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Peering into the future

Felix Lowe season predictions
Felix Lowe
1 Feb 2016

Madame Felix Lowe dusts off his tarot cards to predict the cycling curveballs on course to spice up the next 12 months of pro racing.

With the annual gym trip all finished, it’s time to shift our focus to the coming year. I’ve consulted the cards, read the tealeaves and gazed into the crystal ball, and this is how the 2016 pro year is going to pan out. Possibly.

January: Richie Porte wins the Tour Down Under at a canter after an uncharacteristic failure to bottle the Corkscrew climb. ‘It’s a sign of things to come,’ promises the BMC rider after what turns out to be his only victory of the season.

February: Gary Verity’s 20/20 vision pays off when Yorkshire is awarded the World Championships for four years’ time. Meanwhile, despite a spirited cameo by Johan Bruyneel (playing himself), Lance Armstrong: The Opera falls flat on Broadway.

March: The Yates twins prove they can do things by halves (so to speak) after Simon holds off Alberto Contador to win Paris-Nice and Adam edges Nairo Quintana in Tirreno-Adriatico. A Nutella infection delays the start of Chris Froome’s season. 

April: Geraint Thomas drops Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara on the Paterberg to win a sodden Tour of Flanders. Spartacus is denied again one week later when Vincenzo Nibali solos home in the Roubaix velodrome. In other news, Chris Horner aces the Sea Otter Classic MTB race in California.

May: Mark Cavendish and Bernie Eisel clash as Dimension Data’s train derails spectacularly during the Giro, won by Sky’s Mikel Landa after hot favourite Nibali is docked 10 minutes when pictures on social media emerge showing the Italian breaking the unwritten rule of urinating while receiving medical attention in the feed zone. 

June: Katusha’s bid to make their team sexier by imposing a mullet ban on their Eastern Bloc and Spanish contingent backfires when the entire squad is forced out of a freezing Tour de Suisse with neck chills. 

July: Bernie and Cav are best friends again as the Manx Missile plunders four stages on the Tour, plus the green jersey. An overweight Froome toils his 70-kilo frame to third place as Fabio Aru wins the maillot jaune at the first attempt despite swallowing a whole swarm of bees in the Pyrenees. 

August: A rogue break sees Eritrean Merhawi Kudus become the first African winner of the Arctic Race as Froome saves
his season with an Olympic gold in the Rio road race ahead of Rigoberto Urán. 

September: Fresh from a trio of track gold medals, Sir Brad decides to ride the Vuelta for One Pro Cycling. He finishes 23rd but breaks his own Hour Record on the rest day. Cav crashes out after lead-out man Tyler Farrar catches his ponytail in the spokes.

October: Peter Sagan’s first win of the season comes in Il Lombardia, a fortnight before he relinquishes the rainbow stripes
to Andre Greipel in Doha. It’s not enough to pacify Oleg Tinkov, who posts a picture of Sagan’s contract torn in two on Twitter.

November: ITV pulls off a coup when Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis star in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Tensions rise when Paul Kimmage parachutes in moments after Landis downs 28 cockroach cappuccinos. Watching at home while recovering from a serious Tour injury, Alberto Contador rethinks his retirement plans and signs for Lampre.

December: Retrospective testing snares a raft of naughty riders from the noughties but sparks a boom in the publishing industry with multiple book biographies needing ghosted addenda. Brian Cookson diverts attention by announcing the UCI will move from Switzerland to Yorkshire in order ‘to relocate to the true hotbed of European cycling’. Verity is made second-in-command.

And finally: In a lavish ceremony involving a trapeze, period Belgian costume, dry ice and a pantomime goose, Sagan signs with Etixx-Quick-Step on Christmas Eve. Tinkov demands Kittel as ransom while Thomas joins BMC, forcing Porte to jump ship to Orica-GreenEdge.

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