Race Report: Ed Hood told us last week, even before Flèche Wallonne, that Alejandro Valverde would win 'La Doyenne' on the steep finish to Ans. It was a battle of cat and mouse between Katusha and the man from Murcia, but 'Balaverde' was top man. Here is how Ed saw the race unfold.
His stats for Liege read like this: 1979, 20th: 1981, 11th: 1982, 10th: 1984, 1st: 1985, 4th: 1986, 12th: 1987, 20th; 1988, 5th: 1989, 1st – good enough to tell us a little about La Doyenne? Yeah, we thought so too: PEZ talked to Sean Kelly about the oldest, and many would say the hardest of the ‘monuments’.
This Sunday brings us the last Monument of this year's spring campaign: Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Ed Hood runs a keen eye over the long, star studded history of La Doyene, examines the course and picks the winner for the 2015 Walloon Classic. The PEZ Liège preview.
The Amstel Gold Race signals the start of the Ardennes Classics, and the first signs of who's looking good for the Giro. Raced over the hills, dales, and forests of south eastern Holland, the course selects its own worthy winner. Twenty years ago it was Mauro Gianetti who was making the news.
The cobbles are behind us as we move onto the hilly Classics and first up is the Amstel Gold Race. Yes, Holland is mostly flat, but try riding up the Cauberg and say that's not a hill. Our Classics expert, Ed Hood, gives us the benefit of his Amstel experience - the race and the golden liquid.
Race Report: There is never a surprise winner in Roubaix and today's 'Hell of the North' didn't disappoint the fans. The cobbles were dry and fast, perfect for a certain German who used to be a sprinter and now is the Classicsman of 2015 - John Degenkolb. The fast and furious road to Roubaix.
The 'Hell of the North' hits the cobbles of Northern France on Sunday, our L'enfer du Nord expert, Ed Hood, runs his eye over the uneven surface of Paris-Roubaix. The course and runners for 2015 and the history of the Queen of the Classics. Sunday in Hell - The PEZ Preview.
Race Report: Norway’s Alex Kristoff took his second Monument, to go with his 2014 Primavera win, leaving Quick-Step’s canny Dutchman, Niki Terpstra in his jet wash. Greg Van Avermaet made the podium again with third spot after last year’s second place, beating Peter Sagan to the line.
The early season Belgian cobbled Classics have been building up to this Sunday and the battle of the Tour of Flanders, or De Ronde van Vlaanderen. Ed Hood looks at the history and examines the parcours for this Monument of the road. Who will be the winner? Not an easy answer, but he will be a Lion of Flanders.
The cobble season is upon us, this is the time of year to be in Belgium or better; Flanders. On Sunday Gent-Wevelgem heads out of Deinze for a ride to the coast and back via France, followed by a succession of gruesome cobbled climbs before the finish. Bad weather and hard riders make for a real Classic, here is the PEZ Preview.
Race Report: John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) joined the greats on Sunday on the Via Roma taking the 106th Milan-Sanremo with a perfectly timed sprint, relegating 2014 winner Alex Kristoff (Katusha) to second with ‘coming man’ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) giving notice that he can win this race, one day.
Spring must be here in Europe, at last, as the first big Classic of the season leaves Milan on Sunday morning to make the near 300 kilometre journey to Sanremo. Our 'Primavera' expert, Ed Hood, takes a look back at his Sanremo experiences and forward to this years protagonists in the battle to the Ligurian coast.
Rider Interview: Always one with an eye on young talent, Ed Hood has hit the ranks of Cult Energy, to find today's interviewee, Mads Pedersen. A big winner on the junior scene with a victory at Paris Roubaix, Worlds medals and more Pedersen is now in the Professional Continental ranks after the team stepped up a notch this year.
Rudy Pevenage was the man behind Jan Ulrich and guided him to a Tour de France win and many other successes, but let's not forget he was a top rider in his own Pro career. Not much has been heard of the man from Moerbeke recently, so Ed Hood looked him up on his visit to Belgium for the Omloop.
The Strade Bianche has in just a handful of editions done what no other young race has before - shouldered its way into the leagues of bona-fide Monuments where the course is what gives it a true identity. Dirt roads, never ending hills, and a landscape as only a true 'vedutista' could paint, it's no wonder the race is a fave among riders and fans alike.
Day two of Ed Hood's Belgian jaunt took him to the roadside of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday, via one or two of his favourite hostelries. The more relaxed start allowed a bit of bike hardware inspection, and rider mingling, but with a race to watch the call of the bar L'Escale was strong.
Two races in Belgium at the week-end, so we put Ed Hood roadside in Flanders, and he was in his element. Cobbles, riders, fans, bikes and beer; all you need for two full days of Flemish fun. Although it was a sober Ed who walked stunned out of a bar after Saturday's Het Nieuwsblad debacle!
The cobble season starts on Saturday with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and then rattles its way into Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday. These races are for the hard men of the roads. Ed Hood looks back at the last five years of the 'cobbles week-end' and forward to this year.
Interview: Brian Vandborg retired at the end of 2013 after a career that saw him compete for CSC, Discovery, GLS, Liquigas, SpiderTech and Cannondale. Two teams folded and a season was ruined due to mononucleosis, but he was a strong team rider to the end. Ed Hood found out more about the man from Snejdjberg.
Former World road champion Claude Criquielion lost his last battle and passed away on Wednesday morning at only 58 years old. Ed Hood takes a look at the man from Lessines' life and career, and what his contemporaries in the peloton thought of him. There was so much more to Claudy than that crash in Ronse.