Another year over, a new one just begun, so let’s stop the retrospection and get excited for the 2023 pro cycling season.
Last year was a good one, including the first Tour de France Femmes and the best men’s Tour in recent memory alongside some big time racing either side of July too.
2022 shouldn’t be an outlier, though, as this year is primed to be an incredible year of racing, from the return of the Tour Down Under to the return of the Tour of Guangxi, and everything in between.
Those two behemoths aside, here are five of the things we’re most looking forward to watching in 2023.
1. Glasgow World Championships
The entire cycling world will descend – mostly ascend actually – on Scotland in August for the UCI’s first mega worlds, with road, mountain bike and track World Champs all going down over the same event.
Cyclocross and gravel won’t be on due to the former being a winter sport and the latter created after these championships were awarded, that’ll happen in Veneto again.
Worlds in the UK is always exciting for us, so having this mega worlds here is going to be extra special – and busy – and hopefully the beauty of Scotland can be showcased.
It being in August helps too with riders theoretically in form following the Tour and preceeding the Vuelta, so there could be both a stacked field and, maybe, some sunshine.
Our money’s on Katie Archibald. Give her all the jerseys.
2. Col du Tourmalet galore
Photo: Alex Duffill
You wait ages for the Col du Tourmalet and then three come at once. Okay it last featured as recently as 2021, but the legendary Pyrenean climb will be the headline climb of the second Tour de France Femmes, will feature in the first week of the men’s Tour de France and be part of this year’s Vuelta a España.
Now we love the Tourmalet, it’s long, hard and full of history, so there’s guaranteed to be drama in all of these races, and who doesn’t love that?
You might never want to see it again after 2023 but it will be dominating this summer’s racing.
3. Annemiek van Vleuten victory lap
Photo: Chris Blott
Someone else who will be dominating this summer’s racing, and who will be very excited for the Tourmalet, is Annemiek van Vleuten.
It’s Van Vleuten’s final season in 2023 unless she changes her mind, so expect her to give everything to win as much as possible.
She made winning the Giro, Tour and Ceratizit Challenge look simple and you’d think she’ll try to do it again, with the Tour’s inclusion of the Tourmalet putting her otherworldly climbing ability centre stage and the addition of a time-trial an opportunity to be even more dominant than 2022.
Being able to go out on top is an incredible privilege, and Van Vleuten has the opportunity to put in the greatest swansong of all time.
4. Biniam Girmay
Photo: Mike Massaro
Biniam Girmay is the hottest prospect in cycling and truly arrived in 2022, winning Gent-Wevelgem and a stage of the Giro d’Italia – before promptly shooting a cork into his eye.
He’ll look to build on that in 2023 and his skillset will put him at the business end of Classics as well as one to watch at the Tour de France, where he’s not only looking to make history by winning a stage but will be a big contender to challenge Wout van Aert for the green jersey. Imagine the scenes.
And don’t rule out an appearance in Glasgow.
5. The Spring Classics
Photo: Graham Watson
The Classics are the best part of the season. Starting from Omloop and running to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, it’s all or nothing every race and that creates spectacle upon spectacle. I don’t need to sell it any more.
Bring on 25th February.
Mark Cavendish breaking the Tour de France stage wins record, Tour de France Femmes time-trial, Lorena Wiebes on SD Worx, Tom Pidcock’s next steps, Marta Cavalli’s Tour de France redemption, Vingegaard vs Pogačar round three, Geraint Thomas vs Remco Evenepoel at the Giro, teams finally understanding the UCI points system, the Spring Classics.
Main photo: Cyclingimages