weather Sun and nice temperatures. There’s a lot of crosswind throughout the day, but apart from between km55 and km75, the route is well protected by trees. There is no point trying to split it. Finale We have four roundabouts between 5km and 3km to go, not ideal. Just inside the final 3km the bunch head off the main road, down a very narrow slip round which bends round and opens up onto another wide road.  We then have a fast right-hand turn at...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Domérat > Montluçon 13.3km ITT 13.3km in length and 198m of climbing. It’s not a hard TT, but it’s still tricky.  You can see that the road is rarely flat. The opening 4km is mainly uphill, the next 8km is the easy section, before a little wall at the finish. This wall is 500m at 9%, a nasty finish to any TT. Last year the TT ended with a rise, that was only 300m at 7.4%. To compare the two TTs, last year was 14.3km and had 154m of climbing, this year is considerably harder. Weather Nice and sunny, another...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Vierzon > Dun-le-Palestel 190.6km After today’s crazy stage, this one should be a calmer affair. The second half of the stage is constantly up and down and the race finishes with one lap of a circuit around the finishing town. This circuit is harder than it looks, particularly as it takes place on narrow roads. A sprint is still more than likely, this is the last chance for the pure sprinters. Weather Sunny and a lot warmer than the first two stages. The wind is much lighter than today, there shouldn’t be any echelons. Lap Circuit It’s complicated. Narrow roads,...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Camaiore > Sovicille 219km Stage 2 is the first of the sprint stages, and it’s a long day in the saddle. 220km is perfect for those looking to get racing kilometres in the legs for some of the classics that are fast approaching. No doubt, the race will follow a familiar pattern. We’ll see a break consisting of mainly Italian teams getting a very large gap, before the peloton bring it back for the sprint. I’m calling it now, Albanese, Tonelli and Bais will all be in the break! Weather Sunny and cold. The wind is quite strong at close...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Auffargis > Orléans 159.2km Get ready for echelon heaven! We head south from Paris, through wide open roads, everyone knows what’s going to happen. Weather Cold and sunny. The wind will be around 20-25km/h and will come from the east. That means pure crosswind for almost the whole day. It’s going to be carnage. Tactics The race will start with a nervous bunch, that usually means crashes. Teams need to stay calm; the race won’t split in the opening 60km. This part of the race is well sheltered from the wind, although there some exposed sections. The shit hits the...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Lido di Camaiore 13.9km ITT Out and back, very reminiscent of a club TT but this one features some of the finest TT riders in the world.  With just a couple of corners, this TT is all about power.  Weather Consistent for all. It’ll be sunny and feel nice with temperatures at 11 degrees. There isn’t much wind. Contenders Filippo Ganna – after losing to Bissegger in the UAE Tour, Ganna will be approaching this race with extra motivation. The Italian doesn’t lose many TTs, especially ones that look like this. The route is perfect for him, he can hit numbers...

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Overall Preview

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2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Overall Previewcyclingmole

No TTT, the ITT is the first stage, and we finish with a sprint. The organisers have gone mad! The big news is the lack of a mountaintop finish, it’s always good to see races trying new approaches, hopefully we get an attacking race. Five of the top six from last year’s Tour are here, including the whole podium, this is a race full of big hitters. Stage 1 The race begins with a 14km ITT. With just one corner, this is all about pure power. Stage 2 A long stage of 219km, which will end in a sprint.  Stage...

2022 Paris-Nice Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Mantes-la-Ville > Mantes-la-Ville 159.7km Very much a classical opening stage of Paris-Nice. We have a chance of echelons, some punchy climbs, a chance for the puncheurs and hope for the sprinters. As I said, a classic opening stage of Paris-Nice. Weather Cold and sunny with a wind of 15-20km/h coming from the north-east. There is a lovely crosswind section inside the final 70km, which lasts for around 20km, but then there is a lot of headwind as the bunch head back towards the finish. There is a chance the race splits and comes back together. Key Points The first of...

