2020 Giro review

RnkPrev▼▲RiderTeamUCIPntTime
12▲1 GEOGHEGAN HART TaoINEOS Grenadiers85040085:40:21
21▼1 HINDLEY JaiTeam Sunweb6802900:39
33 KELDERMAN WilcoTeam Sunweb5752401:29
45▲1 ALMEIDA JoãoDeceuninck – Quick Step4602202:57
54▼1 BILBAO PelloBahrain – McLaren3802003:09
66 FUGLSANG JakobAstana Pro Team3201907:02
77 NIBALI VincenzoTrek – Segafredo2601808:15
88 KONRAD PatrickBORA – hansgrohe2201708:42
99 MASNADA FaustoDeceuninck – Quick Step1801609:57
1010 PERNSTEINER HermannBahrain – McLaren14015011:05

The last day drama of the 2020 Giro D’Italia was only a part of the race long narrative that saw excitement and attacking racing.

There was also confirmation of the changing of the guard at the top of stage racing with Vicenzo Nibali joining the ranks of also ran along side the other cast offs of the season.

It looked for so long like the British challenge was over before the race made the mainland with Geraint Thomas crashing on a bidon a losing time before quitting.

Ineos Grenadiers changed tack at this point smashing riders into all breakaways and proving that the Michal Kwiatkowski/Richard Carapaz tandem from the Tour de France was no fluke.

Fillipo Ganna was a revelation of the race, unbeatable in time trials and showing that his ability to finish off moves in bad weather marks him out as a possible classics rider of the future.

Rohan Dennis proved his can be famous for more than an Instagram post showing him breaking lockdown in Girona by guiding Tao Geoghagan-Hart back into contention after he’d lost time nursing Thomas.

Despite getting deeper and deeper into the race whilst wearing the pink jersey, Joao Almeida started to look flaky in the mid race mountain stages before hitting the buffers for good on the Stelvio.

It was there that perennial grand tour contender Wilco Kelderman seemed to fall into the jersey. However he looked weak in taking the race lead with Geoghagan-Hart and his own team mate Jai Hindley riding away to contest the stage.

Kelderman said all the right things about being in the race lead with 2 days to go but he was clearly beaten.

He fell away totally on the final Saturday of the race leaving Hindley to follow and take the pink jersey. It’s third occupant in three days of racing.

Hindley was on the same time as Tao going into the final days time trial after a trade of stage wins and time bonuses across the previous 48 hours.

It was Roglic-Pogcar and LeMond-Fignon but with no head start for any rider and with only fractions of a second from previous time trials used to decide who was race leader.

The destiny of the 2020 Giro was perfectly balanced, however this one wasn’t quite an exciting as the Tours mentioned above.

Tao was 10 seconds up according to GPS very early in the stage and by the official time check it was a situation where barring accident or misfortune, he would win the race.

And that he did. It was great to see local rider to us Hannah Barnes greet him after the finish as his partner. They are cyclings Posh and Becks!

He is a rider who is still young and fresh faced but whose time has now come. He saw his leader fall out of the race and then took his time to find his feet as leader, chipping back time as and when he could.

With the new Ineos style of attacking racing suiting him more than wattage based mountain trains, this was a case of right rider, right time and right place.

Well done Tao!

‘Chasing Rainbows’ – 2020 World Cycling Championships…

The last minute, re-arranged World Cycling Championships were very good considering all of the stress and alterations to the venue in the run up.

Naturally it was a shame not to see U23 competitions and the team time trial (especially seeing as how controversial it was when it came in). But the events we did get to see where entertaining and with deserving winners.

RnkRiderTeamUCIPntAvgTime
1 VAN DER BREGGEN AnnaNetherlands35010047.15740:20
2 REUSSER MarlenSwitzerland2507046.8670:15
3 VAN DIJK EllenNetherlands2004046.5610:31
4 BRENNAUER LisaGermany1503046.2960:45
5 BROWN GraceAustralia1252545.9981:01
6 NEBEN AmberUnited States1002045.6481:20
7 NORSGAARD Emma CecilieDenmark851545.6121:22
8 KRÖGER MiekeGermany701045.4481:31
9 STEPHENS LaurenUnited States60945.2321:43
10 BUSSI VittoriaItaly50845.1781:46

Anna Van Der Breggen was a narrow winner of the Womens TT with Marlen Reusser at only 15 seconds and Ellen Van Dyke only a second away from a 30 second blanket being able to be thrown over the podium.

