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Colombo Classic Discussion
Preview by Vien

Colombo Classic

Welcome to *Googles...* Sri Lanka for some more PTHC action! Some of the best puncheurs of the world are looking to add the second chapter to the story of the lonely mountain near the finish line. Who will rise?


At first glace, the profile of this race might seem a bit dull; 100 kilometres without any true challenges, and a flat part that nullifies any early attacks made by favourites. Then a wild hill appears, followed by a downhill before the race finishes in Colombo.

There's still a lot of things that make this race unique, though. Only one true challenge near the end means it's likely that all puncheurs will save their legs for the final hill, almost guaranteeing some fireworks there. Then there's also the downhill section to separate the boys from the men. It's hard to imagine that anyone will be able to escape from the bunch there, but a rider's downhill skill will likely make the difference in case they have a gap at the start of the descent already. Lastly, with this type of race, the punchy sprinters should have bigger opportunities to surprise than in other hilly classics. And with both Demare and Van Stayen not being here, a lot of those will be looking to step out of their shadow.


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_afr.png Hagen85796673pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_iso.png Mohoric81777967
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_hug.png Ponzi84807476pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_ino.png Anuar Aziz81716567
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_grg.png Bakelants84786973pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_fes.png Koretzky80797071
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_aeg.png De Bie83756572pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_ssc.png Bilbao79756671
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_prp.png Claeys83736367pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_prp.png Borges78816571
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_eav.png Gastauer82766267
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_iso.png Spilak82746867pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_iso.png Kump77807381
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_gzl.png Ginanni82736565pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_eav.png Reimer75806377
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_pum.png Kelderman82727167pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_bgc.png McEvoy76796675
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_mji.png Kinoshita81777168pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2018/Micro/mg18_yor.png Bellis78756874

So which rider is the most suitable for this race? Judging by the profile and the way this season has been going so far, Ponzi must be the rider to watch. Not only has he shown to beat his rivals over and over again, his downhill and sprint abilities are also the best of the fastest puncheurs in the peloton. If he is in a small group at the top of the hill, an upset will need to happen for him to not win this classic.

Then there's always the chance for Boasson Hagen to perform back to his standards, as he did last year, when he won the first edition of this race. A victory from the Norwegian would likely come from being the strongest on the hill, although freshness near the finish line also might be vital for a final sprint. Anyhow, with his subpar performances so far, the pressure on him will get higher and higher. Will this make him stronger, or will he crack?

Slightly weaker but still a top favourite is Bakelants, who is basically a weaker version of Hagen, and will need a good day to beat the previous two favourites. He will lead the group of scary outsiders, which includes De Bie, Gastauer, Ginanni, Kelderman and top GC rider Spilak. Especially the presence of the Spilak is surprising. Has his manager seen a niche in this route that was unseen by other managers?

The answer might have something to do with another of Isostar's riders. Because in case you eyes are falling mainly on the downhill section, you must've noticed Mohoric already, as he's the best downhill rider of the main puncheurs. Even if it's hard to escape from a peloton in these cases, he might nullify his comparatively weaker puncheur abilities and come back to a group of favourites to help out Spilak for a good result.

The PCT has also brought some serious contenders to Sri Lanka. Mainly Kinoshita, arguably the strongest puncheur in the PCT peloton, and Anuar Aziz, easily the best performing one so far. Beating the favourites on pure strength is unlikely, but in case of an early attack, a lot of points are up for grabs for these riders' teams.

And as already mentioned when analysing the terrain, there is always a chance of the final hill being less selective. Therefore, more sprint-oriented riders with the abilility to survive the hills may not be ruled out. One of them certainly shouldn't be underestimated - Marko Kump, who has shown that he's mastered this trick several times already. Riders like Reimer, McEvoy, Bellis and quite a few more cannot be ruled out in case of a small bunch sprint either, though.


Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix

Not the best sign that Dyrnes didn't even get on the startlist. Pfft Maybe we'll see some aggression for once though. Smile Definitely some strong competition that should make a good race, especially Isostar's trio. Shock

Thanks for the preview Aquarius! Smile

"What done is, is one." - Benji Naesen
De Bie better delivers here...far too underperforming in many classics.

Podium would be ideal, top 4 minimum.

With Gallopin, Thurau, Van der Poel chances for depth points are also good I think.

So they better not disappoint before the TdF desaster that is going to happen next.
Thanks. The race where I hope we can turn around the season for good!

I remember a long & hard decision making process on whether to use the final 2 race days at this race or at Fleche/Amstel. A major reason for this, maybe surprising, attempt is the idea that there is more chance of the mountain stat playing a role than at Amstel or Fleche, at least looking at the results. With the presence of maybe our strongest line-up of all season, we hope to score massive depth points - let's just hope the team plays double-leadership wiser than at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Also I hoped that we'd be further away from relegation zone and could try to test some ideas for next season. Here I am now in the battle against relegation Grin

Great preview!
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trekbmc wrote:
Thanks for the preview Vien! Smile

Fixed Cool
Well, well. We have a victory to defend from last year, though I fear it will be tough to get it. Bakelants on a normal day is just a tad behind Ponzi and EBH, but we are clearly going for a podium.
Ginanni is no more than a dangerous outsider here. Fingers crossed.
Hoping for a good result here. Perhaps a top10 can be expected. We'll see. Good luck everyone. Thanks for the preview Vien!
Manager of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2019/Micros/duo.png Duolingo pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2019/Micros/duo.png
Although we are not mentioned in the preview/favourites I still think that Chernetskiy can have a good result here.
Well, 5th is 1-2 spots lower than I wanted, but at least something and much more than I had expected mid race when he was once again not really aggressive.
At least gained 1 position in the sprint and behind those 4 is surely nothing dramatic.

But I definitely need him to have a good form on more days as he is one of the low scoring 83 riders in the peloton I feel.

45, 77, 89 for the support riders is just garbarge and far too less if you could be around late top30-top40 as similar strong riders.
Mohoric doing his thing on the descent Grin
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Decent but not great. We played the cards we wanted to play, just not at the right time. Kratochvila strong, Bratshcuk also with a good race here. Depth worked well, from the top riders this was not enough.
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Ooh, that was close. Feared the worst when the groups came back together, but Bakelants did very well. Have to be happy with a 2nd coming down to a sprint like that, but I had my fingered crossed that he would be able to pass EBH on the line there. Oh well, another steady and good performance from him. Rest of the team really poor though...

Thanks for the report!
Gustavovskiy wrote:
Perhaps a top10 can be expected.

11 Dimitri Claeys Porto - Prio s.t.


Anyway, a good race in the final segment. Congrats CT and thanks for the rport Aquarius!
Manager of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2019/Micros/duo.png Duolingo pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2019/Micros/duo.png
Booooom! I got very, very worried when that group came back from behind, thanks to Mahoric. EBH seemed like he had spent a lot of energy, and it seemed somewhat likely that he'd be overtaken by everyone.

But he was just the strongest of the day. At least by a few inches. Awesome win.
After a period of taking time for myself and my education, and after about 10 attempts of getting back up to date on race reports, here I finally am to recap what happened in the last months! Pfft

Not a lot to report on from the Puma side here, Kelderman consistently had bad positioning which cost him any chance of animating the race, and put him too far back in the group to contest the downhill sprint.

Still, 9th is acceptable in combination with three more points scorers, but only because the season has been going so well up until here.
A quick shoutout to Mager too who looked like he might hang on to the front of the race, but eventually he had to give in and finished back where I expected.

Always good to see CT get great results!
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