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Photo: Everything you need to know about the 2015 Spring Classics.
Opening the action was Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The 2015 route had a total of 11 climbs or "hellingen," with course designer and former winner Peter Van Petegem keeping the circular route but tweaking the order of the climbs and adding the Bosgat ascent.

After a tumultuous year, 2014 winner Ian Stannard returned to the race as he searched to get his career back on track after breaking his back at Ghent-Wevelgem and spending three months off his bike.

There is still plenty more action to come in the Classics over the next two months, so let Cyclingnews guide you through the important races from Milan-San Remo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

March 2, 2015 (

Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory in Sunday's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Photo: Tim De Waele |
Once again, the contrasts could not have been more stark.

On Saturday, for the second straight year, Belgian powerhouse Etixx-Quick-Step failed to deliver at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, its first home race of the season.

On Sunday, for the second straight year, it took revenge at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

In 2014 the difference was largely weather:

Saturday’s wet, frigid gloom gave way to the kind of lovely early spring sunshine in which Etixx’s Tom Boonen has built the better part of his career.

This year, the difference was simple patience.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: Three against one and it was a foregone conclusion, surely? Ian Stannard had other ideas when he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday .
They were scratching their heads at the start of Kuurne Brussels Kuurne on Sunday morning, still wondering how Belgium’s top team could have thrown away victory in Het Nieuwsblad the previous day.

To recap: Ian Stannard of Team Sky, away with three Etixx-QuickStep riders for the final 40km, scored the most improbable of wins in Ghent, and in so doing left three of the strongest Classics riders, Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh, with – choose your description or metaphor – red faces, pants around ankles, egg on face, bottoms on a plate.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: It's the beginning of the season for Simon Gerrans (AAP Images).
This time last year, Gerrans had won both the Australian National Championships and the Tour Down Under.

This year, however, the Orica-GreenEDGE rider is yet to register a single race day owing to breaking his collarbone in December.

Next week the 34 year old will pin on a number for the first time since the UCI Road World Championships in September last year, making his racing return at the Italian one-day race Strade Bianche.

“I’m feeling good in training, and I can’t wait to pin a number on again,” a fully-recovered Gerrans wrote.

March 2, 2015 (

2014-15 Races & Results.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen - Mar 6-8 (Start List),

Paris Nice - Mar 8-15 (Stages),

Tirreno-Adriatico - Mar 11-17 (Start List),

Giro d'Italia 2015 - May 9-31 (Stages),

Tour de France 2015 - July 4-26 (Stages),

Vuelta a España 2015 - Aug 22-Sept 13 (Stages),

UCI Road World Championship 2015 - Sept 20-27 (Stages),

Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne - Mar 1 (Results),

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite - Feb 28 (Results),

Volta ao Algarve - Feb 19-23 (Results),

UCI Track World Championships - Feb 18-22 (Results),

Tour of Oman 2015 - Feb 17-22 (Results),

Vuelta a Andalucia - Feb 18-22 (Results),

Women's Tour of New Zealand - Feb 18-22 (Results),

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships - Jan 31-Feb 1 (Results).

More ...

March 1, 2015  (

Photography by Cor Vos: My teammates and I arrived in Belgium a week before the race.
"I had been warned, so I was mentally prepared for what to expect coming to Belgium this spring. I had been told to expect terrible weather – rain and freezing cold and maybe even snow. I heard about the big bunches and the race for position and how costly making a mistake would be.

“You have to keep going until you drop,” they said.

“It’s like war out there to hold position,” they told me.

My coach, Martin Barras, scared me a bit about the weather. I’ve come from an Australian summer. I’ve probably only been to the snow five times – and that was only in Australia. I haven’t had much to do with the cold weather. Martin told me to harden up. He said: 'You need to learn to train in the rain because in Belgium its always raining!'"

March 2, 2015 (

The climb up N 23rd Street, Richmond (Photo: Google Maps).
The 2015 World Championships road race route in Richmond, Virginia, will feature two challenging hills within three kilometers of the finish line, the organizer has revealed.

