Cobbled Classics Come to a Close

Paris-Roubaix Van SummerenThis is a reprint of an article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News.

Its happened again; the 2011 season brought us another amazing race. This year’s edition of Paris-Roubaix saw Garmin-Cervélo take a win it dearly needed, as this newly formed team had yet to take any big wins. However, the win came from an unexpected rider- instead of a big name rider, it was Johan Van Summeren, a 30 year old super domestique with only 4 wins to his name, who took a solo win in the Roubaix velodrome. Crashes, bickering, and a well timed attack allowed Van Summeren to get away with 15km to go.

A break wasn’t able to establish itself until after 100km. The initial group of eight included David Boucher (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Martin Elmiger (AG2R), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Maarten Tjalingii (Rabobank), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (Radioshack), David Veilleux (Europcar), and Timon Seubert (Netapp) were eventually joined by Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano), and Gorazd Stangelj (Astana). After Oliverira dropped back to the peloton, the group of 10 were only allowed 2:40 with 100km to go.

The Arenberg Trench

As the Arenberg forest section of cobbles approached, the peloton increased the speed as it jostled for a good position going into the Trench. This caused the gap to go down and crashes to happen. Henrich Haussler and Roger Hammond, both of Garmin-Cervelo, were the main casualties, with Haussler abandoning and Hammond going to the hospital.

It was in the Arenberg forest where Tom Boonen’s troubles started. Of all the favorites, Tom Boonen surely had the worst time at Paris-Roubaix. First he had a mechanical that left him stranded in the Arenberg without a team car in sight. After he chased back to the group, he was caught in crash which reduced his chances of a good finish to zero. He eventually quit the race, despite urgings from his team DS. Tom Boonen wasn’t the only Quick Step member who had a rough time. His teammate Sylvian Chavenal earned the respect of many when, after a crash and a flat, he not only got back to the group, but finished the race.

As the peloton left the Trench, a chase group of seven followed the leaders. This group included Lars Boom (Rabobank), Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Loto), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), Matthew Haymen (Sky), Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Frederic Guesdon (FDJ). This group was able to bridge over the 10 leaders, bringing the lead group up to 17. But the lead group wasn’t done growing. Soon after the Arenberg cobbles, an attack by John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad), Gregory Rast (Radioshack), Tom Leezer (Rabobank) and Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervelo) allowed them to bridge to the lead group as well.

By this point, there were 21 leaders in the front, the favorites (Fabian Cancellara, Alessandro Ballan, Thor Hushovd, and Juan Antonia Flecha) were at the front of the peloton, and 10 cobbled sections to go.

Right before the cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle, 50km from the finish, all hell broke loose.

The Action Heats Up

It was at this time when Cancellara attacked, hoping for a repeat performance of last year’s race where he time trialed alone into the velodrome. This was not to be, as Hushovd, Flecha, and Ballan were all able to mark his wheel. Despite another attack two cobbled sections later, Cancellara was only able to drop Flecha- Hushovd and Ballan held tight. At the same time, a flurry of attacks were happening in the lead group, causing riders to drop, reducing it to 16 riders. In the chase group behind, there was no cooperation to be had, as both Hushovd and Ballan had teammates in the lead group and Cancellara was not interested in a repeat of the Tour of Flanders, were he towed Chavenal to the line. This squabbling in the chase group allowed the lead group to gain another minute.

Up in the lead group, Bak attacked at the Camphin-en-Pévèle cobbles. Only Rast, Tjallingii and Van Summeren were able to go with him.

With 15km to go, Cancellara decided to try his luck again with another attack. Hushovd was not to be denied and stuck on his wheel again. The two made it up to what was left of the lead group, with Cancellara still not able to shake Hushovd.

While Cancellara was attacking, so was Van Summeren, from the lead group of 4. The only one who was able to follow was Tjallingii, but not for long. Soon, Van Summeren was on his own, riding his heart out to make it to the velodrome first.

A Final Attack

Back in the chasing group, Cancellara was not interested in giving up and attacked one last time. This time he was able to go at alone, as Hushovd was caught behind some other riders and not able to grab Cancellara’s wheel as he powered away.

Try as he might, he was only able to catch Tjallingii, Bak and Rast. Despite riding the last 5km on a flat, Van Summeren was able to solo to victory in the velodrome. Cancellara sprinted for second with Tjallingii and Rast, 19 seconds after Van Summeren crossed the line and came in just ahead of Tjallingii.

