Riders to Watch in 2023 – Archie Ryan

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Archie RyanImage Credit: Cassandra Donne

Ireland doesn’t produce many professional cyclists, but the ones they do produce are quality. Archie Ryan is the next Irish star in the making. The young climber has just turned 21 and he rides for the Jumbo-Visma Development Team, but he’s already had some opportunities to ride for the pro team, and he’s impressed in the elite ranks. In September, he raced in the 2.1 race, Tour de Slovaquie, and he won the 2nd stage against high quality opposition. “Taking my first pro win was amazing, quite unexpected actually. I came into the race with no pressure of results, just let’s...

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Matthew Riccitello

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Matthew RiccitelloImage Credit: Sprint Cycling

Matthew Riccitello is a very talented young man. He’s the latest American to make the jump to the professional ranks and he’s got a bright future ahead with Israel Premier – Tech. A quality climber, he’s one who’ll try to shine in the mountains and develop into a top GC man. At the start of the year, he set himself some big goals. “I had pretty high hopes and ambitions going into the season. I saw the Baby Giro and l’Avenir as my two target races. I was aiming for the overall podium as well as a stage win in...

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Thomas Gloag

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Thomas GloagImage Credit: Tour de l'Avenir Organisation

Thomas Gloag to Team Jumbo-Visma caught a few by surprise. He’s their first British rider this millennium and most expected that he’d join Ineos, but there are a growing number of options for young British pros and it’s great to see Tom head down a lesser worn path. After a very impressive performance in Tour de l’Avenir in 2021, it was no surprise to see many of the best teams take an interest, but this year didn’t always go according to plan. “This year was a massive learning curve. The last few years I have, on the whole, been incredibly...

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Gerben Thijssen

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Gerben ThijssenImage Credit: pickx sports

Gerben Thijssen has enjoyed a wonderful season, his first with Intermarché – Wanty. A few eyebrows were raised when they signed him from Lotto Soudal, especially as 2021 was a bit of a struggle for the sprinter. Immediately, they put together a sprint train to support Gerben, this train remained consistent throughout the season, which was a big part in his success. For me, it was a stroke of genius to team Gerben up with Boy van Poppel, a hugely experienced lead out man, who was a big help in all of Gerben’s wins this season. “For me, personally, when...

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Mattias Skjelmose

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Mattias SkjelmoseImage Credit: Sprint Cycling

I’ll get this out the way nice and early, I love Mattias Skjelmose. You see, he’s my kind of rider, someone who throws caution to the wind, and doesn’t mind living dangerously. He’s got panache.  The Dane joined Trek-Segafredo back at the end of 2020, with 2021 being his first full season. That year he delivered some promising results, especially in the second half of the year, it hinted at what was to come, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for his explosion onto the scene in 2022.  “I was confident in myself, but not confident enough to even...

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Reuben Thompson

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Reuben Thompsoncyclingmole

Reuben Thompson started 2022 already with a professional contract in the bag, thanks to a hugely successful 2021 where he achieved many good results including winning Giro Valle d’Aosta. 2022 was going to be his final year in the under 23 ranks, but he also knew that there would be the opportunity to ride for the “big” Groupama – FDJ team throughout the year, thanks to the UCI rule allowing devo riders the chance to ride for their pro team. The talented climber from New Zealand is one of the most exciting climbing talents currently coming through the ranks and...

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Oscar Onley

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Oscar OnleyImage Credit: Giro Valle d'Aosta

At the tail end of the season, we were treated to a young Scot called Oscar Onley going toe-to-toe with the current Tour de France champion. To see a 19-year-old ride with no fear against the yellow jersey was brilliant to see, especially as they come from my home, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a Scottish champion to cheer on. Okay, he came up a tiny bit short in the battle with Vingegaard, but his ride in the CRO race makes me very excited for what’s to come, especially as he’s keen on learning from his mistakes....

Riders to Watch in 2023 – Axel Laurance

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Riders to Watch in 2023 – Axel LauranceImage credit (Mathieu Le Roux - Franz-Renan Jolly)

Sometimes a first-year pro blasts onto the scene and makes everyone take note. In a season where many youngsters took impressive results, Axel Laurance, is a rider who caught my eye. The 21-year-old, who rides for B&B Hotels – KTM, was a constant threat in the second half of 2022, and he even managed to notch up his first professional win. With a talent clear to see, he’s already attracting interest from some of the biggest teams in the world, they’ll be watching him closely in the coming year. After a solid opening half of the season, where Axel made...

2022 Il Lombardia Preview

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2022 Il Lombardia Previewcyclingmole

Bergamo > Como 252.5km Well then, the season is just about done, but we’ve still got a monument to fight for. I love this point in the year, most of the bunch have no idea how their legs will react after a long and demanding season. This year we’ve got a change of route with Muro di Sormano being excluded from the race after the organisers eventually decided the descent was too dangerous after several horrible crashes over the years. Instead, San Fermo della Battaglia is climbed on two occasions with the Civiglo stuck in-between. Without a shadow of doubt,...

2022 Giro dell’Emilia Preview

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2022 Giro dell’Emilia Previewcyclingmole

Carpi > San Luca 198.0km It’s the 105th edition of Giro dell’Emilia, a beautiful race in Bologna. This year the race follows a familiar route, with the hard climb of Medelana before hitting the lap circuit and five ascents of the San Luca climb. As usual, the race will be very selective and the strongest on the day will claim the title, and this year there’s a big chance a new name is added to the trophy.  Weather Pleasant temperatures and not much wind, it’s a nice day for a bike race. Key Points The Medelana climb is used to get...

2022 World Championships Women’s Road Race Preview

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2022 World Championships Women’s Road Race Previewcyclingmole

Helensburgh > Wollongong 164.3km The women’s road race promises to be a fascinating event. Last year, Italy ended the Dutch stranglehold on the rainbow jersey, and they once again look like the strongest teams in the race. We’ve now seen Mount Pleasant, but this is the first time we get to see Mount Keira. We also have the embarrassing situation of the under 23 race happening within the elite race, it’s a terrible look for the sport. With many of the young riders working as domestiques, it devalues what should be the pinnacle for the young athletes competing for this...

2022 World Championships Men’s under 23 Road Race Preview

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2022 World Championships Men’s under 23 Road Race Previewcyclingmole

Wollongong > Wollongong 170km Unlike in the elite races, the under 23 men don’t have to climb Mount Keira, it’s straight onto the lap circuit and ten times round. That makes it 170km and 2541m of climbing, so not the hardest race in the world, but the climbs should still ensure it’s a selective day. Weather Wet and windy, not what the doctor ordered. As it’s a city circuit there won’t be echelons, but the weather conditions will increase the difficulty of the race. Key Points This is the section where damage will be done, this is where the climbers...

2022 World Championships Men’s Road Race Preview

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2022 World Championships Men’s Road Race Previewcyclingmole

Helensburgh > Wollongong 267.2km The most important race of the year, the big one, the one where you get a special jersey for winning! After being starved of world tour racing for a couple of years, Australia will be delighted to see the best riders in the world back on their shores, and they’ve delivered a route full of intrigue and promise. The riders make the race, but they’ve been provided with everything they need for a brilliant day out. Weather A nice enough day with temperatures sitting at 18 degrees. The wind isn’t strong but will be a tailwind...

2022 World Championships ITT Preview

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2022 World Championships ITT Previewcyclingmole

Wollongong > Wollongong 34.4.km ITT Men and women have the same route and distance, that’s the headline news ahead of the time trial world championship. The lap circuit, which is done twice, will become very familiar over the next week, the road race always uses these roads but has an extra section that isn’t included in the TT. The Route 315m of climbing over 34.4km is a relatively flat route. The main climb is Mount Ousley which is 600m at 7.3%, the length of the climb means it won’t be a big factor in the outcome of the race. The...