Working with the UCI, Richmond 2015 has modified the routes and finalized the schedule for week between September 19 and 27.

The downtown road race takes in the cobbled climb of Libbie Hill, before three 90-degree turns take the riders up 23rd Street, which hits a 13 per cent gradient short ascent.

March 2, 2015 (

Mark Cavendish prevailed in a chaotic finale at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | (file). (
Mark Cavendish claimed his second win in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne after out-sprinting Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani on Sunday, saving Etixx-QuickStep’s blushes after the team lost out in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: I felt really tired all day and I felt yesterday’s effort in the legs.
Team Katusha’s leader Alexander Kristoff finished second in the prestigious one-day race Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne (193 km), which was held today in Belgium.

Kristoff and his Katusha teammates controlled the last 30 km, keeping the pace high as the peloton headed through the city streets of Kuurne.

Kristoff held his position as the group hit the final corner to set up the field sprint.

The strong Norwegian ramped up his power with 150 m to go, kicking for the finish line in a massive turn of speed. A last second pass from Mark Cavendish put Kristoff in second place by less than a bike length in an exciting group sprint.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: Stannard’s win makes him the ninth rider to win back-to-back Omloops.
Ian Stannard took on three riders from a rival team, cracking them one by one on the road to Gent before it was Niki Terpstra’s time to get done over in the sprint.

The locals call triumphing in a race overwinning, a term that ought to be used in English to describe Stannard’s success.

The early break went with only seven riders.

It had quality with 21 year old Aléxis Gougeard plus two established rouleurs in Albert Timmer and Matt Brammeier and as the race went on this trio were the last to hold out as Team Sky set the pace with Bradley Wiggins, born in Ghent, leading over the cobbles to the sound of angry farmers waving black flags from idle tractors.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: After a year of reconstruction, I am sure we will see the real Romain in 2015.
Romain Sicard has shown during the difficult Vuelta a Andalucía, last week, he already had a good physical condition to "hard circuits and the Vuelta worthy arrivals", he compares.

He finished in 14th place at a mountain top finish, and during the penultimate stage, he made a long breakaway before the return of Froome-Contador duo.

Speaking in an interview with L’Equipe, the rider is hoping his form can help him gain leadership in more races for Europcar, such as today’s Drome Classic.

March 1, 2015 (

Alpe d’Huez Photo: Graham Watson
…and then they do it again. On the same day.
t’s too much to ask for all your friends to be cyclists.

We all need a mix of acquaintances who can ask silly questions, completely miss the point and not understand what you’re going through when Marcel Kittel beats Mark Cavendish yet again.

This is what you know, and they don’t. At least until you make them read it.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: The 29 year old Belgian was told last Thursday that he had to appear before the Belgian Cycling Federation on March 13. Photography by by Cor Vos
Although Greg Van Avermaet is one of the BMC Racing Team’s biggest guns for the spring Classics, it remains to be seen how his preparation and thus form will be affected by his implication in the doping matter involving Dr. Chris Mertens.

On Saturday it was confirmed that the Belgian rider had been summoned to appear at an anti-doping hearing held by the Belgian cycling federation Koninklijke Belgische Wielrijdersbond (KBW) on Tuesday March 13.

This date clashes with two major races on the spring calendar, Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Both of these are used by Classic riders as an important part of the build-up to Milan-Sanremo and other events.

Paris-Nice runs from March 8 to 15 while Tirreno-Adriatico will be held from March 11 to 17.

Milan-Sanremo will itself be held on March 22.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: Lance Armstrong liked to control the media
(Bettini Photo).
Having been stripped of his seven Tour de France victories following the 2012 USADA reasoned decision, Armstrong has repeatedly argued that his life-time ban is too harsh a penalty considering former teammates were only handed six-month bans.

Armstrong claimed that he would be “the first through the door” when the Cycling Independent Reform Commission began to interview former dopers.

