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HuwB

The Spring Classics 2017

Might as well get the season started and perhaps one thread could suffice for most, if not all of the chat for major one day races in Spring.

Saturday, Februrary 25th: The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.





previous winners
2016, VAN AVERMAET Greg
2015, STANNARD Ian
2014, STANNARD Ian
2013, PAOLINI Luca
2012, VANMARCKE Sep
2011, LANGEVELD Sebastian
2010, FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio
2009, HUSHOVD Thor
2008, GILBERT Philippe
2007, POZZATO Filippo

Sunday, February 2016: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.




previous winners † †
2016 † STUYVEN Jasper †
2015 † CAVENDISH Mark †
2014 † BOONEN Tom †
2012 † CAVENDISH Mark †
2011 † SUTTON Christopher †
2010 † TRAKSEL Bobbie †
2009 † BOONEN Tom †
2008 † DE JONGH Steven †
2007 † BOONEN Tom †
2006 † NUYENS Nick
gerry12ie

Live now on ES.  Cobbles, crashes, wind - you know the deal...

Lovely innit? Very Happy  Very Happy
Nolte

It is lovely.

Boonen and kristoff held up behind a crash
gerry12ie

Sagan looks like he might be on a Sunday morning coffee run.  Hard to know if he is carrying condition or just making it all look ominously easy

Weather in Flanders looks a lot more apealling than it does at Chepstow...
HuwB

This and the Abu Dhadi dud: chalk and cheese.
Can't take my eyes of this. The other would give me the stage race snores.

Sagan does a bit of cross.

Yes, the weather in Chepstow dn S Wales is awful, Gerry
A gale today, another gale tomorrow.

I should be watching George and the boys btw....
Biosphere

Mrs. Bio has been dispatched to the supermarket with kids leaving me in front of unexpected Eurosport 2 reception in an electric recliner. No doubt they'll be back with 3km to go. Watching the leading trio of big classic riders, I did momentarily catch myself wondering if Cancellara had had a mechanical or something Smile

As for weather, looking out on another green mountain. Would be good for horseys or rugby were it not for the gradient.
Biosphere

Sagan or Vanavermaet in sprint?
gerry12ie

I would go Sagan every time but GVA seems to have a bit of an Indian sign on him in sprints sometimes...

Sagan ftw
Nolte

I think Sagan looks a bit more tired than the other two
Nolte

I think van Marcie to pull a surprise
gerry12ie

Always pleased to see GVA win.  Had a lovely day in Huy with the GVA fan club some years back.  The fan club then consisted of Mammy van Avermaet, siblings and a couple of neighbours.  Over hot dogs and warmish Juliper a bond was formed.  Greg's come a long, long way since then...
gerry12ie

I think I might skip Carlton and Abu Dhabi in favour of some horse racing prior to the rugby.  Quigley is bad enough but Carlton for dessert would be too much for my tender tummy Wink
HuwB

A carbon copy of last year's finish.

Anybody not all raced out can watch the final 60kms of the Classic Ardeche here:-

http://www.streaming-hub.com/lequipe-21-live/
Bartali

Enjoyed that Smile
Biosphere

This post race photo is a laugh - he wouldn't look out of place buying Rizzlas at a petrol station at 3am Smile

Fontfroide

Good shot of Sagan.  Says it all.  How can a guy like that be the finest racer in town?  Not possible.  Except for taking the last turn a bit wide, he might have won.  He has learned his lines and cleaned himself up a bit, but still manages to be semi-eccentric and not piss off too many colleagues or fans.

Now that race was fun to watch.  Admittedly the last few k with the three in front was a bit of an extended prologue to the sprint.  But I like those little roads.  And watching the peloton, full of riders who wanted to win, and even a few teams with multiple riders, gradually lose tens of seconds against the three strong men, reminded me about bike racing again.

Happy that GVA won too.  He seems a kind of clean cut contrast to Sagan and they make a good story for the cobbled classics.