And thus, another edition of Paris-Roubaix came to a close.

Paris-Roubaix: The Granddaddy of Cobbles

paris-roubaix mybikeinfo.wordpress.com

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News.

These bloodied and battered warriors struggle through the rain, the cold, the mud, on roads better suited to oxen cart than bicycles. But for the victor there is glory, immortality and a place in history amongst the giants of the road.

-CBS Sports 1987

Well it’s finally here. The granddaddy of all the cobbled classics, the stuff of dreams, the legend maker: Paris-Roubaix. The excitement has been building for weeks. Since the first cobbled race in Belgium this season, the Omloop, talk and speculation has been building to this day. While the Tour of Flanders is seen as the pinnacle of the Belgian races and a win is coveted by all Belgian riders, Paris-Roubaix is the crowning glory of all the cobbled races. For the cyclists who are one day, Classic specialists, this is what they race for. A win in the Roubaix velodrome has no equal. So what makes this race so special? There are a couple of reasons. For those of you who are just joining us in this racing season, it is the most epic of the Classic, one day races. If you will allow me to quote myself, a brief explanation of what make these races so special:

The stage race: a multi day torture fest. The one day race: a one day torture fest. While riders in stage races must endure the torture for a week or more, and therefore must ride to conserve energy so they are able to ride another day, one day racers have only one shot to make it to the end. This means those riders must leave it all on the road if they want to win. Riders have 4 to 6 hours to push themselves further into the red than their opponents, and with no stage to race the next day, it doesn’t matter if you leave no gas in the tank.

And amongst the cobbled classic races, Paris-Roubaix is the most revered because it is the oldest, the cobble-est, hardest race of them all. It was first run in 1896 and only the two world wars were enough to stop it. It has many nicknames: The Hell of the North, A Sunday in Hell, Queen of the Classics, La Pascale. Today it is organized and run by the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization), which also organizes the Tour de France, Paris-Tours, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and other big races.

A new velodrome

The race was the brainchild of Theodore Vienne and Maurice Perez, textile manufacturers who were behind a new velodrome which had just opened. To promote their new velodrome and expose the citizens of the town to cycling, they proposed a race which would start in Paris and end in their Roubaix velodrome. For help, they reached out to the editor of Le Velo, a French daily sports paper. He pitched it to the owner of the newspaper as a training event for Bordeaux-Paris, a race run until 1988. The newspaper owner went for it, and a race was born.

The Hell of the War

While the nickname “Hell of the North” does accurately describe this Northern France race, it came not from the cobbles, mud, or horrible weather. Indeed, when put into perspective, the cobbled roads of the early 20th century were considered superior over most roads which were not paved at all. Rather, the nickname came from the destruction wrought on the route after World War I. After the war ended in 1918, the race organizers took a trip to Roubaix from Paris to see how the route had survived four years of warfare. The further they got from the city, the more destruction they witnessed- a land laid to waste by bombs and trench warfare. And the next day it was reported in the newspaper that these men had seen “the hell of the North.” When Henri Pelissier won the first edition of the race in 1919, he said, “This wasn’t a race. It was a pilgrimage.”

The Cobbles

When live television started to become a part of cycling in the late ’60s, many mayors along the route started paving over their cobblestones, lest those watching see them as backwards. But there were some who saw the cobbles as the “special sauce” of the race and worried that with their removal, the race would lose what gave it its heart. So Les Amis de Paris Roubaix was formed to find and preserve the cobbles of the route. The cobbles in northern France are different than the cobbles in Flanders. In France, they are bigger, rounder, with wider gaps between them. This makes them much harder to ride on.

Paris-Roubaix Arenberg sidelined.com.au

The Route

The route changes subtly from year to year as cobbled sections are deemed to dangerous, or are repaved or repaired. However, it always starts in the Paris region and ends in the Roubaix velodrome. This race is much flatter than other cobbled races in Belgium, but that does not mean it is easier, as the roads are narrow, twisty, and heavily cobbled. The iconic cobbled sections have names such as Orchies, Mons-en-Pévèle, Cysoing à Bourghelles, Carrefour de l’Arbre. The most famous section is probably Troueé d’Arenberg- the Trench of Arenberg. This section passes through a thick wood, making the cobbles slippery and dangerous. Positioning going into this section is vial, as it is narrow and the pace forces the peloton to string out- those who come out first have the best chance to reach the velodrome first.

