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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The 2016 World Tour Season was a lot of fun. Sky continued to dominate the TdF. Sagan finally won his monument and dazzled us again as he came away with a second straight rainbow jersey. The Vuelta was full of fireworks and great racing. Tony Martin returned to dominance in the ITT, Bardet reminded us that he is still there, and the loveable Orica combo of Chavez, Yates, and Yates provided us with a glimpse of a potentially great trio that might eventually be able to bring the Sky empire to its knees. The ageless Cancellara provided us with more moments to cheer about before riding off into the sunset. The Women also got their own World Tour and completely grabbed the bull by the horns providing great races and champions. But then, just like that, 2016 was all over, but fret not for the 2017 is already here. What do we have to look forward to this year you ask? Well's here's some of the stuff I am excited about:

The Races

The Spring Classics: Dear Spring Classics, oh how I love thee.... I seem to enjoy these races more every year and stage races a little less. I don't know whether it's the rough dusty roads, the lay it all on the line today attitudes, or the history and courses that get to me, but I can't get enough of this stuff. A lot has changed this year though, but the really important things probably stayed the same. What I mean by that is most of the top Classics contenders should still be there, but they have now made their way to new teams for the most part. That's significant, but shouldn't impact their chances much. Moreover, the sun might be finally setting on the legacy of the team that has been the standard for great Classics squads.

*Yes, Quickstep still has its three top Classics racers. Boonen, Terpstra, and Stybar are all back, but the rest of the squad that protected them and ushered them to the front of these tough races has been decimated. Illness and new contracts with other teams led to the likes of Meersman, Vandenbergh, and others leaving. I see a lot of justice in Vandenbergh finally getting a chance to ride for himself in his favorite races after spending years at Boonen's loyal top lieutenant, but there's also something sad about them not being together for Tom's final Roubaix, etc.

For the record, I think Quickstep's losses are relevant and could pose a problem. They also come on the heels of losing Kwiatkowski and others the year before. I don't expect them to be as "great" or as strong as they have been in year's past. It's really that simple. That being said, my guess is this team is ready to roll for Tom's last stand. These are the races they ride for and even if they are not dominant this Classics season, expect them to be active and near the front for the finale of every major race. Three guys to watch outside of their big three: Gaviria (he's super fast, loves the Classics, and wants a Roubaix and MSR victory in a bad way, Dan Martin, and Alaphilippe. Both Dan and Julian should be serious contenders for the Ardennes.

Personally, I am still hoping to see something special from Stybar at Roubaix or Flanders. One guy that could help fill the void at QS and has shown flashes of potential is Vakoc. Keep an eye on him.

*Degenkolb and Kristoff both took a step backward last year. They were almost unbeatable the year before, but Degenkolb was involved in a very serious car accident and Kristoff never found his top form after dealing with illness and injury off and on. I expect good things from them in 2017.

With Cancellera's retirement, Trek has decided to build it's Classics program around Degenkolb. More importantly, they have actually taken the "building" part of it seriously and he is on a pretty stacked Classics team on paper. Stuyven and Theuns confirmed that they are the real deal last year and potential future stars in their own rights. You add to that the likes of Mads Pedersen, Koen de Kort, and Nizzolo, and these guys have the potential to be real threats for every major Classics race. How good they end up being will all hinge on Degenkolb's health though. If he bounces back, the ceiling is high, if not, they are Trek without Cancellara....

Kristoff's Classics unit stays mostly the same, but will add the unbelievable breakaway power found in Tony Martin's legs. Tony will primarily focus on ITT for Katusha, but he also loves the Classics and they lured him there by offering some chances to go after it in the Spring, so expect him to take them up on that. At minimum, he will animate races, but I could seriously see him wining at least one semi-Classic if things line up right.

*Sagan will be Sagan. End of story. This guy is on fire right now and seems to have finally blossomed into the Classics star many expected him to become early in his career. His old team folded, but with Specialized's assistance, a new team has been built around him at Bora. The rest of the Bora boys are solid on paper as well. Burghart, Bodnar, and Bennett are all experienced and capable. Maijka will be a real threat once the roads turn upwards in late spring for the Ardennes.