2022 Strade Bianche Preview

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2022 Strade Bianche Previewcyclingmole

Siena > Siena 184km Same route as previous years, no need to change anything. This is one of the best races of the year, it rarely fails to deliver. Will it follow a similar path to previous years? Unfortunately, several riders have dropped out in the last 24 hours, it’s a shame we won’t see Pidcock and Bardet on the start line. Weather Cold and sunny, but it’s the wind that will interest some. The opening half of the race will have 25km/h winds, coming from the north-east. The direction means a lot of headwind as the riders head back...

2022 Paris-Nice Overall Preview

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2022 Paris-Nice Overall Previewcyclingmole

We head for Paris-Nice, the first big stop of the year for the GC riders. It’s the usual mix of stages, with the climbers keeping one eye on the weather forecast. A crash denied Roglič in 2021, will he make up for it this year? Stage 1 Looks like a classic opening stage of PN to me, one that interests the sprinters and puncheurs. There’s a tricky climb inside the final 7km, but some of the fast men will expect to hold on. Stage 2 Potential crosswind day, expect a nervous peloton. Stage 3 A lumpy second half of the...

2022 Strade Bianche Donne Preview

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2022 Strade Bianche Donne Previewcyclingmole

Siena > Siena 135.9km The women’s peloton rolls into Italy, and we’re all set for the first world tour race of 2022. The organisers have stuck with the same route that’s been used in previous years, there’s no need to change it. As usual, we’ll see lots of attacking riding and exciting racing. Weather Sunny and cold. There’s quite a lot of wind around, and it will mainly be tailwind in the final 10km. Key Points &lt;/p&gt; Sector 6 is Monteaperti, it’s a steep one. </p> Then we have Colle Pinzutto, the longest of the sectors in the finale. Sector...

2022 Le Samyn Preview

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2022 Le Samyn Previewcyclingmole

Quaregnon > Dour 208.2km After a cracking opening weekend, the cobbles continue in Le Samyn. The organisers have made a few changes to the route compared to previous years, with a new bit of road before the lap circuit and the finale reverts to the usual finish, straight up to the finishing line. The changes won’t have an impact on the race as the cobbled sectors remain unchanged. This race can often throw up a surprise winner and it’s also at the mercy of the elements. Weather Boring this year! The wind is only around 10km/h, which isn’t enough to...

2022 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Preview

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2022 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Previewcyclingmole

Kuurne > Kuurne 195.2km The Oude Kwaremont has been taken out of the race; the organisers feel it’s done in enough races. Removing it has a massive impact on the race, it’s no surprise to see most teams arrive with a top line sprinter. Can the attackers steal the day? Weather Very similar to the weather in Omloop but the wind will be stronger. It will be around 20km/h and coming from the south-east. Temperatures won’t get very high, but there will be lots of sunshine. Key Points This is the important section of the race, we have six climbs...

2022 UAE Tour Stage 7 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Al Ain > Jebel Hafeet 147.8km The race ends with the big mountain stage. We’ve been here many times; it’s climb we all know well. It is on wide roads, but the mountain is steep and very demanding, especially in the heat. The GC is still all to play for, but UAE are looking nice and strong. Weather It’s a very hot day with temperatures over 30 degrees, even on the climb. There is a little bit of wind around, and the early parts of the stage are exposed to the elements. If the wind gusts, we’ll see some teams...

2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women’s Preview

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2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women’s Previewcyclingmole

Ghent > Ninove 129.1km After a gentle opening over in Spain, the women’s season properly kicks off with the 14th edition of The Omloop. We have a new look SD Worx looking to continue their dominance, but they will come under fierce pressure from the likes of Trek-Segafredo and Movistar. Weather A beautiful day for racing. It’s sunny, relatively cold and there isn’t much wind. Key Points This is where the race will be decided. The bunch hit the Wolvenberg at km74 and the next 40km is full of climbs and cobbles. I think we’ll see the big action when they...

2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Men’s Preview

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2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Men’s Previewcyclingmole

Ghent > Ninove 204.3km It’s time for The Omloop! The organisers have made a few changes to the route, out goes the Molenberg and in comes Marlboroughstraat and Biesestraat, plus some lovely narrow roads. It’s a risk to remove the Molenberg, but the addition of the narrow stretches of road will have an impact on the tactics in the race. Weather Cold, sunny, and not much wind.  Key Points This is where the race will be decided. The bunch hit the Wolvenberg at km149 and the next 40km is full of climbs and cobbles. I think we’ll see the big...

