It might only seem a few weeks since the evergreen 38-year-old Spaniard, Alejandro Valverde, pulled on the rainbow jersey of world champion, but it’s really not long now until the curtain raiser to the 2019 season. The Tour Down Under (TDU) kick-starts the men’s WorldTour calendar on 15 January with a six-stage affair in the baking Aussie summer. Then, after a brief stopover in the Middle East, it’s no time at all before the professionals return to the stinging winds and bruising cobbles of the Spring Classics – a shock to the system no doubt.
Aussie grit on show
The TDU always attracts homegrown talent, all on top form thanks to a solid basting of southern hemisphere sun. Recently retired Simon Gerrans has won it four times and we’ll be expecting new Trek signing Richie Porte to kick off 2019 with his usual stellar performance. Willunga Hill, the traditional finish to the ‘king stage’, has seen Porte cross the line first on six occasions now, so don’t be surprised if he christens his new Trek bike with another victory. He’ll be hoping, as will much of the cycling community, that Trek’s futureproof fleet of top-notch bikes will help him towards overdue Grand Tour success.
Porte and his new teammates will choose between the Madone, Emonda and Domane, all designed for very different riders and very different races: the superlight Emonda is favoured by the team’s mountain goats, the Madone is an aerodynamic masterpiece that is almost as versatile as it is fast, and the Domane gobbles up the more challenging surfaces that typify the Spring Classics.
Trek’s bike range has benefitted from season-long feedback from Trek-Segafredo and the British Trek-Drops women’s team. Next year, they will also learn from the brand-new Trek-Segafredo women’s team, headlined by Lizzie Deignan.
Time to pack the bags for Belgium
The life of a pro rider looks an enviable one at times, but imagine the shock to the system when you disembark from the plane into the Belgian winter. After a visit to the desert for the UAE Emirates Tour, the peloton’s next big test is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in early March, swiftly followed by Italian classic-in-the-making, Strade Bianche, then stage races Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Next come the Monuments of Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The spring is when the classics specialists get the chance to show their colours – Belgians in particular seem to be made to race in sub-zero conditions without any concession to staying warm. There’s also a certain Slovakian who thrives on the cobbles…
A good chunk of the peloton chooses specialist bikes for these types of races. With disc brakes, compliant frames and even rear suspension, these bikes are literally made for such events. But they’re also ideally suited to UK conditions, able to handle the rough stuff but efficient at speed too.
If you think you’re ready to set your own big targets for next season but could do with the help of a new bike to get you there, check out our full range of pro-approved road bikes here. If you have any more questions, come and have a chat with us about how one of these beauties could change the way you look at riding.