*Cannondale Pro Cycling continues to try to build a winning Classics team and they might finally be there this time. One of biggest surprises of the signing period was Cannondale luring Sep Vanmarcke back into their argyle clad camp. This guy has Roubaix podiums and major semi-Classic victories already on his palmares and he's not even 30. Taylor Phinney, Dylan van Baarle, Slagter, Langeveld, should provide steady support. Woods, Skujins, Uran, and co. should light it up in Australia early in the season and also be active in the Ardennes races.

*Dimension Data don't have a deep Classics squad, but they should still make a decent amount of noise with Cummings, Eisel, and Edvald Boassan Hagen. They have also added Scott Thwaites to this group and he could be one to watch. Tyler Farrar will provide support and insight, but don't expect him to be in the mix for victories.

*What will see from Greg Van Avermaet and BMC? Speed and aggression, that's what. GVA was a beast last year and closed out his year by coming away with a gold medal in the Olympics Road Race. He will likely be one of the best again this year. His team is pretty much the same as well and that's not a bad thing.

*The Ardennes, are still some of my favorite races during my favorite part of the season along with Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianchi. Valverde is still king here, and he is the guy to beat. He's amazing. However, I expect a rejuvenated Phillippe Gilbert to have big plans to dethrone him now that he is racing on a Classics oriented Belgian squad. The situation should bring out the best in him, but one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank at this point. Will this just be the Gilbert and Boonen goodbye tour or can they truly challenge for victories?

*Will Kwiatkowsi bounce back after a dismal 2016? Can Bling Matthews take another step toward greatness now that he has joined Sunweb? He's as fast as anyone in the game and is truly made from the same mold as Sagan and GVA. Accordingly, races like the Ardennes and the Classics seem to be tailor made for his skillset. It will also be interesting to see if Sunweb makes him their protected rider for the cobbled races now that Degenkolb is gone. Six names to pay attention to in these races: Valverde, Gerrans, Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Mathews, and Gilbert.

*It will also be interesting to see how Nibali fares with his new Bahrain team. There is definitely talent on their roster, but will they gel and produce great results and which Nibali will we see this season? Is it the one that has been accused of showing up to races not fully fit or the guy that has won all three grand tours?

The Grand Tours

*Confession time: I have given up on the TdF. I barely watched last year and don't expect to watch much this year. It bores me and feels way too long. I can't enjoy a three week stage race when it is clear who has won after day 6, sorry. FWIW, I expect Sky and Froome to win again.

*BMC is saying all of the right things about Porte being able to beat Froome, but I don't see it happening. I am not even convinced that Porte is the best stage racer on his team. I think the young Aussie Rohan Dennis might surpass him this year.

If anyone has the depth and talent to beat Sky, it's Quintana and Movistar, Bardet and AG2R or Chaves, the Yates brothers and Orica in my opinion. Both Orica and AG2R added to what were already fine rosters this offseason and should only be better. What's troubling is that some of these teams are suggesting that they may not even send their best guys to the TdF, opting to send them to either the Giro and/or the Vuelta instead.

*Which brings me to one of my final points: the Vuelta and Giro are the grand tours to watch. The Vuelta was off the chain again last year. Orica battled Contador, Quintana, and a host of other challengers en route to a great victory by Chavez and a top 5 by one of the Yates twins. Some of the stages felt like one day affairs and had all of the excitement that comes with that.

The Sprinters

*Who will be the world's fastest road cyclist this year? Sagan, Cavendish, Greipel, Kristoff, Mathews, and Kittel have been the best of the best the last few seasons, but the likes of Gaviria, Bouhanni, Viviani, Nizzolo, Ewan, and Modolo should be right on their heels this year. The young bucks should be coming into their prime and might finally steal a few big ones from the favorites.