Paris-Roubaix 2011 map

For the 2011 edition, the Arenberg section has been placed closer to the finish, which is expected to make the race more intense. There are 51.5km of cobbles this year, in 27 sections (PodiumCafe breaks down the cobbled sections of this year’s Paris-Roubaix here).

Who wins?

Once again, Belgians have dominated the winner’s board, with 53 wins. However, France has a respectable 28 wins, fitting for a race that is in their country. Italy is the only other country with double digit wins, with 13. Roger De Vlaeminck is the only rider to have won Paris-Roubaix four times. If Tom Boonen can win again, he’ll join De Vlaeminck.

For the 2011 edition has the usual suspects at the top of most predictions lists: Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen. But many are placing bets on Thor Hushovd (who’s Garmin-Cervelo teams really needs a win), Juan Antonio Flecha or Geraint Thomas (who’s won the U23 version in the past).

The cruelty of this race is that form and fitness can only do so much. While positioning and race without a mechanical, a flat, or a crash are important in any race, at Paris-Roubaix they count for double, as the odds are stacked against all of those things. The 2011 edition of Paris-Roubaix should be another corker, if the earlier 2011 season races are anything to go by!

Check out ProcyclingLive, CyclingFans, and Steephill.tv for live streams the day of the race. I believe live coverage should start around 7:30am EST. I’ll be following along on Twitter as well, with the #roubaix hashtag.

A Victory Snatched: Tour of Flanders 2011

Photo: Fotoreporter SirottiThis is a reprint of an article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News.

In another spectacular race of the 2011 season, the Tour of Flanders delivered an edition which many said was the most exciting they’d watched in recent years.Despite having faced criticism for what some perceived as his lack of attacking style in the past years, Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) outsprinted race favorites Fabian Cancellara and Sylvian Chavanel to take the win at Tour of Flanders.

The first break got away at 55km with Roger Hammond (Garmin-Cervelo), Jeremy Hunt (Sky), Stefan van Dijck (Veranda’s Willems), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano) and Sebastien Turgot (Europcar). At 80km, they had 6 minutes which is when both Leopard Trek and Omega Pharma-Lotto worked to protect their leaders (Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert, respectively) and chase down the lead group. They drove the pace and fractured the peloton.

Kwaremont climb shapes the race

It was on the Kwaremont where the race really developed. Sylvan Chavanel (Quick Step) went off the front of the peloton, and, along with Simon Clark (Astana), made it to the lead group, which by then had reduced to three, with Hunt and van Dijck having been dropped. On the Koppenberg, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Loto) was able to attack and bridge up the lead group, but by that time, Cavanel and Clark had dropped the original break and were off the front on their own. Over the next few climbs, there was attack after attack, with nothing sticking. It wasn’t until the Haaghoek climb at the 42km to go mark that an attack was able to get away. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) pulled away, marked immediately by Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha). As the three blew past a chasing group of five up the road, Boonen got caught behind as the road tightened and Cancellara was gone.

Cancellara’s Time Trial

Cancellara quickly caught Chavanel and Clark, but only Chavanel was able to keep the big Swiss’ wheel, where he stayed until the end. Chavanel’s presence up the road stopped Quick Step from trying to bring the break back. In addition, the presence of Chavanel’s team mate Boonen’s presence in the chasing group stopped Chavanel from helping Cancellara extend their lead. Trying to do a repeat of his win last year, where he time trialled to a solo win, Cancellara set off down the road without a glance behind him. However, Chavanel was not to be dropped and hung onto his wheel.

It was here where BMC put in a huge effort to bring the two breakaway riders back, with some help from Vacansoleil-DCM.

Time trial shut down

The gap stayed at around a minute until the two leaders hit the Muur. It was there that Cancellara’s dream of a repeat solo win was well and truly laid to rest. Gilbert, Boonen, Alessandro Ballan (BMC) and Bjorn Luekemans (Vanansoleil-DCM) made contact with the two in the lead, and with a group of seven nipping at their heels, Gilbert attacked on the Bosberg. He was only able to get a handle of seconds lead over the chasing five man group of Cancellara, Ballan, Leukemans, Chavanel, and Staf Scheirlinckx (Veranda’s Willems-Accent), and wasn’t able to stay away. This group of six was quickly joined by a second chase group which included Nuyens, Boonen, and George Hincapie (BMC). At 6km from the line, the attacks started.