He revealed he spoke to the CIRC investigators twice during 2014 and told the BBC that he had been “totally honest”, adding, "At this point of my life, I'm not out to protect anybody.

I'm out to protect seven people, and they all have the last name Armstrong."

March 2, 2015 (

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) with the trident trophy of overall Tirreno-Adriatico winner
(Bettini Photo).
The organizers of Tirreno-Adriatico have confirmed that Chris Froome , Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali will all ride this year’s race, setting up the first ever clash between the four big-name Grand Tour contenders.

The only other time when the so-called ‘Four Tenors’ or ‘Fantastic Four’ of cycling will race against each other is expected to be at the Tour de France.

The four have never gone head to head in a major WorldTour stage race due to different race program and objectives.

March 2, 2015 (

Ian Stannard outsprinted Niki Terpstra to win his second consecutive Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Pic: Sirotti).
Tom Simpson’s Tour of Flanders win in 1961 remains the only time a Briton has topped the podium at either the Ronde or Paris-Roubaix, but Stannard proved, once again, he could be the man to end the barren run.

Victory last year, after a gutsy attack with Greg van Avermaet and a well-timed sprint for the line, firmly established Stannard as a Classics contender, but the 27-year-old suffered a fractured vertebrae after crashing into a ditch at Ghent-Wevelgem to effectively end his season, returning only for the RideLondon-Surrey Classics, Eneco Tour and a single stage of the Tour of Briton.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: A doctor in America recommends indoor cycling for migraine sufferers, while a Swedish study shows it improves their quality of life.
There is currently no cure for migraines, but the millions of people who suffer from them could find some relief through indoor cycling, according to new research.

Dr Carolyn Bernstein, from Beth Isreal-Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, says the low impact nature of cycling indoors is a great way to alleviate the symptoms of migraines.

Dr Bernstein, a migraine sufferer herself, told Fox21 that exercise in general can help relief, but it is not a complete cure.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo Rupert Fowler : Whether you're an owl or a lark can have a big impact on how well you train at certain times of the day .
In recent years there’s been an increasing recognition of the importance of the daily biological rhythm (circadian rhythm) in physical performance.

Previous studies on athletes have suggested that certain aspects of physical performance such as power and strength tend to peak during late afternoon/early evening.

But now a new study by UK scientists suggests that an individual’s internal body clock has an even more powerful influence on performance than was previously suspected.

March 2, 2015 (

Samuel Dumoulin wins his first race in nearly two years. Photo courtesy Yves Perret | AG2R La Mondiale. (
Frenchman out-paces Felline, Delfosse.

Samuel Dumoulin used a last-ditch attack to seize the victory on Sunday in the Drome Classic.

Dumoulin took his first win in nearly two years  by just four seconds over Fabio Felline, with Sébastien Delfosse third at seven seconds.

The 200km race around Livron was marked by a four-man break that included Danny Summerhill, Grégoire Tarride, Axel Domont and Bert-Jan Lindeman.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) wins GP Lugano.
Lampre rider tops Gavazzi, Montaguti in all-Italian podium.

Twenty-one-year old Italian rider Niccolò Bonfazio won the final sprint at the end of the 184,9 km course, beating Francesco Gavazzi, Matteo Montaguti and Rasmus Guldhammer and thus completing the great performance of the whole blue-fuchsia-green team.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: The past year this team started to break out of the mold of how we were racing.
During the winter break, BMC duo Brent Bookwalter, the longest serving member on the team, and Peter Stetina, sat down with PEZ Cycling to discuss the team and American cycling in general. 

With riders like Thor Hushovd, Cadel Evans and Martin Kohler leaving the team in the offseason, all three with great experience and many years spent riding with the team, Bookwalter was asked to assess the changes in the team.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: The team will next season apply for a ProContinental license.
Skydive Dubai's ambition is to apply for a WorldTour license in a few years, according to sport director Humaid Mehrab Al Sabbagh, speaking in an interview with Rouleur Magazine. Skydive Dubai would be the first Arabian team to be at the highest level.