It was a hard day yesterday.  Two rugbys and two cyclings.  Had to skip my nap to take it all in.  Really glad that L'Equipe TV channel is showing many races, including Tirreno and Giro and Milan, live and in HD on free TV this year.  Makes life just that little bit better.
HuwB

A better profile of today's race.



Boonen has pulled out with tummy troubles.
Nolte

Tony martin had a hard crash
Bartali

So should the lead three have ben disqualified yesterday? I think they would have been had they not been who they are.  I like two out of the three, but for me they should all be DQed.  If the OC and WC can't set a good example, we are lost ...
gerry12ie

Bart, it is like the level crossing issue at P-R and various hors delays at the TDF - the big names will never get DQ'd. †You are right of course, rules should be rules, except in cycling where they aren't...

Look like I picked Benoot on the wrong day...
gerry12ie

I'll venture that's not the last time we see that fella winning this season Very Happy
Boogerd_Fan

Super!!

He made the race yesterday, rather foolishly working the hardest to keep any group re-joining. GVA recounted correctly that the smartest rider won, not the strongest.

Today no such problems - even that BMC had good numbers in that chasing peloton. I guess Trentin & Rowe were good to think about the sprint and Stuyven was OK with at least 5th if they stayed clear. Nice working.

btw.. out of all the eccentricity and weirdness in interviews, one quote from the man "my year starts †in San Remo"

Ominous.
Fontfroide

Bartali wrote:
So should the lead three have ben disqualified yesterday? I think they would have been had they not been who they are. †I like two out of the three, but for me they should all be DQed. †If the OC and WC can't set a good example, we are lost ...


By the time you answer, I will probably have read about it, but what exactly did the lead three do to be disqualified (or not)?  I didn't notice anything myself, and turned off the race straightaway, as there is often no commentary.

Ta.
Nolte

Fontfroide - this explains the issue

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/s...s-anger-at-omloop-het-nieuwsblad/
Bartali

I don't want to make a big deal about it, but rules are rules even when one likes the guys concerned (and I'm genuinely pleased Sagan won yesterday).

Personally I don't see how any rider could now be disqualified for pavement riding without an almighty protest. It seems it was made absolutely clear what would happen but the commissionaires / UCI or whoever bottled it.
Boogerd_Fan

Can they not grade sections or penalize a rider only after certain amount of seconds? e.g. if its a sector or particularly populated part of the course, then its forbidden, but in others its allowed?

can understand that:
- the parcours should be ridden not cheated (like that guy protesting on the tarmac strip being layed on Eikenberg midweek)
- spectator safety comes first and avoiding more collisions with unsuspecting supporters / public is welcome.
- the skillz from guys like Sagan, who took an aggressive racing line around 90 degree bend but hops onto the pavement vs. braking after leaving the Apex.. this adds to the spectacle
Bartali

I get all that Boogie and TBH its not something I'm all that fussed about because its not 'real' cheating in my book, but why go to all the trouble to have a rule and drill it into the riders and DSs before the race and then ignore it because the big boys get caught hook line and sinker. It's shocking really - much though I like Sagan and GvA - and I'm sure if it was a lesser rider they would be out.

It's LA all over again.  The little riders get busted while the cash cows break all the rules.
Biosphere

I was aware of the rule and that they were talking about stricter enforcement this year, but didn't know the specifics until I read Nolte's link. Should have been DQed if the link is correct. The argument is not just about spectator safety - course is designed with cobbles for a reason - just as GTs have MTFs. It does not make for a fair race if leaders skip the hardest sections, whilst the chasers are obliged to expend more energy just to keep the gap constant.
Fontfroide

Nolte wrote:
Fontfroide - this explains the issue

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/s...s-anger-at-omloop-het-nieuwsblad/


I missed this completely.  And no doubt they would never disqualify the entire podium.  Although the other two could say "well he started it!".  People who make stupid rules that no one will follow get what they deserve.  Confusion and inconsistency.

