Debutant Winners of a Monument Classic

A new year, a new cycling season and a new set of five monument classics waiting to be won by the strongest riders. Whenever talk turns to contenders for these one-day races, it’s often the case that we look to the names of previous winners as the riders most likely to battle it out for the win once more: John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff, Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, Philippe Gilbert, Simon Gerrans, Dan Martin, Alejandro Valverde.

Failing that, there are plenty of other riders who have come close and have not quite made the top step of the podium, but who we would also expect to see in the thick of it in the monument classics: Greg van Avermaet, Sep van Marcke, Zdenek Stybar, Geraint Thomas. ~ Continue reading ~

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The Hardest Monument Classic

Which classic is the hardest?

It’s an impossible question to answer definitively as the topic will always be somewhat subjective. How do you define ‘hard’? Hills? Cobbles? Wind? Rain? Speed?

Perhaps a good place to start is to rule out all of the classics that are not considered to be one of the five monuments – Milan San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy. After all, they’re considered to be above all the others for a reason. ~ Continue reading ~

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Schleck needs time to settle

Although this season is far from over with big races such as the Vuelta a Espana, the Tour of Lombardy and the World Championships still to be won, one of the main talking points of next season has already presented itself. Will Andy Schleck be able to win the Tour de France as part of a new team, and in so doing, defeat his ex-directeur sportif Bjarne Riis and the reigning Tour champion Alberto Contador?

Both riders will be riding for new teams, Contador will be in the unusual position of riding for the team Andy Schleck has just left, while Schleck, along with brother Frank, has moved away from Riis to start a Luxembourg based team. Incidentally, as well as Contador and Schleck, the third rider who finished on the Tour podium will also be riding for a different team next year. Denis Menchov will be making the move from Rabobank to Mauro Gianetti’s Team Geox. This will be the first time ever that all of the podium finishers in the Tour de France have changed teams for the following season. ~ Continue reading ~

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