This year has seen debut winners in all three of the monuments that have taken place so far: Jasper Stuyven in Milan-San Remo, Tadej Pogačar at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Kasper Asgreen at the Tour of Flanders. Of this trio, it might be Asgreen’s victory which was the biggest statement; the Danish powerhouse beat Mathieu van der Poel in a sprint, and could be Deceuninck-Quick Step’s banker in their biggest race for years to come.
The rouleur had already had an impressive classics season, winning E3 on the way to victory at Flanders. At 26, this was a defining year for the time-trial specialist, who also came close to a first Tour de France stage win, finishing second on stage 20, and was two seconds from the podium at the World Championships TT.
Speaking to Victor Lindholm for Procycling, Asgreen spoke about his love for cycling. He explained: “I very rarely think of it as arduous. I have the world’s best job, and I’m not going to feel sorry for myself for having to sit on a bike for five hours in the rain. There are practically people who pay to do that. I’m not complaining.”
Also in this month’s magazine, we take a look back at a pulsating Vuelta a España, where Primož Roglič triumphed for a third year in a row; but this was his most comprehensive yet. Instead of the perhaps expected tedium around such an event, Alasdair Fotheringham writes: “The atmosphere among the returning fans and journalists was one of sincere appreciation at the Slovenian’s return to the Vuelta, even if the GC script seemed to have been written in permanent ink from the moment the defending champion blasted around the opening time trial in Burgos in first place.”
Alongside the results of each stage, there are also reflections on Fabio Jakobsen’s comeback, the withdrawal of Miguel Ángel López, and the breakthrough performance of Bahrain-Victorious’ Jack Haig.
As we come to the end of our State of the Nation series, we move on to the Low Countries. This month it is the turn of The Netherlands to come under the spotlight; they certainly rule women’s cycling, and there are talents at the top of the men’s sport too, but how sustainable is this?
Thomas Olsthoorn writes: “Ask any random foreigner what he or she knows of this little country by the North Sea and besides windmills, cheese and clogs, you will undoubtedly hear cycling come up. Bicycles are part of the Dutch cultural heritage. Countless generations have grown up with the two-wheeler as the ideal means of transport.” However, he goes on to explain how this culture is no guarantee of a flow of new top professionals, despite the overwhelming number of leisure cyclists in the country.
One of the stand out teams of this season has been Alpecin-Fenix, with the ProTour team punching well above their weight, winning classics as well as stages at each of the three grand tours. Richard Abraham takes a look at its success, explaining how the team has become more than just a Mathieu van der Poel vehicle.
“What may have started as a support team for a once in a generation superstar has developed into something much bigger. Why change a winning formula?” Abraham asks.
The final monument of the year is Il Lombardia, the traditional end-of-season race falling back into its slot at the end of October after the weirdness of 2020. Procycling takes a look at the Race of the Falling Leaves and its 116-year long history.
Also this month there are interviews with Aleksandr Vlasov and Rachel Neylan. The former looks at the future for Astana’s golden boy, while the latter takes a look at a few turbulent years for the Australian, who is now on her way to the new Cofidis women’s team.
There are also all the regular features, including this month’s retro, which tackles Freddy Maertens’ last hurrah, his second world title win in Prague.
The October issue also features all our regulars, including diarists Kévin Réza, Brodie Chapman and Charlie Quarterman, as well as Dan Martin and our columnist Laurens ten Dam.
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Adam Becket is the staff writer for Procycling magazine, which is his first role in cycling journalism. Prior to covering the sport, 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 is desperate to go to the Piazza del Campo for the end of the race one day.
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