I remember being slightly discomfited the first time (many years ago) I noticed that on cobbled sections of any race, the guys would avoid the cobbles and ride in the wee gutter that was smoothly constructed.  I thought how come they don't make them ride on the cobbles?  What's the point of cobbles if you avoid riding on them?

Still badly enforced rules get disobeyed.  Look at the problem of illegal drugs, civilian or professional cyclists.
Bartali

A badly enforced rule FF, but not a bad rule.  If they would have pulled GvA, Sagan and the other guy from the race then it would have stopped it for good.  Sport is all about rules and enforcement is critical.  No leeway, no favours.
HuwB

During KBK, Luke Rowe was riding towards the front, on the cobbles............alone.
Quickstep had lead the bunch over onto the nice smooth footpath.
Rowe called over to them, pointed to the pave and waved for them to join him on the race course.
He was completely ignored and ended up riding the footpath too.

The UCI are completely ignored because as with the hors delay business last year: there is safety in numbers. Their bluff was called once more.
If they really want to put a stop it, they have to dqf their world champion or bin the big Belgian outfits.
Can't see that happening any time soon.
Fontfroide

Maybe they could send a warning note to violators, taking a photo with their phone. †Or getting footage from the TV. †After one warning, they get busted.

Anyway, they have all that already and the question is acting.  I agree a rule is a rule, at least when it is obvious, as it was in this case.  If the fine is something like 10 k then it makes sense.  250 swiss francs is useless.
Bartali

HuwB wrote:
If they really want to put a stop it, they have to dqf their world champion or bin the big Belgian outfits. Can't see that happening any time soon.

I didn't see the Rowe incident, but it speaks volumes.  This is not ignorance of the rules or even hubris ... this is wilful rule breaking. Not sure who hold the power here (UCI?) but its pathetic.
gerry12ie

Wait and see though, they will come down hard and disqualify half the team of Wanty Group or Willems tomorrow in Le Samyn.  That will send a message alright...  Very Happy
gerry12ie

Does Le Samyn book this shitty weather in advance?  It somehow manages to take place in the wind and rain every year...
HuwB

gerry12ie wrote:
Does Le Samyn book this shitty weather in advance? †It somehow manages to take place in the wind and rain every year...


And what a great race we had as a result.

The next race in the Napoleon Cup take place on Sunday and also has live coverage from VTM so there should be feeds about.

Dwars door West-Vlaanderen Johan Museeuw Classic
kathy

Strade Bianche tomorrow, Saturday.  FP thread here.

http://justcycling.myfastforum.org/sutra235771.php#235771
HuwB

And on that subject:-



Next up it's the white roads of the Siena area.



Last year:


Lovely weather forecast. Very Happy

https://www.3bmeteo.com/meteo/siena

The women's race is live on the Eurosport player at 11-25am UK time.
Men's race coverage to be found any time after 12-35pm, as that is when Rai open up with their usually long, race chat.
gerry12ie

The main favourites (bar a sick Sagan) are in the second group 30" down on the front three.  It looks likely that the winner will come from that group:

Luke Durbridge
Orica-Scott

Tom Dumoulin
Team Sunweb

Zdenek Stybar
Quick-Step Floors

Greg Van Avermaet
BMC Racing Team

Tim Wellens
Lotto Soudal

Tiesj Benoot
Lotto Soudal

Michał Kwiatkowski
Team Sky

Edvald Boasson Hagen
Dimension Data

In Wimbledon mode - c'mon Tim Very Happy
gerry12ie

Kirby in seventh heaven with both Turbo Durbo and Eddy Bos in the favourites group †Very Happy
mazda

Long time since I have seen GVA look tired.

