Back in January I made some predictions. Well, not predictions as such, just some comments on things that I hoped would happen during the current professional road season. I thought the second rest day of the Tour de France provided a great opportunity to review my list and see who I managed to jinx!
Cav To Return To Top Form – unfortunately it just hasn’t happened for Cav. Left out of the Tour team when back to something like his best, according to his DS, I fear that may be the last we see of Cav at major tours
Mike Teunissen To Win His First Major Race – well, what can I say about that! Mike followed up a brilliant 7th at Paris Roubaix with 2 stage wins and his first pro GC win at the 4 Days of Dunkirk, then first place with the team at Hammer Stavanger and first in the GC at the ZLM tour……..but he still wasn’t done.
He was excited to be at the Tour de France, the Jumbo Visma train had been running smoothly and there were big options for the team in the sprints with Dylan Groenwegen and in the GC with Kruijswijk but nobody expected the drama that unfolded on stage 1. With Groenewegen caught up in a crash in the final kilometres, Mike found himself alone at the front of the race so he decided to put the hammer down an go for it. He outsprinted Sagan, Colbrelli, Ewan, Viviani and Matthews (amongst others) to take the stage win AND the coveted yellow jersey (plus the green points jersey)! Not satisfied with that, the Jumbo Visma boys smashed the TTT on stage 2 and Mike retained the jersey.
I’m hoping to catch up with Mike in London in a couple of weeks if he rides the Surrey Classic, it’ll be good to shake his hand and congratulate him personally on a magic season.
Michael Valgren To Win At Flanders – Nope. It just hasn’t happened for Valgren this year. I’m unsure if it is the team move that has hampered him or whether it is just a form dip in general. He will return, class is permanent.
Dan Martin To Finally Win At Fleche – Nope, another one wide of the mark. Alaphilippe and Fuglsang were brilliant at Fleche. Another year missed for Dan
Enric Mas To Be A Home Hero At La Vuelta – Maybe. He seems to be suffering with illness in the Tour at the moment, hopefully his form will return for his home race
Katusha Alpecin To Return To Winning Ways – Aside from Kittel winning at Trofeo Palma (then subsequently cancelling his contract), Katusha have mustered just two stage wins this year; Zabel in a sprint in the Tour de Yorkshire and what was actually a quite brilliant stage win from Zakarin in the Giro. It’s not enough and now there are questions over the future of the team
Viviani To Win Milan Sanremo – Nope. 65th in the end. Nobody accounted for Alaphilippe this year!
Richie Porte To Stay Upright For Three Weeks – Well, he’s still in there and fighting at the moment!
Tao Geoghegan Hart To Get More Opportunities At Team Sky (now Ineos) – Tao was quite brilliant at the Tour of the Alps, finishing second behind teammate Pavel Sivakov, but his form was cruelly ended by a crash at the Giro. He’ll be back, I hope to see him in the line up for La Vuelta
Tim Wellens To Win Something, Somewhere, In The Spring – Nope. Podiums at Omloop and De Brabantse Pijl but no winners jersey.
Strade Bianche To Be As Enthralling As Last Year – Well, I think it was. Alaphilippe getting the jump on Fuglsang on the final climb to Siena finished a captivating race and announced Alaphilippe’s form for all to see. Unfortunately for others, it was very hard to match him!
Bardet To Return To Form At The Tour – Unfortunately not. Bardet looks a shadow of the rider he was.
So, there you have a mid year progress report. Not many hopes have come to fruition but Mike Teunissen has overdelivered to compensate for the others! Not many knew of him before his Tour stage win (he told me he gained 10,000 Twitter followers in one evening after the win) but he’s a talented lad who has won junior titles at Paris-Roubaix (2014) and in cyclocross so keep your eye on him!