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The Cycling Race News Show: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne & Abu Dhabi Tour

The Cycling Race News Show: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne & Abu Dhabi Tour

Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show – this
week, we celebrate the return of the cobbles! That’s right, men;s and women’s Omloop
Het Nieuwsblad and men’s Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. Plus, middle eastern racing concludes in Abu
Dhabi, we’ve got the 4 day Setmana Ciclista Valenciana in Spain, and as if Belgium wasn’t
cold enough, we head north… to Alaska… We always look forward to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad,
and this year did not disappoint. When you turn the TV on with 80km to go and
there are smattering of riders all over the place, you know you’ve got some fantastic
racing on the cards. But the big news in the build up this year
was that the races used the iconic combination of the climbs of the Kapelmuur and Bosberg
in the finale, a nod to the heritage of the Tour of Flanders. After what had been an aggressive race, the
men’s peloton had regrouped before the first of those two climbs, but the Muur proved to
be as selective as we’ve come to expect. In fact it was there that we saw that pre
race favourite Greg Van Avermaet perhaps not looking as strong as we’d expected. Not next to Sep Vanmarcke at least who powered
up the cobbles to the chapel, with Van Avermaet unable to follow. With Zdenek Stybar joining Vanmarcke, it looked
like we could have the race winning move, but there was another regrouping before the
Bosberg. There, the pain was etched on the riders faces,
but that final climb did not prove decisive. In the end, having numbers in the front group
proved to be the decisive factor. Astana, perhaps motivated by the teams current
dire financial situation – more on that in tomorrow’s GCN Show – managed to place three
riders in a group of 11, which also, incidentally, contained cyclocross world champion Wout Van
Aert. Ultimately it was Michael Valgren who timed
things to perfection – he made a stinging attack with 2.5km’s remaining, and with
a moment’s hesitation behind, he quickly built an unassailable lead to take the biggest
win of his career. The women’s event saw the first outing of
Chantal Blaak in her World Champions jersey. Also making their season debuts were Belgian
Champion Jolien d’Hoore, and 2017 Tour of Flanders winner Coryn Rivera. Like the men’s race, there was a general
regrouping before the Muur, and it was Italian Champion Elena Cecchini (check-een-ee) who
led a select group of 10 that also included Ellen Van Dijk and Chantal Blaak. They continued to lead over the Bosberg, but
were reeled in, leaving a 30 rider sprint. Leading the charge was young Christina Siggaard,
who unleashed a devastating seated sprint to take the first win of her career, and what
a race to do it in. In 2nd was friend of the channel Alexis Ryan,
herself still just 23 years of age, and they left some very big names in their wake. SOme trivia now, That is the first time that
a Dane has won the men’s or women’s event, and now they’ve done the double. Further emphasising the current level of Danish
cycling is the fact that Siggaard rides for Danish squad Team Virtu Cycling, and it is
she who is this week’s rider of the week. KUURNE BRUSSELS KUURNE The following day saw the men move on to Kuurne
Brussels Kuurne, a semi classic that often ends in a reduced bunch sprint despite a smattering
of cobbled climbs, and that’s exactly what we got. Dylan Groenewegen timed things perfectly to
take arguably his biggest one day win to date. There was heartbreak, though, for Team Dimension
Data’s Julien Vermote who finished 9th, having been part of a late 3 man breakaway
that was caught inside the last 100m. That’s a promising start though, this is
the first year he’s had a bit of freedom in the classics after moving away from Quickstep. Omloop Van Het Hageland
The women’s peloton meanwhile raced in the in the Omloop Van Het Hageland and Teamwork
was the name of the game. Team Sunweb drilled it into the last climb
to set up Ellen Van Dijk, who duly attacked, and was never seen again. ABU DHABI TOUR Over in Abu Dhabi, the first three days were
a sprinters delight. Most sprinters anyway, less than delighted
was Mark Cavendish who crashed in the neutral zone on stage one, after the lead car allegedly
braked of its own accord, and was forced to withdraw with concussion and whiplash. Alexander Kristoff took stage one, Elia Viviani
won the following day, and then on stage 3, Team Sunweb’s Phil Bauhaus took the biggest
win of his career, pipping a fast finishing Marcel Kittel to the line. This year saw the addition of an individual
time trial for the first time, although the expected battle between specialists Rohan
Dennis and World Champion Tom Dumoulin was thwarted when the latter had a mechanical
– NOTHING to do with the fact that Dan had taken a close inspection of his bike the previous
day. Dennis won the stage and took the jersey,
setting up a thrilling final climb to Jebel Hafeet on the last day. The big attacks started with 7km remaining,
and it wasn’t a surprise to see Alejandro Valverde lighting the touch paper.. Able to go with him were Miguel Angel Lopez
and Julian Alaphilippe, whilst behind, Tom Dumoulin rode a typical steady tempo to keep
teammate Wilco Kelderman in touch. With just over 4km’s to go, though, superman
took flight and nobody initially followed. Valverde, though, almost seems on better form
than ever, he countered 1km later and crossed a large gap in next to no time, and as the
two came to the line together, neither the stage victory nor the GC was ever really in
doubt. 2 stage races, 2 overall wins this year for
the Spaniard. **IF WE HAVE FOOTAGE** – Meanwhile, Dumoulin
got his 2nd mechanical in 2 days, and his frustration was visible for all to see. We’d give this bike throw a 2 out of 10
though, that’s a poor effort. Dan was on the ground for the whole week so
make sure you head over to GCN tech to see his reports, including a brand new Cannondale
aero bike. Before we finish with road racing, there were
a couple of one day’s in France, again dominated by French riders. It was good to see Romain Bardet back from
his injury and winning already at the, wait for it…….Faun Environnement – Classic
de l’Ardèche Rhône Crussol, whilst Lilian Calmejane won the Royal Bernard Drome Classic. IDITASPORT ORIGINAL FINAL RESULTS
We’re going to finish with the results of the legendary Iditasport event in Alaska. That’s right, Alaska. In February. In fact this race was the reason the fat bikes
were invented. Bike riders race against skiers who race against
runners over 281km of snow, rolling hills, frozen lakes and rivers. Andrew Cunningham came in as First Place Biker
in 1 Day, 22 Hours, 39 minutes. Two races are still going, the “Extreme”
and the “Impossible” as well. Apparently the bikers in the Extreme are on
their way to Tin Creek tent camp now–they had to dry out yesterday due to massive overflow
up to their thighs! Wooly hats off to all o the competitors. COMING UP: Well that’s it for this week, next weekend
we move to Tuscany for the gravel roads of the men’s and women’s Strade Bianche,
the start what looks set to be a very cold Paris Nice, and more Belgian fun with Dwars
Door West Vlaanderen and Le Samyn. and Le Samyn.