Kwiatkowski has this. Went around the roundabout at about twice the speed of Wellens.
But otherwise a reasonable day for the predictions.
gerry12ie

Can't see Flower losing this now - although while logging in the three behind have taken back 5 seconds †Embarassed

c'mon Tim
gerry12ie

They won't catch him even taking the escalators up
gerry12ie

Flower
GVA
Wellens

Good win, he made it look quite easy really.  Everyone was spent, he was just less spent than the rest...

Dumoulin probably broke the long distance complaining record - 50k moaning by my reckoning...
HuwB

Flower power. Wink

Great top 5.

Bold, but the best way to win from that selection.
Best day that Sky have had this week. Razz
Bartali

Enjoyed that ... a good win too.  Fortune favours the brave!!
Biosphere

There will be a headwind today on the coastal road. Not sure that will change the race much though. Enjoyed being lazy in front of TV for RAI's eve of the race preview last night - been a while since I watched Italian cycling talking heads Smile
HuwB

Still waiting upon live pictures.
Meanwhile, the Scotland Italy game is a stinker and Wales get to kick off shortly before the Cipressa...
HuwB

They have just gone through the 100kms to go barrier.
Nolte

10 riders in the break. according to matt stephens, some of the cannondale riders are on disc brakes, others are not. with two riders in the break, i wonder if they are testing one with disc brakes and one without?
HuwB

Groundhog Day once again, as we reach the Cipressa.
Biosphere

HuwB wrote:
Groundhog Day once again, as we reach the Cipressa.


It's lively though.Might be tired legs by the end.
Nolte

Good man Sagan. I worried there'd beno attacks
Biosphere

Ballsy from Sagan
Biosphere

Kwiatkowski is a lovely descender.
Biosphere

Sagan opened sprint too soon.
gerry12ie

If Sagan had left it to a bunch sprint he would have had as much of a chance.  He looked too edgy and opened up too soon I thought.  He makes a race...
HuwB

Imagine that race without Sagan.
Doesn't bare thinking about.
Bartali

Shame Sagan didn't win as he 'made' the race ... but Kwiatkowski played it well.  No complaints there ... classy ride from both men.  Just glad the french wheel sucker didn't pinch it.
Boogerd_Fan

Putting his experience to it, i understand Sagan's choice to sprint from the front, than wait for one of the others to open it up... he's lost to GVA like that already this year in Het Nieuwsblad.

I would agree his choice to jump first.. but maybe he needed to play chicken just another 1-2 seconds. He got a length on Kwiat.. but then lost some speed towards the line.

Credit to Kwiatkowski though, Sagan went all in... and both Kwiat and Alaphilippe could make the "marking you, but my sprinter is in the chase group" card... and he played it beautifully.
Biosphere

HuwB wrote:
Imagine that race without Sagan.
Doesn't bare thinking about.


But there usually is an attack of some sort on the Poggio, they had the skill and legs to make it stick this year.

I can understand it's not a race to all tastes, as nothing much normally happens for 280km (and if it does then it's maybe something as leftfield as snow or a landslide), but I think it has its place in the calendar and it has a different type of tension to other races in the closing km. It's an open race and the out and out favourite tends not to prevail. From a sporting drama point of view is that so bad?
gerry12ie

I think while most of us would agree that it is easily the least attractive of the monuments (although LBL has been fairly one-dimensional in recent years), MSR has a special place as a season-starter and is embedded in the sport's history.

I don't think we should ever underestimate the difficulty of the last few kms, the climb, the hurtling descent, and the jostle for position in the sprint at the end of 300km of racing.  I think the extra 50/60k that MSR has over the other monuments can be decisive.  I wasn't overly confident in Sagan over the last few kms yesterday, I'm not really sure why but I thought he looked a little flatter than normal and maybe not quite so confident.  Did the extra distance know the edge off his finish?  I don't know, but I agree with Bio - MSR does have a different tension to the other races and it is unique.

