It is that time again of year again – thank god because I am so over the winter and Olympic Ice Skating. While us mere mortals spin away the hours on indoor trainers watching re-runs of The Tour, the gods of cycling are coming off their winter “break” (do they actually even stop these days) and showing their early season form. Those riders hoping for a good classics showing and a GIRO start in Belfast are already starting to show. The old and new generations of cycling are getting themselves ready for their Classics assault. Read on for the six that have impressed us so far.
T A Y L O R P H I N N E Y
Coming of the back of his best winter yet since turning pro Taylor looked good down in the deserts. Riding with confidence and power this is best he has been this early in a season. If he keeps building on this and with a little road luck maybe we will see him hit the Roubaix Velodrome in the lead group. Then who knows, he can sprint….
M I C H A L K W I A T K O W S K I
This guy! We think he is going to be one of the best. With a great season in his legs from last year and a bucket load more confidence he looked amazing at Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. Held everything for the last climb, closed the gap to the break and then road away from them to win. Impressive and he says he isn’t even near 100% yet!
J O H N D E G E N K O L B
He just gets better every year. I can never figure out if he is a sprinter or a great one day rider, or both. Love watching him race, he is getting over the medium climbs better as shown in the Tour Of The Med, and still has matches to burn for the sprint. Maybe he can get up there in MSR with the Pompeiana Climb being removed?
T O R N A D O T O M
With probably the worst season of his career last year hopefully behind him Tom has emerged from the frozen north with fitness, drive and confidence. Riding beautifully down in the deserts and using his team well he is still building form to go back to his home roads for hopefully and epic classics campaign of old. We love Tom, fingers crossed for him (like the beard too).
M A R C E L “T H E P O W E R” K I T T E L
The good wine of cycling, getting better every year. Not on the way up anymore he has well and truly arrived and taking some big scalps early on. His sprints in the desert were pretty amazing. Looking in control and doing it all with a smile on his face. Love this guy.
S I M O N G E R R A N S
If you are riding well down in the heat of Australia early in the season, chances are when you hit Europe in March/April you are going to be one of the fittest riders in the pack at any race. Gerrans always rides well early in Australia, The Nationals and the Tour Down Under ensure that. Looking good again for the monuments and turning into one of the best one day riders in the pack.
A L S O I M P R E S S E D
Thor Hushovd: On his way back to form and starting to show his nose in the finishes again
Niki Terpstra: Took a good early season win and hopefully will get his chance in the classics
Ian Stannard: Has been in and around it and hopefully will peak for the classics