Our man Mark was introduced to the cobbles of Flanders last week by Velo Classic Tours, riding the roads of Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs and De Ronde. To finish him off he tackled the Hell of the North and those murderous tracks to Roubaix, but he still had time for rider watching at the sign-on in Compiégne.
As part of his continued Spring Classics trip with Velo Classic Tours our man Mark McGhee has been out riding the Belgian cobbles that included the Gent-Wevelgem parcours and its famous bergs whilst being followed around by pro photographers on motorbikes, been up close to the pros at the Scheldepris race and hung out in VIP comfort in between. Life's tough as Paris Roubaix approaches!
After the craziness of chasing De Ronde, Mark McGhee goes for a ride to find a different craziness... the craziness of Belgium. On his 100 kilometre ride, Mark takes in some of the iconic climbs and cobbles of Flanders, all in preparation for an evening of Belgian food and drink for our voyeur pleasure of course.
Sunday's Tour of Flanders was a great race but the best way to really experience the Classics is roadside with a group like Velo Classic Tours. Luckily for our man Mark, that's exactly where he was on Sunday, backstage at the sign on and then roadside for the action.
Race Report: In a glorious race across the ‘white roads’ of Tuscany, Zdenek Stybar scored the best win of his road career, out duelling Greg Van Avermaet and Alejandro Valverde at the 2015 Strade Bianche Eroica Pro.
Race Report: Up against three Etixx-Quickstep riders, and three of the best classics riders in the world, it was last year’s winner Ian Stannard of Team Sky who showed them all how to ride the Omloop. Boonen, Vandenbergh and Terpstra could do nothing to hold back a rampaging Englishman who wanted this win more than any other in his career.
Race Report: With the Australians sticking to their game-plan, and controlling the race throughout, the one thing they hadn’t considered was a well-timed attack from the Norwegian powerhouse Sven Erik Bystrom. He timed his uphill attack to perfection and flew down to Ponferrada to take the best win of his young career.
Race Report: A wet and tricky 9.7 kilometer time trial greeted the Vuelta peloton in Santiago de Compostela. The stage went to the Italian TT specialist; Adriano Malori, but all eyes were on Alberto Contador as he fired his gun of victory.
Race Report: Stage 18 took in the final climb twice, but it only took the young Italian Fabio Aru once to get a gap on the other Vuelta GC hopefuls. Chris Froome joined him for them both to prosper. Stage for Aru, 2nd overall for Froome.
Race Report: One Colombian took the stage but it was a different one that took the Red Jersey. Winner Anacona had a great win and then watched the clock to see if he would be in the overall. In a surprising attack; Alberto Contador laid the foundation for Nairo Quintana to chase and take the Red Jersey.
Race Report: On a day when the biggest challenge was the all-consuming heat it was that other German sprinter who powered into the ancient city of Córdoba and took the win for Giant-Shimano. John Degenkolb has every reason to love Spain and will be looking for more wins in this year’s race.
Race Report: In a fast and furious finish, as the riders sped through La Isla San Fernando, it was the team of FDJ who played their hand to perfection and set up Nacer Bouhanni for the win. He finished it off in style and even had time to look over his shoulder and show his rivals who was boss.
Race Report: Alejandro Valverde may have faded badly in the final week of Le Tour but today he showed the rest of the peloton how to race this post-Tour Classic. He may not be from the Basque Country but Balaverde (the Green Bullet) loves this race and was determined to win it for a second time.
Race Report: In a race that’s been all about attacking, and attacking again it came down to a sprint finish in Paris. It almost didn’t though as Team Sky attempted to recover from their misfortunes but nothing was going to deny the big German and arguably best sprinter around, Marcel Kittel. From start to finish, he’s shown he’s the man to watch in the dash for the line.
Race Report: It looked like a re-run of the Nîmes finish as a Garmin rider struggled to hold off a charging peloton. This time, though, perhaps aided by a big crash 3km from home, the US-based team finished their man Ramúnas Navardauskas ahead of all of the fancied sprinters.
Race Report: On a day that saw Astana and the major players’ content to let the break go, we ended with a new Maillot Jaune, a shake-up in the overall, a popular German win and a new Toast of France! Bring on Bastille Day!
Race Report: On the day most of the riders were scared of, it was the Italian Champion and current Yellow Jersey who took the race by the scruff of the neck and blew the parcours apart. Atrocious weather, a favorite abandoned, riders gapped but the strongest man was Lars Boom (Belkin) who showed all of the other Classics specialists how to ride the cobbles in the wet.
Race Report: With nine climbs and the final one coming just 5 kms before the finish it was always going to be a day of attrition. Vincenzo Nibali proved the wiliest though and the Shark of Messina outsmarted everyone to take the win and the jersey.
Giro'14 St.21 Race Report: With all eyes on Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) to take the stage win, it was yet another fast man from Giant-Shimano, Luka Mezgec who showed them all how to do it, while Columbia's Nairo Quintana won his first Grand Tour.
Race Report: On a day when the favorites watched each other all the way to the stage 15 final climb up Montecampione, the 2014 Giro d'Italia delivered another fantastic finale that would have made Marco Pantini proud. Astana's Fabio Aru soloed to a brilliant win and showed this race ain't over yet.