Analysis: Van Der Poel Showed More Than Just Strength In Kortrijk

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A New Look For Cyclocross

The DVV Trofee unveiled a brand new cyclocross course on Saturday in Kortrijk, Belgium. The course was aptly named “Urban Cross” as it jumped from bank to bank of the Leie River incorporating bridges, roundabouts, criterium-like paved sections and long straightaways, on top of a healthy mix of mud and sand. 

The course looked rather different than a traditional European cyclocross race. Urban Cross did not provide a messy epic battle through a field of thick Belgian mud. Instead, it brought cyclocross to an urban environment filled with bars and other attractions from where onlookers could enjoy the spectacle.

While the look and feel of the race may have been different, watching racers fly across a suspended pedestrian bridge and tear through paved corners was a fresh change. It also provided spectators with tactical racing.


Brand Shows Her Strength

Lucinda Brand brings a lot of raw horsepower from her road racing career. Although she has made great strides in handling skills over the past few seasons, Brand is still hindered by her technical ability on the most demanding courses. 

With it’s long straightaways and paved sections, Urban Cross was a course that suited Brand particularly well. For most of the race, viewers watched Brand trading blows with Annemarie Worst, Yara Kastelijn, Sanne Cant and an extremely confident Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado. Unlike in Koksijde where last lap bobbles cost Brand a shot at victory, her skills were up to the test in Urban Cross, where she capitalized on the mistakes of others.

A touch of wheels caused Worst, Kastelijn and Cant to become entangled and fall out of the lead group on the penultimate lap, leaving Brand to battle with Alvarado for the win. Alvarado raced aggressively all day, never shying away from the front, but Brand’s patience paid off as she unleashed a devastating sprint up the bridge to the finish line.


Mathieu van der Poel Shows His Savvy

There is no doubt that Mathieu van der Poel is the strongest cyclocross racer in the world. The World Champion added two more wins to his tally this week, marking 35 consecutive cyclocross victories in a row. (Yes the FloBikes #vanderbeard challenge is going well). 

Van der Poel’s raw strength and unrivaled bicycle driving abilities typically allow him to simply ride away from the rest of the field on a weekly basis. In Kortrijk however, van der Poel was up against a course that allowed for drafting and team tactics, and the Dutchman approached the race accordingly. 

Van der Poel rode a patient race, hanging towards the back of the large lead group, allowing riders with more team support to drive the pace early on.

As the race progressed, van der Poel was seen taking fresh bikes from the pits on the opposite laps as his competitors, which set him up for a surgically timed attack. On the sixth lap, he made his move. 

He kept his bike clean by demonstrating just how fast he can run, he then skipped the pits allowing him to rapidly move from the back of the group to the front. Once he reached the front of the field, he put in a familiar blistering attack while the field behind scrambled to react. As the competiton chased, they were forced to skip the pits in subsequent laps, which caused mud to build up on their bikes, while van der Poel was free to pit at will. 

The relatively untechnical course was not one that allowed van der Poel to charge away for large time gains, as he so often does. Instead it provided an opportunity for van der Poel to show yet another dimension of his cyclocross mastery. On top of all his strength and skill lies a deep understanding of the dynamics of cyclocross. 

Four Dark Horses Who Might Upset The Giro d'Italia Favorites

Tirreno Report: Can Yates Win The Giro?

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The 2020 Giro d’Italia is days away from beginning the second half of this jam-packed, exceptional racing season. Riders are facing the unknown, with very little recovery time, and isolation from family and friends in order to race. Limited access to the riders, empty finish lines, and scarce fans on roadsides have already made this season a historic one.

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Five Big Favorites for the 2020 Giro d'Italia

Tirreno Report: Can Yates Win The Giro?

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The 103rd Giro d’Italia is set to launch this Saturday, October 3rd from its new departure location in Sicily. Organizer RCS Sport announced the revised route in July, a couple of months after the race was forced to postpone from its traditional dates in May due to Covid-19.

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Men's Worlds: Nail-biting Ride For Victory In Imola

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France's Julian Alaphilippe claimed his first world title in the men's road race on Sunday to fulfil his "career dream" of wearing the rainbow jersey.

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Favorites And Underdogs - Men's 2020 World Championships Road Race

Worlds: Steep Climbs, Slick Tricky Descents

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The men’s 2020 World Championship road race will close the four days of elite competition in Imola, Italy. For some, it will be their first major competition since lockdown, while others will be arriving straight from France after a dramatic finish to the Tour de France. Who will have the advantage in Imola?

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Favorites And Underdogs - Women's 2020 World Championships Road Race

Worlds: Steep Climbs, Slick Tricky Descents

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The women’s 2020 racing season had only just begun before Covid-19 hit. Many of the riders had yet to race before being forced into quarantine with the rest of the pro peloton and the world. Now, after racing a short schedule -- Strade Bianche, La Course at the Tour de France and the Giro Rosa -- they face the Worlds road race.

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Van der Breggen Wins World Time-Trial Gold As Dygert Crashes

Chloe Dygert 2020 World Championships

Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen finally struck gold after four consecutive silver medals in the women's individual time-trial as defending champion Chloe Dygert crashed out at the Road World Championships in Imola on Thursday.

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'Nothing To Hide': Tour de France Team Leader Quintana Denies Doping

Chasing The Pros: Roglic/Bernal?

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The lead rider of a Tour de France team caught up in a doping investigation said he had "nothing to hide" after two unnamed members of the French outfit were briefly detained before being released.

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How To Watch The 2020 Giro d'Italia Live

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Kicking off with a 15.1 km time trial in Monreale on October 3rd, the 2020 Giro d'Italia is finally set to begin after a delay due to COVID-19. Notable riders that will participate in the race include Peter Sagan, 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates, 2-time Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali, and many more. The 21-stage race will begin in Sicily before moving to the mainland and concluding in Milan on October 25th, 2020.

Recap: Pogacar Crowned Tour de France Champion, Bennett Wins Finale

Watch In Canada: Tour de France Stage 21

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Slovenian rookie Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France on Sunday, riding triumphantly into Paris in the race leader's yellow jersey at just 21 years old.

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Recap: Pogacar Poised To Win Tour de France After Shocking Turnaround

Watch In Canada: Tour de France Stage 20

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Tadej Pogacar all but clinched the Tour de France on Saturday after his Slovenian compatriot Primoz Roglic let a 57 seconds lead slip in a tricky individual time-trial, the last day of real racing.

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