Trying to decide who the top sprinter is going into the 2021 season is a hard ask, with the gap between the fastest riders in the world narrow and the biggest victories shared almost completely evenly between them.
Sat at the top of the pyramid though is undoubtedly last year’s Tour de France green jersey winner Sam Bennett, four-times Giro d’Italia stage winner Arnaud Demare and Caleb Ewan, the Australian who won two Tour de France stages last year.
Ewan’s haul of two stage wins at last year’s Tour, on stages 3 and 11, were among seven race victories he took in 2020, and what was most impressive about the wins in France was the manner in which he took them - navigating himself out of impossible-looking scenarios in the finale.
Speaking to Procycling magazine’s editor Edward Pickering for our January 2021 issue of Procycling, Ewan explained why he still thinks he might yet have hit his peak.
“I’m one of the best sprinters in the world,” he said. “I’m only 26. I think I’m still coming into my prime. Some guys peak at 25 and others when they are 30. I hope I haven’t got to my peak yet. I believe I’m up there with the best and on my day I feel like I can beat anyone.”
Another rider who enjoyed success at a grand tour last year was Briton Alex Dowsett, the time trial specialist who won stage 8 of the Giro, solo, after being in the day’s breakaway, his first road race victory since his neo-pro year in 2011. Sophie Hurcom spoke to him about new opportunities the win has presented, fighting for a new contract during a pandemic and why he’s daring to take on the Hour Record again.
“It’ll be something that will be quite fun to capitalise on next year, to scope out more opportunities like that.” he said. “I take a lot of inspiration from Steve Cummings from that side of things, he turned it [from] not a lucky, plucky, win from a break, but he could consistently deliver from breakaways with absolute, almost artistic deliveries of perfect tactics.”
The 2020 season also marked the first time that the men’s peloton saw a Danish rider wearing the rainbow jersey in Mads Pedersen, who followed compatriot Amalie Dideriksen’s achievement from 2016 in winning the world road title. Pedersen’s success comes at a time when the number of Danish professional cyclists is at an all-time high.
In the first of a new series of features, Procycling examines the state of the nation in Denmark, as writer Victor Boy Lindholm finds out why Danish cyclists have suddenly stepped onto the world stage.
For the first time ever in 2020, all three grand tours were decided by less than a minute in the general classification. Edward Pickering looks back at the history of the Giro, Tour and Vuelta a España and tells the story of some of the closest grand tours in cycling’s history.
Among those riders who stood on the podium of a grand tour last year was Jai Hindley, the 25-year-old Australian whose breakout performance at the Giro saw him win a stage and finish second overall in Milan. Adam Becket spoke to Hindley about his emergence as a grand tour contender: “It’s my dream to be a big GC rider, so I’m definitely going to try and make it my career, to be up there.”
Another rider who had a stellar 2020 season was Lauren Stephens, the American former high school teacher who has a more unusual pathway into the sport than most. Procycling spoke to her about her journey to professional cycling and pushing on last year.
Elsewhere in the magazine, Cyclingnews’ women’s editor, Kirsten Frattini, finds out what cycling is doing to make the sport safer, after a year that saw multiple cases of abuse, sexism and discrimination brought by women riders.
Procycling looks into the lack of long standing rivalries in cycling and why they might have gone missing; Slovenian Janez Brajkovič opens up to Procycling about living with bulimia and obsession over his weight. While this month’s Retro feature looks back at the career of Steve Bauer and why he was a pioneer for Canada.
Plus, catch up with Dan Martin and read the thoughts of columnist Laurens Ten Dam.
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