2022 UAE Tour Stage 6 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Expo 2020 Dubai > Expo 2020 Dubai 179.8km The final sprint stage, it looks like another messy one. Nothing much to say about the route, this is all about the finish. Weather Another sunny day. There is some wind around, but it shouldn’t cause any echelons. Finale Just a couple of gentle corners in the final 5km, it’s another finish that’s hard to get right. Contenders Jasper Philipsen – today was another example of just how good Alpecin-Fenix are. In the final 10km, they didn’t lead the peloton, not until Philipsen burst to the front with 100m to go. It’s a...

2022 UAE Tour Stage 5 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Ras al Khaimah Corniche > Al Marjan Island 181.9km Today the climbers had their fun, this stage is another for the quick men. The only thing that could stop the sprinters is the wind. Weather Hot and sunny.  The wind is coming from the west and will be 10-15km/h. There is a beautiful section of crosswind from km125 to km155, but the wind doesn’t look strong enough. Now, when riding in the desert it doesn’t take much to cause echelons, so I live in hope. Finale Out, U-turn, back.  Tactics We’ve seen in the first two sprints just how hard it...

2022 Gran Camiño Overall Preview

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2022 Gran Camiño Overall Previewcyclingmole

The first ever edition of Gran Camiño! Spain has been crying out for another stage race, and it’s great to see one taking place in Galicia, a beautiful part of the world where roads are rarely flat. We have one punchy stage, two GC days and a tough TT to round off the race. Stage 1 The punchy stage. The big climb crests with 30km, but it’s not that hard, so this should end in a reduced bunch sprint. There is a chance of a late attack succeeding, if it contains riders from the big world tour teams, but Movistar...

2022 UAE Tour Stage 4 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Fujairah Fort > Jebel Jais 180.7km The fourth stage is the first of the mountaintop finishes, it’s time for the sprinters to move to the side. Like the other stages in the race, it’s a very boring day for everyone, until the final 10km.  Weather Nice and sunny, the wind will be around 10km/h. There is a crosswind section from km100 until km135, but the wind shouldn’t be strong enough to cause any echelons.  Finale Long and steady. The wide roads always makes the climb easier for the riders, staying hidden in the bunch provides a massive assistance. The early...

2022 UAE Tour Stage 3 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Ajman 9km ITT If you thought the first two stages were boring, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We have a 9km TT, 4.5km out and 4.5km back. The cycling equivalent of watching paint dry. I know some of you out there love this discipline, but I’m not one. I can appreciate an aero TT position, but that’s about it. At least it’s only 9km! Weather The wind is coming from the west and should strengthen throughout the day, eventually reaching 28km/h, and then weaken a little. The riders have a tailwind for the first half, then headwind for the second....

2022 UAE Tour Stage 2 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Hudayriyat Island > Abu Dhabi Breakwater 176.4km The second stage is that should end in a sprint, but you just never know. Weather Hot and windy. The wind will come from the north-west and will be around 25-30km/h. That is well enough to cause splits. There are a few crosswind sections in the opening 90km. The problem is that after this we have a lot of headwind. Finale Another straight finish, at least this one has a turn with 1.4km to go. We saw today that it’s very difficult to get these finishes right, it takes a lot of luck....

2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Huesa > Chiclana de Segura 146.4km The race ends with a tricky looking stage. We have a series of climbs in the opening 20km, two tough looking climbs in the middle of the day, and then a challenging uphill finish. With the GC still delicately balanced, it’s a stage that should provide a lot of entertainment. Wout Poels is 10 seconds clear of López, with a group of four riders sitting 2 seconds further back. With no bonus seconds, differences must be made on the road, and that won’t be easy. Bahrain is now the team in control of the...

2022 UAE Tour Stage 1 Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Madinat Zayed > Madina Zayed 184.1km It’s a strange looking opening stage. The bunch head south, then do two laps of a circuit that includes a series of small climbs, before heading due north towards the finishing line. The whole race takes place in the desert, so there is a chance of echelons, but the climbers will be delighted when they check the weather forecast. Weather Hot, we’re talking temperatures over 30 degrees. The wind will come from the south and will be around 20km/h, but I don’t expect any echelons as most of the stage is either headwind or...

