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Biosphere

Paris-Roubaix: 7th April 2013

FP thread here

http://justcycling.myfastforum.org/about4915.html

Some interesting comments from CN and coupled with Flanders self harming (88% of respondents in a Sporza survey this week preferred the old route) it may end up being a disappointing pair of cobbled monuments this year.

Cyclingnews wrote:
Despite the building anticipation there’s a growing sense that the race is starting to lose its shine.

Cancellara and Boonen aside, very few of the best riders in the world take on the pave. Perhaps that’s why the Tour de France stage through the Arenberg in 2010 was so special: it brought together the guile of grand tour specialists with the brute power of the experienced cobble stars.

Those days are now a rarity. There are no Hinaults or Mosers who mix their season with a blend of one-day races and stages outings, and the specialisation for want of a better word means that a rider can base almost an entire career off the fact he can secure a top ten place in Roubaix each year.

Eddy Merckx remarks and sums up the situation perfectly in Les Woodland's new book on Roubaix, saying "It's a shame to say it, but Paris-Roubaix is losing more and more of its value because the great riders aren't there. I've always said that to win without risk is to win without glory."

This year, especially, the race is bereft of star-quality. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will lack excitement, but with Ballan and Boonen out, Pozzato and Hushovd struggling, Cancellara’s main threat could come from a raft of riders riding below his radar.

Sylvain Chavanel (Omega), Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto) may not be afforded too much room but Steve Chainel (AG2R), Lars Boom (Blanco), Taylor Phinney (BMC), Yoann Offredo (FD), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling), could offer up a surprise or two.

Based off the results at Flanders where Lotto’s aggression and belief secured them a step on the podium, the best option for many teams will be launch riders up the road in a hope that Cancellara is either cornered or too confident of a catch.


http://www.cyclingnews.com/paris-roubaix/preview
ullrichfan

I've got a few quid on Hushovd.  Backing him to wheelsuck Cancellara and then take him in the sprint.
Biosphere

I think that's a good bet. Cancellara did drop him in 2011 though in that type of situation.
Severo

As Cancellara is the only favourite, he'll be marked heavily...
mr shifter

Severo wrote:
As Cancellara is the only favourite, he'll be marked heavily...
That won't matter because on one of those bends as he makes a few meters then it's bye bye see yer.
Again, Again.
Could be another Time Trial with a camera in his ear ole to make it the usual bore.
The camera twits won't learn that all they have to do is look over the riders shoulders where we can see the terrain and the body language.
Fontfroide

What a bunch of grumps.  

Wheelsucking, boredom, cameras … at the end we can call it boring or accuse someone of wheelsucking, but why do it before the race has even started.   Rolling Eyes

Of course I agree that Fabian is everyone's favourite, but there is more in cycling than meets the eye.  Surely.  If there is wheelsucking (which there always is, Ciolek?) we will see it and call it.  although following a wheel and then coming out from behind is a rather common tactic in most races.  Same if it is boring.  But why not wait and get a bit of a buzz from the excitement and the hope that either Fabian will win it magisterially, or something else will happen.

Smile
Biosphere

Flanders was boring. I think of it and PR as a pair already half way there based on what has happened  Wink
ullrichfan

Fontfroide wrote:
What a bunch of grumps.  

Wheelsucking, boredom, cameras … at the end we can call it boring or accuse someone of wheelsucking, but why do it before the race has even started.   Rolling Eyes

Of course I agree that Fabian is everyone's favourite, but there is more in cycling than meets the eye.  Surely.  If there is wheelsucking (which there always is, Ciolek?) we will see it and call it.  although following a wheel and then coming out from behind is a rather common tactic in most races.  Same if it is boring.  But why not wait and get a bit of a buzz from the excitement and the hope that either Fabian will win it magisterially, or something else will happen.

Smile


You have a point FF, but after Flanders I say we need to be proved wrong.  Cancellara back on the hot sauce so not a lot anyone else can do.  Be great to see someone win in a breakaway.  Not sure how fit Thomas is but he has the build and the Sky doping plan... should go close.
Fontfroide

Well, I was not enthralled by Flanders myself, except for about half an hour, during the last two climbs.  And for a little while after.

I apologise for being a bit harsh.  I am old fashioned and naive.  I get excited about races, I hope they will be great, exciting, gripping, of anthology.  After, I am as disappointed as you sometimes.  I just got annoyed (for no good reason really, although it was raining and cold yesterday) about you all already having views about a race being boring when it has not even happened.  After one retires, one is more or less entitled to become an old grump.