71 comments on “The Cycling Race News Show: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne & Abu Dhabi Tour

  1. 4: 20 – " a mechanical which we stress has nothing at all to do with the fact Dan had taken a close inspection of his bike the previous day"

  2. Let's remember, that all riders ware so scared to race, that the races were pretty boring in comparison the last year's..

  3. Dear GCN, might I trouble you to use your contacts at Kask helmets to help some of the Sky riders adjust their helmets correctly…? (Halvorsen and Geoghegan Hart especially) #askGCN

  4. #Torqueback , on pooleys introduction you throw to. There's one mistake, no national champs bands. Surely if Matt gets them Emma should.

  5. Si's French pronunciation is peerless but his Dutch? Not so much. Anyway that aside, I find this show very entertaining and informative. Well done to all involved.

  6. That bike throw is that of a man frustrated to the core yet has the wherewithal not to destroy it. Unlike some people. Ahem.

  7. Name a more complete bike rider than Valverde! What a legend, possible for him to win pretty much any bike race out there.

  8. What is happening with Tom Dumoulin's bikes!? He could've set a bike throwing distance record had it happened a third time.

  9. I did the omloop yesterday and it is the best way to see the power professional cyclists have. The muur is the biggest challenge I had until now in 6 months cycling. Keep up the good work GCN

  10. Mechanics servicing every bike like it's brand new and yet "somehow" the most absurd malfunctions happen on top bikes with the best possible components.

  11. When you said that Phil Bauhais took his biggest victory of his career in Abu Dhabi I think that the one in the Criterium Of dauphiné was better

  12. No mention of the 4 day Setmana Ciclista Valenciana 2018 which was won by Hannah Barnes who also took 2 stages? Shame on you GCN.

  13. I love the new race show, but for the life of me, I can't understand why Eurosport can see the benefits of granting race video rights to GCN to support their analysis. I am sure that money is the problem, but us North American have so much trouble finding legitimate race coverage so this could help grow more interest in the sport. And don't get me started about the inability to subscribe to Eurosport from Canada!

  14. All you cycles out there have you noticed that your leg hair has grown back thicker or darker or has it just grown back the same?

  15. no idea if you pronounced that french race name correctly, but it sounded like a bloody good effort! 😉 i guess thats why Dan didnt present the show this week? 😮

  16. Have you guys ever talked about the topic of bike share programs in cities? We seem to be having some challenges here in Dallas.

  17. I really like Tom Dumoulin, but any rider deliberately throwing his bike to the ground should be fined the cost of a new bike.

  18. Omloop blue bullet. he absolutely destroyed eveyone. such a strange race of high and low pacing, but epic finish. i'm in awe

    Emma vs Lasty climbathon? Welcome to Japan – Mt Fuji… or settle the ventoux vs l'alp d'huez debate? #torqueback #askgcn
    and where is #askgcn #torqueback ?!

  19. You guys should check out Montauk Hardwood Bikes, would love to see a review.

  20. How many riders were riding the actual cobbles on Sunday? I saw a picture of a huge group of riders riding the cycle paths. Seems to defeat the purpose of cobbles.

  21. The NOSPORTSMAN Mark Cavendish crashed. Who's fault was it this time?! (cant be Cavendish himself …… Not Possible!!!)

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