2022 Alto ao Algarve Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Alto ao Algarve Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Lagoa > Malhão 172.8km The final stage in the Algarve is the traditional finish at the top of Alto do Malhão, but this year it already feels like an anti-climax. Remco Evenepoel destroyed everyone today, it looks like he’s got the race in the bag. The breakaway has won this stage in the past, but only if it features strong riders. QuickStep don’t need to make the race; they can sit back and allow others to do so. Ineos do have several options to play, they’ll want to try and see if they can put pressure on Remco, even if...

2022 UAE Tour Overall Preview

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2022 UAE Tour Overall Previewcyclingmole

The world tour is back! This is the first “big” race of the season, although most will still say the season doesn’t begin until Omloop. The race follows a familiar pattern, lots of flat sprint stages to attract some of the fastest riders in the world, a short TT and then two mountaintop finishes. It’s not the most exciting race in the world, but it’s an important test, nonetheless. Stage 1 The opening stage takes place out in the desert, we’ll have to see if we get a similar stage to 2021. Stage 2 Should be a big sprint, they...

2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Gabia Grande > Baza 167.3km The profile looks like the organisers took the normal Queen stage and flipped it. The hardest climb in the whole race comes just 15km into the stage. The Monachil climb is well known in this area, it’s an absolute brut of an effort. Last time it was used was back in 2020, when Jack Haig, Jakob Fuglsang and Mikel Landa crested it together(ish) before descending back down into Granada, where Haig won the sprint.  Putting the climb at the start of the stage is an interesting move by the organisers. The stage is 167km in...

2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Vila Real de Santo António > Tavira 32.2km ITT This is a very long time trial for a five-day race. The gaps between the riders will be huge and this stage will shape the GC battle. The route is relatively flat, there is an uphill section in the middle, but the gradients won’t worry any of the TT specialists. This is all about raw power. Weather The wind is coming from the north and will reach around 30km/h, which is bloody windy for a TT. The first half of the route is either headwind or crosswind, with a lovely tailwind...

2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Almodôvar > Faro 211.2km At 211km, this a long stage, prefect preparation for those soon heading for the classics. With just 2100m of climbing, this is an easy stage, and should really end in a sprint. However, there will be some who see this as a good shot at the breakaway. We now have lots of riders well down on GC, expect to see some of the world tour teams looking to get in the morning break. The other good news for the attackers is the absence of Tim Declercq, who had to abandon the race due to sickness. Wanty,...

2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Archidona > Alcalá la Real 150.5km After today’s craziness, we go again. It was a perfect example of why riders go in the break, even when everyone thinks it doesn’t stand a chance. Hats off to all the breakaway riders and Rune Herregodts. It now means that Sport – Vlaanderen – Baloise are in control of the race, they will ride to defend the jersey, even if there isn’t much chance of them holding onto it. This stage has a similar finish to the stage Ethan Hayter won last year. It’s a lumpy day, but without any significant climbs, that’s...

2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Albufeira > Fóia 182.3km The second stage is one we all know well, the uphill finish in Fóia. Nothing much will happen throughout the day, then it all kicks off with 30km to go. Weather Lots of sun and not much wind, perfect conditions for the riders. As usual, there will be a headwind for most of the final climb. Finale The penultimate climb can often be ignored, but it really shouldn’t be. This is where teams can get on the front and blow the race apart, it’s all about trying to drop domestiques and isolate leaders. The reason for...

2022 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Femines Overall Preview

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2022 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Femines Overall Previewcyclingmole

The stage race season begins for the women’s peloton with the sixth edition of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. The four stages involve one sprint, one mountaintop finish and two punchy days. With a start list full of the best riders in the world, the racing should be exciting and full of aggression. Stage 1 Too hard for the sprinters. The final climb begins with 4.65km at 5.7%, and we have some beautiful harpin bends. The horrible part of the hill comes next, as it continues to gradually rise for another 4km, this will kill the legs of many riders. Once the...