2022 Primus Classic Preview

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2022 Primus Classic Previewcyclingmole

Brakel > Haacht 199.9km The racing continues in Belgium with the 12th edition of the Primus Classic. It’s a race with a little bit of everything, one that can be won by different types of riders. Weather Wet, windy, and quite cold for this time of year. This will significantly increase the difficulty of the race. Key Points The image shows a 50km stretch of road that starts after 120km of racing, and finishes with 30km to go. The hardest climb in this little lap is the Moskesstraat, which you’ll remember from the worlds. It might only be around 500m at...

2022 GP de Wallonie Preview

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2022 GP de Wallonie Previewcyclingmole

Blegny > Citadelle de Namur 199.8km After the fun of Canada, it’s time to head back to Belgium. The finish returns to the traditional one, I can’t actually remember why they took a different route up to the citadelle last year, I think it was due to roadworks. Weather Thunderstorms are predicted, so it could get very wet. Key Points The finale kicks off with Chemin de Potisseau, which is crested with 15km to go. 3.2km at 4.9% isn’t that hard, but the right attack has a chance of getting a good gap on the peloton and going all the...

2022 GP Montréal Preview

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2022 GP Montréal Previewcyclingmole

Montréal > Montréal 224.9km GP Montréal is a race I like; the hilly circuit guarantees exciting racing and I’m looking forward to a cracker of a race. It starts late afternoon over in Europe, so I can watch the early stages with my Sunday roast, before moving beside the fire with a bottle of wine for the closing stages. The route has been tinkered with over the years, an extra little climb was added in 2018, before the race was extended by a couple of laps in 2019. After a couple of years off the calendar the organisers have mainly...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 21 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 21 Previewcyclingmole

Las Rozas > Madrid 99.6km A final sprint in Madrid to conclude the race. Weather Glorious sunshine. Circuit Same circuit that’s been used many times. The U-turn comes with 1km to go, and it usually gets very messy in the finishing straight. Contenders Tim Merlier – he’s got one last chance to get a win in this race, it’s not been a happy three weeks for the Belgian champion. He’s still got Taminiaux, Meurisse and Vermeersch to lead him out, that’s a good sprint train at this point in the race. This is the first time he’s completed a grand tour;...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 20 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 20 Previewcyclingmole

Moralzarzar > Navacerrada 181km The final mountain stage of the race, and the last opportunity for riders to make a move on GC. The stage doesn’t have any long climbs, but with almost 4000m of climbing, this should be a very exciting day. Evenepoel looks strong, but Mas will still try and see if he can crack him, this is a rare chance for him to win a grand tour. Behind them, the battle for the podium is still on, I’m hoping for another chaotic stage with lots of attacking. Weather Sunny and warm. Key Climbs Puerto de Navacerrada comes...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 19 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 19 Previewcyclingmole

Talavera de la Reina > Talavera de la Reina 138.4km After today’s chaos, strap yourself in for another bonkers stage. Just 138km long, with two laps of a circuit with a big mountain, but the final time up crests with a whopping 42.5km still to go. Do you have any idea what’s going to happen? Anyone? No, me neither. Weather Another nice day, temperatures won’t be too hot. The Climb 18.1km at 4% doesn’t sound like much, but that does include two downhill sections. The climb never gets overly steep, but it will certainly provide a challenge for those who...

2022 GP Québec Preview

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2022 GP Québec Previewcyclingmole

Québec > Québec 204.0km Friday night racing is back for those of us in Europe, so grab your drink of choice (I’ll have a bottle of wine) and get ready for crit racing, Canadian style! After two years off the calendar due to COVID, the professional peloton is back and ready for the usual mix of punchy climbs and a likely sprint finish. Weather Beautiful sunshine and it’ll be warm too. Key Points It’s a circuit I’m sure you all know well. There are three climbs, but the two steep ones are very short and you’re over them before you...

2022 Tour of Britain Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour of Britain Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

West Bridgford > Mansfield 186.9km Movistar are now in control of the race, but with Ineos breathing down their neck, they won’t be able to rest easy. On paper, this is the easiest stage in the race, one that should end in a sprint. The problem on Tuesday was that Bora didn’t want to ride for a sprint until it was too late. As they have the fastest rider in the race, they need to take control from the beginning of the stage, otherwise the break will take the win. Weather Another day with a risk of showers throughout, but...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 18 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 18 Previewcyclingmole

Trujillo > El Piornal 191.8km Another mountain stage with a flat start, I’m fed up with this. With 25 KOM points on offer, this is a day where Jay Vine can all but seal the polka dot jersey. Just like every mountain stage in this race, will the peloton chase the break or is it another day for the attackers to take the win? The climbs at the end are both called Alto de Piornal, but it’s not the same climb done twice, it’s a different climb each time, and a different finishing position. Weather Temperatures will be in the...

2022 Tour of Britain Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour of Britain Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Redcar > Helmsley 149.3km For me, this is the Queen stage of the race, but I’m afraid the wind could ruin it. The stage is a short one, just 150km in length, and it contains 2669m of climbing. Those GC riders who have already down 14 seconds on the race lead know that this is the day they need to make count. Weather There will be a risk of showers throughout the day and the wind will be around 15-20km/h, coming from the south-east. That means a lot of crosswind as the bunch head west across the moors, but it...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 17 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 17 Previewcyclingmole

Aracena > Monasterio de Tentudia 162km Today’s crash will likely have a big impact on this stage, as Jumbo-Visma would have controlled it for a Roglič stage win. His crash today was a bad one, it’s very unlikely he’ll have fully recovered, Jumbo-Visma will go into damage limitation mode. That frees the stage up for another breakaway win, something I’m getting bored of. Weather Cloudier than today, but it should still be warm. Finale 10.2km at 5.1% doesn’t sound too hard, but that’s because the flat section in the middle distorts the numbers. The climb starts with 2.92km at 6.6%,...

2022 Tour of Britain Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour of Britain Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Durham > Sunderland 163.5km The race moves into England for the third stage of the race. This one looks like a nailed-on sprint, as the cat 1 climb comes very early in the day.  Weather Cloudy with a threat of rain throughout, but it looks like the riders might just miss it, at least that’s what they’ll hope. There’s a very heavy band of rain due to hit close to the end of the stage, hopefully the riders go fast tomorrow. Finale The first of the key points comes with 2.6km to go, where the bunch go all the way...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 16 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 16 Previewcyclingmole

Sanlúcar de Barramenda > Tomares 189.7km It looks like a sprint stage, but then again, maybe not. Trek-Segafredo have been the main team ensuring sprint stages turn out that way, but as Mads Pedersen has now won a stage the pressure will now pass to other teams. Mads has been very active in this race, appearing in multiple breakaways to secure the green jersey, he’s also been working his team hard in sprint stages, this is the perfect opportunity to give something back to his teammates, knowing that we’ll have another sprint in Madrid. This stage will be familiar to...

2022 Tour of Britain Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour of Britain Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Hawick > Duns 174.8km A day spent in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders. There’s 2457m of climbing, the final 30km of the day has just about one quarter of all the climbing contained within. This hard finish, which features two cat 3 climbs, will test the climbing legs of the sprinters.  Weather The rain should pass before the stage starts, so the riders should spend the day in cloudy sunshine and temperatures will be just above 20 degrees. The wind is coming from the south-east and will be a constant worry throughout the stage, as there’s lots of...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 15 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 15 Previewcyclingmole

Martos > Sierra Nevada (Observatorio Pico Veleta) 152.5km We’ve got a rest day on Monday and this stage finishes at 2430m above sea level, can we please get a bloody GC day! I don’t know about you, but I’m getting fed up with breakaway wins at this race. Don’t get me wrong, I love the attackers getting a win, but when it happens too often the race gets a little boring. With Remco showing weakness today, the vultures are circling and are ready to pounce, this should be a day to remember. Weather Sunny and hot. The Climbs First up...