But I hope you are both totally blown away by the race, the winner is unexpected, and there are loads of stories to tell.  We shall see.
Biosphere

Fontfroide wrote:
In L'Equipe this morning, I am told indirectly that Thor Hushovd does not even have one star and therefore my FP is a complete waste of time.  I have not usually come upon a case (not that I look at the odds every race) where the odds are so different for a race.  Thor not even rated, and Phinney with one star.  Yet they were second and third yesterday at the bookies.  Thor has dropped below Stannard today (patriotic Brits, I guess).  Weird.

Five stars  Cancellara
Four stars  Nobody
Three stars  Roelandts, Chavanel, EBH
Two stars  Boom, Thomas, Stannard, Turgot, Ladagnous, Degenkolb, Van Avermaet, Gaudin (L'Equipe generally gives a star or two more to French riders, as does the TV section which rates French movies higher than they deserve)
One Star  Pozzato, Phinney, Demare, Greipel, Flecha, Leukemans


Thought I'd pull that over from the FP thread, since this is where people will be (now and then anyway). Hushovd is a big omission, but hard to know if he's been sandbagging since TA or is missing something. Like Kathy I'd have thought Kristoff merited an outsiders spot but he's not convinced himself

Alexander Kristoff wrote:
I finished once before out of three times and I was like 57th before so I’ve not been so good on the cobbles before now but his year, I’ve been a bit better. I felt good in Flanders and I hope I can be one of the contenders but I think I need a lot of luck.
Cancellara is the big favourite and then there are a lot of contenders. We will see. It will be very difficult to follow Cancellara but BMC have a lot of good riders, as do Sky, so there are a lot of teams who could be on the podium. Maybe also Katusha.
Luca Paolini is a leader too. We have a lot of strong riders like Gatis Smukulis, Rudiger Selig and Marco Haller so hopefully they can have a good day and stay up there for a long time. Of course, Luca Paolini is our main guy, he was good here last year and then we’ll see with me. Maybe I’ll have a good day and stay up there.


Break gone up the road

Quote:
Evaldas Siskevicius (Sojasun), Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale), Bjorn Thurau (Europcar), Bob Jungels (RadioShack Leopard), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil), Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma QuickStep), Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp), Jens Debuschere (Lotto), Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank), Eloy Teruel (Movistar), Clement Kortesky (Bretagne Seche) and Benjamin Lemontagner (Bretagne Seche).


But as pointed out by CN no BMC, Sky or Blanco so may be terminal.
HuwB

France 3 went live a couple of minutes ago. 135kms to go.
I've pinched Dim of Velorooms link to loads of live feeds:
http://velorooms.com/index.php?page=livestreams
HuwB

Offredo out.
Looked behind, hit the road sign. Major face plant.
gerry12ie

Well, well the Gorilla continues his skill set expansion.  Nice to see...
Biosphere

Watching mainly on German ES and the 5 year old is dipping in and out. Commentator was relating about Lefevre bollocking the team during the week. Loosely translated for a five year old it meant that QS were baddies. Got him very excited and he's now asking me to point out who the bad guys are  Smile

The Forest destroys the break!
Beasley

Arenberg wasn't particularly selective. Thomas had a detour into the mud on the left, but other than that the likely contenders got through unharmed.

Grupo compacto with 82km to go.
Biosphere

Break never got caught though. Half of it back at 40s as the bunch relax.
MAILLOT JAUNE

HuwB wrote:
Offredo out.
Looked behind, hit the road sign. Major face plant.

Ouch! Should've been looking where he was going!
Not sure if this link will work????
http://api.dmcloud.net/player/pub...a835afe2ddc49f9?wmode=transparent
Beasley

I didn't notice that Steegmans and Hayman had given their breakaways chums the slip. Their lead is up to a minute.

Saying that, I expect Hayman is up there for one of the bigger names to link up with. Not that he isn't very capable over this terrain in his own right, of course.

Perhaps not for Thomas, though. Crashed again.
Biosphere

Thomas on the ground again. Pozzato keeping him company.

Edit: Hushovd not looking very protected.
Beasley

I suppose Cancellara's biggest weakness has always been his team, but RadioShack are doing a great job for him today.

He's having an armchair ride and will hit Mons-en-Pevele (coming up in around 15km) as fresh as a daisy.

Hushovd yo-yo'ing off the back. Think its mechanical issues rather than form. Still, surprised he's been given so little support.
Beasley

Schar joins up with the leading duo as the lead drops under a minute.

