John Degenkolb's victory on the Roubaix pavé at the Tour de France this summer was the race's feel-good stage win, on the most anticipated, blockbuster stage. His raw outpouring of emotion at the finish line made the victory feel all the more potent, as it closed a chapter on a difficult, testing two seasons for the German.
Procycling sat down with Degenkolb, our newest cover star, ahead of the GP Cycliste de Québec and Montréal in Canada this autumn to talk about the impact the Tour win has had. Despite winning Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo in 2015, many people had written off Degenkolb in recent seasons for not being the same rider since he was hit by a car during a training ride in January 2016. But now, having finally landed a Tour victory after years of trying, Degenkolb reflects on the psychological toll the crash had on him.
"I could have been in a wheelchair, I could have been dead, I could have been never walking or riding my bike, or whatever," Degenkolb told us. "This fact I just took for granted. I just took it like this and was, like, 'Okay, we go on, and in a few weeks or months we will be back racing again.' It took me almost one-and-a-half years to realise."
From one star of the Classics to another, Daniel Oss is better known as Peter Sagan's chief lieutenant and one of the most experienced domestiques on the cobbles. But the curly haired, flamboyant Bora-Hansgrohe rider also has a reputation for being cycling's very own rock star, as Sophie Hurcom found out when she went to meet him. He tells Procycling why riders should be doing more to entertain their fans.
The European season might have come to a close at Il Lombardia in October, but before that we enjoyed a week of one-day races in Italy in the build-up. Among the Italian autumn Classics was the Giro dell'Emilia, dating back to 1909 and held on roads around Bologna, with a stellar line-up to match its beautiful backdrop. Photographer Chris Auld was there to capture the race in this month's picture feature.
The World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, were held on the toughest and most mountainous courses seen in the modern racing era. With Anna van der Breggen and Alejandro Valverde winning debut rainbow jerseys, a CPA election that was galvanising the peloton and Belgian wunderkind Remco Evenepoel capturing everyone's attention, Sam Dansie was there to experience it all.
After a decade at the top, BMC Racing Team as we know it will stop at the end of 2018, and, in its place, a new WorldTour squad will emerge backed by the Polish shoe company CCC. While Greg Van Avermaet is retained as the squad's star rider for the Classics, the new-look squad crucially does not have a key GC threat for the Grand Tours. Alasdair Fotheringham explores how different things will be next year.
Although BMC Racing may be changing in 2019, the man behind the squad, Jim Ochowicz, remains at its helm. Known as the pioneer of US cycling, Ochowicz initially brought the 7-Eleven team to Europe in the 1980s before turning BMC into one of the most successful teams in the WorldTour. Yet Ochowicz continues to be a controversial figure. Sam Dansie profiles the enigmatic American.
The 2018 season saw two Astana riders enjoy their most successful seasons to date: Michael Valgren won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold while Magnus Cort won four races, including a debut Tour stage. Sophie Hurcom sat down with the Danish duo, who grew up racing together, to find out why things went so well for them both this year.
Alice Barnes ended her first season with Canyon-SRAM by winning a debut world title in the team time trial in Innsbruck. The 23-year-old former mountain biker has a flair for racing aggressively, as shown in her two pro wins at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour and the BeNe Ladies Tour. And while it may be easy to compare Alice to her sister Hannah, also at Canyon-SRAM, the younger Barnes sibling is forging her own way.
In this month's Retro, William Fotheringham looks back 20 years to the fall-out from the Festina Affair. While the scandal ripped through the 1998 Tour de France, the months that followed during the autumn saw the sport try to pick up the pieces and try to understand where to go next.
All this plus our usual features inside the magazine, including the latest from our diarists Dan Martin, Steve Cummings, Dylan Teuns and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
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