2022 Tour of Britain Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour of Britain Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Aberdeen > Glenshee 180.9km If you come to the north of Scotland in September you always run the risk of terrible weather, and it looks like the riders are going to be unlucky. There is a yellow weather warning in place from midnight on Sunday until 1500, it looks like the bunch will need their wet weather gear to get through this stage.  Weather Awful! There’s a lot of heavy rain overnight, but it looks likely the first couple of hours of the stage will also have lots of rain and a strong wind coming from the south-east. The rain...

2022 Tour of Britain Overall Preview

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2022 Tour of Britain Overall Previewcyclingmole

The Tour of Britain has been used as a preparation race for the World Championships, but it looks like the big names have realised it’s very difficult to win this race and win the rainbow jersey. The stages are deceptively hard, there’s a lot of transfers and the weather can be a bit on the dodgy side. This means that we’ve got a different looking start list this year, it’s possible we see some younger riders step forward and challenge for stages and GC. Stage 1 We start up in Scotland and a finish up at Glenshee ski centre. It...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 14 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 14 Previewcyclingmole

Montoro > Alto de la Pandera 160.5km The first of two big stages in the Sierra Nevada. It’s another mountain stage with a flat start, but that didn’t stop a huge break getting up the road on Thursday. With 18 KOM points on offer, it’s not a huge day in the fight for the KOM jersey, but it is a big day in the fight for the podium. Sierra de La Pandera was last used in 2017, with Rafa Majka winning from the break and the main GC contenders coming home close to each other, will we see a repeat...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 13 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 13 Previewcyclingmole

Ronda > Montilla 168.5km Another day and another chance for the sprinters. With the fast men looking relatively equal, there should be no shortage of teams to chase down the morning break. This will mean the break will likely contain riders from the Spanish conti teams, and will be chased down with ease, setting up a big finish. Weather Another hot day in the south of Spain, I’m now starting to get jealous. Much of the day is spent riding into a headwind or cross/headwind, good luck to the brave souls who jump in the morning move. Finale The final...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 12 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 12 Previewcyclingmole

Salobreña > Peñas Blancas 192.5km We head back to the mountains, or mountain to be correct, with a stage that goes through many towns well known to us tourists from Northern Europe. The peloton spends almost the whole day going in out and popular holiday destinations, the route passes through Nerja, Torrox, Malaga, Marbella and Estepona, I’ve been to almost all these places! It finishes by climbing Peñas Blancas, I remember the last time we were here, Leo König took a monumental win for Net-App Endura. This time round it could be one for Remco, but all riders will be...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 11 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 11 Previewcyclingmole

Alhama de Murcia > Cabo de Gata 191.2km A simple stage awaits the peloton, it should be nice and easy for everyone, then a big sprint. Some brave souls will jump in the break, but they don’t stand a chance as the sprinters hunt out a stage win, despite most teams being depleted. There’s also a late bonus sprint that Mads Pedersen will be interested in. Weather We’re in the south and the temperatures are up, get your sun cream on. It’s a headwind for most of the day, terrible news for those wanting the break to win. Finale The...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 10 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 10 Previewcyclingmole

Elche > Alicante 30.9km ITT A time trial for the specialists.  The opening 17km is mostly downhill, this is where the damage will be done. The rest of the route is mainly flat, but there is a little climb near the end, but it’s only 750m at 5.2%. This is a terrible route for the little climbers, they are going to lose a huge amount of time to Evenepoel. Weather Sunny and the wind should be the same for all.  Contenders Remco Evenepoel – he’ll start the stage as the big favourite. Despite being a small climber, we all know he’s...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 9 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 9 Previewcyclingmole

Villaviciosa > Les Praeres 171.4km Another big mountain stage awaits the riders, with the hardest finish in the whole race. We were last here in 2018 and Simon Yates took the win from Miguel Ángel López. Les Praeres is a horrible climb, it is ridiculously steep and unrelenting.  Weather A nice day with lots of sun and temperatures getting close to 30 degrees. Key Climbs This is the first categorised climb of the day, it starts after almost 50km of racing. Is this where the break will be formed? Midway through the stage we have this cat 1 climb, it’s...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 8 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 8 Previewcyclingmole

Pola de Laviana > Colláu Fancuaya 153.8km The first proper mountaintop finish of the race. Remco is in the lead after a dominant display on Thursday, but the race is far from over. This stage will see a shake down in the GC, it’s a big day in the battle for red. Weather Cloudy sun and the temperature will stay under 25 degrees. Key Points For the first time in the race we have a climb at the start. Alto de la Colladona is 9.1km at 5.3% and is a cat 2 effort, it gives the climbers a chance of...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Camargo > Cistierna 189.8km This is a stage you don’t often see in a grand tour. We have a very tough cat 1 climb which starts just over half way into the stage, from the crest there is 64km to go. It looks a weird one to me, hopefully it’s good to watch. Weather It will be cloudy and there’s a chance of rain. The wind is light, but it will be a tailwind throughout. The Climb Puerto de San Glorio is 26.4km at 4.7%, it is long and demanding. It’s hard to imagine any sprinter looking at this and...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Bilbao > Pico Jano 180.8km After today’s breakaway stage, Rudy Molard is in red, a tremendous moment in his career. He’s only 2 seconds ahead of Fred Wright, both will be trying their best to finish the stage in red, it’s all to play for. With FDJ in the race lead, we’ll have to see what happens in terms of the breakaway. It’s the first summit finish of the race, but it’s not the hardest. Weather Looks like rain and temperatures will be down on previous days.  The Climbs The first cat 1 climb of the day is Collada de...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Irun > Bilbao 186.5km Hands up if you want a breakaway stage? Two times up a climb that’s 4.2km at 8.2%, and last time up crests with 14km to go. As Thursday is an uphill finish, I would expect to see a large break fight out the stage win, allowing Jumbo-Visma to give away the red jersey. I don’t see any team wanting to chase and set up a potential sprint, not with Roglič looking ominously strong. The climb is too hard for Pedersen and Ineos have too many protected riders to chase all day. It’s also a good day...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Vitoria > Laguardia 152.9km The first “interesting” looking stage of the race. We are in the Basque Country and are faced with a day that’s too hard for the pure sprinters, and some of the breakaway experts will be licking their lips. Will Jumbo-Visma be happy giving away the jersey? Will other teams chase the break and set up a big finish? We’ll only know once the racing gets started on Tuesday. Weather Sunny and warm, temperatures will be around 30 degrees. The Climb It’s categorised as a cat 3, but as usual in this part of the world, it’s...

2022 BEMER Cyclassics Preview

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2022 BEMER Cyclassics Previewcyclingmole

Hamburg > Hamburg 204.6km After 2 years off the calendar, the race returns and it’s a familiar looking route. Usually one for the fast men, Viviani has won the last three editions, but the finale always ensures the group is reduced to around 50 riders. Will this year follow the same path? Weather Pleasant temperatures, and there’s a little bit of wind around, but it shouldn’t cause any problems. The Climb The Waseberg is the main climb of the day, it’s covered on three occasions. The first time is after 140km of racing, so it’s too far out for any...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Breda > Breda 193.2km The final stage in the Netherlands, and it’s a stage that was designed with echelons in mind. We got a big sprint today, will there be another one tomorrow? Weather Cloudy, but it should stay dry. All eyes will be on the wind, it’s going to be around 15-20km/h and mainly coming from the west.  Echelons No doubt, people will be jumping up and down telling you they’ll be echelons, but I don’t see it. There’s exposed crosswind sections in the opening 50km, but that’s followed by around 70km of headwind. If we do see some...