EBH goes to the front. Not an attack but stretches affairs out a tab. Stannard and Eisel(?) also towards the business end.

RadioShack have dropped back a bit. Don't want to burn too many matches, I expect.
Biosphere

It's getting very attacking from the other teams. Before Cancellara attacks them I guess.
Biosphere

Cancellara starting to stretch it.
HuwB

Cancellara: Soon all be over.......
Fontfroide

Beasley wrote:


Hushovd yo-yo'ing off the back. Think its mechanical issues rather than form. Still, surprised he's been given so little support.


Let's hope he is still hiding.  Waiting.  Ready.
HuwB

That's my fp down the swany. Awful change.
Beasley

I think the selection has been made.

Group of around 15 riders with most of the main team represented.

Quick Step have the numbers - three, by my count - and are doing the bulk of the pulling, but I can't fathom why they're doing Cancellara's job for him.
Fontfroide

And mine as well.  Still, plenty of people to support.  Even Fabian now that he is ganged up on by the Omega bullies.

Chavanel?  NO ONE talked about him, even the French.

VAn den bergh also had a word or two about him.
Biosphere

Quick Step are attacking Chavanel!
Fontfroide

Whatever happens, he is still the French guy.
Beasley

Cancellara is either in trouble or the coolest customer in cycling.
Biosphere

Trouble I'd guess. The bottle was very sticky today.
gerry12ie

Had a joke bet on Stybar @ 150/1
Fontfroide

Jesus, he just decided to bridge on his own.  Are these total mistakes?  Or is he that strong?
Biosphere

Biosphere wrote:
Trouble I'd guess. The bottle was very sticky today.


As he nonchalantly bridges Laughing
CapeRoadie

FC is the coolest customer, methinks.
Beasley

In RvV Cancellara made Sagan look like an espoir.  

In P-R, he just made Terpstra, Boom and Eisel look like juniors.
Fontfroide

Be cool if the young French guys takes it.  Eh, Maffy?
Fontfroide

My first impression is that this is a pretty good race.  We get to see what all those guys will do in the next 25 k.  I am ready.  Maybe suddenly some guy will ride up from the back, but I think these are the guys.
gerry12ie

Big Stijn is having a great day out
Biosphere

Commentary reckons vollgas from Cancellara in sector 5 or 4.

A sector early and Stybar held his wheel.
gerry12ie

Game on!
CapeRoadie

Boom's helmet and kit have already won.
Beasley

Cancellara breaks 'em on sector 6.

Only Stybar can follow. Leaders down to 20 seconds, halved in a couple of kms of pave.

Camphin-en-Pevele - Carrefour de l'Arbre combo to come.
Fontfroide

Oh, I think I should bridge the next gap.  Oh, I have.
The guy must be wasted.  If he wins this, he will be a legend.  Oh, he is.

Surely he cannot beat the other guys now.  Maybe he can accelerate on the last stretch of 330 metres of neat and tidy pave, take ten seconds, and ride in alone.

He's got to get beat.  Right?
HuwB

Well, it's more of a race, this year.
kathy

Just got in from my own bike ride in time to see the interesting bit!
Fontfroide

So two against one.  I am for the one, not the two.  

Course there is the fourth.  Vandenbergh will be known now.
Biosphere

It's a 3 way shoot out now  Sad
Fontfroide

Fourth guy gone.  Shame really.  Tired, bad luck, not a cool spectator.  Could have happened to anyone.  Still we know his name.
gerry12ie

Brilliant gobshite invasion from Stybie but that's him gone I would say.  Carrefour particularly cruel on OPQS
Beasley

Stybar gets clipped by a fan. Doesn't go down, but loses the wheel. His race should be over.

That's what happens when you look for an easy ride in the gutter, young man.
HuwB

Carrefour des arms and legs.
Ridiculous luck.
gerry12ie

gerry12ie wrote:
Brilliant gobshite invasion from Stybie but that's him gone I would say.  Carrefour particularly cruel on OPQS


Or evasion even Rolling Eyes
Beasley

Under usual circumstances, I'd probably give Vanmarcke a slight edge over Cancellara in the sprint. He had Boonen's number in Het Volk, after all.

Saying that, there's nothing usual about this race.
Fontfroide

Who is more tired?  Sepp.
gerry12ie

Vanmarcke looks like he is on the edge...
Biosphere

My guess is Cancellara can't win the sprint.
kathy

But will it get to a sprint?
Fontfroide

Sepp is the faster sprinter.  But the tireder rider.  
Fabian will try to drop him, and then beat him in the velodrome.  