Finish line attacks

First, Ballan attacked and Gilbert shut him down. Juan Antonia Flecha and Geriant Thomas (Sky) went- no luck. Sebestian Langeveld (Rabobank) went, shut down by Ballan. Then, Cancellara went, followed quickly by Chavanel and Nuyens, and the three were able to get a small gap. The three were able to stay away until the end, but when Cancellara opened up the sprint with the chasing group breathing down their neck, it was a little too far out for him to hold off Nuyens, who was able edge out Cancellara and Chavanel for the win.

The Race to Rule Belgian Cycling

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News.

Sunday is the date of the unofficial Belgian national championship, the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen in the native tongue). The Tour of Flanders is the race held most near and dear to the hearts of Belgians. To win this race as a Belgian will make your entire career. You’d never have to win or ride another race again in your life and you would still be seen as a Belgian hero into perpetuity. Nicknamed Vlaanderens mooiste (Flanders’ finest), the first edition was organized in 1913 by Karel Van Wijnendaele, co-founder of the sport newspaper Sportwereld. Before World War II, the race was held on the same day as Milan-San Remo, and as most Italians and French riders preferred to race the latter,  there was only one non-Belgian winner before World War II. After World War II, it became part of the Challenge Desgrange-Colombo, a precursor to today’s World Tour; this lead to a change in date so it no longer conflicted with Milan-San Remo and a subsequent rise in status. Despite its rise in popularity, Flandrian’s still thought of it as “their” race, on the hill in their back yard where they had learnt the craft of cycling. It’s as part of the Flemish culture as any other tradition and this is why it holds such a special place in the hearts of Belgians, and Flandrians especially. The race’s popularity within Belgium has not diminished over the years and many non-Belgians have adopted this race as one of the favorites.

The Cobbled Climbs

The race route follows the same pattern as it did at its inception: 200km through the plains, 100km through the maze of twisty, turn-ey lanes and cobbled hills. Cobblestone tracks were laid on the rolling hills of the Flemish Ardennes by the farmers to give traction for horses and wood-wheeled carts. It is this hills which define the race. Until the 1950s there were only three hills in the race- today there are usually 15. There is no one berg with defines or summarizes the Tour of Flanders, as each hill on its own wouldn’t be much to write home about. It’s more about how the hills are strung together after 200km of hard racing; how the short, steep gradients coupled with the cobbles make staying on the bike a difficult task; how the last few kilometers before each climb is a jostle-fest of trying to get the perfect position going into the climb. PezCycling News did a great piece breaking down one of the more famous climbs, the Koppenberg. Basically,  the location of this hill within the race (occurring directly after two already hard climbs), the slickness of the cobbles (regardless of rain or shine), and the steep pitch all combine to reduce even the hardest of cyclists to the indignity of pushing their bikes up the hill. Because once one rider falls, slips, or unclips to maintain his balance, he dooms everyone behind him to walking. The Koppenberg’s storied history has contributed to its occasionally removal from the race, as organizers deem it too dangerous one year or another.

The race has actually helped bring protection to many of the cobbled ways in Belgium. Many cobbled disappeared in the modernization period which followed World War II. By 1993, cobblestones had become officially protected, as the cobbles were recognized as the special sauce of the Ronde.

Who wins?

This race has always been dominated by Belgians, like many of the cobbled classics of the north. Belgians have taken the podium 66 times to Italy’s 10 and the Netherland’s 9. No American has ever won this race.

The winner will be someone who can attack the cobbled hills with full strength, maintain that power through the steepest gradients, and still have a burst of power left over to make it over the top. The ability to maintain sustained bursts of power is a must, which is why Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara are often at the top of the favorites lists for this race.

Last year, Cancellara motored to an impressive solo win, showing such a feat of strength that he was accused of having a motor in his bike.

This year, Bonnen, Cancellara, and Philippe Gilbert are at the top of many prediction lists. Heinrich Haussler, Geriant Thomas, Thor Hushovd, Sylvian Chavanel, Juan Antonio Flecha also seem to be on quite a few lists. Everyone and their mother has an opinion on who might win this race.

So, be sure to tune in the live streams on Sunday morning! Check out ProCycling LiveCyclingFans, and Steephill.tv for links to live streams and live tickers! Also, follow along on twitter with #RVV for up to the minute updates.