2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Give > Vejle 125.4km The final stage is one that’s well known to those who watch the Tour of Denmark. Repeated laps of the circuit in Vejle has been a staple of this race for many years, but the organisers have moved it to the final stage and significantly shortened the stage, I like it a lot! Normally, we’re talking around 200km, but this year it’s only 125km and it still features lots of climbing, including the famous Kiddesvej. The organisers want to see some action and I’m sure that’s exactly what they’ll get. Weather Sunny and the wind will...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Hertogenbosch > Utrecht 174.9km The first of the big sprints, the break doesn’t stand a chance. We have a cat 4 climb to lure some into joining the morning move, with the KOM jersey waiting for them on the podium at the end of the day.  Weather Sunny, warm and the wind shouldn’t be a problem. Finale Technical, and a little bit dangerous, if you ask me. The approach to Utrecht is fine, most of it takes place on a wide highway, but once the bunch turn left at a roundabout with 4.6km to go, everything changes. The next section...

2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Skive > Skive 166.7km Unfortunately, the gravel stage was a bit of a non-event, time for the fourth stage and another opportunity for the sprinters. Weather Sunny and not much wind. Finale The stage ends with three laps of this circuit. It’s relatively straightforward, and it includes a little kicker, but it’s only 350m in length. The final corner comes with 2km to go, but there is a fast left-hand bend with just 500m to go, I’d want to be on the inside for this one. Tactics It’s a standard sprint stage, that’s it. Alpecin, Jumbo-Visma and QuickStep will be...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Utrecht 23.4km TTT The Vuelta kicks off with a team time trial around the streets of Utrecht. As we are in the Netherlands, expect lots of support for Jumbo-Visma. Weather We have a real risk of thunderstorms, which isn’t ideal for a TTT. It looks like there will be rain in the afternoon and early evening, but accurately predicting when will be very difficult. The Route Considering you have 8 riders trying to stay in formation, it looks very technical to me, with plenty of corners. The longest straight section of road is 3.5km in length, the next one is...

2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Otterup > Herning 239.3km Today’s TT has left us with a delicately balanced GC picture, the bonus seconds in the next three stages will go a long way to determining the winner of the race. This stage is a nod to GP Herning, one of the biggest races in this part of the world. We have an incredibly long stage of 239km and we have 9 gravel sectors, totalling 18.2km of the rough stuff. This is a stage that many will fear, it should have a big impact on the GC fight. Weather There is a risk of thunderstorms, it...

2022 Vuelta a España Big Fat Preview

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2022 Vuelta a España Big Fat Previewcyclingmole

It’s time for La Vuelta, the final grand tour of the season. I love all things Spain, including this race. While others show you every kilometre live, the Vuelta continues to be old school, there’s really no need to show the early part of most stages. As usual, it’s the standard mix of wall finishes, and some longer mountains thrown in too. This year, it looks a little easier than previous editions, hopefully we have a big fight for the red jersey, one that goes all the way to Madrid. Key Stages The first of the proper mountain stages doesn’t...

2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Assens 12.2km ITT As usual, we have an ITT in the Tour of Denmark, one that will have a big impact on the GC fight. Weather A bit grey at times, but it should be dry for all. The wind should also be the same strength for all, with a lot of headwind throughout. One forecast predicts the wind will change direction a little bit for the later starters, which would give them a disadvantage. As it’s just one forecast, I’ll say that it won’t happen. Route Nice and straightforward, it’s a power course. Contenders Geraint Thomas – this should suit...

2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Allerød > Køge 222.5km The opening stage of the Tour of Denmark is a long one, and it could be a touch on the boring side, but not if the wind blows. It’s still likely to end in a sprint, but there is a chance of echelons. Weather A hot one up in Denmark with temperatures close to 30 degrees, but what about the wind? The opening 25km is mainly crosswind, which is then followed by 100 km of headwind. Then the road heads east and we get more crosswind sections. The wind will be around 20km/h for most of...

2022 Tour of Denmark Overall Preview

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2022 Tour of Denmark Overall Previewcyclingmole

Well then, the Tour of Denmark has gone mental! We still have a few familiar stages, with a 12.2km ITT and the circuit in Vejle, but this year we have two incredibly long stages, one of which features 18.2km of gravel. You heard me right, gravel! Not only that, but there should be a fair amount of rain and wind, it could be an edition to remember. One thing to note is the position of the intermediate sprints, three out of the four road stages have an early sprint. In a race likely to be decided by a small margin,...

2022 Euro Champs Men’s Road Race Preview

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2022 Euro Champs Men’s Road Race Previewcyclingmole

Murnau > München 207.1km The Euros are in Germany, and they’ve been designed so we get a big sprint, it might not be a great watch. It’s a city centre finish in Munich, with five laps of the lap circuit.  Weather Sunny and hot as the heatwave continues in Europe. Lap Circuit Much of the circuit takes place on very wide roads, but as the bunch go up and down the same stretches of tarmac, it’ll be a two-lane or three-lane for much of the finish. There should be plenty of space for the sprint teams to get into colour...

2022 Vuelta a España Stage Analysis

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2022 Vuelta a España Stage Analysiscyclingmole

With the Vuelta starting next Friday, it’s time to look at the stages. As most of you will know, the Vuelta is totally different to the other grand tours, mainly due to its position in the calendar. The race is very chilled, it doesn’t have the same level of nerves as the Giro and Tour, and the route is distinctly Spanish. This year the race starts in the Netherlands, spending three days before heading to the Basque Country. It then stays in the north for six stages before heading down to the south for eight stages, hopefully the heatwave will...

2022 Circuit Franco-Belge Preview

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2022 Circuit Franco-Belge Previewcyclingmole

Tournai > La Louvière 176km New name and new route! What was known as Tour de l’Eurométropole is now Circuit Franco-Belge, and they’ve switched the race too. It used to be La Louvière to Tournai, but that’s been reversed, and the new route is certainly an interesting one. With the fight for world tour points now reaching fever pitch, the race takes on even more significance. The new route involves a road down into La Louvière and then four full laps of a challenging little circuit, it promises to be a day full of attacking racing. Weather Sunny and hot,...

2022 Commonwealth Games Women’s Road Race Preview

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2022 Commonwealth Games Women’s Road Race Previewcyclingmole

Warwick > Warwick 109.4km The women’s road race is early on Sunday morning, it’s going to be an early alarm call for those taking part. It’s a flat circuit, one that suits riders with a lot of grunt. Weather Nice and sunny. Lap Circuit The women do seven laps of the circuit, it’s not a particularly challenging one. Tactics The race looks set to be a straight fight between England and Australia. Australia – Roy, Roseman-Gannon, Manly, Chapman, Brown, and Baker. England – Smith, Nelson, Lowden, Leech, Henderson, and Barnes. I would say there’s a clear imbalance between the two...

2022 Commonwealth Games Men’s Road Race Preview

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2022 Commonwealth Games Men’s Road Race Previewcyclingmole

Warwick > Warwick 157.6km The Commonwealth Games Road Race is an interesting event. We have a few riders coming here from the Tour, will they be tired or benefit from the much-lauded Tour legs? For those that don’t know, this is the only event where Team GB split into their individual countries, which means we have Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man competing. Throw in Australia and New Zealand and we have a very competitive start list.  Weather 25 degrees and sunny. Route Pretty much as flat as you’ll find in this part of the world....

2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Lerma > Lagunas 169.7km After today’s breakaway win, we head to the mountains and a big finish on Lagunas de Neila. Will it be another day for the break, or will the GC riders want a stage win? Weather Around 30 degrees, but not as sunny as previous days. The Climb It’s a climb most of us will know well, they love using it in this race. 11.8km at 6.2%, but the final 2.8km average 10.3%, this is where it starts to hurt. I remember a few editions where it’s been a headwind on the climb, but this year most...

