The 2024 highway racing season steps up in tempo this weekend when the primary of biking’s so-called ‘Large Six’ of celebrity riders, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) heads for his first startline of the 12 months on the Figuera Champions Vintage in northern Portugal on February 10.
Evenepoel’s keenly awaited 2024 debut will see the previous global champion participate in a particularly difficult one-day race for therefore early within the season, 222km in duration and with just about 3,000 metres of vertical mountain climbing.
Slightly 24 hours later after Evenepoel’s hilly debut in Portugal, compatriot Wout van Aert (Visma-Hire A Motorbike), starts his highway season on the reasonably flat Clásica Almería in southern Spain, instantly following that up with a trek at the steep, slim gravel roads of the Clásica Jaén, only some hours pressure away, the day after on February 12.
Van Aert then heads to the Volta ao Algarve the place he and Evenepoel would be the first two of the ‘giant six’ to stand off in a highway race in 2024. An tournament gained general by means of Evenepoel each in 2020 and 2022 however Van Aert hasn’t ever tackled earlier than, different most sensible names for southern Portugal’s most sensible early season race come with protecting champion Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), double Algarve champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Thomas’ ultra-versatile teammate Tom Pidcock.
Not up to every week after the Algarve peloton reaches its ultimate summit end at the Alto do Malhao on February 18, at the a ways aspect of the Iberian peninsula in northwesterly Spain, Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Hire A Motorbike) will go back to shield his 2023 triumph at O Gran Camiño.
Vingegaard’s complete area of luck within the Galician tournament in 2023, when he gained all 3 levels – the fourth was once cancelled as a result of dangerous climate – en path to the total name, may neatly be tricky to copy.
However Galicia will however be offering a primary probability to peer the Danish famous person in motion in 2024 in opposition to the likes of former Excursion de France and Giro d’Italia winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Olympic champion and Grand Excursion specialist Richard Carapaz (EF Training-EasyPost) and veteran Colombian mountain climbing ace Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Van Aert would be the handiest ‘Large Six’ identify to participate in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 24) or Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (February 25), the place Belgium’s highway racing calendar will get underway. However the mud will slightly have settled on Opening Weekend earlier than Tadej Pogačar (UAE Staff Emirates) heads to his first tournament of the season at Strade Bianche on March 2.
Pogačar’s relatively past due get started comes an afternoon earlier than that of his compatriot Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe), who returns to the fray with a 2d participation in Paris-Great (March 3-10) in 3 years.
Whilst Pogačar and Roglic’s first highway occasions of 2024 are, interestingly sufficient, in races they each gained in 2022, lately recrowned global cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is the one one of the vital ‘Large Six’ but to show his definitive early season program.
Newest rumours, then again, level to Van der Poel hitting the street in Milan-San Remo, which he gained closing 12 months forward of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Van Aert.