 

Let’s get ready to cobble! Gent-Wevelgem

This is a reprint of the article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News.

Sunday is the day for Gent-Wevelgem, a prestigious cobbled classic race which takes place in the lead up to the King of Belgian Cobbled races, Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). This race has grown in stature the past few years, as the organizers sought to make changes to elevate the status and reputation of the race. It was always a respected Belgian cobbled race, but because it was sandwiched right between Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, two huge cycling classics, it often got lost in the shuffle. That changed last year when it got moved to the Sunday before the Ronde, and therefore make for good training in the run up to the Ronde. It’s  status was also bolstered by its shift to the UCI WorldTour race calendar, which means all the UCI ProTeams are obligated to attend.

History

The race was first run in 1934, created as a tribute to Gaston Rebry (a Wevelgem native) who had won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix that year. The first edition was a junior race at only 120km; from 1936-1939 it was open to independent amateur riders; and after WWII it became a professional race, with a new route lengthened to 200km. Today, it is organized by the Royal Flying Wheel Velo Club.

Winners

Most notably, only one American has ever won this race- George Hincapie in 2001. Belgians have dominated this race, no question, with 46 wins over its history. Italy is way back in 2nd, with only six wins.

Route

Although it is often called a sprinters’ classic, with a flat finish, there are plenty of climbs and cobbles to thin the ranks and challenge the pure sprinters. Because of this, usually only a small elite bunch make it to the finish together.The biggest obstacle in the race is the Kemmelberg, a cobbled climb that is ridden twice, and which has a dangerous descent. The race hasn’t actually started in Gent since 2004- it usually starts in nearby Deinze.

In the quest to elevate the status of the race, the organizers redesigned the route, adding two climbs, bringing the total to 8, making it even less of sprinters race. Despite the changes, it is still the Kemmelberg climb that will shape the results.

E3 to suffer

Because of all these changes, the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke (E3 Prize Flanders), which typically takes place a week and a day before the Ronde, is being passed up for Gent. As a UCI WorldTour race, not only are teams obligated to attend, but points towards UCI rider classification are higher too, prompting many riders and teams to chose Gent-Wevelgem over the E3, which is only part of the UCI Europe Tour. While some claim the E3 race is still a better indicator of how the Ronde will play out, as the route is much similar, that is still not enough to draw riders away from Gent.

 

A little E3 Prijs taste

There are two Belgian cobbled classics happening this weekend: the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Haralbeke on Saturday and the Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. I don’t have time to write about them both and have decided to write about Gent-Wevelgem. However, here are some link to articles with previews of the E3 course, race, and riders attending.

  • CyclingNews has an overview of the controversies surrounding the race this year
  • Podium Cafe is running a prediction’s game and has some comments on how to pick a winner
  • Pavé has a run down of this year’s favorites
  • Velonation wrote a piece about how the date change of Gent-Wevelgem could be the death of the E3 (Gent has been moved from mid-week to the Sunday before Tour of Flanders)
  • ProCyclingLive breaks down the course
  • Check out Wikipedia for some history

There you go! Check ProCyclingLive, CyclingFans, or Steephill.tv for live coverage, which there is sure to be.

Milan-San Remo is coming!

Milan-San Remo is coming up this weekend! To get prepared, check out the quick and dirty history I put together for the US Pro Cycling News website!

Tirreno-Adricatico 2011 recap

Wondering how the Tirreno-Adricatico turned out? Check out my recap over at US Pro Cycling News!

Paris-Nice: History and Preview

For most longtime cycling fans, Paris-Nice signals the true beginning of the cycling season. This probably goes back to the day when Qatar and Oman didn’t exist, and there was limited to no live coverage available until Paris-Nice. While the hardcore fans enjoy the addition of the Tour Down Under, Qatar, and Oman, those long, flat, windy, sandy stages leave much to be desired. Paris-Nice brings the racing back to Europe and proper climbs back to the stages. It’s a race that’s about journeying to the sunshine, when “the rising warmth brings the riders out of their shells as if awakening from a winter’s hibernation.”