2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Torresandino > Clunia 168.4km The fourth stage in Burgos should be one for the puncheurs. It’s been a while since this finish was used, last time was 2019 and Alex Aranburu took the win. I’ve a memory of Jens Keukeleire smashing this finish way back in 2013, on way to winning two stages of the race that year. The uphill finish is a test, and we can see gaps at the finish, so GC riders need to make sure they’re at the front and not caught behind any splits, this is what makes it too hard for the sprinters. Weather...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Valsir > Kraków 177km The Tour of Poland finishes with an interesting looking stage. The opening 45km contains a number of climbs, two of which are categorised. Not only that, but we have an early sprint point, at the top of a little rise and another sprint after 63km.  Weather Hot and sunny. Key Points The first intermediate sprint comes after just 24km of racing, this is the run into it. The sprint point is at the top of the little hill, it’s a challenging one.  This is the only cat 1 climb of the week, but the organisers have...

2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Quintana Martin Galindez > Villarcayo 153.3km It’s time for the GC battle to start, but with the big climb cresting with 36km to go, will we see any gaps between the main contenders? Weather A bit more cloud than in previous stages and the temperature will be a lot nicer for the bunch. The wind is light, but it’s still a headwind on Picon Blanco. Key Points The climb of Picon Blanco is well known in this race, it’s a very difficult effort. If the bunch go full, the front group will be small at the top, but will anyone...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Gronków > Ski Station Rusiński 11.8km ITT After today’s sprint stage, we head for the time trial. It’s a bit of a strange one, I don’t think I’ve seen a TT that looks like this one. It starts with 3km of flat, before 5km at 2.7%, then 2.15km at 6.2%, before 1km of downhill and then 600m of flat to finish it off. Overall, it’s 331m of climbing over 11.8km, which should give the climbers a chance against the TT specialists. The other weird thing about this time trial is a lack of proper corners, there are only two times...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Lancut > Rzeszów 178.4km Today was a little bit of a weird one. We had a crazy start, with GC riders attacking and trying to put Bora under pressure. Then it settled down, with the rest of the stage being ridden at a steady tempo, including the last two climbs. This stage is the last one climbers can make a difference, it’s now or never if you don’t have a great TT. Will we see a strong group form at the start? Will it be another day for the sprinters? Will I manage to correctly predict it? Weather Cloudy, but...

2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Vivar > Villadiego 157.6km The second stage in Burgos is a nailed-on sprint, it’s not a day that’s going to get exciting until the final 10km. Weather Another roasting hot day. There is a small chance of echelons in the final 30km, but I don’t see splits. Finale The above image is the final 9km, it starts with a climb of 1.3km at 6%, nothing that should worry any of the fast men. Then we have a very long straight round, and a corner with just 200m to go. Not a well-planned finish if you ask me. The long straight...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Lesko > Sanok 179km The fourth stage of the Tour of Poland is a day that will interest different types of riders, there’s something for everyone. After his win today, Sergio Higuita is in the yellow jersey and Bora will be in charge of controlling the stage. Today, they only had Aleotti left to support Higuita towards the end of the stage, this could be an issue in this stage.  Weather Another sunny day with pleasant temperatures. The Climbs The finale of the stage kicks off with this cat 2 climb, but it should be relatively straightforward for most in...

2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Burgos > Burgos 156.8km The first stage of the race and it’s the usual finish up at the castle. I wonder which type of rider will take the win this year. Sprinter, puncheur or climber? Weather Roasting hot, temperatures are due to peak at 35 degrees. We have some lovely, exposed sections in the final 60km, but with the wind only around 15km/h, I don’t think we’ll see significant splits. Finale The bunch climb up to the castle on two occasions, teams need to be wary first time up as it is possible to get a strong group off the...

2022 Vuelta a Burgos Overall Preview

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2022 Vuelta a Burgos Overall Previewcyclingmole

Vuelta a Burgos offers those heading to the Vuelta Espana a last chance to fine tune their form. The route is a traditional one with two mountain stages, two uphill sprints and one flat sprint. The weather forecast is a good one, with lots of sunshine, but as the roads in this part of the world are exposed to the elements, teams will be keeping one eye on the wind. Stage 1 The traditional opening stage with the finish up at the castle. It’s a stage that sprinters can win, but it’s also been won by puncheurs and sometimes even...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Krasnik > Przemysł 237.6km This finish was brought in last year, and it provided an exciting battle with Almeida taking the win from Ulissi and Mohorič. This year the finish is the same, but the organisers have increased the distance up to 238km. We’ll have to wait and see if the extra distance has any impact, I’m not so sure, as most of the day should be ridden at an easy tempo.  Weather Nice enough temperatures throughout the day. The wind is coming from the north-west, and as the riders are heading south for much of the day, we do...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Chelm > Zamosc 205.6km Another day, another sprint. Nothing much will happen in the stage, until we get into the final 20km, or so. The stage ends with a lap circuit, something that we often see in this race. The circuit is 9km in length and the bunch complete just one full lap. Weather Looks like rain for the start of the stage, but it should by dry for the second half of the day. Finale Pretty easy. There are a couple of corners to help line out the bunch, the last of which comes just before the flamme rouge....

2022 Klasika San Sebastián Preview

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2022 Klasika San Sebastián Previewcyclingmole

San Sebastián > San Sebastián 224.2km With just a slight change never the finish, this year’s route is very similar to previous editions. We have the Jaizkibel, quickly followed by Erlaitz and then Murgil Tontorra to finish, it’s a route I love. The race has the usual mix of riders coming from the Tour, hoping to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of their legs, and others who are already starting the final phase of their season. The winner normally comes from the Tour, but Evenepoel was the exception to the rule, so those coming here from a different...

2022 Tour of Poland Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Kielce > Lubin 218.6km The opening stage is a long day in the saddle, almost 220km. Most of it will likely be spent at an easy tempo as the break will be weak and everyone will be happy with a sprint finish. Weather Cloudy and warm. There is a risk of a thunderstorm, but the current forecast suggests it will arrive after the finish. Finale Not overly technical, but there are still some points where positioning is vital. At 3km to go, the road goes downhill, and the speeds will be very high. This leads into a very tight right-hand...

2022 Tour of Poland Overall Preview

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2022 Tour of Poland Overall Previewcyclingmole

The Tour of Poland has seen significant changes to its parcour this year, a move that could well encourage more attacking racing. Back in comes a time trial, as does some very long days in the saddle. On paper, it looks like just one GC day, but the opportunities are there for the main contenders to push on multiple days. This marks the beginning of the final third of the season, with most here racing for the first time in a couple of months. This race is important, but most will see it as a way of getting racing in...

2022 Tour de France Stage 21 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 21 Previewcyclingmole

La Défense Arena > Champs-Élysées 115.4km After a brilliant three weeks, the race finishes with the usual sprint on the Champs-Élysées. Can Van Aert repeat his success from last year? This year he’ll face more competition as none of the sprinters have left the race, we still have all the fast men here and hoping for success. Weather Another roasting hot day. Finale They’ve decided to keep it the same as last year, with the extended distance between the final corner and finishing line. As usual, controlling the head of the race as you head into the underpass, with 2km...

2022 Tour de France Stage 20 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 20 Previewcyclingmole

Lacapelle-Marival > Rocamadour 40.6km ITT A 41km ITT after three extremely hard weeks, I don’t think the organisers will be popular with the riders. The route looks relatively flat, but it does contain 428m of climbing, which means the roads most be more undulating than they look on the profile. In the last 6km there are two kickers, the first one is 1km at 6% and to finish off there is 1.5km at 8%. Despite being relatively short, these two climbs could have quite a big say in the outcome of the stage, getting your pacing strategy right is very...

2022 Tour de France Stage 19 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 19 Previewcyclingmole

Castelnau-Magnoac > Cahors 188.4km Stage 19 of the Tour de France, and we have a sprint stage! Okay, it might not end in a sprint, but it looks the most likely option. We have a couple of cat 4 climbs in the second half of the stage, but the fast men will all survive, even though some are on their last legs. The issue is the wind, we have crosswinds for the entire stage, but can anyone be arsed trying to create echelons? Weather Hot and sunny, with the wind coming from just above west, which means crosswind all day...

