ED­WARD PICK­ER­ING

Procycling - - PREFACE -

Since the sea­son ended, I’ve been won­der­ing what 2018 was the year of. And when I look back to the most mem­o­rable mo­ments for me – Tiesj Benoot win­ning Strade Bianche, Vin­cenzo Nibali win­ning Mi­lan-San Remo, Pe­ter Sagan win­ning Paris-Roubaix and Chris Froome win­ning the Giro – I can’t help think­ing that it was the year of the long-range at­tack. (OK, so Nibali’s Pog­gio at­tack was hardly long-range, but it made a change from the race be­ing set­tled on the Via Roma in San Remo.) You could also cite Niki Terp­stra in Flan­ders, Bob Jun­gels in Liège and Thibaut Pinot in Il Lom­bar­dia. Or even Steven Krui­jswijk on the Alpe d’Huez stage or Mikel Landa in the fi­nal Pyre­nean stage of the Tour de France. These last two am­bi­tious sor­ties even­tu­ally came to noth­ing, even if they’d looked dan­ger­ous.

Of course, long-range at­tacks are noth­ing new in cy­cling. We’ll talk for years of Philippe Gil­bert’s 50km solo ef­fort in the 2017 Tour of Flan­ders, or the modern orig­i­nal – Fabian Can­cel­lara in the 2010 Paris-Roubaix. But I just had a sense that the tac­tics of the World­Tour were loos­ened ever so slightly this year. Yes, Team Sky sti­fled the Tour again, but teams are start­ing to show a bit more in­ven­tive­ness over at­tack­ing them. Maybe the smaller team sizes are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, or maybe there’s no trend at all - things could go the op­po­site way in 2019, with more con­trolled races.

Be­yond the head­lines, 2018 was a fan­tas­ti­cally var­ied year. We saw the emer­gence of Elia Vi­viani as the best sprinter – or was it Dy­lan Groe­newe­gen or Fer­nando Gaviria? We saw Quick-Step win­ning over 70 races. We saw a ri­valry be­tween two riders who are ab­so­lutely at the top of their game – Anna van der Breggen and An­ne­miek van Vleuten. And we saw a new win­ner of the Tour, even if the team was fa­mil­iar.

This is the Pro­cy­cling re­view of the 2018 sea­son. We hope you en­joy read­ing it as much as we en­joyed putting it to­gether.

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