2021 - Hopes and Expectations

It's getting dark really soon in the afternoon, I constantly have to remember to charge my bike lights. Finally everyone's in the off-season - everyone who only races on the road at least - and it's going to be quite a long time before the start of the next season. We don't know yet what it will look like.
What are your expectations for 2021? When will the first races happen? Where will all the racing take part, mostly in Europe or will a vaccine or something make racing all over the world possible? Will the Olympics happen?
Who will have a stunning year? Who do you think will the expected surprise riders be? Will Evenepoel rule? Pogacar? Will the van Aert-van der Poel rivalry continue or will van Aert win the Tour while van der Poel goes green? Will Nibali become a one-day-racer? Will Hirschi rise further, Higuita and Schachmann show their full potential? Who will be the next world champion? When will be the next race in which Alaphilippe celebrates too early? Will Sunweb rival the Jumbos? Is Ineos done, free or back?
What will happen to race security? Will the independence movement of the pro riders be successful or will it just be dominated by new forces? Will a lot of teams crumble due to economic problems?
Okay, there are so many things that could be considered. But what do you think will be the most interesting, important and stunning events and developments of 2021?
 
Finally everyone's in the off-season - everyone who only races on the road at least - and it's going to be quite a long time before the start of the next season.
Hey don't overlook the Vuelta a Ecuador. There's also the Grand Prix Chantal Biya, where a Slovenian might actually win for once.


For me there's two big questions for 2021: How many races will actually take place as scheduled, and how many of them will Remco win?

I hope Froome will get back to a competitive level, and that Guillaume Martin will finally break the top 10 in a GT and/or win a stage in one.

I also hope to see Sagan being able to challenge the two Belgian born superstars, and that GWA can be in the mix too.
 
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My first hope is that we will have as normal calendar as possible and no races bigger than TdU cancelled or postponed.

My second hope is that EF have a good season and stable sponsorship and can rebuild their roster in the next transfer period after the losses they've suffered in the last one.

Other than that, I'm completely open about what's going to happen and withstand from predictions. I hope no rider or team dominates in too many races, though.
 
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My only hope is to see as close to normal season, as possible. Even if we se only european races, I don't care too much about the not european ones.
Olympic games are a big ask. I think they will happen, simply because professional sport doesn't seem to stop during the second lockdown and I think the main reason for the Olympics not being held was that teams individuals were not able to train.

Regarding Tour De France, that race seems to have a tradition on dominant rider which appears during a few years gap (see Anquetil --> Merckx ---> Hinault --->Lemond --->Indurain --->Armstrong (yeah, I know..but he still dominated on the road..) --> (say) Contador ---> Froome.) So will it be Pog or Bernal or Remco?

Other that that, I expect 2021 to give us a confirmation about the young guys and who will improve and how much. Where will Almeida focus ? Will Hindley, Tao and Carthy confirm what they showed this year or it will remain one-off.
I personally think that Carthy will be in contention for future, same for Hindley. Tao, given the team he is riding on (basically having 3 guys younger than him Bernal, Sivakov (yeah, he didn't show anything but he was expected to be really high in TdF) and Martinez) may not see many chances, but I'm almost sure he will be given Giro leadership if he wants it.
 
My hope is that by spring we have at least 2 companies with vaccines given emergency approval. I hope most of the European calendar takes place. La Vuelta proved it can be done even with rising cases. This past week Tokyo hosted some gymnastics competition with fans in the arena, so it appears they are preparing for the Olympics to take place summer 2021. I think there is a good chance it will.
2019 we saw the signs of a generational change, and 2020 confirmed that. I hope Movistar's young riders start showing their potential.

edited to add: I also hope Evenpoel is able to fully recover from his injuries, but I don't expect that to happen in 2021. I do think he'll race in 2021, but I suspect it could take into 2022 or longer to fully recover.
 
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I hope that cycling can go back to a more "normal" schedule and we can have more fans again on the side of the road. The GT climbs just aren't the same without ecstatic fans next to the riders.

On a more personal note, I hope that Movistar is having an overall more competitive campaign and can contest some wins in various races. 2020 was the worst year for them I can remember, they sadly didn't give me any reason to watch ANY race (I still did, but it sucked without my favorite team in the mix at all) except for about 4 TdF stages and 5 Vuelta stages.
 
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Regarding Tour De France, that race seems to have a tradition on dominant rider which appears during a few years gap (see Anquetil --> Merckx ---> Hinault --->Lemond --->Indurain --->Armstrong (yeah, I know..but he still dominated on the road..) --> (say) Contador ---> Froome.) So will it be Pog or Bernal or Remco?
Maybe Pog, maybe Remco, maybe someone else entirely (You really never know those sort of things. Nobody saw Froome coming until less than a year before he was the strongest rider of the Tour 2012 already) but I'm pretty convinced it's not gonna be Bernal. Pure climbers have never dominated the Tour and I don't think that's gonna change all of a sudden.
 