Naturally I could be wrong.

Sepp is a gentleman though, Fabian will say good things about him, either way.
Fontfroide

Flecha never gets old.  And never quit makes it to the top, always nearly.
Beasley

will there be track stands!?! Laughing
Fontfroide

We even got a track finish as a bonus.

Was that a good bit of racing or what?
Biosphere

Fontfroide wrote:
We even got a track finish as a bonus.

Was that a good bit of racing or what?


That was classy  Smile
CapeRoadie

The Legendary FABU!  Wow.
HuwB

Beasley wrote:
will there be track stands!?! Laughing


Almost.

A far more competitive race than I would have expect, this time last week.
gerry12ie

Yes Cancellara is quite the boss alright.  Kudos to Vanmarcke, Stybar and big Stijn in particular.  Good race!
Fontfroide

We should remember. In a few years we will be the photo in quizzes.  Why is the fourth rider raising his hands?

Fabian was genuinely wasted at the end, just wasted.  So it seemed anyway.
gerry12ie

Cancellara went to bottom of the well there on a couple of occasions I reckon but managed to bluff his way through and still ride them all off.  That's the mark of a champion...
Beasley

Beautifully played by Fab Can.

There's was a moment as they entered the final sector of pave where he just gave Vanmarcke a look that said 'I'm prepared to lose this, are you?' Vanmarcke wasn't so led into the velodrome.

When it came down to it, 'silver' meant nothing to Cancellara whereas for a young pro like Sepp it's still a great result.
CapeRoadie

Kudos to Vanmarke for sharing the work and making it a race.
Fontfroide

Sepp in tears, seems he had a knee problem, drama more real than the usual we get on TV.  There was nothing missing from this edition, except bad weather.  

No doubt some will note and complain.

Terpstra third.

That velodrome is such a place.  I think it should be knocked down and replaced by a architect designed covered one.   Laughing
Biosphere

We're not unreasonable people FF. We know a good race when we see one  Smile

Second fastest Roubaix ever apparently.
Bartali

Well I'm sorry to be a crinch but IMO that was another 'ruined' PR ... this time by a camera in Stybar's face rather than the usual crash or mechanical.  History will record another monument for the Big Swiss and yes the track stands and sprint were fun .... but the real race was over when the so-called 'fan' took Stybar out.

Kudos to Cancellara nevertheless.
Nolte

it was a good race but i'm just dissapointed to see both stybar and vandenbergh taken out by spectators. that would detract from it for me.
Beasley

Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned in this regard, but I've been brought up with the mantra that on cobbles when you leave the crown of the road you put the race in someone else's hand.
gerry12ie

I would tend to agree with Beasley.  There has been so many instances of clashes with spectators over the years (in all kinds of races) that riders would be well served to give them as wide a berth as possible.  It was horrible luck for both OPQS riders as they were going exceptionally well, especially Stybar who may well have won it but the riders should know better that some cycling fans aren't always the sharpest knives in the drawer and should be prepared for that.
Boogerd_Fan

van Marcke a knee problem? the guy had swelling twice the size of his knee cap just a week or two ago... that he finished this race is awesome, than he came second only losing to Fab in a sprint finish after 250km of hard riding on the front is remarkable!

proud Blanco fan here Smile  podium @ P-R saves their cobbled classics for 2013... onwards to the Ardennes!
mr shifter

Beasley wrote:
Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned in this regard, but I've been brought up with the mantra that on cobbles when you leave the crown of the road you put the race in someone else's hand.
Yup, and for that reason I really fancied Stybar for his bike handling skills but refrained an FP because he is an expert for an hour or so, but maybe 250 Km's was a bit too far.
He showed today he is adapting nicely to road racing and although knackered he still won the sprint for 6th place.

Edit...I didn't see much "Crown of the road" as much of the hard stuff has been replaced with fairly level Pave.
mr shifter

Fontfroide wrote:

That velodrome is such a place.  I think it should be knocked down and replaced by a architect designed covered one.   Laughing
With a little wooden track I suppose.
Get the proper Track World Championships on there before it goes. Sad
gerry12ie

Fab's finishes in MSR/RVV/P-R since 2008

MSR - 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 17th, 1st

RVV - 1st, 3rd, 1st, 23rd,

P-R - 1st, 2nd, 1st, 49th, 2nd

A reasonable yardstick for consistency... Razz
Biosphere

Even though it was horrible luck for both of the OPQS riders I don't think it detracted from the race and or the finish. I'll even be a bit 'controversial' and say that only having two contesting it added to it by setting up the track style sprint to decide the winner.

