The February 2018 edition of Procycling is now available in UK shops. It features Nairo Quintana, one of the three most successful grand tour riders in the world, on the cover, and there is an exclusive and rare interview with the Colombian inside the magazine. There’s also a free 68-page season preview booklet featuring every race and every team in the international sport.
On February 4, Quintana will turn 28. He’s now entering what should be his peak years, with a focus this year entirely on the Tour de France. Quintana rarely gives in-depth interviews, but Alasdair Fotheringham caught up with him as he made his final preparations for 2018, to try and find out what makes this enigmatic rider tick. He took us back to his childhood in Colombia to explain how he developed as a cyclist, what challenges he faced and how his parents instilled his work ethic. Quintana reveals that as a boy, he drove a taxi with his brother, working after dark to avoid the police catching them. Procycling’s regular Counterpoint feature, which accompanies our interview, asks the question, can Quintana win the Tour? Quintana himself thinks so: “I’ve always been there, fighting for it. I can win it,” he says. We analyse his chances and compare him to other grand tour winners. With a Vuelta and Giro win already to his name, his chances are good. But we also find a few reasons he’s been struggling to win the Tour in recent seasons, following a stunning runner-up debut in 2013.
Procycling February 2018 also features our season preview, which comes in two parts. Our free 68-page booklet is your companion through the entire season, with analysis, predictions and routes of all the big races, and a detailed look at the team rosters and each outfit’s main riders. Within the magazine there is also an in-depth look at the 2018 season, identifying the main stories of the year and containing the editorial team’s own rash predictions for the season.
There’s good news and bad news for Ben Swift. The bad is that he has not won a race since early 2015. Sprinters thrive on winning, and three years is a long time without a victory. But the good news is that after a couple of seasons hit by injury and bad luck, as well as a transfer from Team Sky to UAE Emirates, the end of 2017 showed promising signs of the talent that has brought the Yorkshireman two podium finishes in Milan-San Remo. Fifth place in the world championships road race demonstrated that he’s one of the best in the world in a tough one-day race, and he’s attacking 2018 with renewed vigour. In our interview, he tells Sam Dansie what went wrong with brutal honesty and explains where he thinks it is going to go right this year.
Team Sky have spent the last two seasons both winning the Tour de France, and seeing their reputation questioned as scandal refuses to go away. With the unsatisfactory outcome of the ‘jiffy-bag’ saga, the revelation that Bradley Wiggins obtained TUEs for corticosteroids before three grand tours, Chris Froome’s ongoing travails over his positive test at the Vuelta and the arguably insufficient discipline given to Gianni Moscon for racist behaviour, the British team’s reputation is being assailed as never before. Lionel Birnie, who has been covering the team since its development and inception, picks over the gulf between Sky’s sporting dominance and its repeated inability to get its PR right.
Nairo Quintana is not the only Colombian rider born on February 4 with the ambition of winning the Tour de France. A new contributor to Procycling, Spanish journalist Fran Reyes, caught up with Miguel Ángel López, the Astana rider known as ‘Superman’ and asked him about his hopes and dreams in the sport. López has already achieved great things – a Tour de Suisse win at the age of 22 and eighth overall with two stage wins in last year’s Vuelta. But he’s also afflicted by crashes and bad luck. The Colombian will target the Giro d’Italia in 2018 and while he feels he might still be at least a season away from being able to win a grand tour, this is the ultimate goal.
Daryl Impey of Mitchelton-Scott hit the headlines recently for his well-worked Tour Down Under win. The South African is seen by his team as the archetypal road captain, a rider who can get results himself and who also gives everything for the team, both on and off the road, and Mitchelton manager Matt White describes him as the “linchpin” of the team. We interviewed him about his place in the team, about how he went after the yellow jersey in the 2013 Tour de France (in retrospect, in a very similar manner to his TDU win) and also his nightmare crash in the 2009 Tour of Turkey, when he was allegedly pushed off his bike by Dutch sprinter Theo Bos at high speed. Impey revealed to us what happened when the two found each other for a chat several seasons later, at the 2014 Tour of Alberta…
Of the three Dutch riders in the final break of seven at the Bergen World Championships women’s road race Chantal Blaak was perhaps seen as the least likely to win. After all, her compatriots Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten had won virtually everything between them in 2017. However, as Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten were marked closely, Blaak slipped away for a famous victory, born of smart team tactics and tenacity. Sophie Hurcom went to a Boels training camp in Spain to find out how the Dutchwoman is adjusting to wearing the rainbow jersey and to find out what comes next for the world champion.
Also in the magazine: our regular retro feature, which looks at Bernard Hinault’s 1982 Giro-Tour double, a Q&A with Zdeněk Štybar, Lars Bak tells us about his life in cycling, cyclingnews correspondent Brecht Decaluwé looks at Wout Van Aert’s career in cyclo-cross and on the road, we drool over the latest pro kit in Wish List, test the Look 785 Huez RS, Jens Voigt and Dan Martin, our regular columists, makes their predictions for the season ahead and Dan Martin.
We also introduce our three diarists for 2018: Steve Cummings, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Dylan Teuns, who will take us into their worlds and bring you dispatches throughout the season, as well as, hopefully, some big wins. Plus: brilliant action and beautiful landscape pictures from the very best cycling photographers.
Procycling February 2018 is priced at £5.50 and is available in UK newsagents now.
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