2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Ubrique > Iznáiar 200.6km The race begins with a funny looking stage. We have 3547m of climbing, but a lot of that comes right at the start of the day, the rest of the route is undulating, but without big gradients. How the bunch ride the opening climb will determine the race we get. Will a strong break escape? Will a team like Astana take control and ride a good tempo on the climb, before allowing a break to escape after it? Stages don’t often look like this, I’m excited to see what type of race we get. Weather Lovely...

2022 Vuelta a Andalucía Overall Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Andalucía Overall Previewcyclingmole

Now for something a little different! The organisers have made significant changes to the race, out goes a big mountain stage and in comes lots of punchy days. I can’t remember the last time I saw a big race look like this; I’m hoping it encourages attacking racing. Some teams arrive with hugely talented squads, they’ll be carefully analysing the route to see where they can take advantage of their numbers, I can’t see the peloton simply rolling each stage and setting up a “sprint” finish. Stage 1 The opening stage begins with a climb of 10.3km at 6.4%. Having...

2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Portimão > Lagos 199.3km The opening stage of this race usually ends in a big sprint, but maybe not this year. The route is straightforward, but the weather might have other plans. Weather The wind will reach a maximum of 25km/h and will come from the north-west. Most of the opening 130km will be into a headwind, then the bunch turn and head back down towards Lagos, meaning a cross/tailwind for just about the rest of the race. This part of the world does have a lot of trees, but with 35km to go, things start to get a little...

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Al Mouj > Matrah Corniche 132.3km The final stage of the race is one that has been used many times. It should be another chance for the sprinters, but there is enough to interest the puncheurs too. Saying that, the morning break has an okay chance of success, as long as teams don’t try and create echelons. Weather Another sunny day. The wind will be around 15km/h, so it wouldn’t normally split the race, but there is a lot of cross/tailwind. Expect someone to try and create echelons. Finale The stage ends with a lap circuit, which contains an interesting...

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Sama’il > Jabal Al Akhdhar 154.2km It’s time for the Queen stage of the race, as the peloton head back up the Green Mountain. After a brilliant performance today, Fausto Masnada has a commanding lead, the GC battle is all but over. The Italian leads Anthon Charmig by an enormous 55 seconds, with Jan Hirt a further 3 seconds back. This is unchartered territory for this race, normally the GC is decided in this stage and the gaps are small at the start of it. Weather Not as hot as previous days, but still lovely and sunny. The wind is...

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Al Sifah > Muscat Royal Opera 119.3km This stage has been used many times in the past, it used to finish outside the Ministry of Tourism. The organisers have tinkered with the number of climbs the riders have to do, but recently have settled with three ascents in the closing stages. If you’ve never seen it before, the bunch go up a highway, back down the same bit of road, and then back up the same bit of road. It might not sound exciting, but we usually get good racing in this stage. Weather Another roasting hot day with temperatures...

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Sultan Qaboos University > Qurayyat 1801.1km This stage marks the start of the GC battle. A finish that has been used three times in the past, the climb always seems to be harder than the numbers suggest. Weather Hot, not much wind, sunny. Last time we were here the race split before the climb, not this year. Finale It doesn’t look much, but this finish always causes surprising gaps. Puncheurs can hang on and take the win, Kragh Andersen and Boasson Hagen have won here in the past. Saying that, Lutsenko won the last time we visited, so it can...

2022 Tour de la Provence Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour de la Provence Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Istres > Les Saintes Maries de la Mer 151.6km Strap yourself in, this stage is going to be a cracker. Weather We have 40km/h wind coming from the north, and lots of exposed roads. This is a nightmare for some of the skinny climbers, their GC bid will be over before it even begins. Tactics Much of the opening 65km is headwind, then the fun begins. The vast majority of the final 90km of the stage will have crosswind or cross/tailwind. With the wind up at 40km/h, and gusting stronger, it’s going to be utter chaos. In all honesty, we...

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Naseem Garden > Sohar Corniche 167.3km Another boring looking sprint stage, or will it be? Weather The wind is to strengthen throughout the day, and as the whole day is spent on the coast, there is a chance of echelons. There will be a lot of crosswind, but with the wind only around 15km/h, it would take a big effort to split the bunch. No doubt some teams will try, we’ll have to wait and see if they’re successful. Finale Long, straight roads. The lack of pinch points makes life harder for the sprint trains, this is where experience is...

