So, last year I wrote about most of the teams. I also wrote most weeks about things I thought would happen. I made some good predictions. I was down on Bardet and Terpstra, which went well for me. I was high on Marc Sarreau and on Fausto Masnada. After years of my support, Florian Senechal won a Belgian race. On the other hand, I made plenty of mistakes. No, I’m not listing them. Find ‘em yourselves.
This year I’ve spent less of the offseason writing and more of it changing nappies. Rather than causing offense, I’ll just give you a minute to think of a joke here that suits your level of toilet humour. However, I didn’t want to leave you without the chance to mock me again. So, here are ten predictions that I think the majority of cycling fans would disagree with. I don’t think they’ll all happen, but I think they’re likelier than the herd would believe. You should probably think of them as provocative, and as a shortcut to me telling you some of the riders I’m “buying” or “selling” for the season, and some of the stories I see developing. Also, there probably isn’t a direct link to FSA-DS (join now!) but I’m sure you can find a few pointers to my thinking if you look hard enough.
So form a queue to start the mocking, but while you’re at it, put your head above the parapet and make a few outlandish claims of your own.
- The world champion and the Olympic champion will be the same person. Julian Alaphillipe won’t pick up a podium in either.
- Thibault Pinot will become the first rider since 1987 to complete the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia double.
- Daniel Martinez will finish on the Tour de France podium.
- Remi Cavagna will pick up a medal in the Olympic time trial.
- At least one World Tour team will fold. Oh, and at least one World Tour race will be ridden for the last time in 2020.
- The best British performance in a grand tour this year won’t come from a rider named Yates. Or Froome. Or Thomas. Or even Hart. James Knox, your time has come.
- Sorry, youth fans, but both Flanders and Roubaix will be won by a rider aged more than 27. And yes, this year that counts as an outlandish prediction.
- This will be Jonathan Vaughters’ best year in cycling. By a margin.
- In the battle of the young GC contenders, Tadej Pagacar will outride Bernal, Higuita and Evenpoel over the length of the season.
- Oh, that Olympic/World champion I mentioned? Can I interest you in… Michal Kwiatkowski?