2022 Tour de France Stage 18 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 18 Previewcyclingmole

Lourdes > Hautacam 143.1km Today we had a huge day in the mountains, are you ready for another one? It’s another short stage, this time it’s 143km in length. The climbing in this stage is harder, we have three huge climbs for the riders to deal with. The battle for yellow is still on, as is the battle for the polka dot jersey. The final 84km of the stage contains 3250m of climbing, that’s bordering on the ridiculous. Weather The high temperatures are back, it’s over 30 degrees again. The wind is light, but it is a headwind on the...

2022 Tour de France Stage 17 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 17 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Gaudens > Peyragudes 129.6km Another huge day in the fight for the yellow jersey. This is the penultimate mountain stage, time is running out for those wanting to make a move in the overall classification, this day takes on a huge amount of significance in the fight for yellow and the podium. Last time we were here it was 2017 and a certain Romain Bardet took the stage win, after Team Sky had ridden all day to set up Chris Froome. That was the first time the super steep section was added at the end of the stage, it is...

2022 Tour de France Stage 16 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 16 Previewcyclingmole

Carcassonne > Foix 178.3km Welcome to the third week of the Tour de France. The first two weeks of the race have been raced at an infernal speed, and with the added complication of the extreme heat, a lot of riders already seem to be way beyond their limit. This week could see some high on GC explode, and it also gives an opportunity to those who have ridden smart in the first two weeks. Stage 16 looks like a classic breakaway stage, especially as Jumbo-Visma and UAE are down to just five workers each. Weather Maximum temperatures of 35...

2022 Tour de France Stage 15 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 15 Previewcyclingmole

Rodez > Carcassonne 202.4km Another day that gives the sprinters and breakaway riders a little hope. With 2639m of climbing, it’s certainly not a flat day, but the presence of just one categorised climb will get the sprinters hoping. The same is true for many potential breakaway riders, recent stages have been more suited to those who can climb, but this day is a good one for those who prefer flatter parcours. As usual, the composition of the break will decide how far it goes in the stage. Weather The hottest day of the race so far, with temperatures getting...

2022 Tour de France Stage 14 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 14 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Étienne > Mende 192.3km The race heads back to Mende, a stage made for the breakaway. The two finishes here in the last 7 years have gone that exact way, with Fraile winning in 2018 and Cummings in 2015, both stages are ones that I remember well. The final climb is very hard, but it’s possible for a non-climber to take the day, if they ride a clever tactical race. Stuyven was incredible close to doing this in 2018, but Fraile caught and then dropped him with just 50m of the climb still to go, the Belgian will be back...

2022 Tour de France Stage 13 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 13 Previewcyclingmole

Bourg d’Oisans > Saint-Étienne 192.3km What a fabulous week of racing we’ve had, and there’s still three stages to go until the final rest day. The GC battle is put on hold, and we have a transition day to Saint-Étienne. It looks like one for the sprinters, but with tired legs, the right break could go a long way. However, as this could well be the last sprint before Paris, the sprint teams will be keen on setting this up for the fast men. Weather Roasting hot, with temperatures over 30 degrees. The opening 140km of the stage is into...

2022 Tour de France Stage 12 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 12 Previewcyclingmole

Briançon > Alpe d’Huez 164.8km How do you follow that? Today, we witnessed one of the best stages in recent Tour history, one that will go down as one of the greats, but can it get even better? It’s Bastille Day, we have three enormous climbs, finishing on the Alpe, but is the yellow jersey now secure on the shoulders of Vingegaard? Will Pogačar come out swinging? Jumbo-Visma are now in control of yellow, and they have the team to back it up. Given their dominance today, the break will sense a chance of taking the win, it’s a big...

2022 Tour de France Stage 11 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 11 Previewcyclingmole

Albertville > Col du Granon 151.5km A monumental day in the fight for the yellow jersey. We have four iconic climbs and a leader’s team starting to creak under the pressure of COVID. UAE will rue not getting Kämna into yellow, this isn’t a stage they can control. Throw in the high altitude climbs and we’re hopefully in for a legendary Tour de France mountain stage. Weather Roasting hot and hardly any wind. Once up at over 2000m, things are a little more bearable. The Climbs First up are the beautiful hairpins of Lacets de Montvernier. The break should go...

2022 Tour de France Stage 10 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 10 Previewcyclingmole

Morzine > Megève 147.9km We have a medium mountain stage that will interest many riders. As Wednesday and Thursday are big days in the high mountains, this is likely to be another day for the breakaway. The final climb isn’t hard, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see gaps between the GC riders, so there’s no incentive for GC teams to ride. Expect to see a big fight for the break, and then a calm day in the bunch. Weather Another hot and sunny day as temperatures continue to build. Finale 21.5km at 4.1% doesn’t excite me, it’s a bit of a...

2022 Tour de France Stage 9 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 9 Previewcyclingmole

Aigle > Châtel 192.7km A stage that would normally be one for the breakaway. The reason for this is the position of the final climb, it crests with 10km to go, which normally puts teams off chasing the break down. However, this edition of the Tour has been well controlled by the peloton, maybe one of the GC teams will want a crack at the win. Weather Nice and sunny and it’s getting hotter. Key Points Col de la Croix is a tough climb, but the position of it in the stage means it will likely be ridden at tempo....

2022 Tour de France Stage 8 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 8 Previewcyclingmole

Dôle > Lausanne 186.1km A stage with “only” 2614m of climbing, but it has a deceptively hard finish. Which of the sprinters will fancy their chances of winning this tough stage? Jumbo-Visma are the obvious choice, this is a great chance for Wout Van Aert to take another stage win. Weather Another sunny day. Finale Harder than the numbers suggest, but the key points are into a headwind. The first section of climbing is around 2.2km at 5.5%, followed by a short section of flat. The final 2.2km averages 5.4%, but that includes a final 300 which is flat. Both...

2022 Tour de France Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Tomblaine > La Super Planche des Belles Filles 176.1km The first mountaintop finish of the race, with the finish on Super Planche des Belles Filles. Last time we were here it was 2019 and Dylan Teuns beat Giulio Ciccone in an intense sprint, taking a huge win from the break. Back in the GC group, Geraint Thomas was the first home, but only a handful of seconds separated the top climbers. This isn’t a stage where the yellow jersey will be won, but it’ll still be great to watch. Will the break take another win? Weather Nice and sunny. The...

2022 Tour de France Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Binche > Longwy 220.1km After the chaos of the cobbles, the riders are now faced with the longest stage of the whole race. We finish in Longwy, the place where Sagan won back in the 3rd stage of the 2017 edition. It’s the same finish, but this year the approach is harder. The breakaway riders will sense a chance of taking the win as the finish will be too hard for most of the fast men.  Weather There is a risk of showers throughout most of the stage, and temperatures will be around 20 degrees. The wind is up over 20km/h...

2022 Tour de France Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Lille Métropole > Arenberg Porte du Hainaut 156.7km A day eagerly anticipated by many, but not all. Every so often the organisers decide to include cobbles in one of the stages, which normally leads to crashes and some GC riders hopes left in the gutter. We have 11 cobble sectors, totalling 19.4km. It’s not a mini-Roubaix, but it is a dangerous stage. I’ll leave the debate about whether it should be in the race to the side. Weather It’s another nice day for the bunch, with pleasant temperatures and not much wind. The Sectors We might not have any 5-star...

2022 Tour de France Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Vejle > Sønderborg 181.8km Another day where the threat of crosswinds looms large. It should be a bunch sprint, but a few teams might have other ideas. Weather It’s a nice day with temperatures around 23 degrees. The wind is what everyone will be checking, and the news is mixed. The vast majority of the day the bunch ride south, and for the first half of the day the wind is coming from the south-west, that means a cross/headwind, so unlikely we’ll see splits.  Things change with around 80km to go, as the wind moves round a bit and comes...

