Welcome to the first edition of Pro Log, our new round-up of interesting news from the past week of professional cycling.
The season has (officially) begun following Opening Weekend, where Dylan van Baarle of Jumbo-Visma and SD Worx’s Lotte Kopecky reigned victorious at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
1. Jumbo-Visma, SD Worx dominate Opening Weekend
Jasper Jacobs/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images
This weekend, Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard won two stages and the general classification at O Gran Camiño as teammates Dylan van Baarle and Tiesj Benoot won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne respectively.
Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) became the first Belgian to win the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, with Flanders Classics providing limited live coverage from only 28km to go, and teammate Lorena Wiebes came second before winning the bunch sprint at Omloop van het Hageland the following day.
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Cycling can sometimes feel defined by eras of team dominance such as Team Sky’s previous stranglehold on the Tour de France and QuickStep at the Classics. The strength of the Jumbo-Visma team in the men’s peloton is especially prevalent already, and as we head deeper into the Classics and riders like Wout van Aert return, it can only increase. Will anyone be able to stop them?
Also on the topic of Opening Weekend, it was a joy to see Lotto-Dstny’s Arnaud De Lie’s second place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The 20-year-old, who placed seventh at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the next day,will undoubtably be keeping us entertained this season. Audrey Cordon-Ragot’s third place at Omloop van het Hageland was also a delight to behold and an important step for the French national road race and time-trial champion after she suffered a minor stroke in September last year.
Hungry for cobbles? Read our full 2023 Classics guide.
2. Stage 1 of O Gran Camiño snowed off
Sprint Cycling/Photo Gomez Sport
Jonas Vingegaard would eventually win the overall classification of the 2.1 stage race O Gran Camiño by 2’31” over Cofidis’ Jesús Herrada, but things did not begin smoothly for the men’s peloton.
Stage 1, a 188km route from Muralle de Lugo to Sarria, was barraged by heavy snow in northern Spain. With 20km until the finish and three riders ahead, the peloton came to a halt. Instead of a neutralised ride to the finish, the stage was completely called off as some riders took shelter in their team cars.
The news appeared to arrive slightly later for the three-man breakaway however, as confusion, poor communication and potentially some misplaced determination meant Gianni Moscon (Astana Qazaqstan), Sebastian Schönberger (Human Powered Health) and Vicente Hernaiz (Radio Popular-Paredes-Boavista) had almost completely ascended the Alto de Moltán. Eventually they turned around and headed towards Sarria.
3. Drone footage heats up
O Gran Camiño produced more talking points than I had initially realised. The implementation of drones throughout various cyclocross races during road’s offseason produced some spectacular shots, both of winding courses and rider abilities. One tracked leader Lucina Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) in Gavere for the Superprestige Series as she sped round corners and away from her competitors for victory.
A drone shot from Gran Camiño looked, frankly, bad, with a grainy portrait shot that was difficult to enjoy, but another gave a clear view of the scenery while flying around Vinegaard on his way to Stage 4 TT victory. Breathtaking, nausea-inducing, or both?
It does raise questions about safety and what guidelines and restrictions should be in place. At times, the drone looked to be a bit too close to the Dane.
Hopefully there won’t be any drone collisions this season.
4. Orangina joins Tour de France as an ‘Official Supplier’
For the next three editions of the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes, bottles of iconic French fizzy drink Orangina will feature in the publicity caravan, points of sale and cars following the race.
The drink has come a long way since first sponsoring Stage 4 of the 1954 Tour de France. Orangina will also launch three limited edition cans – two for major stages of the men’s Tour and one major stage for the women’s Tour – said to illustrate the ‘shaken roads’ the peloton will endure.
5. Paris-Nice showdown incoming
Saturday 4th March sees the men and women race on Tuscany’s beautiful white gravel roads for Strade Bianche. The 2022 editions were won in impressive fashion by Kopecky and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
Get in the mood for some dusty action with our Strade Bianche 2022 gallery.
Kopecky will be eyeing a title defence but Pogačar announced he’ll be skipping the race to take part in Paris-Nice from the 5th to 12th March, potentially an epic eight-stage battle with Tour de France rival Vingegaard. Both are already racking up the wins. Vingegaard dominated O Gran Camiño as Pogačar topped the overall, points and combination classifications at the Vuelta a Andalucía after wins on Stages 1, 2 and 4. Who’s your money on?
See you next week for another edition of Pro Log.