Getting back to the two unlucky riders, I think Vandenbergh was beginning to lose contact anyway but maybe he would have got back on . . . .

On Stybar, I've not studied the replays properly yet but if people say it was 100% the spectators fault then fair enough. However, I think both of them were flying very close to the sun by getting as close to the spectators as they did and ultimately were taking a risk by riding in the gutter, in return for the energy they were saving. As has been pointed out the situation they would face was a well known one, but maybe it's a lack of experience as well.

More generally, Why is the Arenberg sector barriered but not the later ones?
Bartali

Beasley wrote:
Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned in this regard, but I've been brought up with the mantra that on cobbles when you leave the crown of the road you put the race in someone else's hand.


That's all very well, but the other two were also riding in the gutter.  I am probably a minority of one bit IMO its a terrible race lettered with race changing mechanicals and accidents.  Superb from Cancellara today but the 49th place in 2009(?) is a classic example of the PR lottery!
MAILLOT JAUNE

I think the Arenburg sector is barriered off to stop spectators jumping in front of the riders! The crowd can get very "lively" there after drinking all day. I believe the Mayor of the area was going to stop it's use due to the mess left by spectators afterwards, but was persuaded to allow it's continued use.
Bartali

Personally I would tarmac the whole route!










Joke!!
gerry12ie

Bartali wrote:
Personally I would tarmac the whole route!










Joke!!


And put in few gradients... Wink
Bartali

What a marvellous idea.  May be we could move it to Italy and stretch it out to three weeks as well!! Wink
gerry12ie

Cancellara says he went over his limit as never before...

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/c...-over-my-limits-like-never-before

Quote:
“My problem was that I felt I was going backwards on the cobblestones. I felt stronger on the normal roads and I had in mind to make the difference there,” said Cancellara, who was wary of his young breakaway companion over the final stretches of pavé. Ahead of the penultimate sector, the two exchanged words, with Cancellara shaking his head cagily.

“We didn’t speak much and in the end I tried to play the game as anyone would do it,” Cancellara explained. “I tried to make him pull as well to show him that I wouldn’t just bring him to the finish line. He told me before the second last sector that he would pull after that, but I said no way. I didn’t want to pull because you don’t know how other riders are.”


Snap of dismount/fall...


Bartali

That's a SR dismount.  All that's missing is the garage door!  Smile
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
Even though it was horrible luck for both of the OPQS riders I don't think it detracted from the race and or the finish. I'll even be a bit 'controversial' and say that only having two contesting it added to it by setting up the track style sprint to decide the winner.

Getting back to the two unlucky riders, I think Vandenbergh was beginning to lose contact anyway but maybe he would have got back on . . . .

On Stybar, I've not studied the replays properly yet but if people say it was 100% the spectators fault then fair enough. However, I think both of them were flying very close to the sun by getting as close to the spectators as they did and ultimately were taking a risk by riding in the gutter, in return for the energy they were saving. As has been pointed out the situation they would face was a well known one, but maybe it's a lack of experience as well.

More generally, Why is the Arenberg sector barriered but not the later ones?


Here you go, look closely at the incident and you will see a black object (presumably a camera) flying across the cobbles.
Stybar a very lucky, unlucky lad, imo. Hit from one verge to the other.
http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/vi...30407_PR_Carrefour_stybar_Happert

And yes, all 3 riders, having ridden the crown, were in the same verge.
Could just as easily been game over for Cancellara.
As Bart says, it's a lucky lottery race, but the best riders usual make the best of their luck.
Fontfroide

I thought it was almost exciting for many minutes on end, and an excellent race.  I am disappointed of course that my guy Thor, had to come back four times due to punctures or mechanicals.  I also think it is a bit of a shame that the spectators knocked over the Omega guys.  And I hate crashes.  