Controversy

*To Disc or Not to Disc Part Duex- Discs will be back this year and all of the arguments for and against them will resurface as well. It will be interesting to see what happens. I expect improved rotors and technological advancements that result in more safety and less risk, which should provide all of us with more options.

*Teams continuing to fold- it's the elephant in cycling's dining room. Clearly, the World Tour's financial model isn't working for smaller teams. There are also a bunch of internal debates swirling about how many teams should be on the world tour and what not making it would nean for the survival of smaller teams. Will the UCI, the World Tour, and race organizers be able to develop a more sustainable model or will something really bad have to happen before changes are made (or not)? A number of races have also folded lately, including the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge in the U.S. How does cycling address those issues?

What are your thoughts? What are the things you are hoping or expecting to see, the questions you have, the races you are excited for, the battles you can't wait to take in, etc?
 

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dude... love your commentary on things. So perfect and complete.

A couple of points I think you missed...

1. Michael Woods at Cannondale... I think this guy is primed for some success and I think we'll see his name at TDU, early.

2. Watching the Australian Nationals Road race, I was also super impressed by the win from Miles Scotson. He's a rookie at the World Tour level (pretty sure) and he showed he's obviously got some moxie and knows how to win (and isn't afraid to either). He laid back perfectly and attacked HARD. I don't think any of the veterans even saw it coming. Gerrens was standing still. He put the pedal to the metal and kept it there.

3. Isn't the USA Pro Challenge coming back? maybe under the name Tour of Colorado or something... why am I thinking I heard that?

4. I somewhat agree that the TDF was lackluster, but I still watched every stage and actually just re-watched every stage last week. The over the top, spectacle of the whole race just blows everything else out of the water. I was impressed with how Team Sky and Froome raced this year, basically throwing the standard race winning strategy out of the window, attacking on the downhill and then in the wind (and I'm not a Frrome/sky fan). I also think that the race would have been a whole lot more exciting had Richie Porte not been down 1:30 because of the flat. He was clearly the only one that had something for Froome in the mountains. I think BMC shot themselves in the foot trying to go with 2 leaders. Porte needs to be THE leader and be THE protected one. Teejay is a tope 5 guy, clearly, but he's not a Podium guy and he's not a winner. In all of his interviews and talks he just seems like he's not sure and if you're not sure if you can win it, you can't win it (see Miles Scotson above). If BMC switches Teejay's position and makes him a super domestique a'la Wout Poels, I think BMC has a real chance.

5. The Giro and Vuelta were both awesome races... Stage 15 at the Vuelta was the best day of racing all season and it only just barely beats Stage 14 with Yates long range attack. That day of racing from Orica was text-book perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
dude... love your commentary on things. So perfect and complete.

A couple of points I think you missed...

1. Michael Woods at Cannondale... I think this guy is primed for some success and I think we'll see his name at TDU, early.

2. Watching the Australian Nationals Road race, I was also super impressed by the win from Miles Scotson. He's a rookie at the World Tour level (pretty sure) and he showed he's obviously got some moxie and knows how to win (and isn't afraid to either). He laid back perfectly and attacked HARD. I don't think any of the veterans even saw it coming. Gerrens was standing still. He put the pedal to the metal and kept it there.

3. Isn't the USA Pro Challenge coming back? maybe under the name Tour of Colorado or something... why am I thinking I heard that?

4. I somewhat agree that the TDF was lackluster, but I still watched every stage and actually just re-watched every stage last week. The over the top, spectacle of the whole race just blows everything else out of the water. I was impressed with how Team Sky and Froome raced this year, basically throwing the standard race winning strategy out of the window, attacking on the downhill and then in the wind (and I'm not a Frrome/sky fan). I also think that the race would have been a whole lot more exciting had Richie Porte not been down 1:30 because of the flat. He was clearly the only one that had something for Froome in the mountains. I think BMC shot themselves in the foot trying to go with 2 leaders. Porte needs to be THE leader and be THE protected one. Teejay is a tope 5 guy, clearly, but he's not a Podium guy and he's not a winner. In all of his interviews and talks he just seems like he's not sure and if you're not sure if you can win it, you can't win it (see Miles Scotson above). If BMC switches Teejay's position and makes him a super domestique a'la Wout Poels, I think BMC has a real chance.