I wouldn't be in a hurry to watch anything other than the last 40k though... Very Happy
Fontfroide

I broke a habit and watched quite a bit of the part where they follow the coast and go through various villages and towns I have never heard of as anything but part of the route of the MR.  It was OK, but reminded e of the Northern coast of California.  After you get used to the cliffs and sea it does get a trifle tedious.  Fortunately I had to keep switching to the rugby so it was a really long day of sports.

I was quite impressed with Sagan, as usual.  It is true that someone usually attacks on the Poggio, in fact always.  Usually a bit earlier, and nearly Sagan was at the very front, waiting to see if it had to be him.  I think it would have been nearly as likely that he would have finished second in a mass sprint, but nearly every single sprinter of note was there, some with teammates at the end, so I think he made the best decision.  Too bad the other guys didn't work and then he wouldn't have been a little bit wasted.   What was impressive is that only the two of them could catch him or wanted to catch him.  Sprinters left behind, punchers left behind, only two could keep up.  "The French wheel sucker" has a name, slightly hard to spell, Julian Alaphilippe (Remember by only the last P is double).  He has already begun to compile a palmares that is pretty respectable.  I think it is a bit much to call him a "wheel sucker" and not Flower.  To be quite direct, there is not much else to do when trying to keep up with Sagan, except suck his wheel (maybe if the escape is longer, others could more easily take a turn).  Only two riders could even do that.  However it is a bit of shame Sagan didn't win, but he is going to have to figure out a better strategy since he is reckoned by everyone whatsoever to be the strongest rider and the likely winner of anything other than a flat sprint or a mountain top finish.  Still, Flower just rode faster in the end.   Just.  And I don't really know what is wrong with the "my director told me not to work because we have a really impressive sprinter who might catch up.  In fact the bunch almost did, five seconds, and Gaviria did do very well, only beaten by Kristoff.

Really good race for ten k and some pretty nice scenery.  Not my favourite race, but it has a kind of charm that will impress a few fans.  Like one of those long stages of a GT which has a tough hill at the end.  The charm depends a lot on the scenery and whether there is some dram the last ten k.
Fontfroide

Rather liked the bike throwing shot at the end.
Bartali

Fontfroide wrote:
"The French wheel sucker" has a name, slightly hard to spell, Julian Alaphilippe (Remember by only the last P is double). †He has already begun to compile a palmares that is pretty respectable. †I think it is a bit much to call him a "wheel sucker" and not Flower. †To be quite direct, there is not much else to do when trying to keep up with Sagan, except suck his wheel.


I call it like I see it ... fair play for bridging across to Sagan, but then he just sat there.  That's a wheel sucker in my book.  It least the little flower doid a couple of turns. Alaphilippe hit the front once and took his foot right off the gas.

As an aside, what DS would gamble a guaranteed podium for a chance of Gaveria winning from a mass sprint with many of the top sprinters still there?  Madness.
Fontfroide

Sorry I got annoyed, it was only because not only will Alaphilippe win, one day, the same sprint, but that he is also a young guy and probably lacks a little experience about what to do with two World Champions who have a terrific turn of speed. †No idea what his DS told him, but I think everyone was a bit impressed anyway with the descent of the trio, again maybe Flower and The Man did a decent job of taking time on a pursuing peloton, utterly jam packed with sprinters hungry for a win. †I think a DS might have thought they would catch up, or the three would play around, and the five seconds would be zero. I have seen plenty of breakaways getting radically eaten in the last 50 metres. †And of course you are right, Flower took two turns from the beginning of the break, and Young Julian took but one. †I think. †But basically they BOTH let Peter do all the work. †And like in that race recently, he was just a tiny bit, like half a wheel width, too tired to win the final sprint.†

