The American bicycle brand Trek has been in the professional peloton for almost 10 years. The team bearing its name began with a Luxembourg licence and had the Schleck brothers as its most important riders. The team then became Radioshack, and then continued under its own name. Two years ago it was the team for which Alberto Contador rode during his final year as a pro. The team performed reasonably well in 2018, but missed a real lead rider. They have now found one for 2019. Here are the five biggest names.
Richie Porte is one of the least lucky guys in the peloton. On several occasions Porte was in super form during the races running up to the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain). But when it came to the crunch, things often went pear-shaped. Porte has not yet made it beyond 5th place in the general classification of the Tour de France, nor higher than 7th place in the Giro d’Italia. But the 33-year-old rider never gives up. His major goal in 2019 is the Tour de France, and to prepare himself he is riding Paris–Nice and the Criterium de Dauphine. Secretly we hope that he manages to stay on the bike during this Tour.
For a long time, Bauke Mollema was seen as the Netherlands’ best Grand Tour rider. Tom Dumoulin has since taken over that role. But Mollema is still a rider to keep an eye on: he gets his teeth into a race and rides with heart and soul. He has ridden good general classification results in various major races and in 2016 he also won the Clásica de San Sebastián. In 2019 he will focus his attention on the Giro and he will later be a top support rider for Porte in the Tour de France.
John Degenkolb has won both Paris–Roubaix and Milan–San Remo. But after being involved in a serious traffic accident during training in 2016, it was for a long time asked whether or not he could return to the form he once had. Achieving that form was indeed a struggle. But in 2018 he performed well in the Belgian races and won a stage in the Tour de France. This emotional victory was a joy to watch. This is a guy to keep an eye on in the Spring Classics.
Belgian rider Jasper Stuyven is slowly building on a solid career. As is the case with a lot of Belgian riders, Stuyven is often good in the Belgian Classics (as one would expect). In 2016 he won Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne and a number of minor classics. He is also a guy to keep an eye on in races such as the BinckBank Tour and he has in the past won a stage in the Tour of Spain (in 2015). We expect to see Stuyven at the forefront of the action in the first few weeks of the European racing season.
Mads Pedersen is for sure the least well-known name on this list. He is a young rider (23) and only joined the UCI WorldTour peloton in 2018. But he immediately delivered his business card, with a second place in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, just behind winner Niki Terpstra. And that wasn’t the only time he got our attention in 2018: he also won a couple of minor races, such as the Tour of Fyen and the Tour de L’Eurométropole. Te be honest, we’re quite curious to see what he will do in the 2019 season.