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gerry12ie

Ronde Van Vlaanderen 2016

So, here we are again.  Flanders.  The race that some of us look forward to more than any other, and, in recent years, the race that seems to be capable of delivering the most tense finishes (2014, 2011) coupled with the dullest (2015, 2012).  

As it is the 100th anniversary, I hope I’m not being too naïve by expecting a classic edition, and surely a win by either of the two greatest cobbled classics riders of their generation would fit the bill.  Cancellara and Tommeke in a two-up on the last ascent of the Paterburg couldn’t be any more romantic than the two of them flouncing down the aisle of Bruges’ Sint-Salvatorskathedraal to exchange cobbled vows.  However, there is a pack of younger guns snapping at their heels, and while Fabian looks like he should be in the mix, sadly, Boonen’s best is behind him and it would surely be a huge surprise if he figures.  

Kristoff won far too easily last year, in a quite dire edition that generous administrations of Westmalle Dubbel couldn’t improve.  If the rest are content to allow him ride away like 2015, then he will simply be too strong again.  When you consider his fast-closing fifth in the previous year he is, IMHO, probably the one to beat – and for a fella that is coming back from illness, he handled two twists of the Muur well enough the other day in de Panne.  

Sagan looks destined to win this race one day, but that day probably should have been by now.  I wonder is he sometimes, in the biggest classics, too easily intimidated when he is, invariably, isolated?  Certainly, Cancellara, Flower, and even GVA seem to have the Indian sign over him at times.  It would be nice to see the WC take a monument though.

Other than that there should be plenty in the mix, Vanmarcke, Roelandts, GVA, Stybar, EBH – and Sky seem to have a particularly strong hand, although maybe a little too top-heavy with chiefs…

Let’s all join hands and wish for an epic

Hopeless Romantic Pick: Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke
Housewives Favourite: Spartacus
Grim Realist: Kristoff
Dark Horse: Flower
Biosphere

Historically this would have been my one day race of the year, but the new loops have  detracted from it to the extent that I go with next weekend these days.

I too would like to see a good head to head between Boonen and Cancellara but we got those half a dozen years ago and we annoyingly missed some due to injury. I was surprised to see Procycling stick them on this months cover and billing what IMO will be a non existent battle. I don't see many people buying that - especially the target audience.

I think Kristoff is looking sluggish and not the one to beat for me but yeah he can't be discounted. Sagan will be thereabouts at the end but Cancellara might just be able to drop him (and will have to). Van Avermaet looks like he can win a sprint this year.

Hopeless Romantic Pick: Cancellara - I like that's he's called time on his career more or less at his choosing and hasn't carried on riding for his pension fund. I think a win for him would resonate in a way that a win for Boonen wouldn't. Or maybe I'm just becoming an adopted nationalist.

Housewives Favourite: I asked. Nibali cos he's got nice legs apparently. I hadn't noticed and must check them out the next time, but probably not relevant for tomorrow. And she's a working woman so we should probably change this category to She Who Holds It All Together and Indulges Our Velocipedal Tendencies.

Grim Realist: This is a bit hard as as I don't think I would go as far as finding any winner grim, but a pair of weekends where the rest of teams ride with the seemingly sole objective of stopping a favourite and delivering us a Nuyens / Van Sumeren double bill would start to get close.

Dark Horse: Thomas, although maybe his streamline GC figure these days will mitigate. I would say that Sky don't do sentimentality so he must have some type of form for it, but then they indulged Wiggins for the last two years at PR. Backup of Terpstra if Sky have been indulgent. Mind you it would be impressive if Kwiatkowski were to hold both an "Ardennes" and cobbled title simultaneously.
gerry12ie

Random Oudenaarde forecast... doesn't look too bad:




Also, the women's race is available live on Proximus TV AND via selected split screen during the men's race

https://prowomenscycling.com/2016...womens-ronde-van-vlaanderen-live/
Fontfroide

Accuweather tells me it will be partly cloudy all day in Oudenaarde, ranging from 12-19 degrees.  Practically a balmy summer day.

Raining down south where I am.
HuwB

I'm stuck in an anniversary lunch.
These days, the pave classics are the opposite to doing a rain dance. Sad
Slapshot 3

Out playing in the forest with noisy motorbikes....... will watch it later on.... have fun tomorrow
Biosphere

Boonen wrote:
"I love the fact that the sun is out," says the Etixx-QuickStep rider, revered in his native Belgium. "The race will be harder as the speed remains high.

"I'm good - we'll see if I'm good enough. I won the 90th edition and it's these races you're doing it for. It will be a different race than other years. We'll have to make sure other teams chase us and not the other way around."
Biosphere

Been watching for a while on Italian TV. Lovely weather. Demaré and Benoit out due to separate crashes. Etixx TTTing at the front at the moment.
Nolte

I was going to pick Benoit but severo got there before me
Disappointing to see but roelandts is in good form.