5. The Giro and Vuelta were both awesome races... Stage 15 at the Vuelta was the best day of racing all season and it only just barely beats Stage 14 with Yates long range attack. That day of racing from Orica was text-book perfect.
Good stuff. I really like Woods as well and I agree he has the ability to be really good in races like these (1 week stage races with plenty of climbing and hilly classics like the Ardennes). He's a guy I am definitely pulling for. Everything else you said is on point as well, except that I am in a pretty anti-TdF headspace right now. I am sure they could easily bring me back with a great race, but I've lost that loving feeling as of right now. I'm all about the Classics.
 

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Rashadabd..........your commentary and writing style is so very good. More entertaining and written in a style that I think is better than anything currently happening on Velonews, Peloton, etc. I look forward to your pre-season report every year. I think you pretty much covered it, and I believe that your assessment of 2017 is pretty right on. I can only add that while I also think the TDF can be boring compared to the Giro and Vuelta, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sky in action, and most impressive was Froome's transformation into a skilled descender and bike handler. Froome used to really annoy me, with his propensity for crashing, his suspect bike handling skills, and his incessant stem-gazing. He turned me into a fan after his performance last year. Watching him taking advantage of an unlikely time to attack, catching Quintana completely off guard, and then descending like Cadel or Sagan, all while pedaling in super-tuck was pretty impressive. I'm hoping Kittel comes back into form, and Greipel can find some of the magic he has lost. I will be secretly rooting for Bouhanni though, cause Cofidis is riding Orbea again. That is the cool thing about pro cycling to me. We can watch the pro's riding the exact frames and components that some of us slow amateurs actually ride and I think that is undeniably cool. Shallow maybe, but cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rashadabd..........your commentary and writing style is so very good. More entertaining and written in a style that I think is better than anything currently happening on Velonews, Peloton, etc. I look forward to your pre-season report every year. I think you pretty much covered it, and I believe that your assessment of 2017 is pretty right on. I can only add that while I also think the TDF can be boring compared to the Giro and Vuelta, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sky in action, and most impressive was Froome's transformation into a skilled descender and bike handler. Froome used to really annoy me, with his propensity for crashing, his suspect bike handling skills, and his incessant stem-gazing. He turned me into a fan after his performance last year. Watching him taking advantage of an unlikely time to attack, catching Quintana completely off guard, and then descending like Cadel or Sagan, all while pedaling in super-tuck was pretty impressive. I'm hoping Kittel comes back into form, and Greipel can find some of the magic he has lost. I will be secretly rooting for Bouhanni though, cause Cofidis is riding Orbea again. That is the cool thing about pro cycling to me. We can watch the pro's riding the exact frames and components that some of us slow amateurs actually ride and I think that is undeniably cool. Shallow maybe, but cool.
Thanks man! I definitely agree that pro cycling is one of the most accessible and fan friendly pro sports that exists. You two have me considering going back some TdF highlights from last year. Looking forward to an exciting 2017 as well.
 

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You know I agree with you about the spring classics being the best time of the year. They are always so much fun to watch and with so many classics riders switching teams plus the retirement of Cancellara they will be even more interesting to watch.
The Ardennes, I think the biggest questions here all revolve around Valverde, but how could they not as he is the king of the Ardennes. Can he finally win Amstel Gold, the only one he hasn't yet won. He has stated he is back to his old, comfortable schedule and specifically targeting the Ardennes. Not only that he also said he is specifically targeting some races he has not yet won that he wants on his palmares. In that he specifically mentioned Amstel Gold, Lombardi and the Worlds. He also made a comment about it would be even better if he could pull of the Ardennes triple, which well in another question along with can he win 4 straight Fleche Wallones. Which oh by the way can we rename the final climb up the Mur de Huy to Mur de Huy de Balaverde?