History

Like the Tour de France, Paris-Nice was also started by a newspaper owner hoping to promote his papers.  Albert Lejune owned a paper in Paris (Le Petit Journal) and in Nice (Le Petit Niçois). Hoping to promote sunny, Mediterranean Nice as a mid-winter getaway for those still in the cold North (and sell more papers in the process), in 1933, he created a week long stage race which started in the wintry North of Paris and wound its way south to finish in the warmth of Nice. His “Six Days of the Road” became known as “The Race to the Sun.” Like most races which started in the 30s, it was forced to go on a hiatus from 1940 to 1946 because of World War II. It picked up again in 1946, but didn’t really start to come into its own until 1951. By then it was being run by Jean Leulliot and backed by a new publication, Road and Track. However, it was still being used to promote Nice as a winter escape destination. It was in the 50s that the race really started to take off and gain prestige. Now top tier riders were riding and winning, such as Jacques Anqutiel, Eddy Merckx, Sean kelly, Miguel Indurain, etc. From 2000 to 2002, the race was organized by Laurent Fignon, but today the race is managed by the ASO (Amaury Sports Organization), which also owns and organizes other big races, including the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Paris-Roubaix, among others.

The route

It was never meant to be a taxing course and Lejune, the founder, purposefully built the route to avoid the Alps. It doesn’t favor sprinters, like the earlier races in Australia, Oman, and Qatar, nor does it favor the climbers, like the Grand Tours. It is landscape is lumpy, not mountainous. It is a race for sprinters, climbers and roulers alike. For example, the 2011 edition features 3 flat stages and 3 hilly stages. There have been some changes to format of the race in 2011; mainly the prologue has been replaced with a 27km time trial in the final stage. This is the first time since 1996 that there will not be a TT prologue  and it’s certainly the longest TT its ever had- the normal range is between 4 and 13km. There are some who believe the inclusion of the longer time trial doesn’t fit with the character of the race. Now the race can be lumped in with more traditional week long stage races.

2011 edition

Jerseys

  • Overall leaders jersey: Yellow
  • Point classification: Green
  • King of the Mountain: Red polka dot
  • Young Rider: White

Jersey winners from 2011

Interesting facts

  • Irish racer Sean Kelly has won the most races with 7 consecutive title!
  • It was an accident at this race which occured in the 2003 edition that prompted the UCI to mandate the use of helmets during races, after Kazakhstan rider Andrei Kivilev died because of head injury sustained during a crash.

Where to watch

TV:

  • Oh happy days, Versus is going to be showing the race on TV! However, it will not be live and it will be at 4:00 in the afternoon, starting Sunday. There will probably be live streaming available the day of, starting at 7:40am, if my calculations are correct. Check out Cyclingfans.com and Steephill.tv for updates and ProcyclingLive and Sportz-Live.com (scroll down to cycling category) for straight links.
  • There have been rumors that Versus is using Paris-Nice as a gauge to see if it should broadcast more cycling. So, especially if you have a Neilson scanner in your house, try and watch it on Versus. There have also been rumors that Belgian Anti-Piracy groups are cracking down on “illegal” internet streams, so it’s possible that all the streams coming out of Belgium will be geo-restricted, meaning if you’re not in Belgium you can’t watch them. But who knows.

Twitter:

  • Official Paris-Nice hashtag is #pn
  • ProcyclingLive will be live tweeting

Live blog:

Watch the Tour of Qatar!

While most of the American public will be focused on that most holy of American sporting events, the Super Bowl, we in the cycling community will have eyes only for the Tour of Qatar!

For a great history and detail preview of this year’s race, check out US Pro Cycling News.

If I calculate it correctly, there is an 8 hour time difference between the US (Eastern time) and Qatar (for some reason, I’m crap with figuring out time differences, so if I’m wrong, let me know). All the stages (except the prologue) start at around 12:30 local time (4:30am Eastern), but live coverage will start around 7am Eastern.

Live Streaming

Versus will be stream all of the stages (yay!), starting at 6:50am Eastern. I’m pretty sure this stream is geo-restricted, meaning it can only be watched in the US.

British Eurosport will have an hour of live coverage each day starting at 8am 7am Eastern (here, scroll down, and here). Although Eurosport is notorious for running behind schedule…

Twitter live updates

Steephill.tv

ProCycling Live

#toq Twitter group

Live blog

CyclingNews may or may not be live blogging. I think they probably will, but only tomorrow will tell.

More Info

I think I’ve covered all the live streams options, but check out CyclingFans, Steephill.tv, and ProCycling Live for the latest news and streams- they’ll be all over it.

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