Sean Kelly estimates 50-60 riders left in the two main groups already
gerry12ie

This is very thinned out already - can't see too many finishing at this pace.  Sagan on his tod already?
Biosphere

I was just thinking how much it's breaking up given there still 110km to go. The windmill they passed was spinning away so probably quite tiring and nervous conditions.
gerry12ie

Affligem with a Chimay Blue backup btw Wink
Nolte

Trek pace stuyven back to the peloton, they get back eventually and he suffers another problem.
gerry12ie

GVA and the whole BMC team go bang - and out Sad
Nolte

BMC crash. Neither Oss or van avermaet getting up. Oss looks bad, gva looks upset
Biosphere

That was a bad BMC crash. Tony Martin continuing to look feisty.
Biosphere

Nolte wrote:
BMC crash. Neither Oss or van avermaet getting up. Oss looks bad, gva looks upset


Thought Oss looked OK. Well at least a mulletted rider did.
gerry12ie

Kirby doing an appalling job on the information front.  I have been in the kitchen so had sound and no picture and if relying on his commentary I would have absolutely no clue who is up front, or who is left in the race.  Thomas out, yes?
Nolte

Yes, Oss and phinney back in it, schar was the other BMC rider according to BMC twitter
Biosphere

Watching the women's. 12km to go. The size of the hospitality area at the Kwaremont is huge!
gerry12ie

Armitsead should win it with plenty to spare.

I like the look of this Politt kid more every time I see him.  He has gone up the road for Kristoff, and from what I have seen at Le Samyn and de Panne he will be a real asset
Biosphere

So is the international feed the same for everyone (last two km of women's covered steadily) or is it broadcaster discretion?
Biosphere

Armistead by a rim.
Bartali

Armistead - yorkshire yorkshire yorkshire Smile Smile Smile
gerry12ie

She is as dominant in the last year as Vos was 4 or 5 years ago - minus the track and cyclocross of course Wink
Fontfroide

Bartali wrote:
Armistead - yorkshire yorkshire yorkshire Smile Smile Smile


I wanted Pauline to take it, but Yorkshire is fine with me too.
Bartali

Only cos she's not tried 'em Gerry Wink
Fontfroide

Biosphere wrote:
So is the international feed the same for everyone (last two km of women's covered steadily) or is it broadcaster discretion?


France 3 had quite a bit of the race, or at least half an hour.
Now waiting for them to show the men's, adverts now.

RACE NOW  62k left.
Biosphere

We had split screens of both races and back and forth.  The men's had been quite lively, but it's calm now.
Biosphere

Thomas is definitely still in it by the way!
Biosphere

Cancellara looking very comfortable on the Koppenberg.
Fontfroide

The main group with the big dudes seems to be slightly without purpose, and with no big team to do the work.  Could be interesting.
gerry12ie

Sky look to be in a very good position here...
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Sky look to be in a very good position here...


Indeed, I missed them.  Lots of them.
Fontfroide

Looks like the action has started.  Same guys as for the last few weeks.
Biosphere

Fontfroide wrote:
Looks like the action has started.  Same guys as for the last few weeks.


Interesting strategy to let Sagan, Kwiatkowski and Vanmarcke ride away from you.
Fontfroide

Kind of dumb is what you really mean.  Seems kind of silly for Fabian to just trail his tired looking Trek guy  (Devolder) while the other three are leaping forward.   Don't get it.  Geraint hanging out waiting too.

Still, 25 k to go.  And not a HUGE gap.
Biosphere

Thomas has Kwiatkowski up front though.
Fontfroide

So it all will come down to the last two hills.  The chase from behind is really on now.

And it looks like they are not that far behind.
gerry12ie

Ill fill in for Huw - epic edition this isn't
Severo

"Oh we let the stripey guys who won last weekend up the road?"
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Ill fill in for Huw - epic edition this isn't


Still two more wee hills.  Let's wait a bit.
Fontfroide

Yippee.  Some action now.
Severo

How did Cancellara get there?
gerry12ie

Romance isn't dead... yet
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Romance isn't dead... yet


You are Irish, romance is NEVER dead.  Hope never dies.
Nolte

Not bad use of Vandenberg by etixx to use him to bring terpstra up to cancellarra
Fontfroide

Nolte wrote:
Not bad use of Vandenberg by etixx to use him to bring terpstra up to cancellarra


And not a bad use of Cancellara to catch them all?  Now its up to Sagan to do it all, or did he make a move too soon.  This could be good!
Biosphere

Sagan smiling at the bottom of Paterberg. Knows he cant be dropped on last climb.
Fontfroide

Well before the race they said the two favourites were Fabian and Peter …. looks like they got it right.
gerry12ie