Personally I would be interested in what tactic would allow Sagan NOT to slow down and get caught (five seconds), and yet beat both of them in the last fifty metres in a sprint. †That is one of his problems, stations where he can't quite win. †What does he do if anyone who can sprint actually follows him? †Going into Montpellier it was Froome, Thomas and one of his guys. †So he took turns, they took turns, and he won the sprint as everyone knew he would. †Also pretty spectacular, but no problem for Sagan. †I guess if it ends at the top of the hill, he wins. †If it ends just after the descent he wins. †What does he do if he has two fast guys and a peloton fast approaching. †I guess it is a bit of classic for the strongest rider in cycling. †Who has managed to win or lose to someone often. †Mind you, the someone might someday remember Sagan's second. †65 of them? †In fact I was waiting until someone finds out what the highest total number of wins and seconds combined is the post-War record. †Probably the first five are guys like Zabel, or Merckx or Kelly. †Then add victories. †Of course Merckx would win, but how far has Sagan got to mix it in the top five of all time, whoever they are? †Second means you beat every rider in the peloton on the day, except one.

Maybe he realised that he will just be an unpopular guy with his colleagues if he wins every single time he rides. †So just to remind history that not only did he win however many firsts, but also a world record of seconds. †Now that is way to ride that makes you respected by everyone. †Imagine a sport where there are over 700 top class riders and not one of them can be sure of beating Sagan in a lot of races. †Hopeful and confident, mixed with the history of Sagan often NOT winning. †Anyway that's my story and I am sticking with it.

I shall defend with all my power (forum posts) anything that has the slight taste of nationalism of the bad sort. †"young wheel sucker" slips past me with no trouble. †French wheel sucker ... I don't know. †Anyway, there was a Polish wheelsucker too. †A good reason to get out of Europe, Polish wheel suckers, French wheels suckers, in fact a peloton full of wheel suckers when following Sagan. †I admit, there are some riders who share the work riding with him, but they have to very good and very experienced to do it. †Julian is still not very experienced. †But he does not "suck". †He bears watching and respect.

Assuming no crashes, sooner or later in the big races he has to solve that problem. †Could just ride away on any cobbles? †That seems to work well. †

I hope Boonen wins PR and Sagan comes second.

Goodness, that was long post, must not be any sport on today.
Not all that well either, so can't go out and enjoy this utterly wonderful three days a perfect Spring that we have had. †I spent some time cutting the bloody "lawn" for the first time. †Swore I would never have a lawn when I left my suburban family home, where I cut the grass with a lawn mower. †

I might have said this before (wink) but being a French fan at present, with plenty of Englishness fan, and American fan mixed in, with the odd well liked rider from countries that didn't even ride the season when I started caring about professional cycle racing, is easy to enjoy.  Plenty of quality acts to follow, if not yet legendary in status.
Boogerd_Fan

To be fair they both sat on his wheel until the gap grew to 15-20s... at that point they were off the descent and pretty much guaranteed to stay away.. can imagine the race radio instruction, mark Sagan, we're coming back up to you for Viviani / Gaviria... once it got to a reasonable gap, it was those 3 for the win and they could contribute.

Convenient for them, and inconvenient for Sagan, without a plan B... also Alaphilippe probably hasn't had too many 300km races... at one point he took a turn and nearly took out Sagan when he swung off. Probably tired, and ready to follow not contribute.

Kwiat played it very coy in the finish.. a bike length given, triggered Sagan into sprinting early. Clever boy.
Nolte

Yes there is the thing, Sagan was the last bora rider (Bennett came in 66th at 1'35) while both sky and quick step could play the other cards

On the descent of poggio, coming round Sagan to help extend the gap seems a scary endeavour (that descent frightens me)
Biosphere

I would say Sagan did 80% of the work and it doesn't make much difference if Kwiatkowski and Alaphilippe split the remainder 10% : 10% or 12% : 8%. Both of them were pretty much playing the same tactic and it worked.
Fontfroide

By the way, my 15 seconds and 5 seconds was only from the TV shot.  Which I looked at again.  Might have been more sharing going on when they showed the peloton at the end.  But mostly they showed the three heroes, as they should really.  

