2021 Professional Biking Season – Six Issues to Watch This Season


The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, held in Belgium, opens the European World Tour season for each women and men on Saturday, February 27. So with the season about to take off, listed here are six issues we will’t wait to see unfold.

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Will a Frenchman win Flanders?

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A French rider hasn’t gained the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix since 1992 and 1997, respectively, however this could be the yr that a type of streaks involves an finish.

Deceuninck-Fast Step’s Julian Alaphilippe, the reigning world champion, has typically most well-liked the hilly Ardennes Classics, however final yr he determined to provide the Tour of Flanders a shot, simply to check the waters. Effectively, Alaphilippe checked out residence on the Flemish-cobbled “bergs,” making the profitable breakaway earlier than crashing into a bike with about 35K to go.

Regardless of the mishap, Alaphilippe did sufficient to announce himself as a real contender within the Classics. His 2021 marketing campaign begins on February 27 on the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and with the assist of what’s most likely the most effective cobbled group in professional biking, he’s a favourite.

Whereas we’re as regards to French flahutes, let’s not overlook Alaphilippe’s teammate, Florian Sénéchal. The final Frenchman to win the junior Paris-Roubaix, Sénéchal’s been constructing himself fairly a cobbled resume in recent times, and he’s simply the kind of rider to capitalize if different groups focus all their consideration on his extra achieved teammates. Don’t be shocked if the 27-year-old takes a serious cobbled win this spring.

Will anybody cease the Dutch on the first-ever girls’s Paris-Roubaix?

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Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak, Celine Van Houtum, and Alice Barnes in the course of the 2020 Tour de Flanders.

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We’re thrilled to see a girls’s Paris-Roubaix lastly added to the calendar; frankly, it shouldn’t have taken so lengthy to make it occur, particularly on condition that Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the corporate that organizes the occasion, was the primary race group to run a girls’s Traditional alongside the lads’s (Flèche Wallonne).

Dutch riders would be the favorites, with Movistar’s Annemiek van Vleuten, SD Worx’s Anna van der Breggan, and Workforce Jumbo-Visma’s Marianne Vos all seeking to develop into the primary lady to win Paris-Roubaix. So far as groups are involved, Trek-Segafredo could be the most effective, with Elisa Longo Borghini, Elizabeth Deignan, and their very own Dutchwoman, Ellen van Dijk, all able to profitable the Hell of the North, as nicely.

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Can INEOS win all three Grand Excursions?

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Richard Carapaz and Michal Kwiatkowski in the course of the 2020 Tour de France.

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Solely the INEOS Grenadiers group might lose Chris Froome, a seven-time grand tour champion, and in some way get stronger.

With Froome to Israel Begin-up Nation, INEOS added Richie Porte (from Trek-Segafredo), Adam Yates (from Mitchelton-Scott), and Daniel Martinez (from EF Professional Biking). These three riders can be grand tour contenders on another group, however with INEOS they’re high-priced tremendous domestiques. These strikes have us questioning if INEOS can do one thing even they’ve by no means carried out earlier than: win all three grand excursions in a single season.

With Porte, Yates, and Martinez added to the combo alongside Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, winners of the 2018 and 2019 Excursions de France, respectively, and Richard Carapaz and Tao Geohegan Hart, winners of the final two Giro d’Italia, the group will likely be a favourite in all three grand excursions. In actual fact, with a lot expertise, the group’s solely problem could be how you can juggle every rider’s particular person aspirations.

Can the MVP vs. WVA rivalry get any extra thrilling?

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Mathieu Van Der Poel (left) and Wout Van Aert in the course of the 2020 Tour of Flanders.

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Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Apecin-Fenix) and Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) have been racing ever since they have been junior cyclocross racers. Lately, their rivalry has hit the highway—with much more depth.

Final yr, they every gained their first Monument, with van Aert profitable Milan-Sanremo in August and van der Poel profitable the Tour of Flanders in October, beating van Aert in a two-up dash. The rivalry went again to the mud in wintertime, with van der Poel once more getting the higher of van Aert—this time on the world cyclocross championships. Their paths gained’t cross once more till the spring Classics, the place they’ll square-off in Paris-Roubaix.

Will we see one other Slovenian showdown within the Tour de France?

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Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar on the 2020 Tour de France.

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The 2020 Tour de France was probably the most thrilling in many years thanks to 2 Slovenians: Tadej Pogačar of UAE-Workforce Emirates and Primož Roglič of Jumbo-Visma. Roglič wore the yellow jersey for a lot of the Tour, however Pogačar ripped it away from him in a person time trial on the second-to-last day.

There’s little motive to doubt Pogačar’s possibilities of defeating Roglič a second time, however think about this: Pogačar went into final yr’s Tour as a darkish horse, not a bona fide contender. This yr, because the defending champion, he’ll have a yellow bullseye on his again and gained’t be underestimated by anybody.

In the meantime Roglič, who entered final yr’s Tour as the favourite, will have the ability to sit again and let Pogačar, and his significantly weaker group, shoulder the duty of controlling the race from the outset. Maybe that may give Jumbo-Visma an opportunity to enter the Tour’s second and third weeks a bit brisker than they did final yr.

It doesn’t matter what occurs, watching these two go head-to-head in opposition to one another, and INEOS, ought to be one of many highlights of the season.

What number of gold medals can Chloé Dygert win?

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Whereas we’re not followers of her political views, we will’t assist however acknowledge that American Chloé Dygert is without doubt one of the most gifted riders within the sport. Effectively on her solution to defending her world title within the particular person time trial final September, Dygert crashed and hit a guardrail, severely chopping her left leg and ending her season at what ought to have been its peak.

Nonetheless therapeutic, she heads into 2021 with a brand new group—Canyon-SRAM—and specializing in two main races: the Olympics, the place she’ll compete on the highway and on the monitor, and the world championships. Alongside the way in which, she’ll race on the highway as a lot as doable together with her new World Tour group, relying on her restoration, gaining expertise that may hopefully assist her develop into a Classics contender in 2022.

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