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.
David McKenzie put the ill-fated McCartney team firmly on the map with a stage win in the Giro d'Italia. But while the team folded and he never quite made it to cycling's top tier as a rider, he's become a successful TV commentator, and the man from Ballarat has no regrets.
US trackman Bobby Lea will soon be on the boards of Paris fighting for the World pursuit gold medal, so our '6 Day' expert, Ed Hood, talked to Bobby after a successful outing at the Berlin 6. With over twenty Elite titles to his name, there's a good chance of adding a Rainbow jersey to that total.
As the 2014/15 cyclo-cross season is about to wind up, Ed Hood quizzes the British National cyclo-cross champion, Ian Field, on his season and the state of the muddy winter sport. This past season has been one of the best with the emergence of a new young guard and Ian gives us the inside line on everything cross.
Derek Hunt was born a star bike rider: Top UK schoolboy and junior and then straight off to Holland to crack the very hard Euro road and '6 Day' scene. He seamlessly stepped up to the pro ranks for some solid results and then... Ed Hood's in-depth interview discovers life on the road in the 70's and 80's.
He was a big winner in the US, rode two Giros for two different Division One teams and was a team mate to some of the sport’s most famous (and notorious) recent names – so how come we’ve forgotten about him ? Aaron Olson is the man in question; his take on the sport is different to most, pointing out the obvious – but that which many have forgotten and paid the price for. Here’s his tale.
Jeremy Powers (Rapha-FOCUS) recently retained his National Cross Champion’s jersey as he took his third national elite title on a sticky parcours from ever-green Jonathan Page (XcelLED/Fuji) and the man many were talking-up before the start, Zach McDonald (Cyclocross Project 2015); ever-smiling Powers took time to chat to PEZ after his fine display.
The 2015 Vuelta a España route was unveiled last week, so our most experienced Grand Tour watcher, Ed Hood took a close look at the route and some background on la Vuelta. From the deep south to Andorra in the north and then back to Madrid, Ed crosses the plains and mountains of España.
Robbie Squire is another young man who's successfully made the jump from single track to tarmac; in 2010 he was on the podium at the U23 Pan Am X country MTB Champs and within a year was US U23 Road Race Champion.
From top pro on the American and International scene to director sportif, coach, mentor and more Mike Engleman has seen a lot in our sport. Now working on developing women's racing we recently caught up with Mike to get his take on all apsects of our sport from tactics to wages and more.