Skydive Dubai was started last year and runs this year with a continental license.

The team includes Andrea Palini, Francisco Mancebo and Vladimir Gusev.

The Tunisian Rafaâ Chtioui won earlier this month La Tropicale Amissa Bongo.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: We have already organized five editions of the race and it wasn't a problem in the past.
Despite riders' protest resulting in the cancellation of the fifth stage of this year's Tour of Oman, the continuation of the event held in the Middle East has been confirmed for 2016 season.

The race organizer, Eddy Merckx, threatened that an unpleasant incident seriously endangered a future of the event and openly criticized an attitude presented by riders.

However, a representative of the Omani party responsible for running the event emphasized that it wasn't a case.

March 1, 2015 (

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2
Cycling Plus / Immediate Media.
BikeRadar verdict: 4 out of 5 stars. "Classy chassis is a true winner that the spec can’t quite match."

March 1, 2015 (

Greg Van Avermaet under scrutiny in Mertens inquiry.

February 28, 2015 (

Photo: Daily Distraction... © (

March 2, 2015 (

March 2, 2015

MTN-Qhubeka has ridden its way into the European peloton, and will debut at the Tour de France in 2015, the first-ever African team to do so. Photo: Tim De Waele |
The South Africa-based MTN-Qhubeka team has received a good deal of attention this year, with its off-season signings of Tyler Farrar, Edvald Boassen Hagen, and Matt Goss among others.

Its invitation to participate in this year’s Tour de France was also particularly ground-breaking. But apart from being the first African-registered team to earn a spot for the Tour’s starting line, and its notable racing successes over the last few years, the team is also driven by a different and unique philosophy — one which may eventually impact pro cycling at the highest level, and help to evolve the sport toward a more sustainable model.

Team founder and owner Douglas Ryder sees his squad as pioneering the future of African cycling in a way that will lead to more UCI events on the continent, and eventually, more African riders having the opportunity to race on top global teams.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: It’s still painful, especially walking; on the bike it actually feels better. So I am able to train a couple hours on the road now, but obviously this is not enough to be ready for a race like Paris-Nice.
The injury Fränk Schleck sustained in a crash in the first stage of Ruta del Sol on February 18 has left the Luxembourger struggling to return to full form ahead of Paris-Nice.

The Trek Factory Racing directors allowed time for Schleck to recover from the deep muscular hematoma in his quadriceps, hoping that he would be able to rebound in time for the March 8 start.

Today the team’s final decision was unfortunate news: Schleck would be unable to attain a level necessary for the WorldTour event.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: Olympic champion Dani King tells BBC Breakfast that she is back in good shape physically and how her Wiggle-Honda teammates are supporting her recovery .
Dani King admits it was scary to get back on the road after the crash that left her with broken ribs and a collapsed lung last year.

The 2012 Olympic team pursuit champion’s winter training was cut short by the accident, which occurred when a training partner hit a submerged pothole, bringing King to the ground as well.

But the 24-year-old is back in action with her Wiggle-Honda team, having recently returned from a training camp in Belgium, where the terrain was a real test of her recovery.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: In my head, a European team was the way to compete at the top level. Photography by Kirsty Baxter, Balint Hamvas and BrakeThrough Media
While racing was in full swing these past few months in New Zealand, Australia and Qatar, all eyes were on Europe this weekend when the women’s road season “officially began” with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.

Although more UCI-sanctioned races are appearing around the globe, for men’s and women’s pro cycling alike, Europe is still considered the pinnacle of bike racing, and athletes from around the globe do whatever it takes to become “Euro pro”.

“In order to become the best cyclist — which is always the goal — you have to perform where all the best cycling is, and that really is in Europe,” said American cyclist Tayler Wiles.

Fellow American Megan Guarnier agrees.