The Grand Tours, Movistar has all but confirmed that Quintana is definitely doing the Giro/Tour double. They also have basically confirmed that Valverde is doing the Tour/Vuelta double with his focus on la Vuelta. If history proves correct Valverde will take Movistar's strongest GT team to la Vuelta. Now the craziest part about this entire thing with Movistar and the GTs is that this year's Tour route is actually much more suited to Valverde than to Quintana. Here's a humorous comment from the team in their write ups of each rider, for Valverde's write up they basically said they'd have to write a book just of the numbers of what he has done and a highlight video would be a 3 hour long movie. In this write up they basically confirm he's going to be the team leader at la Vuelta. They also state it's a goal to keep his race days under 90 by the time he gets to Lombardia.

Interesting to see what happens with the new WT races as the new UCI rules say the WT teams don't have to go to them and points to count for WT team points. Also to keep WT status the races have to convince at least 10 WT teams to show up for their races.
Supposedly we're getting new continental races in both Colorado and Virginia. We (hubby and I) are looking forward to the one in VA as we hopefully can go to that one as we're in coastal NC so it's not too far away.
 

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Rashadabd..........your commentary and writing style is so very good. More entertaining and written in a style that I think is better than anything currently happening on Velonews, Peloton, etc. I look forward to your pre-season report every year. I think you pretty much covered it, and I believe that your assessment of 2017 is pretty right on. I can only add that while I also think the TDF can be boring compared to the Giro and Vuelta, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sky in action, and most impressive was Froome's transformation into a skilled descender and bike handler. Froome used to really annoy me, with his propensity for crashing, his suspect bike handling skills, and his incessant stem-gazing. He turned me into a fan after his performance last year. Watching him taking advantage of an unlikely time to attack, catching Quintana completely off guard, and then descending like Cadel or Sagan, all while pedaling in super-tuck was pretty impressive. I'm hoping Kittel comes back into form, and Greipel can find some of the magic he has lost. I will be secretly rooting for Bouhanni though, cause Cofidis is riding Orbea again. That is the cool thing about pro cycling to me. We can watch the pro's riding the exact frames and components that some of us slow amateurs actually ride and I think that is undeniably cool. Shallow maybe, but cool.
Couldn't agree more. I love how Rashadabad writes.. he needs a blog. I agree with your thoughts on Sky... it was definitely cool to see them do something different and while I'm not quite ready to say that I'm a Froome fan, he made me think twice about rooting for him. I'd like to see Bouhanni do well too. I remember watching him at the 2014 Vuelta (I think) when he was on FDJ (maybe) and I thought he looked so strong and fast, but i feel like he's gotten himself so caught up in the "I'm a tough guy" that's forgotten that he just needs to be fast. I've seen sprints of his where I actually think he would've won anyway, but he seemed to be so concernred with boxing out/ardgy bardgy stuff that he ended up losing it for himself.

Thanks man! I definitely agree that pro cycling is one of the most accessible and fan friendly pro sports that exists. You two have me considering going back some TdF highlights from last year. Looking forward to an exciting 2017 as well.
I thought there were some great days of racing.... and if you completely skipped it, you missed some.

Stage 7 - Steven Cummings
Stage 8 - Chris Froome
Stage 10 - Matthews
Stage 11 - Sagan


You know I agree with you about the spring classics being the best time of the year. They are always so much fun to watch and with so many classics riders switching teams plus the retirement of Cancellara they will be even more interesting to watch.
The Ardennes, I think the biggest questions here all revolve around Valverde, but how could they not as he is the king of the Ardennes. Can he finally win Amstel Gold, the only one he hasn't yet won. He has stated he is back to his old, comfortable schedule and specifically targeting the Ardennes. Not only that he also said he is specifically targeting some races he has not yet won that he wants on his palmares. In that he specifically mentioned Amstel Gold, Lombardi and the Worlds. He also made a comment about it would be even better if he could pull of the Ardennes triple, which well in another question along with can he win 4 straight Fleche Wallones. Which oh by the way can we rename the final climb up the Mur de Huy to Mur de Huy de Balaverde?

