eachwayvelo is a blog about Professional Road Cycling and Cyclocross with an emphasis on picking winners and finding value in cycling betting markets. Monuments, Semi Classics, Stage Races and Grand Tours are all previewed, reviewed and discussed in a light-hearted manner and all are welcome to enter the debate in the comment section or over on twitter.
I am an amateur cyclist based in London with a background in mathematics and geography. I’ve spent the past few years in the sports betting industry and a lifetime watching and analysing professional bike races.
I’ve always been fascinated by sports betting and was placing wagers on the Grand National as young as 7 (although back then my decision was more based on the horses name and silks of the jockey than any actual understanding of horse racing). In sports betting its you vs the bookmaker and there’s no greater thrill than predicting the winner of a race after having researched and analysed their opponents, the course and the race day conditions.
My love for cycling began with our annual family getaway to Noord-Holland where we would head out every day to a different cafe in search of Poffertjes (which if you haven’t tried by the way are the best thing I’ve ever tasted). Unwittingly I was heading out on my very first club runs and I will always have fond memories of battling the Dutch winds with my siblings, on heavy town bikes, with the promise of a plate of Poffertjes at the end of it all. It was only a number of years after we stopped these holidays that I took up cycling again properly having been distracted by other sports (particularly hockey) and by everything else that comes with high school.
It was in college and then at university that cycling really took over my life. As many people do I cycled alone for a while, increasing the distance I rode or finding harder and harder hills before I decided that it would be good to join a club. Luckily this coincided with me going to university and it was there that I joined my first cycling club and it became my life (often foregoing nights out in favour of tomorrow mornings 8am club run!). That year I then started racing, learning my craft and moving through the ranks in short criteriums before advancing to road racing and the odd stage race. I still race now in and around London (favourite crit circuit being CycloPark) although my complete lack of sprint means I rarely win. I prefer tough races, ideally with a bit of wind to shake out those pesky climbers!
Favourite race? – Paris Roubaix closely followed by the Giro
Best race ever watched? – Stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France. Everything from Schleck’s long range raid to Tommy Voeckler somehow still clinging onto yellow made this one of the most enthralling bike races I’ve ever seen.
Favourite rider ever? – Andy Schleck
Favourite current rider? – Niki Terpstra
Bikes? I use a Giant Defy as a winter bike and a Bowman Palace as my race bike.
Favourite place to ride? – I’m going to cop out of this one and give a few answers because cycling is such a varied sport it would be impossible to give one answer.
The Alps has to be up there simply because ‘you can’t have a kickabout at Wembley Stadium but you can race up Alpe d’Huez’. The first time you ride these climbs it’s a real shock to the system but it’s awe-inspiring knowing some of the contests that have taken place on the exact same roads. I’ve been to Bourg d’Oisans 3 times now and was still discovering new climbs and roads the last time I went.
The Netherlands is one of my favourite places in the world, the architecture, the people, the landscape. It just so happens that it also has the best cycling infrastructure around and the respect cyclists are given is unparalleled.
The Jura Mountains just about make this list as one of my favourite places to ride. The climbs aren’t as mindblowing as in the Alps but with a large part of this mountain range being in Switzerland you can be sure that the roads are going to be silky smooth and in a lot of cases much emptier. The variety in the landscape makes it the perfect place for a training camp and I’ve travelled there in March/April many times as a final tune up before the racing really kicks off in the UK.
Bucket List rides? – There are two places I absolutely feel I have to visit. The first of these is the dolomite’s, namely the Stelvio and the Zoncolon, two of the most infamous climbs in the world. The second place I would love to visit with my bike is Oudenaarde in Belgium with the purpose of riding as many climbs from the Tour of Flanders as possible. With this being so easy to get to from London I really have no excuse!
Top 5 days on the bike? –
Glandon-Glandon 122km – Out and back route first up the southern side of the glandon then up the incredible northern side.
Grand Ballon d’Alsace 177km – Another out and back route starting near Basel and heading North towards the Grand Ballon, 3 up time trial all the way there and back with a race to the top.
Izoard – Agnel – Izoard 127km – Starting in Briancon riding up northern face of Izoard before descending and riding up the infamous Col Agnel, only to then realise we would have to negotiate the harder side of Izoard to get home. Not so much an enjoyable ride but one that I will never forget.
Ironman Mallorca 2016 180km – Smooth tarmac, closed roads, neutral service, great weather (mostly) and an incredible route. I haven’t felt more like a pro than on this day. I’ll forgive myself for going too hard up the climb because life’s too short to pace yourself everywhere!
Coll de Sa Batalla – Formentor 129km – A similar location to that of the Ironman but including the incredible road out to the lighthouse at Formentor. I’m never normally one for cafe stops but basking in the sun with an Orangina at the lighthouse is hard to beat.
Ornon and Villard Reymond 70km – Okay I know this is number 6 but I couldn’t help but include this must-see route. We began the day with the intention of only riding Ornon as recovery from the day before but feeling pretty fresh we descended back into Bourg and decided to head over to Villard Reymond where we had heard rumours of a little known about gravel road linking the village back to Ornon. After an incredible climb in it’s own right up to Villard Reymond we found the gravel road and headed along what turned out to be a deserted balcony road, higher than any other in Bourg, lain with fine gravel and linking us back to a one of the best descents I’ve ever done back into Ornon.