2022 Tour de France Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour de France Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Copenhague > Copenhague 13.1km ITT The Tour kicks off in Denmark with a 13.1km ITT. The route contains a number of corners, but I wouldn’t say it was technical. Most of it takes place on wide roads, meaning that the corners will be able to be taken at speed, as long as it’s dry, which will favour the TT specialists. The second half of the route does feature some tighter corners, but all the contenders will know the roads inside out. The prize for the winner is the first yellow jersey of the race, it doesn’t get any bigger than...

2022 Tour de France Overall Preview

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2022 Tour de France Overall Previewcyclingmole

The big one’s here, but with COVID still looming large, the race starts with a lot of uncertainty. I’ve already looked at all the stages, you can see it here 2022 Tour de France Stage Analysis Key Stages There’s every chance of the wind splitting things up as the bunch head south. Throw in some narrow roads, and if the echelons don’t get you, the crashes will. It will be your normal crazy first road stage of the Tour, and some GC riders won’t enjoy themselves. The cobbled stage. Nerves and crashes are on the menu, but the cobbles aren’t...

2022 Tour de France Stage Analysis

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Cycling Mole - David Huntercyclingmole

The Tour de France is fast approaching, it begins on Friday 1st July. This year the Grand Depart is from Copenhagen, Denmark. The locals are going crazy for this, expect three days with packed crowds. Time to take a look at the route. Stage 1 We start with a 13.1km ITT, one that looks very technical. The route contains many corners, which will give hope to those wanting to beat Ganna. Mads Pedersen will know every inch of this stage, but will it be enough for him to secure a fairy tale yellow jersey? Stage 2 Day 2 in Denmark, and...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 8 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 8 Previewcyclingmole

Vaduz > Vaduz 25.4km ITT The race ends with a time trail in Liechtenstein. 25km is a long one, and after such a demanding race, most riders are on their knees. After today’s mountain stage, we now have Sergio Higuita in the race lead, but Geraint Thomas looms large. Weather Another roasting hot day, with a consistent wind for all. Contenders Remco Evenepoel – it’s not been the race he hoped for but winning the TT would put a positive spin on things. He’s done three TTs this year, winning one and finishing second in the other two. He’s gone pretty...

2022 Belgium Tour Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Belgium Tour Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Durbuy > Durbuy 172.4km The Queen stage in the Belgium Tour, and what a stage! I’m a sucker for a good lap circuit, this one isn’t good, it’s amazing. With over 3000m of climbing, this is going to be a great test for those ahead of the Tour de France. After the TT, Mads Pedersen is in the race lead, will he still be at the end of this day? Weather Roasting hot, temperatures could hit 34 degrees. Lap Circuit The bunch do four laps of this little beauty, there is no flat road, always up or down. In terms...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Ambri > Malbun 195.8km On paper, it’s a good-looking stage for the breakaway. The downhill start means the peloton will likely stay together until we get to the first climb of the day, that’s when the attackers will hope to form a strong break and disappear up the road never to be seen again. The GC riders will be looking at the final climb and hope to save all their energy for it, they know they’ll need it. Weather Another roasting hot day with temperatures hitting 30 degrees in the valley.  The Climbs First up is the Lukmanierpass, which if...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Locarno > Moosalp 180.5km The first of two huge days in the mountains. We might only have two climbs, but both are monsters are will seriously test the legs ahead of the Tour de France. With 4162m of climbing, this is a tough day in the saddle. Weather Another hot day, but temperatures are down a bit thanks to being in the mountains. The Climbs First up is the Nufenenpass, which goes all the way up to 2410m above sea level. It’s not the hardest climb in the world, but the altitude will make it harder than the numbers suggest....

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Ambri > Novazzano 190.5km I’ve been looking forward to this one, I’m a sucker for a well-crafted lap circuit. It contains some of the circuit used back in the 2009 worlds, that year Cadel Evans took home the win for Australia. It’s another day that suits quite a few riders, but you need punch to win this one. Weather The temperature continues to increase, now we’re talking about 33 degrees, which is roasting hot. Not all the riders can cope with this heat, but at least those here should now be getting used to it. The Circuit It’s beautiful, isn’t...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Grenchen > Brunnen 192.2km A day where if you simply look at the altitude gain you could end up with the wrong conclusion.  We have just over 2000m of climbing, the easiest stage in the race, but it’s unlikely to be a day for the sprinters. It’s all to do with the placement of the climb, the organisers have been devilish. Weather The heatwave in central Europe is starting to kick in, temperatures will get up to 30 degrees. The Climb As you can see, the full climb is 4.7km at 6.3%, but the opening 3.5km averages 8%, with a few...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 3 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Aesch > Grenchen 177.9km After wins for Williams and Leknessund, will we get another surprise winner in stage 3? With over 3100m of climbing, and a flat finish, it could well be another day for the breakaway. Weather Another beautiful day for the bunch. The Climbs This climb comes after just 2.6km of the stage, which will help those wanting a hard start to the stage. It’s not long enough for the break to form, but it will string the bunch out and help secure a tough start. Cote au Bouvier is the first cat 1 climb of the race,...

2022 Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge – Men

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2022 Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge – Mencyclingmole

Vaison-la-Romaine > Mont Ventoux 152.8km I’m a big fan of the Ventoux challenge, what’s not to like? Twice up Ventoux, once from Sault and once from Bédoin. With teams scrambling to get world tour points, the race takes on more significance this year, the pressure is on quite a few teams to impress. Weather Damn hot! Much of Europe is currently experiencing a heat wave, not in Scotland though. The Climbs < First up is the “easy” side of Ventoux, but it’s still 24.2km at 4.9%. A fast descent follows before the main event of the day. 21.7km at 7.2%,...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Küsnacht > Aesch 197.1km The second day of the race is another well designed stage, it offers some hope to the fast men, but also gives opportunities for the puncheurs to attack. In particular, the final climb and subsequent chase should be excellent to watch. Weather Another beautiful day, two in a row, not something we get every year in this race.  The Climb This is the final climb of the day. The (you) Chall(not)pass is 6.3km at 6.2%, and is a fairly steady effort until the final 900m which averages 9.4%. It’ll be a headwind for most of the...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Alban-Leysse > Plateau de Salaison 137.3km Another huge day in the mountains awaits the peloton. After today’s dominant performance by Roglič, I don’t think they’ll be anyone thinking he can be beaten, which changes the type of stage we get. All eyes will be on the morning break, yet again, it has a good chance of going all the way. In the GC fight, 3rd place on the podium is still up in the air, it should go all the way to the line. Weather Another sunny day. The Climbs From the gun we have Col de Plainpalais, 9.5km at 6.1%,...

2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

Küsnacht > Küsnacht 176.7km The opening day is a circuit race, and a rather tricky one too. The lap is covered on four occasions, and it features two climbs. The final hill is very close to the finishing line, which the organisers will hope means we see attacking racing. Weather A beautiful sunny day. The Climbs The Pfannenstiel climb is 3.9km at 4.4%, it’s not that hard. Küsnachter Berg is 5.5km at 4.8%, but the opening 2.9km averages 7.5%, this is where the damage can be done. The top of the hill is much easier, but it does grind on...

