Cycling Opinion

Cycling is on holiday

Words by Kit Nicholson

Who doesn’t love an intermission? Get up, stretch your legs, nip to the bathroom and join the queue for an over-priced ice-cream…
The 2019 season ended with the Tour of Guangxi and from this week, teams are beginning to congregate in various locations worldwide to reflect on the year just gone and look forward to the next. For many cycling fans though, this time of year marks the beginning of one long stretch of boredom, counting down the days before the Tour Down Under in January, but it needn’t be so! There’s still so much to get our teeth into, even if there’s no racing with which to while away the hours.

I, for one, very much enjoy this time of year. The slightly odd thrill of transfer gossip peters out, giving way to eager anticipation for new team kit announcements – a particular favourite of mine as a designer, by education at least – not to mention the end-of-term vibe given off by teams and riders. There’s also something to be said for the relief from tension, pressure and competition, even for those of us who only live it vicariously.

Factory reset

Every pro season plays out in more or less the same way, the calendar changing only slightly – for instance, to accommodate the Olympic Games – so it feels very much like hitting restart. Of course, many riders will go into 2020 carrying significantly more credit than they did 12 months ago, but we know what to expect: in January, the Australian-registered Mitchelton-Scott team, men and women, will stand proud at their home race and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) will win on Willunga Hill; Deceuninck-QuickStep and Boels-Dolmans will be all over the Spring Classics; Team Ineos, Jumbo-Visma and Movistar (probably) will show off in stage races… You know what I mean. There’s always a certain amount of predictability but 2020 is still very much in the planning stage; its story is written in bullet points with the details yet to be filled in.

With the Tour de France route recently announced, team lineups being finalised and the WorldTour taking shape, speculation and anticipation are rife and I’m all for it!

 

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@petosagan is heading to the @giroditalia in 2020! Find reactions from Peter as well as Team Manager, Ralph Denk, on our website.

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Holiday camps

From now until early 2020, Southern Spain, the Balearic Islands and even the UAE and Israel will play host to whole teams as they come together to reflect, refresh, test and train for new goals. For many of the bigger squads, it’s the only time in the year that everyone is together under the same roof, men’s and women’s squads, Classics and Grand Tour riders – every-single-body. In a couple of months time, it’ll be all salad and locked biscuit cupboards, but for now, the order of the day is new kit and bike fittings, general health checks, courting sponsors, golf lessons and ice hockey…

 

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When in Waterloo! Thank you @trekbikes for letting us crash your early morning hockey game.

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It’s always great to see bike riders let their hair down now that the pressure’s off – holidaying with teammates, racing in six-day track events, sliding into a bit of cyclocross, some even using the time to tie the knot.

 

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Caleb Ewan takes the first lap in the Madison! He’s quickly finding his track legs #sixdaylondon #sixdayseries Ph: @tornanti_cc

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Amor ❤️

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Transfers galore

I love watching the comings and goings in the transfer market and I revel in debating the logic and tactics of it all. Viviani to Cofidis? Cool, fine, especially now that they’re moving up in the world. Mas to Movistar? But, of course. Dumoulin to Jumbo-Visma? Hell yeah, maybe someone will finally meet Ineos halfway. Nibali to Trek-Segafredo? Whatevs; Porte’s all-out leadership was short-lived… Carapaz to Ineos? Curious, but follow the money, right! Quintana to Arkéa-Samsic? Where’s that ‘hmm’ emoji…

Whether the moves are logical, tactical, or simply bizarre, I can’t wait to see everyone in their new kit, and, more importantly, how they fit into their new teams.

 

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Amor ❤️

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As it gets colder and greyer in northern Europe, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Mallorca, Tenerife and Calpe in the coming months, and will no doubt find ourselves feeling jealous, restless, eager for a touch of winter sunshine ourselves. Maybe it’s time to start planning that off-season training camp…