I am pretty sure that three man finish photo will make it to many anthologies.
HuwB

For me, the best three weeks of the season starts tomorrow, with the Dwars door Vlaanderen:-





Eurosport's live coverage 1-30pm to 4pm.
Sporza 10 minutes earlier and a bit later finishing.
Biosphere

Easily my favourite phase of the season too. There is an FP thread for E3

http://justcycling.myfastforum.org/sutra236096.php#236096

Depending on how it's barriered, I'm not sure I like the reworked Eikenberg.


Click to see full size image
Nolte

I agree, my favourite period of the season too
gerry12ie

Yes, for sure - it's mainly downhill from here  Very Happy

I had hoped this year to get to either E3/GW or De Panne but I was ordered to Budapest for Easter instead.  The current weather makes for great TV viewing, but I'm not too sure how attractive standing on wet and windy bergs might be...
mazda

Kwiatkowski is compiling a nice set of big name wins. I'd argue that his palmares is as good looking as GVA, who we all seem to expect to win every race these days.

From what I saw the commentators were quite adamant that Alaphilippe was told to 'stop contributing' (whether that was based on fact or simply a reflection of what they expected I do not know).
It is largely irrelevant whether you think his team mate will get back on or not, it is a typical card to be played and he was almost certainly the least strong of the three on the day.
Let's be fair, he's not a rider that typically sits at the back and does nothing.

Sagan is going to have to develop his Cancellara style bluff a bit better, or he genuinely thought he was the strongest and fastest, but was wrong. Do we want Sagan to win even more races ?
Fontfroide

mazda wrote:

Sagan is going to have to develop his Cancellara style bluff a bit better, or he genuinely thought he was the strongest and fastest, but was wrong. Do we want Sagan to win even more races ?


Actually I want Sagan to attack as often as he can.  If he wins, fine, he does nice interviews with a well-developed sense of humour and sometimes a good analysis.  Like the long hair too.  If he loses, as least he shakes thing up a little.  Always love an attack and always love the frisson of whether it will get caught.  Essence of bike racing.

But you were right, he has to figure out how to win when the guys with him don't work.  Funny thing is though, he always does his share or more, he is always gracious about how he wants to win and sometimes does not, and so far, he has been winning a lot, but not offending any of his colleagues with outright arrogance and so forth.  Even learned that bum pinching is out of order, bless him.
Fontfroide

I rather liked that race.  Nice to see the young fellow win, and Gilbert show he is strong.  Quick Step can now relax and let some others win a few.  I thought maybe there would be a little more success from the chasers, but too big a group.  Watching the four of them construct a classic ending was good too.  

And this a minor race!
gerry12ie

Ah the old Quick Step 1-2, as regular as the first cuckoo of Spring Very Happy It might not always work, and that all adds to our entertainment but they invariably have the firepower to keep trying it.  Was quietly impressed with Lampeart coming back from a major Achilles injury suffered last year when his girlfriend accidentally ran him over with a shopping trolley  Embarassed
HuwB

Well it was a different race to the usual Dwars script.
Very fast and furious, but no sort of chase coordination behind.
Mostly a domestique's payoff day, with Gilbert as the solitary guest star.
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:
Well it was a different race to the usual Dwars script.
Very fast and furious, but no sort of chase coordination behind.
Mostly a domestique's payoff day, with Gilbert as the solitary guest star.