RnkRiderTeamUCIPntTime
1 VAN DER BREGGEN AnnaNetherlands6002004:09:57
2 VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekNetherlands4751701:20
3 LONGO BORGHINI ElisaItaly400140,,
4 VOS MarianneNetherlands3251302:01
5 LIPPERT LianeGermany275120,,
6 DEIGNAN ElizabethGreat Britain225110,,
7 NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaPoland175100,,
8 LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupDenmark150902:41
9 BRENNAUER LisaGermany125803:08
10 REUSSER MarlenSwitzerland10070,

The road race was less close with Van Der Breggen doing the double. Special mention must go to her team mate and rival Annamiek Van Vleuten who came home for a silver medal despite recently suffering a fracture of her wrist.

As with the womens events, the mens were dominated by the big names of the sport with Fillipo Ganna winning the time trial ahead of Wout Van Aert (who bagged a pair of silver medals) and Stefan Kung who had left the Tour de France early to prepare for this event.

The weather was unpredictable with howling wind and cloud closing in and pulling out all through the event. At one point a cloud burst looked inevitable and this would have given an advantage to the early starters. But it didn’t materialise.

It was interesting to see that despite a pretty bland circuit and shortened distance the riders made the event and that was exactly what the championships needed to be successful.

RnkRiderTeamUCIPntAvgTime
1 GANNA FilippoItaly35025052.98135:54
2 VAN AERT WoutBelgium25019052.3490:26
3 KÜNG StefanSwitzerland20014052.2770:29
4 THOMAS GeraintGreat Britain15011052.0860:37
5 DENNIS RohanAustralia12510052.0380:39
6 ASGREEN KasperDenmark1009051.8490:47
7 CAVAGNA RémiFrance858051.8260:48
8 CAMPENAERTS VictorBelgium707051.7320:52
9 DOWSETT AlexGreat Britain606051.4051:06
10 DUMOULIN TomNetherlands505051.2211:14

The final event of the weekend was the mens road race which I settled down to watch with a beer after 80km of hard, windy riding of my own Sunday morning.

The breakaway were kept at a suitable arms length going into the latter stages of the race before Tadej Pogacar rocketed out of the front of the pack with a lap and a half to go.

He managed to get a good distance before fading, but it was a clear plan to soften the race up for his team mate Primoz Roglic.

Whether Roglic didn’t feel too great I don’t know. But he didn’t seem capable of getting out of the wheels when the likes of Tom Dumoulin and Greg Van Avermaet went off up the road.

The attack that did stick came from Julian Alaphillippe who went clear on the penultimate climb before following the Pogacar blueprint from previous laps and digging in on the plateau and rolling section of road.

He then made good on the decent into the Formula 1 circuit before stretching his narrow lead in the final kilometer as the chasers started to disfunction and settle for the lower places.

RnkRiderTeamUCIPntTime
1 ALAPHILIPPE JulianFrance6003506:38:34
2 VAN AERT WoutBelgium4752600:24
3 HIRSCHI MarcSwitzerland400190,,
4 KWIATKOWSKI MichałPoland325150,,
5 FUGLSANG JakobDenmark275130,,
6 ROGLIČ PrimožSlovenia225110,,
7 MATTHEWS MichaelAustralia1751000:53
8 VALVERDE AlejandroSpain15090,,
9 SCHACHMANN MaximilianGermany12580,,
10 CARUSO DamianoItaly10070,,

Van Aert came home second as previously mentioned with man of the month Marc Hirschi finishing off the podium places.

We now have a really short break before the Eneco Tour this week, Ardennes Classics on Wednesday and Sunday and the Giro starting Saturday.

Bring it on!

Meanwhile in Italy…

Whilst the eyes of the cycling world are naturally on France right now, English riders have been proving their worth by winning a couple of big stage races.

Tom Pidcock, a rider needing no introduction to readers of this blog won the baby Giro in dominant style showing that he is more than a cyclo cross rider.

Tirreno-Adriatico finished this afternoon with Simon Yates riding a really strong time trial to keep the overall lead ahead of the chasing duo of Rafal Majka and Geraint Thomas.

The race had seen some epic riding over some of the famous Muro climbs that pepper the Italian coastal areas.

Congratulations to both Brits (apologies for being jingoistic) and let’s hope there is more to come, especially on the mud this winter from Pidcock.

Revised 1 day calendar offers some hope

After the announcement last week that there could be a late August Tour de France, Cyclingnews is reporting a revised single day classics calendar that is with the teams.

This is due to start on August 1st with Strade Bianche.

Of course this is subject to all manner of peaks of infection and travel restrictions being lifted but on a day where the sun is shining outside but my mood is pretty grey, this is a positive.

So let’s hope and pray we get to see some racing.