March 2, 2015 (

Mark Cavendish beat Alexander Kristoff at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the first time the two have faced off this season (Pic: Tim de Waele/EQS).
Mark Cavendish drew first blood against in-form Alexander Kristoff  as the pair continued their Milan-San Remo preparations at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Cavendish – who won the Belgian semi-Classic on his last appearance, with Team Sky in 2012 – outsprinted Kristoff and Elia Viviani  to notch up his sixth victory of the season.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo by Matt Wikstrom: Craddock Cycles recently appointed Goldstein Cycles as its Australian agent.
Richard Craddock was born into a cycling family, so it was inevitable that he would throw his leg over a bike and start racing.

Less inevitable perhaps was his involvement in the industry, but that wasn’t what inspired him to start building his own carbon frames.

It was frustration instead, at not being able to find a mass-produced frameset that fitted him perfectly.

His first prototype generated enough interest for Richard to consider building a business around his new bike.

March 2, 2015 (

Photo: If 25mm is good enough for the pros, it’s definitely good enough for us average Joes.
n the past, narrow tires were the order of the day, but the modern peloton is bucking the trend and switching to wider hoops.

Tire companies are unanimous in their support for this increase in diameter, which they claim reduces rolling resistance and saves energy, as well as adding extra comfort.

No longer does thinner mean faster.

It’s not just the tire brands making the change. Bike manufacturers are also taking heed of the trend and fitting their machines with 25mm tires as standard — instead of the formerly ubiquitous 23mm size.

As a result, tire clearances are expanding. Frames that were once too narrow for anything other than skinny race tires now have room for fatter fitments.

March 2, 2015 (

March 1, 2015

Photo: Armstrong denies he has had an agenda and remains banned from competitive cycling (Laurent Rebours) .
Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban from competitive sport is set to remain in place after the report into doping refused to recommend lifting it.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission, established by the UCI president Brian Cookson, presented its report in Switzerland on Friday.

The American agreed to co-operate with the commission and had two meetings with its members.

Armstrong claims to have answered every question and, in a recent interview with the BBC, the former cyclist suggested he had been wholly honest in his dealings with the commission.

“At this point in my life I’m not out to protect anybody. I’m out to protect seven people and they all have the last name Armstrong.”

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: GP Samyn is the opening of the new Lotto Wallonia Cup.
The 47th edition of the Grand Prix Samyn (1.1) is not tailored for the sprinters this year.

By working on the traditional route, it includes 13 cobbled sections totaling 13 kilometers in the final of this year’s event, which takes place on Wednesday.

The GP is ridden on March 4 between Quaregnon and Dour.

The arrival of the edition of 2015 is in the center of Dour, where the race finishes with three local laps.

According to the organization, the toughest cobbled sector, which received a three-star difficulty, lies just over two kilometers from the finish.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: Servais Knaven and Rod Ellingworth catch up during a training ride
(Team Sky).
Servais Knaven knows better than most that when riders from Patrick Lefevere’s team outnumber the rest in the finale of a cobbled classic, only one outcome is likely.

After all, he was one of four Domo riders in the winning break of seven at Paris-Roubaix in 2001, and he duly slipped away to claim victory and lead a sweep of the podium for the Belgian squad.

On Saturday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, then, Knaven must have had a sinking feeling as he sat in the Sky team car behind the decisive break and watched his man Ian Stannard outnumbered by three of Lefevere’s Etixx-QuickStep charges.

One imagines that the Dutchman was able to offer plenty of insight but precious little consolation when Stannard dropped back to weigh up his prospects.

March 1, 2015 (

Photo: Arnaud Démare (FDJ)
(Bettini Photo).
The record 30-year drought since France’s last Tour de France victory tends to grab the headlines but it’s worth recalling that 18 years have now passed since Frédéric Guesdon became the last home winner of Paris-Roubaix when he surprised Johan Museeuw, Andrei Tchmil et al in a gripping sprint finish on the velodrome.

After retiring in 2012, Guesdon remained at FDJ as a directeur sportif, and he now finds himself in the position of offering guidance to the man viewed by many as his most likely successor at Roubaix, Arnaud Démare.

March 1, 2015 (


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