2022 Tour de Suisse Overall Preview

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2022 Tour de Suisse Overall Previewcyclingmole

The final stop in terms of Tour de France prep is here, it’s time for the 85th edition of the Tour de Suisse. This year sees the usual mix of brutally hard “sprint” days, two big mountain stages and a flat 25km TT to finish us off. I would say the route is significantly harder than the Dauphiné, it will be a proper test for all at the race, there are no easy stages. Stage 1 We begin with a typical Suisse stage. There is a lap circuit featuring two climbs, it’s a day where some of the fast men will...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Chaffrey > Vaujany 134.6km The mountains are calling, and what a stage we have ahead of us. As usual in the Dauphiné, we get a little taster of what the Tour de France will offer, this year it’s a similar day to stage 12. We have the Galibier, followed by the Croix de Fer, but instead of heading to Alpe d’Huez the bunch finish in Vaujany. No Alpe d’Huez obviously makes it much easier, but oh my, this is a brutal stage. Weather Another beautiful day. The Climbs First up is the Galibier, 20.8km at 5.2%. The mountain starts after...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 6 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 6 Previewcyclingmole

Rives > Gap 196.4km The final sprint stage of the race, but will we see another sprint? There is 2757m of climbing in the day and finishing in Gap will give the break hope, we’ve seen plenty of breakaway success in this town. Weather Lots of sunshine and a nice tailwind for much of the stage. The Climb This is the cat 2 climb which crests with 58km to go, it’s not a hill that Dylan Groenewegen will want to see. 9.2km at 4.5% is currently far too hard for him, all it will take is a slight increase in...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 5 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 5 Previewcyclingmole

Thizy-les-Bourgs > Chaintré 162.2km Stage 5 and the day that BikeExchange have been waiting for. They will be delighted to see this stage doesn’t contain a nasty cat 2 climb with 50km to, just a couple of cat 4 efforts in the final 30km. This is a stage they need to seize with both hands. Weather A nice day with cloudy sun. Key Points This is the first of the cat 4 climbs at the end of the stage, this one is 3.4km at 3.3%.  The final climb is 3.4km at 3.2% and it crests with 12km to go. Finale...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 4 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 4 Previewcyclingmole

Montbrison > La Bâtie d’Urfé 31.9km ITT It’s time for the race against the clock, with a relatively long TT. The flat route, and lack of corners, is terrible news for the skinny climbers, this is a day for the powerhouses of the peloton. Weather I’ve checked five different forecasts and they all say different things. There is every chance those out early have wet roads, with a chance of it drying up for the late starters. Other sites think there’s a chance of light rain throughout the whole day, and another forecast says it’s dry for everyone! Route Just...

Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview

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Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Paulien > Chastreix-Sancy 169km We have a new yellow jersey, Alexis Vuillermoz rolled back the years with a stunning win from the break. In the closing kilometres we saw the other teams trying to lean on Jumbo-Visma, which I found rather strange as they already have a stage win, whereas the other teams do not. This stage is another one where the breakaway riders will sense a chance of doing something, but TotalEnergies will want to honour the jersey. Being in control of the race, on home soil, is huge for the team, but the break still has a chance....

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Previewcyclingmole

Saint-Péray > Brives-Charensac 169.6km After Van Aert took the yellow jersey, the second stage offers another opportunity to the fast men who can climb. It’s got more climbing in it than today, and a big cat 2 climb will ensure that Groenewegen and Bauhaus have an restless night. Weather Cloudy sun and nice temperatures. The Climb 13.5km at 4.4% doesn’t sound that hard, but it’s the length of time the riders will be climbing for that will put the pure sprinters into difficulty. The organisers have decided to put the KOM point 4.5km from the end of the climb, maybe...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Previewcyclingmole

La Voulte-sur-Rhône > Beauchastel 191.5km It’s not often you get a stage which has three outcomes, all of which seem quite probable when you consider them. Hats off to the race organisers, this is the perfect route for an opening stage of a race. Weather Hot and sunny, which means a real risk of thunderstorms. Predicting thunderstorms in this part of the world isn’t easy, most of the bunch will be hoping they dodge them. Key Points This is the opening 48km of the race, perfect for those who want the break to win. We have 9km of flat, then...

2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Overall Preview

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2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Overall Previewcyclingmole

With the Giro behind us, the focus now falls on the Tour de France. The Dauphiné offers up its usual mix of stages, a mini-Tour for those who want a lazy description. With many riders coming here straight from altitude camp, we’ll have to see who’s been training hard up in the mountains. Stage 1  The race begins with a lap circuit, one that has a little lump in it. The sprinters will all hope to get over the climb and set up a grandstand finish, but if someone pushes the pace on the climb, we’ll see some of the...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Previewcyclingmole

Verona 17.4km ITT The race finishes with a 17.4km ITT around Verona. Despite its length, there’s only around 8km of flat, the route is dominated by the climb and descent, making it an interesting looking time trial. Grand tour races that end with a TT can throw up a surprise winner, it’s all about who’s managed to be clever over the last week and save as much energy as possible. The route might look familiar to you, it’s very similar to the route was in 2019. The only difference is that this time the riders must do an extra 400m...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Previewcyclingmole

Belluno > Marmolada 169km A huge day in the Dolomites awaits the riders, a day where we’ll hopefully see some attacking racing. The last week has been rather disappointing, in terms of the GC battle, it’s had all the bang of a cheap Christmas cracker, and it probably contains a plastic moustache. Surely, we’ll get more in this stage, surely… Weather Some forecasts say rain, others say sun. Take your pick. Key Points First up is Passo San Pellegrino. Passo Pordoi is the Cima Coppi, but it doesn’t really matter as Bouwman has already won the blue jersey. It climbs...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Previewcyclingmole

Marano Lagunare > Santuario di Castelmonte 178.4km With just two mountain stages left, will we see any gaps between Carapaz and Hindley? On paper, this stage isn’t that hard, but it will seem a lot harder due to its position in the race. Will it be another day for the break? As the Giro have liked to do in recent editions, the stage heads into Slovenia, such a shame Tratnik isn’t here. Weather Cloudy but warm. There is a risk of a thunderstorm near the end of the stage, fingers crossed they dodge it. Key Points 10km at 9.2% is...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Previewcyclingmole

Borgo Valsugana > Treviso 149.2km After hauling themselves over the mountains, the sprinters get one last chance in the race. Sprint stages this late in a grand tour can often go the way of the breakaway, it’s all to do with the will of the peloton. The start will likely be fast, before the bunch decides on the type of stage we get. Weather Sunny and much warmer than recent stages. Key Point With 55km to go, the bunch climb this little kicker. 1.1km at 12.4% is steep enough to cause some damage, but the climb is on a narrow...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Previewcyclingmole

Ponte di Legno > Lavarone 167.8km After today’s fun, the third week rolls on with another demanding mountain stage. Will we eventually start to see a gap between Carapaz and Hindley? Weather Another cloudy day with a risk of rain. The bunch dodged it today, can they get lucky again? Key Points This climb awaits the peloton from the gun, not great news for the sprinters. It might be unclassified but it’s certainly not easy, but is it long enough for a strong break to form? Passo del Vetriolo is a tough climb, 11.9km at 7.5%. Don’t expect to see...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Previewcyclingmole

Salò > Aprica 201.6km The Queen stage is here, with over 5000m of climbing in the Alps. This is an enormous day in the battle for the pink jersey, but before I look at that in more detail, time for some musings about the week ahead. The Third Week Breakaway Contenders – at this point in a grand tour, those who can challenge from the break have already made themselves known, this edition of the Giro is no different. We have three riders who have dropped out of the GC picture and will expect to be fighting for multiple stages this...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Previewcyclingmole

Rivarolo Canavese > Cogne 176.8km Stage 14 was brilliant, but I’m not a fan of this one. It always frustrates me when we have a big mountain stage, with a disappointing final climb. This usually means we don’t see much action during the day, the GC teams want to keep domestiques back to control the final climb. It might not be hard, but if riders get isolated, we can see gaps. Due to this, it’s another great stage for the breakaway. The two cat 1 climbs also means this is another important day in the KOM battle. Despite having almost...

2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Preview

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2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Previewcyclingmole

Santena > Torino 146.8km Welcome to Milano-Torino, but a lot harder. This is the stage I’ve been waiting for; it could be the best in the race. We have two times round a lap circuit that contains the Superga climb and a horribly steep kicker. Strap yourself in, this is a stage not to be missed. Weather Hot as hell. Key Points This is the first climb of the day, it comes after 40km of racing. Will the break go here? The Superga climb that we should all know well. Horribly steep at the bottom, which normally knocks a few...

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...