This week in bike racing: Alaphilippe, Girmay start 2023 at Challenge Mallorca

Biniam Girmay made history with a Giro d'Italia stage win in 2022
Biniam Girmay made history with a Giro d'Italia stage win in 2022 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Circus) and Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep) will start their seasons this week in the Spanish multi-day Mallorca Challenge. 

Racing gets underway with the Trofeo Calvia on Wednesday with two North American teams going up against a stacked start list that includes eight WorldTeams, Human Powered Health and the new Continental team Project Echelon.

Last year the Trofeo Calvia was by American Brandon McNulty, who returns alongside new teammate Tim Wellens. The hilly race starts this year in Palmanova rather than the nearby Peguera but still favours an opportunist.

On Thursday it's the Trofeo Ses Salines – Alcúdia, a race that favours sprinters who can get over the late category 2 Coll de Sa Batalla. The race runs straight up the middle of the island, with the climb inside 30km to go. Girmay won the race last season from a reduced sprint.

Bike racing this week

Wednesday, Jan 25: Trofeo Calvia - 12:00-16:00 CET
Vuelta a San Juan stage 4 - 18:45 - 23:30 CET

Thursday, Jan 26: Trofeo Ses Salines – Alcúdia - 12:00-16:00 CET

Friday, Jan 27: Trofeo Andratx – Mirador des Colomer - 12:00-16:00
Vuelta a San Juan stage 5 - 19:15 - 23:30 CET

Saturday, Jan 28: Cadel Evans Road Race (WWT) - 2:23 - 06:00
Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana - 12:00-16:00
Vuelta a San Juan stage 6 - 20:10 - 23:30 CET

Sunday, Jan 29: Cadel Evans Road Race (UWT) - 1:10 - 6:00
UCI Cyclocross World Cup Besançon:
Women 13:40 - 14:30, Men 15:10 - 16:15
Vuelta a San Juan stage 7 - 21:20 - 23:30 CET

Friday the peloton traverses the west coast of Mallorca in the Trofeo Andratx – Mirador des Colomer, with another late category 1 ascent and a steep uphill finish. The finish is ridiculously scenic and always a thriller that brings out the best climbers. 

Alejandro Valverde won the last edition but if any of the days suit the former world champion Alaphilippe, it's this one.

Saturday's Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (Lloseta) visits the same area as the previous day, with loops including the same category 1 ascent crested with 33km to go before a long descent to the finish. Wellens is a four-time winner of this race.

Arnaud De Lie, winner of last year's Trofeo Palma, says 'been there, done that' and heads to the GP la Marseillaise so we'll have a new winner, most likely from a sprint.

The GP La Marseillaise, Challenge Mallorca and Vuelta a San Juan will all be streamed live on GCN+. A year's subscription to GCN+ (opens in new tab) costs £39.99/$45.35 while a monthly subscription is £6.99/$7.93. 

Not in a broadcast zone? ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) offers the ability to simulate being back in your home country, allowing you to watch the race live on various devices – including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets, etc.

Vuelta a San Juan

JACHAL ARGENTINA JANUARY 23 Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and Team Soudal QuickStep competes during the 39th Vuelta a San Juan International 2023 Stage 2 a 2011km stage from Valle Fertil to Jachal VueltaSJ2023 on January 23 2023 in Jachal Argentina Photo by Maximiliano BlancoGetty Images

World champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) in the Vuelta a San Juan (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Vuelta a San Juan continues this week with leader Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) sure to get another challenge from stage 2 winner Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-Quickstep) on the third sprint stage.

Jakobsen complained that the first stage - where the road split at 1km to go and was riddled with traffic furniture - was too dangerous and said he appealed to the organisers to make changes. Monday's second stage went much smoother, with the Dutchman getting a supremely fast lead-out from World Champion Remco Evenepoel before he rocketed to the stage win.

Miguel Angel Lopez will toe the line after getting sacked by Astana Qazaqstan as a teammate to three-time podium finisher Oscar Sevilla on Team Medellin-EPM.

The race could come down to a sprint again on Wednesday, but a mid-stage category 1 mountain on stage 4 could reduce the size of the bunch.

On Thursday, there's an inexplicable rest day on Thursday before riders tackle Friday's key mountain stage to the Alto del Colorado. It's here where we should see what Tour de France winner Egan Bernal has in the legs, what Evenepoel can show on the climb, and whether Miguel Angel Lopez will be able to take a winning margin for his new Medellin-EPM team. Also keep an eye on Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe), Oscar Sevilla (Medellin-EPM), and the hometown Argentines who are always flying in January.

The final two sprint stages over the weekend should do very little to affect the GC after Friday.

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

The WorldTour resumes after the Tour Down Under for both men and women at the one-day Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for previews and riders to watch.

GP la Marseillaise

The French race in Marseille is always a bit unpredictable and is a good opportunity for younger riders to score a big result. It has historically been the domain of French riders, with past winners like Benoit Cosnefroy and Alexandre Geniez.

Last season Arkéa's Amaury Capiot got the better of Mads Pedersen in a reduced bunch sprint.

Besançon Cyclocross World Cup

Dutch Mathieu Van Der Poel celebrates on the podium after winning the mens elite race at the Cyclocross World Cup cyclocross event in Benidorm Spain Sunday 22 January 2023 the thirteenth stage out of 14 in the World Cup of the 20222023 season BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS Photo by JASPER JACOBS BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by JASPER JACOBSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The final showdown before the UCI Cyclocross World Championships comes on Sunday in Besançon, France. Defending world champ Tom Pidcock might not be racing, but the big three of the women's field most assuredly will - Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse and Shirin van Anrooij. We'll get a peek into how Marianne Vos and Lucinda Brand's form is improving. Brand won the round when it was held here in 2022.

Of the men's top three riders, only Mathieu van der Poel will be present and he'll be looking to stomp on the rest of the field. His main competition will surely come from Laurens Sweeck, who is seeking to hold off Eli Iserbyt to win the World Cup.

The World Cup will be broadcast live on GCN+ in the UK, on the UCI Youtube channel in some other markets, and in the USA, Flobikes (opens in new tab) will air the races. A year's subscription costs $150 in the US and $209.99 in Canada.

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