But I thought that was the point of P-R.  Make it as ridiculous as possible on the flat.  Certainly every year I have watched there are tragic crashes and my favourites sometime don't finish.  I don't think that affects the race itself, just the result.  As I say, I don't like crashes and I don't like anyone falling off and I don't like spectators knocking bike riders off.  But maybe the riders should be a little more careful too.  Certainly we can't say Stybar has any experience of the race, can we?  He certainly can handle a bike, but he made a mistake to be in the gutter, or maybe got unlucky.  I still remember Hincapie lying in the gutter with a broken, was it handlebar.  Shit happens.  More in P-R than other races, I should think.
gerry12ie

Good clip Huw, and yes lucky and unlucky.
gerry12ie

Punctures or no, but Hushovd is finished at this level FF.  I know I have said that before and he proved me spectacularly wrong in the 2011 TDF but he has since gone steadily backwards.  Himself and Gilbert should both take a leaf out of Van Avermaet's book as he was yet again BMC's best rider and finisher and deserves better status at a top flight team.  Sky could do a lot worse than replace that other consistent spoofer EBH with Greg (although they might try training on roads rather than volcanoes first...)
Biosphere

Ta for the link Huw. Still hard to make out for me anyway - but he obviously hits something. Will watch ITV 4 later and hopefully see it better and maybe get some post race interviews etc. I was caught out by RAIS2 switching over to RAI3 - at least I think that's what happened, so my recording stopped while I was watching ES Embarassed

Another thing I noted today which the video underlines was that Vanmarcke gave himself space in these sectors and tended not to tuck in as the last rider with reduced visibility. When shouldered off Cancellara's wheel in the clip he does his own thing and reduces the risk of someone falling in front of him. Both the OPQS riders have my sympathies and yes it could just as easily have been the others (it was Cancellara's turn last year) not withstanding my Vanmarcke comment.

I'm also not convinced by the lottery argument given that Boonen and Cancellara have won it 7 times between themselves over the last 10 years or so. Yes, there's an element of luck and I agree it's more so than the average race, but there are also elements of incredible skill and strength. Thomas commented after the race that these type of days are much harder to plan for and it's easier to win a GT Smile
Beasley

I think this is a make-or-break year for EBH as a Classics leader, and IIRC the decision-makers at Sky have all but confirmed that's the case. Their patience is running thinner, that's for sure!

The way I see it: He'll always get a ride because he wins a boat-load of WT point every year, but I think it becoming increasingly clear that he just doesn't have the legs for 230km+ races. He's excellent at the 200km semi-classics, but the biggies are just beyond him.

Today was a typical race for him in that regard: at the head of affairs with 55km to go. Spat out the back twenty minutes later.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
That's a SR dismount.  All that's missing is the garage door!  Smile


I didn't even manage a dismount, ending up propped against the neighbours' kitchen wall!
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Punctures or no, but Hushovd is finished at this level FF.  


You could well be right.  I have a tendency to follow/choose/be interested in riders too early or too late in their careers.  I am not very good at cooly figuring things out.  In other words, I am more a slightly informed fan, than a proper expert.   Patly becasue I don't talk to many people who know more than me about riders and races.  In my old cycling club, they often did not really follow the news, nor did they (or I) manage to organise anything remotely resembling a collective watching.  Everyone watches on their own in their homes.  Even for the Tour and P-R.  

On the other hand, I don't mind being a bit out of touch, to be  reminded about reality by the likes of this forum.  After all, I do try to some extent to pick the most winners.  Get the most points.  But the truth is that my heart is not in it, my intuitions are not honed and I use a lot of sentiment and long shot picking and "supporting".

I still think, therefore, that Hushovd was a great pick, he just had "bad luck".  A bike change or two and a puncture or two, four times slowed down.  Do the best riders make their own luck?  Are some unlucky?  Long discussion.

I hope Thor wins again.  Even if you might be right about him and one of my other favs, EBH, the most boring interviewee on earth.  I sure do pick 'em.
ullrichfan

Fair play to you, FF, it was a decent race this year.  I still wonder what the hell is going on at BMC.  Hushovd punctured and the team didn't send any team mates back to tow him back to the peloton.  Bizarre.
Fontfroide

It genuinely was a decent race, a pleasure to watch.  I was even gripped with more than idle curiosity.  I like Fabian a lot, and I like the young guys making it against the old guys, as well as the reverse.  I was well confliclted, which makes a good race.  Often I couldn't care less who wins.  

I wish they were all like this.
berck

Cycling News posted Eight Conclusions from the PR race....

Eight conclusions from Paris-Roubaix

Here are the eight...

Cancellara’s spring conquest
Is it time to rebuild Omega Pharma-Quick Step?
Vanmarcke saves Blanco blushes
Sky’s got talent
Is it time for more barriers along the cobbles?
Pozzato personifies Italy's woes
BMC breakdown
Sylvain Chavanel: OPQS's unprotected team leader

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