Procycling's December 2021 issue is out now

Filippo Ganna on the front cover of Procycling magazine
Filippo Ganna on the front cover of Procycling magazine (Image credit: Future)

The best cyclist in the world is a question that is constantly up for debate, but for the most powerful cyclist there is only one option. Filippo Ganna. The Italian time trial specialist has dominated races against the clock for the last two years, winning two world championship titles and an Olympic gold medal on the track. Speaking to Procycling in an exclusive interview, the Ineos Grenadiers rider talked about how he gets in the right mindset, his shortcomings as a cyclist, and the potential for an Hour Record attempt.

He is so powerful that it sometimes looks violent. However, he explained to Herbie Sykes: “It might look like that, but it’s not really violence as such. In fact for the most part it’s about restraint. It may appear violent because the effort is intense, and it’s true that an event like the team pursuit is explosive by nature. 

“However, to ride a good road time trial you’re going to need to be lucid, and very focused on what you’re doing. In some respects it’s the opposite of violence, because as you progress you start to understand that good time trialling is as much about what you keep back as what you put in.”

Also in this month’s magazine Gino Mäder is profiled by Kate Wagner. The Bahrain Victorious rider had a breakout season, winning stages at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de Suisse before finishing as the best young rider and fifth overall at the Vuelta a España. In a piece that follows the Swiss rider through the Vuelta, Mäder discussed how the best day of his life probably won’t occur on a bike, his chances of winning the white jersey, and how he learned to make good use of his fame.

We take a look at the Tour de France route for 2022, which was announced in October. Edward Pickering writes: “If there is a common theme and shape to the Tour de France since Prudhomme took over the race in 2007 and even more so since Thierry Gouvenou became the route designer, it is that the Tour de France is now three weeks of almost constant intensity and stress.”

There is also the final instalment of our State of the Nation feature series, which ends with the most cycling-mad country of all, Belgium. Ann Braeckman charts the state of the sport in both Flanders and Wallonia, where it is in slightly different positions, and in women’s as well as men’s cycling.

She writes: “There are big plans at regional level. Even Belgian Cycling, the umbrella body, is chipping in. At the junior World Championships in Flanders, the federation was fully committed to gender equality.”

Returning to Belgium, the World Championships were held there and Kate Wagner was there to witness a festival of cycling, and some of the best racing for the rainbow bands there has ever been

She wrote from Leuven: “It was what we watch bike racing for: the chaos, the ride-or-die attitude, the unpredictability, the all-day celebration of being present on the sidelines. Even if Belgium lost, the races they put on were nigh-legendary in the joy they created and the memories they made. Many riders felt that the crowds alone made up for otherwise bad days”

Climate change is the biggest challenge of our times, this century and the world. In a long investigation, Richard Abraham asks when the sport will take responsibility for its huge environmental impact, and if it can survive a rapidly changing world at all. 

He writes: “Professional cycling’s own footprint may be small; that of its sponsors is vast. It’s the elephant’s dirty footprint in the room. Three of the biggest WorldTour teams are sponsored by sovereign wealth funds, with those funds invested principally in fossil fuels.”

There is also an interview with Marlen Reusser, the Swiss time trial specialist who has really burst onto the scene this year. She said: “When I look at the whole season I am more than happy. It feels crazy, it feels like a dream. I would not change one second, I am so happy.”

Joey Rosskopf also speaks to Procycling, with the US national champion reflecting on his life and how to make the most of his ability as his cycle. He told Adam Becket: “Next year has a lot on it just because I want to show myself that I can meet my own expectations. This whole year, I have felt like I should be climbing and time-trialling better, so I would be a lot happier with myself in the sport if I could reaffirm some things. There's a level that I want to get back to.”

There are also all the regular features, including this month’s retro, which takes a look at the problematic legacy of Bjarne Riis. 

Procycling magazine (opens in new tab): 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 (opens in new tab).

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Adam Becket is the staff writer for Procycling magazine. Prior to covering the sport of cycling, he wrote about ecclesiastical matters for the Church Times and politics for Business Insider. He has degrees in history and journalism. A keen cyclist himself, Adam’s favourite race is the Tour of Flanders or Strade Bianche, and he can't wait to go to the Piazza del Campo for the end of the race one day.