lance armstrong

Nine riders to watch at the Eneco Tour

Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Geraint Thomas… the 2016 Eneco Tour boasts an impressive start list, but who will win?

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Eneco Tour

The penultimate race in the 2016 UCI WorldTour1 calendar kicks off on Monday: the Eneco Tour2 (September 18-25). The eight-stage race is hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium and features flat stages, hilly stages, a team time trial and an individual time trial. A host of top names will be taking part this year, as the race has shifted from its usual August date into September due to the Olympic Games3. It is ideally placed to offer top-level racing for those wishing to sharpen their form before the 2016 UCI Road World Championships4 in Doha, Qatar, in October, as well as gain some valuable WorldTour points.

Here we take a look at some of the leading contenders

Peter Sagan, Tinkoff

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Peter Sagan. Photo: Graham Watson

Peter Sagan5 has to be considered a contender for almost every race he enters, even week-long stage races like the Eneco Tour. The world champion who remains within striking distance of Nairo Quintana s lead in the World Tour has never competed in the race before, but the combination of sprint stages, short time-time trial and finale based around the cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen plays very well to his strengths.

Greg Van Avermaet, BMC

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Greg Van Avermaet. Photo: Graham Watson

The best season in Greg Van Avermaet6 s career got even better last week, when he followed up gold in the Olympics road race with a win at the GP de Montreal. The Belgian is one a very select few in the peloton whose all-round capabilities can be compared to Peter Sagan s, with whom he ll renew his rivalry

Geraint Thomas, Sky

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Geraint Thomas. Photo: Graham Watson

There aren t many riders better suited to the Eneco Tour s near unique blend of classic parcours and stage racing than Geraint Thomas7, and the Welshman ought to be able to mount a serious GC challenge. Sky also line up with Ian Stannard, who, fresh off his stage win in Cheshire at the Tour of Britain and sprinter Elia Viviani, who is one of several riders fine-tuning preparations for next month s World Championships.

>>> Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour8

Tim Wellens, Lotto-Soudal

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Tim Wellens. Photo: Graham Watson

As overall winner in both 2015 and 2014, Tim Wellens will surely be more stringently marked than in those previous two editions, where he was able to slip away on a long-range attack on the penultimate stage. This year s equivalent stage has been toned down with less hills included, which may also hinder his chances to attack.

Niki Terpstra, Etixx-QuickStep

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Niki Terpstra. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

From sprinters Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria, classics specialists Zdenek Stybar and Tom Boonen and strong time-trialists Tony and Bob Jungels, Etixx-QuickStep have options for all the varying terrain the Eneco Tour has to offer. Perhaps their best for GC is former Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, who finished third overall in 2012, and, despite a quiet Vuelta, could be on decent form having won the Dwars door het Hageland-Aarschot last month.

Tom Dumoulin, Giant Alpecin

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Tom Dumoulin. Photo: Graham Watson

Back in 2013, a 22-year old Tom Dumoulin9 hinted at what he was capable of in stage racing by finishing second overall at the Eneco Tour. Three years later, he s now most people s pick for best time-trialist in the world, a good enough climber to contest Grand Tours, and fully capable of going one better and winning the Eneco Tour this time around.

Fabio Felline, Trek-Segafredo

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Fabio Felline. Photo: Graham Watson

Unlike most other overall contenders, Fabio Felline enters the Eneco Tour with three weeks of hard racing in his legs from the Vuelta. Having ended that race strongly, the Italian who used his all-round talents to win the points classification might possess the extra stamina needed to better his fifth place overall finish last year.

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Dimension Data

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Edvald Boasson-Hagen. Photo: Graham Watson

A rejuvenated Edvald Boasson Hagen10 has been enjoying his best season since his peak years between 2009-2012, during which time he won a record-equalling two overall classification of the Eneco Tour. He s not going quite as well as earlier in the season, but still looks capable of competing for the overall.

Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Mark Cavendish. Photo: Andy Jones

Boasson Hagen will have to share leadership with Mark Cavendish11, who like many sprinters at this race, is using the flatter stages to help train for the upcoming Worlds in Doha. He ll face stiff competition, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), as well as the Etixx-QuickStep duo of Kittel and Gaviria, are among those eying up the bunch sprints.

References

  1. ^ WorldTour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Eneco Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Olympic Games (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ UCI Road World Championships (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Peter Sagan (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Greg Van Avermaet (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Geraint Thomas (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ >>> Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ Tom Dumoulin (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ Edvald Boasson Hagen (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  11. ^ Mark Cavendish (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

Revolution Track Series to be streamed live via Cycling Weekly’s Facebook page

Cycling Weekly and Revolution Track Series team up to bring you free live video coverage of racing from Manchester and Glasgow this autumn, starting on Saturday

Revolution Track Series To Be Streamed Live Via Cycling Weekly’s Facebook Page

Owain Doull, Revolution

Cycling Weekly will be streaming live video coverage of the 2016 Revolution Track Series1, which starts this Saturday, September 17. CW will be showing free live coverage of the Revolution UK Championship via Facebook Live2, in what is believed to be the biggest cycle race ever to be streamed over the social media site. Ned Boulting will be providing the commentary for the live coverage, and Sir Chris Hoy will be joining in on the evening session.

>>> Follow Cycling Weekly on Facebook3

The opening round of the series takes place in Manchester on Saturday, and will host many star riders including Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Ed Clancy, Owain Doull, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker. Having been part of Great Britain s successful team pursuit line-up, Clancy and Doull will go head-to-head as they captain rival teams JLT Condor and Team Wiggins at Revolution. Both squads are hoping to qualify for the Revolution Champions League, where they will face a host of WorldTour squads. Laura Trott and Jason Kenny will be appearing at the event on Saturday, where they will be celebrating their impressive haul of gold medals in Rio and meeting fans.