Sagan surely
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Sagan surely


Never rule out Cancellara when the road is flat, although you are probably right.  And then there are the group behind.  Gonna be a fun 5k.
Biosphere

Yep. Can't see Cancellara winning sprint if he closes gap.
Fontfroide

OK I concede, Sagan.  With the rainbow!  So at last people can shut up about the curse and about Sagan finishing second.  Astounding rider.
Bartali

Well I enjoyed those last 40 odd km.  Classy win by Sagan.  I'm pleased he's picked up a monument at last.
gerry12ie

Chapeau WC.  Dominant and deserved.
gerry12ie

Double next week?
Bartali

FFS ... did you see the wheelie.  He's an entertainer!!
CapeRoadie

Nice last 15K! Surprised Cancellara couldn't close a 14 sec gap with help.
gerry12ie

"It is always better to drop everybody"  Laughing  Laughing  salut

BTW Paddy Power offered 33/1 on Kristoff in running just after the last climb.  I took him each way and they paid out on fourth place Very Happy
Biosphere

Cancellara on Italian TV. Sorry to have not made history. Acknowledged Sagan was deserving winner and that he lost it when he didn't go with his move.
Bartali

CapeRoadie wrote:
Nice last 15K! Surprised Cancellara couldn't close a 14 sec gap with help.
To be fair he had worked like a dog to get that close .... he should have put the effort in to close when Sagan attacked.
Fontfroide

CapeRoadie wrote:
Nice last 15K! Surprised Cancellara couldn't close a 14 sec gap with help.


Except Sepp was completely knackered, and Fabian was not trying to just catch anyone.  I still think it was stunning how Sagan just increased the gap at the end.  I was Cancellara chasing, trying to win, a huge rider.  Performer Pete just rode him off his wheel.  Nice ending, really quite classy.
Fontfroide

Bartali wrote:
To be fair he had worked like a dog to get that close .... he should have put the effort in to close when Sagan attacked.


I agree.  No idea at all how suddenly, Cancellara was there.  And certainly, with hindsight, and even at the time, it was a dumb move to let those three guys get away from the bigger group.  Although it is true that at the time, Fabian had very little help from his team.  He still let them go.  

Still, second, for a retiring old geezer is pretty good.  Can't win everything.
Boogerd_Fan

gerry12ie wrote:
Double next week?


Ahem... treble!!!! G-W dont forget



Excellent win from Sagan. They say Flanders favours the protagonist.. well Sagan was only one to follow Kwiat (on Barrendries i think)... didnt look like much but when fabian didnt bridge across with Sep... it was worth it to go all or nothing with 35km to go.

Personally i thought peter waa being far too active - especially when they caught Greipels group. With kwiat going backwards on Oude K. Sep and Sagan had a slight advantage at the bottom of Paterberg.

Stunning final climb from Peto. Certainly where the rave was won. Not content with tracking Sep.. Peto took it into his own hands knowing Fabian was coming and sep was fading.

Brilliant time trial to the finish to see it out. After a few KM it was a bit anti-climax... but wow, to hold off cancellara for 12km. Excellent. Probably wont sink in for a while but Sagan wins 100th flanders.. in rainbow. Its as romantic as it needed to be Wink
Boogerd_Fan

btw the Koppenberg is still the Koppenberg, and the Kwiat/Sagan move seemed to work because for those few KM after the Koppenberg everyone was catching a breathe or recovering. Peloton strung out, many small groups forming, total chaos.. perfect opportunistic timing.
HuwB

Finally caught up with a bit of a marathon watch.
Nice they also had the women's race covered.
Trouble is, Sporza swapped channels mid race, so I had recorded that and not the men's which meant I had to suffer Kirby ramblings/
The man is just not up to commentating on the complexities of classics racing.

Anyhow, A good edition. Best man won, second best man second but Sep Vanmarke, me no likee, for some reason.
Kristoff is going to be a handful, next week, Etix confirm they are all good, just not good enough and no surprise that the Welsh lads turned out to be Sky's top dogs.
Nolte

Sagan just was the strongest of them all. Maybe cancellarra relied too much on his own team, maybe if stuyven had a good day it'd be different but stuy Ben on bad legs and bad luck hurt them.

Best etixx rider finishing below best movistar rider in Flanders.  What worked for imanol erviti in coming 7th was positioning I'd say. To work on positioning for the whole 260km would be hard in Flanders for movistar so for erviti getting in the break, that eliminated all the riding for positioning he would be doing in the peloton
Biosphere

Nolte wrote:
Sagan just was the strongest of them all. Maybe cancellarra relied too much on his own team, maybe if stuyven had a good day it'd be different but stuy Ben on bad legs and bad luck hurt them.


In the post race interview yesterday, Cancellara said Stuyens had a lot of bad luck - cited needing to change bike 3 times and that it cost him valuable energy.

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