There’s traditionally an annual Tour de France thread in this forum, and last year with the topsy turvy schedule we ended up using that thread for the Tour, the Giro, the Vuelta, the World Championships, and various of the Classics that had been rescheduled to fall. So this year I thought I’d start a thread to discuss racing from the beginning of the season. Well, almost the beginning. “Opening Weekend” was last weekend, with Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
If you’re not particularly conversant in bicycle racing and have questions, feel free to ask. Team tactics can sometimes be pretty baffling if you’re not familiar with how they work.
If you’re interested in watching and don’t know where to get access, two major streaming services are Flobikes (https://www.flobikes.com) and GCN+ (GCN+ Live racing, Highlights & Analysis + Documentaries, Shows & Adventure Films). Both have annual subscription fees, and there’s no way to buy less than a year, which admittedly kinda sucks for someone wanting to casually watch just a few races. There are various highlight packages posted on Youtube for the thrifty. Do note that options vary across the globe, and who has rights to which races in various regions does vary so check before you buy. In the US, I believe NBC does televise some races, though probably mostly just the grand tours.
I’ll try to post before most of the more significant races to provide a heads up of what’s happening, and when I’m ambitious perhaps a brief description of the event and its history.
For example, tomorrow is Strade Bianche, a one-day race in Tuscany prominently featuring numerous segments of gravel roads (the “white roads” after which the race is named) on its course. It’s a relatively recent race, having only been held since 2007 where most of the classics date back to well before WWII, but it has rapidly gained prestige and prominence due to having been the scene of very compelling performances. Best was 2018 when it was raining:
A course that is almost never flat, yet doesn’t feature giant mountains means that’s is a rare race where grand tour GC-oriented riders can duke it out with the Classics specialists. Last year’s Tour winner Tadej Pogacar is lining up, fresh off a dominating win of the UAE Tour the week before last, but he’ll have a tough challenge with last years winner Wout van Aert and world cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel, and of course world road champion Julian Alaphillippe being the key favourites.
After so many events delayed and cancelled last year, I’m really looking forward to this season. Hopefully I’m not the only poster here prior to the Tour beginning in July.