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 / Sports

Velonews March/April 2019

Velonews brings you inside the sport of bike racing, with exclusive features, analysis, expert training advice, unbiased gear reviews and the absolute best cycling photography.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC
Read More
9 Issues


2 min.
mass movement

We gave Peter Sagan and Annemiek van Vleuten the month off—the following issue focuses on you, the North American amateur cyclist. Our landscape of races and rides continues to shift toward an exciting new model. Gone are the days when most of us fixated on upgrade points and the pathway from Category 5 to Category 1, or from Sport to Pro mountain bike categories. Now, a sizable number of us crave something else from the races and rides we choose: a day-long adventure; personal challenge; fun times with friends. Today, the North American events that capture that spirit are held on dirt roads and trails. Gravel races like Dirty Kanza 200 and mass-participant mountain bike events like the Epic Rides race series currently steer the direction of participant cycling. It’s easy to see…

1 min.
depth of field

Encrusted Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky; right) and eventual second-place finisher Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) lead the peloton over the rain-soaked gravel roads at the 2018 Strade Bianche. Despite its relatively short history—it was first held in 2007—the race has quickly gained prestige and popularity. The defining feature of the race are white gravel roads through the rolling hills of Tuscany’s Chianti wine region. Race organizers were inspired by the famous bergs of the Tour of Flanders and the grueling pavé sectors of Paris-Roubaix when they created the event. In 2018, there were over 60 kilometers of farm tracks known as sterrati. The longest and most arduous sectors pass through the towns of Lucignano d’Asso and Asciano, and each is around 10 kilometers in length. Some of the dirt roads are flat, other…

3 min.
larissa connors

You developed rhabdomyolysis—a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein into the blood—at this year’s La Ruta de los Conquistadores. What happened? I knew I had it on a Thursday night and I continued to race on Friday. I think normal people stop when they first start getting the symptoms, and then they recover. But if you just keep pushing and pushing you can die from it. I went pretty far on the severity of the rhabdo scale. I was really close to being put on dialysis. Are you back to training yet? I’ve been riding like twice a week. I’m just not allowed to ride a lot until I start feeling better. You began your racing career in cross-country events. What drew you to the longer races? I like riding my bike…

1 min.
race radio

“Obviously, it’s not a nice feeling when somebody throws their bike in your face.”— Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin), describing his crash at the Tour Down Under 67 Percentage of Alaphilippe’s pro wins that came in 2018 (12 of 18) “Looking in the rearview mirror, let’s say I raised the bar. Now the meter goes back to zero.”— Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), comparing his 2018 and 2019 seasons 18 Weeks Haller has missed to previous injuries in his 10-year career: 12 for a broken patella and six for a broken collarbone “It’s Astana tradition to be in first position. Big ambitions, now in a good condition. I’m doing my business, I’m doing my job, I will rap this song like Snoopy Doggy Dog.”— Laurens de Vreese (Astana), in his team’s new “first ever pro cycling rap” video 0…

2 min.
three peaks cyclo-cross

In the summer of 1959, a 14-year-old runner and cyclist named Kevin Watson watched an annual running race on the popular Three Peaks walker’s route in England’s Yorkshire Dales. He was inspired to ride the route by bike. “I asked several experts what the prospects were and one man said I was crazy and the chances were nil,” Watson said, according to historic accounts. He spent the summer walking the route and mapping possible tracks for his attempt. That September, Watson rode, pushed, and carried his bike 30 miles, in six hours and 45 minutes, to complete the first crossing of its kind. It wasn’t long before others made similar attempts. On October 4, 1959, 10 members of the Bradford Racing Cycling Club raced over the route. Six finished. Then, on October 1,…

3 min.
what will gravel racing look like in five years?

CHRIS CASE Managing Editor Gravel racing’s current upward trajectory is astronomic. That surge of energy is creating a lot of buzz, plenty of hand-wringing among “purists” and grassroots types, and a level of industry excitement that is driving a bit of innovation and a whole lot of marketing hype. But it won’t last. Pros will eventually realize they can’t just dip their toes in and magically run up their win tally—or fundamentally change the sport. The prize money won’t continue to rise because, well, it’s cycling. And there will be only so many races that become big enough, appealing enough, and lucrative enough to attract corporate interest. The point is, the pendulum that is gravel racing—currently on its wild ride to one extreme—will eventually swing back to a natural resting place. At that point,…