The Grand Tours, Movistar has all but confirmed that Quintana is definitely doing the Giro/Tour double. They also have basically confirmed that Valverde is doing the Tour/Vuelta double with his focus on la Vuelta. If history proves correct Valverde will take Movistar's strongest GT team to la Vuelta. Now the craziest part about this entire thing with Movistar and the GTs is that this year's Tour route is actually much more suited to Valverde than to Quintana. Here's a humorous comment from the team in their write ups of each rider, for Valverde's write up they basically said they'd have to write a book just of the numbers of what he has done and a highlight video would be a 3 hour long movie. In this write up they basically confirm he's going to be the team leader at la Vuelta. They also state it's a goal to keep his race days under 90 by the time he gets to Lombardia.

Interesting to see what happens with the new WT races as the new UCI rules say the WT teams don't have to go to them and points to count for WT team points. Also to keep WT status the races have to convince at least 10 WT teams to show up for their races.
Supposedly we're getting new continental races in both Colorado and Virginia. We (hubby and I) are looking forward to the one in VA as we hopefully can go to that one as we're in coastal NC so it's not too far away.
Also agree... When I stated in my original post that I liked the TDF, I didn't mean that I was anti-spring classics. I like those too. So many great races to enjoy. Fleche Wallones is one of my favorite. I love the Mur de Huy climb. I think the reason I get amped for TDF is because everything in the industry is geared towards it... new bikes come out, the best riders are all there, people that aren't cyclists actually pay attention. Its fun when friends that aren't into cycling suddenly start to watch and ask questions.
 

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Ok, I'm in!

I agree with the love for Rashabad's summaries. They're always present a full picture and while his preferences are always clear, there's plenty of respect for others. I'll also give props to mmsbikerep who really digs into things. Heck I'll even give a nod to kronink's man crush on Valverde since we're just getting started! :)

I'm hopelessly in love with the TdF. The pageantry, the sunflowers, the alps, transitional stages, even Paul Sherwen's increasingly frequent mis-statements. I don't dislike the other GTs, it just seems like the whole calendar revolves around the TdF. Usually everyone who is good form is there, riding hard. Also I can't dedicate more than one summer month to following bike races. I need to ride once in a while.

I am getting itchy for Belgian racing. As a clue to where my heart lies, I predict Peter Sagan will win every race from March 18 to April 23. All of 'em.

Let's get ready to ruuumbllle!
 

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Ok, I'm in!

I agree with the love for Rashabad's summaries. They're always present a full picture and while his preferences are always clear, there's plenty of respect for others. I'll also give props to mmsbikerep who really digs into things. Heck I'll even give a nod to kronink's man crush on Valverde since we're just getting started! :)

I'm hopelessly in love with the TdF. The pageantry, the sunflowers, the alps, transitional stages, even Paul Sherwen's increasingly frequent mis-statements. I don't dislike the other GTs, it just seems like the whole calendar revolves around the TdF. Usually everyone who is good form is there, riding hard. Also I can't dedicate more than one summer month to following bike races. I need to ride once in a while.

I am getting itchy for Belgian racing. As a clue to where my heart lies, I predict Peter Sagan will win every race from March 18 to April 23. All of 'em.

Let's get ready to ruuumbllle!
I´m actually a chick. Yes I know unusual for a sports fan, but something my husband loves. :)
 

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Also agree... When I stated in my original post that I liked the TDF, I didn't mean that I was anti-spring classics. I like those too. So many great races to enjoy. Fleche Wallones is one of my favorite. I love the Mur de Huy climb. I think the reason I get amped for TDF is because everything in the industry is geared towards it... new bikes come out, the best riders are all there, people that aren't cyclists actually pay attention. Its fun when friends that aren't into cycling suddenly start to watch and ask questions.
Ah but everyone having different favorite races is part of what makes the sport great. This is a sport that has something for everyone. There are lots of people who are fans of sprints. I'm not one of those people, but it doesn't mean anyone is wrong, just a different opinion and different taste in what you like.
 