2022 Tour de la Provence Prologue Preview

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2022 Tour de la Provence Prologue Previewcyclingmole

Berre l’Étang 7.2km Prologue Get up to speed as fast as you can, hold top speed for as long as you can, try to only use your brakes in the U-turn. That’s me summed up the tactics for this stage. Weather The wind will strengthen throughout the day, but it will only reach a max of around 11km/h. The early starters will have a slight advantage, but not much. Contenders Filippo Ganna – fresh from winning the TT in Bessèges, he’ll be confident of taking this stage too. The route is brilliant for Ganna, very few riders can hold the...

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Al Rustaq > Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre 138.1km The race begins a with straightforward sprint stage. A small break will get it up the road, the bunch will slowly catch them, setting up a big sprint. Weather Hot! Finale Easy finish, with a big turn with 900 to go. Obviously, this is the crunch point for the sprint trains, but with 900 still to go there is still time to rescue a poor position. The final 800m averages 2.7%, so timing of the jump will be important. The team that leads into the final turn will still need two...

2022 Tour de la Provence Overall Preview

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2022 Tour de la Provence Overall Previewcyclingmole

In recent years the Tour de la Provence has delivered some brilliant racing, this year will hopefully be no different. There is no Ventoux this time round, instead we climb Montagne de Lure, which is a long and demanding climb. Several big named riders start their season here, it will be fascinating to see who hits the ground running. Prologue The race begins with a fast 7.2km prologue. There aren’t many corners, this is all about power. Stage 1 On paper, this is one for the sprinters, but it all depends on the wind. This part of the world is...

2022 Tour of Oman Overall Preview

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2022 Tour of Oman Overall Previewcyclingmole

Back after a two-year hiatus, the Tour of Oman returns with a familiar route for 2022. It’s the usual mix of sprints, punchy stages and the Green Mountain. With hot temperatures, this race provides a stiff test so early in the season. Stage 1 The race begins with a gentle sprint stage, with the final 900m rising at around 3%. Stage 2 Another easy sprint stage, but all day is spent on the coast, will the wind be strong enough to cause echelons? Stage 3 We have the first of the punchy stages with the usual finish in Qurayyat. 2.5km...

2022 Vuelta CV Feminas Preview

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2022 Vuelta CV Feminas Previewcyclingmole

Paterna > Valencia 91.3km The women’s season kicks off in Spain with the fourth edition of the race. We’ve had a big sprint every year and don’t see anything changing. The route is one that doesn’t throw up any challenges, and all teams will be more than happy with a gentle start to the year and a sprint finish. Weather Sunny with temperatures around 15 degrees. The wind is relatively weak and will be a headwind as the bunch head towards Valencia. Finale The bunch approach the finish on a big highway, which means we could see some drag racing....

2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Paterna > Valencia 91.9km The race ends with a short stage in Valencia. Just 92km in length, this stage usually ends in a bunch finish. It is possible for something different to happen, you just never know how many riders will try and jump in the morning break. Weather The race ends with a sunny day, but temperatures will stay around 15 degrees. Finale The bunch approach the finish on a big highway, which means we could see some drag racing. The finish is nice and easy, the roundabout with 1km to go is the only pinch point. We do...

2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Orihuela > Torrevieja 192.7km This is another day for the fast men. We don’t have any proper climbs in the stage, but the bunch will be a little worried about echelons. The majority of the final 60km hugs the coastline, and the wind is coming from the sea, which means a lot of cross/tailwind. We don’t often see splits in this race, but some riders will sense a small opportunity in this stage. Weather A little bit grey again, but it should stay dry. The wind will come from the east, and will reach around 22km/h, which is strong enough...

2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Orihuela > Torrevieja 155km The big day in the battle for the yellow jersey. With 3650m of climbing, this is a tough day in the saddle, especially when we look at the final climb. This climb can be categorised in many ways, I’ll go with 4.5km at 10.5%, and the final 3km is on gravel. QuickStep came here during team camp to do a recon, but thought their GPS was wrong when it tried to take them up the stone path, but it’s real! The organisers have said the road is in a better condition than it was then, but...