The 2019 season will see Vincenzo Nibali take on one of his most ambitious targets to date, as he attempts to win a third Giro d’Italia title before riding the Tour de France this summer. The Italian has previously contested both races in the same year, the first time back in 2008 before he had won any grand tour titles, and again in 2016 when he rode the Tour to prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio. But this will be the first time he has thrown a concerted effort into targeting both races for the GC.
As well as being one of just two riders in the current peloton to have won all three grand tours during his career, the Italian is also one of the most versatile racers, too. His victory at Milan-San Remo last season, to add to his two wins at Il Lombardia previously, means he has one of the most eclectic palmarès of any racer today and a stellar reputation for animating events and racing with feeling whenever he has the chance.
Procycling met with the Italian ahead of the start of the new season, to talk about his attacking instinct, racing with emotion and his ambitious 2019 goals.
“I’ve always tried to change the destiny of races, but it’s not easy,” Nibali tells Barry Ryan. “Often, I’ve come up against a battleship like Team Sky, and they’ve always shown themselves to be very strong in the Tour. Theirs is a very tactical style of racing. It’s certainly less spectacular, but it’s certainly profitable.”
One rider Nibali is likely to come up against at the Giro is Michael Woods. The 32-year-old Canadian enjoyed his best season to date in 2018, winning a mountain-top stage at the Vuelta a España and finishing runner-up in Liège-Bastogne-Liège before taking a bronze medal at the Worlds road race in Innsbruck.
It was still only less than a decade ago that Woods was pursuing a career as an elite runner before he took up cycling. Alasdair Fotheringham sat down with the EF-Drapac rider, to find out how he made the transition to the sport and how his late start has given him a different perspective on racing.
With the new season just about underway, Procycling looks ahead to the 10 stories that are likely to dominate the cycling agenda this year, from the grand tour clashes, sprint showdowns, the Worlds in Yorkshire and how the new CCC and Trek-Segafredo women’s squads will fare.
Undoubtedly, the story that will steal headlines for the majority of the year is the future of Team Sky, after Sky announced they would be ending their backing of the team at the end of 2019. The news will bring an end a decade-long partnership that has helped create the sport’s most successful Tour de France team of the modern era.
But Sky’s stage-racing dominance, plus the string of controversies that have dogged the team over the years, has meant the team is loved and hated in equal measure among fans. Edward Pickering analyses Sky’s time at the top, and what legacy they will leave.
One of Sky’s former riders, and the peloton’s longest-serving resident is Bernhard Eisel. The Austrian road captain first turned professional in 2001 as a sprinter for the Mapei-Quick-Step team, before joining FDJ and blockbuster squads HTC and Sky. Now in his third season with Dimension Data, Eisel tells Sophie Hurcom the story of his career, through the lens of the five squads he’s raced for.
To the other end of the career spectrum, Guillaume Martin will feel like he is still at the beginning of his career. The 25-year-old climber was one of France’s top amateur racers, but defied convention in 2016 when he turned pro with Belgian squad Wanty-Groupe Gobert. He tells Sophie Hurcom about his development, as well as studying for a Masters degree in philosophy, why he wrote his own play and what impact martial arts had on him.
The cycling world was left in shock at the end of 2018, when commentator and former pro racer Paul Sherwen died, aged 62. Known all over the world for bringing the Tour to life with his television partner Phil Liggett, Sherwen spent years prior that racing. William Fotheringham looks back into the racing career of the amiable, idiosyncratic all-rounder.
Marta Bastianelli is one of the few riders in the professional peloton who is also a mother. The Alé Cipollini rider won the European title last summer. Sadhbh O’Shea speaks to the Italian about her experience and finds out what more cycling could do to make juggling racing and motherhood easier for riders.
Back in 2010, Matt Lloyd won a stage and the King of the Mountains jersey at the Giro d’Italia. But four years later, the Australian had left the sport and disappeared almost entirely from the cycling radar. Today, Sophie Smith meets Lloyd and finds that the former pro, now 35, has been gradually piecing his life back together after a hit-and-run incident.
The February issue also introduces Procycling’s new diarists for 2019: Jumbo-Visma’s George Bennett, Katusha-Alpecin’s Alex Dowsett and FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine’s Emilia Fahlin have all come on board this season and will be writing for us every month. Read more about them and what we can expect this season here.
Plus, the magazine comes complete with a free 68-page 2019 season booklet previewing all the races on the WorldTour calendar this year, and everything you need to know about the WorldTour and Pro Continental teams.
Procycling magazine: the best writing and photography from inside the world’s toughest sport. Pick up your copy in all good newsagents and supermarkets now or pick up a Procycling subscription.