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Dude!

I mean, Miss. .... er, Ma'am.

Anyway, my apologies for mis-genderizing you.
No problem. Being a female sports fan has always been interesting. I can promise you this isn't the first time and won't be the last time, mostly because you (general) aren't expecting girls on these type of message boards. You can call me Dude if you wish, I don't mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Couldn't agree more. I love how Rashadabad writes.. he needs a blog. I agree with your thoughts on Sky... it was definitely cool to see them do something different and while I'm not quite ready to say that I'm a Froome fan, he made me think twice about rooting for him. I'd like to see Bouhanni do well too. I remember watching him at the 2014 Vuelta (I think) when he was on FDJ (maybe) and I thought he looked so strong and fast, but i feel like he's gotten himself so caught up in the "I'm a tough guy" that's forgotten that he just needs to be fast. I've seen sprints of his where I actually think he would've won anyway, but he seemed to be so concernred with boxing out/ardgy bardgy stuff that he ended up losing it for himself.



I thought there were some great days of racing.... and if you completely skipped it, you missed some.

Stage 7 - Steven Cummings
Stage 8 - Chris Froome
Stage 10 - Matthews
Stage 11 - Sagan




Also agree... When I stated in my original post that I liked the TDF, I didn't mean that I was anti-spring classics. I like those too. So many great races to enjoy. Fleche Wallones is one of my favorite. I love the Mur de Huy climb. I think the reason I get amped for TDF is because everything in the industry is geared towards it... new bikes come out, the best riders are all there, people that aren't cyclists actually pay attention. Its fun when friends that aren't into cycling suddenly start to watch and ask questions.
Thanks Rich!! Back at ya man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No problem. Being a female sports fan has always been interesting. I can promise you this isn't the first time and won't be the last time, mostly because you (general) aren't expecting girls on these type of message boards. You can call me Dude if you wish, I don't mind.
I made the same exact mistake when I first met KoroninK. She's awesome and keeps us knuckleheads honest....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, I'm in!

I agree with the love for Rashabad's summaries. They're always present a full picture and while his preferences are always clear, there's plenty of respect for others. I'll also give props to mmsbikerep who really digs into things. Heck I'll even give a nod to kronink's man crush on Valverde since we're just getting started! :)

I'm hopelessly in love with the TdF. The pageantry, the sunflowers, the alps, transitional stages, even Paul Sherwen's increasingly frequent mis-statements. I don't dislike the other GTs, it just seems like the whole calendar revolves around the TdF. Usually everyone who is good form is there, riding hard. Also I can't dedicate more than one summer month to following bike races. I need to ride once in a while.

I am getting itchy for Belgian racing. As a clue to where my heart lies, I predict Peter Sagan will win every race from March 18 to April 23. All of 'em.

Let's get ready to ruuumbllle!
Thanks JSR! You are too kind.
 

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Movistar has confirmed today that Quintana is doing the Giro/Tour double. Valverde will do the Tour/Vuelta double (basically back to his typical and comfortable schedule) with him being possibly the only rider in the entire peloton actually targeting the Vuelta.
 

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Movistar has confirmed today that Quintana is doing the Giro/Tour double. Valverde will do the Tour/Vuelta double (basically back to his typical and comfortable schedule) with him being possibly the only rider in the entire peloton actually targeting the Vuelta.
That makes sense for both of them IMO.
 

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That makes sense for both of them IMO.
I think it does as well. Plus this year's Tour route isn't great for Quintana anyway. It's actually a route that looks great for a rider like Bardet or a younger Valverde. One additional bonus is the Spanish fans will be happy about the Vuelta.
 
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