>>> Laura Trott and Jason Kenny to appear at Revolution Series opener in Manchester4

Simon Collis, Content Director of Time Inc (UK) s cycling group, said: Cycling Weekly has a hugely engaged audience on Facebook, and I know they will be delighted to be able to watch Revolution Series with us. We re thrilled to work closely with Revolution to support British track cycling and promote the world s most exciting sport. James Pope, CEO of race organiser FACE Partnership, said: We are excited to extend our digital coverage of Revolution this season in collaboration with Cycling Weekly. The Facebook live broadcast of the UK Championship will provide more live racing than ever before and ensure fans don t miss a second of the action from both the afternoon and evening session.

For more event information and details of ticket sales, visit the Revolution Series website5.

Revolution UK Championship 2016 dates (all to be screened live on Cycling Weekly s Facebook6)
Round 1, September 17 National Cycling Centre, Manchester
Round 2, October 8 Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow
Round 3, October 22 National Cycling Centre, Manchester

References

  1. ^ 2016 Revolution Track Series (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Facebook Live (www.facebook.com)
  3. ^ >>> Follow Cycling Weekly on Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  4. ^ >>> Laura Trott and Jason Kenny to appear at Revolution Series opener in Manchester (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Revolution Series website (www.cyclingrevolution.com)
  6. ^ Cycling Weekly s Facebook (www.facebook.com)

Five talking points from stage one of the 2016 Vuelta a España

A great day for Sky, Contador on the back foot and a Brit in red

Team Sky means business

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

The Vuelta a Espa a1 has not been a race that Team Sky2 have excelled at the same way they have dominated the Tour de France;3 they ve yet to win the race in six attempts, with Chris Froome coming closest with second overall in 2011 and 2014. But this time around they re off the a flyer, managing to win the stage4 with a time that was just fractions of a second quicker than Movistar, despite a disorganised run-in to the line that saw a gap open up between the third and fourth rider in-line after the final bend. The Vuelta has started with a team time trial in each of the most recent editions, and this is the first time Sky has managed to win.

That s a huge improvement from their last two rides in 2014 and 2015, where they only managed 11th and 20th respectively (although in the case of the latter, Sky were taking it easy after times had been neutralised). The improvement suggests that significant preparation has gone into this year s Vuelta, and that the team is united and focussed with the goal of landing Froome s his second successive Grand Tour overall victory.5

Peter Kennaugh in red

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

It s always an honour to lead your team in over the line in a team time trial, and today Sky handed that honour to Peter Kennaugh. With Sky winning the stage, Kennaugh becomes the first overall leader of the 2016 Vuelta, a fitting reward for a rider who performed selflessly in his duties as a domestique.

Having missed out on selection for the Tour de France, and then sacrificing his position on the Olympics team6 to allow room Steve Cummings to join, the result is a welcome return to the limelight for the 27-year old Briton. Earlier in the season he held the overall lead at the Herald Sun Tour7 in February, before teammate Froome took over on the final stage could this Vuelta follow a similar trajectory?

Contador loses time

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

Alberto Contador press conference Dauphine 2016

However good a rider s shape is going into a Grand Tour, they can t account for how the rest of their team will perform in a team time trial.

Alberto Contador8 went into the race as the bookies favourite for overall victory, but he s already lost time to most of his major rivals after a lacklustre effort from Tinkoff that saw the team finish down in ninth.

>>> Five things to look out for at the Vuelta a Espa a9

That puts him 52 seconds down on Sky s Chris Froome and Movistar s Nairo Quintana, 46 seconds down on Orica-BikeExchange s Esteban Chaves and 25 seconds down on LottoNL-Jumbo s Steven Kruijswijk deficits that could prove fatal. The underwhelming ride could also be a sign that the Tinkoff team lack the kind of first-rate support Contador will need to sustain a challenge for the overall.

Mechanical disrupts Astana ride

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

Miguel Angel Lopez on stage 8 of the 2016 Tour de Suisse

Team time trials are usually a discipline that Astana excel in (they won the opening stage of the 2013 Vuelta, for instance), but today they only managed to finish 11th on the overall standings. Most of their time was lost when Miguel Angel Lopez dropped a chain, forcing the rest of his teammates to stop and wait for the situation to be resolved. If the mechanical had occurred to another rider instead the team would no doubt have continued riding, but young Colombian Lopez appears to be a protected rider for this race.

The fact the whole team was willing to stop confirms their faith in his ability to register a high place on GC.

Specialists miss out on victory

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

Over the years, two teams have emerged as specialists of the team time trial discipline BMC and Orica-BikeExchange. The former has been victorious in both the last two world titles and also won the opening stage last year, while the latter are twice silver medalists at the Worlds and have won a couple of stages stages at the Giro

>>> WorldTour teams set to skip Team Time Trial World Championships in protest10

Both teams may have been lacking some of their biggest engines, at the expense of riders more likely to do well in the climbs and on GC, but were nevertheless still clearly targeting stage victory. Ultimately neither could quite keep up with Sky and Movistar s pace, and had to settle for fourth and third respectively.

References

  1. ^ Vuelta a Espa a (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Team Sky (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Tour de France; (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ managing to win the stage (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ his second successive Grand Tour overall victory. (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ then sacrificing his position on the Olympics team (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ held the overall lead at the Herald Sun Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ Alberto Contador (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ >>> Five things to look out for at the Vuelta a Espa a (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ >>> WorldTour teams set to skip Team Time Trial World Championships in protest (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)