You know we've had a weird couple of years when a Tour winner who turns 24 in a couple of months has to prove he can still be in the mix to win Grand Tours. Because let's be real, he's no more than an outsider for the Tour (assuming he races it) next year and faces a lot of competition within his own team. If 2021 follows the pattern of 2020, Pogacar and Evenepoel will have a very difficult year... and I wouldn't be surprised at all if at least one of them finds himself in Bernal's current position this time next year. It feels like the stage for the coming decade is set with lots of younger riders seemingly starting to dominate across the board, but it never works out like that.

My hope is mainly that neither Ineos nor Jumbo can dominate the Grand Tours, that we don't see Van Aert and Van der Poel dividing 75% of the classics without ever attacking each other, and that Hirschi can avenge at least one of his epic Tour solo and his Liege loss.
 
Hopes

1) The youth showing at the Giro turns out to be a genuine breakout of some more top tier riders and not a weird 2020 thing.

2) Froome gets to a level where he at least gets some swansong performances even if he can't cut it on GC

3) The Pog / Rog / Ineos battle truly materialises and leads to actively different racing than train vs train.

4) Nairo wins a big mountain stage again.

5) The bag turns out to actually have something hidden in a previously unnoticed pocket.

6) A strong Ala and Sagan go to mix it up with MVDP and WVA more frequently and add the wildcard elements needed to make that rivalry more interesting.

Expectations

1) Remco will podium a GT at a minimum

2) JV will not win the Tour

3) France will see the breakout of a new GT hope

4) Unless things really go to hell the Olympics will happen. It's a symbol of unity and greatness and there will be a huge desire to see it go ahead if possible.

5) Fabio Aru will top 5 a GT

Fears

1) Coronavirus uncertainty will possibly lead to a more dysfunctional season than this one as the lack of major rescheduling may lead to more individual races suddenly losing their window to run.
 
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Maybe Pog, maybe Remco, maybe someone else entirely (You really never know those sort of things. Nobody saw Froome coming until less than a year before he was the strongest rider of the Tour 2012 already) but I'm pretty convinced it's not gonna be Bernal. Pure climbers have never dominated the Tour and I don't think that's gonna change all of a sudden.
That's a good point on Bernal. However, he has some really solid TT's. Plus, I doubt anybody saw Pog as top TT rider as well before LPDF. And until I see confirmation for that next year, I won't be completely sold on his TT skills.
Anyway, I agree with you. Maybe Carthy is the new Froome? You just never know, but 2021 will be 4th year after the last win of the last dominator, so maybe the next one will introduce yourself/be confirmed (in Pog's case).
 
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Exciting GTs action (hopefully not dominated by one team) and further from the finish. Maybe first edition of the hyped Pogacar vs Evenepoel vs Bernal trivalry :p
Same about classics, I see huge potential on both road ones (Roglics, Pogacars, Evenepoels vs Alaphilippes, Hirschis, VVAs etc) and cobbled ones (VVA, VDP, hopefully the "tank engine" Ganna as well). Hopefully GT guys will take part in as many classics as possible. The generation that is taking over (guys 20-26 yo) may be (one of) the best in cycling history so hopefully they will deliver in years to come.
 
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shocking everyone Sep Vanmarcke will win a race...i also hope Clement Champoussin has a good season mainly because i like to pronounce his name and Alaphillipe wins tour of flanders while van Aert and van der poel argue who is the better "van"

the most interesting thing im looking forward to is whether Pogacars final TT was sign of things to come or best day of his career
 
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Trying to be a little less obvious to avoid repeating too many points already rightly mentioned then:

  1. A wet Paris-Roubaix
  2. Ganna to target PR
  3. The punchier GC guys and new stage hunter types (Roglic, Pogacar, Hirschi, Evenepoel) to follow in the footsteps of Alaphillipe and have a crack at RVV.
  4. Tom Pidcock to confirm his Baby Giro triumph with some big senior performances,
  5. WVA and MVDP to attack each other if they go clear two up in the classics instead of both backing their sprint.
 
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1) Philippe Gilbert to have one more decent season in him. Defending PR against the new titans and displaying a solid RvV performance.

I do think MSR is -and has been- out of reach since the 09-11 era, unfortunately.

2) I have disliked sagan for various reasons over the last decade. However, he won me over with that classy giro stage win this year.
I do hope he can bring back that class next season and show that he is not done in the classics.

3) Froome to surprice the new GC-guns in his new outfit and cause at least one forum crash like the good old days!!

4) see what this new guy Remco can actually do in the biggest of races. is he really as good as hes been looking in minor races --> in monuments and GTs.

5) more MvdP / VvA clashes in the classics. The ground trembeled a little bit, like in the Boonen/Cancellara days of old, in that october RvV this season.
 

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