Alberto Contador’s announcement that he will retire calls me to remember his career.
Did we learn anything this week?
For VDS purposes, this week of cycling is perhaps the most important for learning and guessing about the various riders vying for a place in our teams. For non-VDS purposes, it’s still pretty damn useful. Did we find out anything, though?
A Return and a Beginning
Ireland gets a team, in case you hadn't noticed. Oh, and a certain Ms. Vos is back in the CX scene!
Anna van der Breggen takes the gold
In a road race that turned thrilling as the race reached the final climb, Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands lived up to her favorite billing and took the gold. Emma Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini took silver and bronze with a disappointed Mara Abbott in fourth after having been caught in the final kilometer. The race was marred by a devastating crash by Annemiek van Vleuten on the final descent which the Dutchwoman was lucky to escape from with not too severe injuries.
Tour: Cavendish takes Yellow, Contador Down
While we might have hoped for a crosswind-filled funfest, we didn't really get one. But this stage wasn't short of drama.
Kwiatkowski wins E3 in style
In a two man sprint between the World Champs of the last two years Michal Kwiatkowski beat Peter Sagan in a convincing way to take the E3 Harelbeke. Ian Stannard won the sprint for third to complete a brilliant day for Team Sky who now have won this race two years in a row.
Debusschere wins on the line in Dwars
After a slow building race and a thrilling finale that was uncertain until the very end Lotto-Soudal's Jens Debusschere managed to pip Bryan Coquard on the line in Waregem to win the 2016 Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Stuyven is our new Belgian hero!
In a crazy turn of events Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne managed to become the more entertaining race in Flanders this weekend. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) took his greatest win to date with a strong 15 kilometer solo attack that a furiously chasing peloton was unable to match. Kristoff took the sprint for second ahead of Nacer Bouhanni.
Where women glow and men plunder
Have no fear, road-season is here! Time to once again make the annual trip to the supermarket to pick up a few bottles/cans of the finest Foster's beer you can find to celebrate the arrival of the first World Tour race of the year. New teams, new kit and new chances but a familiar race format awaits us in the coming week.
Etixx Unveil Blue 2016 Kit
New signing Marcel Kittel was photographed in the Vermarc outfit today.
New Lombardia course: the greatest hits version
Where many of cycling's classics are built upon a pretty set formula. The courses change a little but the main points remain the same. Lombardia isn't like that, its only constant seems to be change.
Giro Route Released Early!
A few minutes ago, I was alerted by a tweet from Bidone Jack that the Giro website had (rather less than cleverly) left the Giro route on their website.) The organisers have been silent on the matter.
Sluggish Silly Season Part 2
With the future of Europcar still unclear and apparently some big name moves waiting to happen, thereby releasing a domino effect of related moves, the transfer market is relatively slow still. Here's a place to discuss the moves as they happen.
Nibali Out of Vuelta (Updated)
Vincenzo Nibali, one of the favourites to win the Vuelta, is already on his way home, for taking too much assistance from his team car.
The Kittel is back!
After a long dry season plagued with injury and troubles getting back to form Marcel Kittel returned to his winning ways on stage 1 of the Tour of Poland. In a thrilling duel he beat young Caleb Ewan to th line to take his first win since September last year.
A perfect storm in Norway
One of the more fun news out of the Tour de France was the announcement of the plans that ex-pro Thor Hushovd is planning to launch a Norwegian based World Tour team, perhaps as early as the 2017 season. Rumors are now swirling about developments that could turn this into the definite official favorite team of the Podiumcafe. The key ingredient: Salmon.
Oops, I did it again! - Another Androni positive
Another minor rider tested positive, not major news admittedly. But this case has a few wrinkles that makes it interesting. Will we see team consequences for the first time?
Greipel Wins his Second Stage in Sprint
The attacks on all terrain had to end somewhere. We had crosswinds and rain, but unlike on Sunday no one of great importance to the General Classification lost any time, and despite crashes, German sprinter Greipel came out on top.
Abandons and Transfers: Monday Night News Roundup
At least it's Monday night where I am.
Purito's Day amidst Crashes, Froome takes Yellow
After a huge crash fifty kilometres out, Joaquím Rodríguez won the stage, as Christopher Froome took time on his rivals and the yellow jersey with it.