Provisional continuing 2020 men’s UCI calendar according to RTBF

August 1: Strade Bianche

August 8: Milan-San Remo

Second week of August: Critérium du Dauphiné (four days)

August 22-23: National championships events

August 29-September 20: Tour de France

September 20-27: UCI Road World Championships

September 30: Flèche Wallonne

October 4: Liège-Bastogne-Liège

October 3-25: Giro d’Italia

October 10: Amstel Gold Race

October 11: Gent-Wevelgem

October 18: Tour of Flanders

October 25: Paris-Roubaix

October 31: Il Lombardia

From November 1: Vuelta a España

A sad inevitability…

As the week has worn on, the whole world has been edging nearer and nearer a period of shutdown.

Despite taking place, Paris Nice has ended a day early to allow riders to get home before their respective nations shut down for a couple of weeks or so.

The race itself was pretty exciting with lots of wind, rain and one of my favourite words of the spring, Echelons.

Lovely.

But all through the week there was an impending sense of doom that became reality Thursday into Friday when a number of teams pulled out.

And that it would appear is that in terms of bike racing for the foreseeable future. No Giro, very little chance of the Flemish classics and a growing sense of feeling despite all of ASOs posturing, the Tour de France will be next.

I might be one of the last up the Muur for a while…

But as my post earlier in the week stated, public health must come first and this period where a lot of the things we take for granted are taken away, we will grow to appreciate them on their return.

Stay safe.

Our men 2019 – Update

We put our 9 riders for 2019 on the BikeRadar forum back in February and with the season now over we thought it might be time to have a look at how they did. 

Where they were hits, boy were they hits, but when they missed….

Tom Dumoulin

Poor year for the former Giro winner who crashed in that race early on before missing the Tour de France. Made the move to Jumbo-Visma for 2020. 

Krists Nielandts

Was present in a number of classics before getting in the frame as a potential worlds winner with his brilliant solo attack to win the GP Wallonie in Namur the week before the Rainbow bands were decided. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=43_e4ITdkoc

Bob Jungels

Really poor year from Bob who was present in the cobbled classics without being too prominent. Only really saw him in Lombardia after that. 

Remco Evenepoel

Fabulous first season for a rider who showed in Columbia back in the Northern winter before some semi classic action. 

His season ignited with a Classica San Sebastian win the week after the Tour de France. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=n871v2M8gCs

Jurgen Roelandts

Not seen all year. Really sad for our hero…

Egan Bernal

Inspired pick if I say so myself. Won the Tour de France and an Italian semi classic. It will be interesting to see how he works with Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome next year. 

Thomas De Gendt

Wonderful solo attack in the Volta a Catalunya which he proved was no fluke by holding off the combined forces of Julian Alaphillipe in Thibaut Pinot in the Tour de France for a memorable stage win. 

Tony Gallopin

Surprisingly quiet year for Gallopin who did at least end it on a high by being prominent in Paris Tours on the final weekend of the European season. 

Mathieu Van der Poel

Started the season on fire with form from the Cyclo Cross campaign he’d dominated. 

He ended up in a flower bed in the Tour of Flanders before getting back to the lead group, a memorable ride. Followed that up with arguably the ride of the year in winning the Amstel Gold. 

Dominated the Tour of Britain, but couldn’t quite hold on to win the Worlds in Yorkshire. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=Yi4opDanurU

Introducing our new race cut 2019 classics jersey.

Featuring the original Fendrien black coloured jersey with the contrast red.

Despite moving across the border into Lincolnshire we have retained the gold and green of the Huntingdonshire flag for this jersey.

The design has a plain front with bold wording to stand out on the back and coloured pockets.

Technical features include tighter fit, bottom of jersey tape to keep it in place and body for stitching.

We love it!

Our final Giro thoughts.

We’ve left the dust to settle and the controversial comments fly before posting our Giro thoughts.

First off it was an epic race. We aren’t here to politicise cycling so won’t comment on the start in Israel. If you want to know how we feel, ask when you see us out on the road.

The sprint battle was supposed to be dull based on the number of top level riders missing, but in Elia Viviani and Sam Bennett we were treated to a great duel.

The mountains battle was compromised somewhat by GC contenders as is the way nowadays.

That battle was lit up early on by Simon Yates who almost made it to Rome in the Maglia Rosa before a late collapse instigated by Tom Dumoulin and finished off by Chris Froome.

Are we comfortable with Froome?

No.

It’s nothing personal but his Salbutomol case needed resolving way before now to give his win a level of security. Throw in the style of the race winning attack and it’s clear the cycling world needs some answers.

Overall our man of the race was Dumoulin. Harsh on Yates it may be, but the Dutchman is big and powerful and would go well in the fens. And that’s important to us.