In l'Equipe, and generally I thought, Lampaert is not seen as "a domestic" at all, but a great white hope (Belgian). †Admittedly, when anyone is riding with Gilbert on the same team, they have to look like domestics for sure, and act as well. †But Lampaert is meant to be a fine sprinter and maybe even the guy to be "the next Boonen". †Or so they in the papers. †

Mind you, sometimes Quick Step has the flavour of having 4 or 5 chiefs of the highest quality and 3-4 domestics of the highest quality. †Good team, one must say.
gerry12ie

I hadn't properly realised that Lampaert was considered such a big Belgian hope (I thought Benoot was the new flavour of the month) until I read this http://inrng.com/2017/02/without-tom-boonen/ nice Inrng piece on life without Boonen.  It won't be the same Quick Step without him and thats for sure...
Nolte

gerry12ie wrote:
I hadn't properly realised that Lampaert was considered such a big Belgian hope (I thought Benoot was the new flavour of the month) until I read this http://inrng.com/2017/02/without-tom-boonen/ nice Inrng piece on life without Boonen. †It won't be the same Quick Step without him and thats for sure...


lampaerts shining today is just what leferve needs with boonen retiring 3 sunday's time (and hopefully he can shine in the other races coming up) and leferve in the hunt for a replacement sponsor to quick step. it'd be tough if leferve doesn't find a sponsor as quick step have a superb squad.

i'd have the same concern when valverde retires and then the movistar sponsorship ending

quick step's biggest problem for classics is that they have too many options and sometimes that doesn't work too well as it leaves them mixed up.
Boogerd_Fan

Iím pretty sure the plan yesterday was for Lampaert to go to draw more energy from Durbridge ready for Gilbert to counter-attack and go on to win.
Apparently they over-estimated how much Durbo had left.
HuwB

So, onto tomorrow and a sentiment I don't disagree with:-

http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/c...favorite-race-e3-harelbeke_433272

The tasty parcour:-

Nolte

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
Iím pretty sure the plan yesterday was for Lampaert to go to draw more energy from Durbridge ready for Gilbert to counter-attack and go on to win.
Apparently they over-estimated how much Durbo had left.


Lampaerts winning move didn't look to have been a strong one, I looked at and thinking that durbridge will track him back as for a time there was only 3 or 4 bike lengths but lampaert just maintains the momentum longer than durbridge could/would and he is away.
gerry12ie

Just caught the last 20 minutes or so of the re-run but have to head off out to the football.  Smith must have corrected Quigley a dozen times already in that short time.  Can cycling commentary really be this difficult?
HuwB

gerry12ie wrote:
Just caught the last 20 minutes or so of the re-run but have to head off out to the football. †Smith must have corrected Quigley a dozen times already in that short time. †Can cycling commentary really be this difficult?


Terrible for both races.

Another one punch KO classic.
Drab and deary, due to the usual chase group stupidity in these races.
Oh for some wind and rain.
HuwB

What a brilliant race the "new look" Gent Wevelgem was.
Made up for the two midweek flops.

A gallant effort from Jens Keukeleire, but he can't stop GVA from getting the hat trick of Het N, E3 and G-W.

Ends with third placed Sagan pointing the finger at the internal wheel sucker that is Nicky Terpstra.
gerry12ie

I'll have to re-watch it later.  I dozed off with 25k to go and woke up to catch the last 50 metres  Rolling Eyes

I liked whatever the Dutch is for Strade Bianche though  Wink
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:
What a brilliant race the "new look" Gent Wevelgem was.
Made up for the two midweek flops.

A gallant effort from Jens Keukeleire, but he can't stop GVA from getting the hat trick of Het N, E3 and G-W.

Ends with third placed Sagan pointing the finger at the internal wheel sucker that is Nicky Terpstra.


It was great for the last 35 k, really pleasing to watch.  And once again, Sagan was caught by his usual dilemma, which he has not solved.  What does he do in a group with one guy who is hardly working at all, and another guy who is refusing to work much.  I am pretty well convinced that Sagan, maybe 15k out or so, could have dragged the other two back to the front two. But then we would've lost the sprint.  I guess his mistake was not to catch the mini break of Van A as soon as it happened.  Must watch to see why he didn't.  He really is so strong that it is only by making mistakes that he can lose.  That last climb, he was pretty much nowhere in the pack, and at the end of the climb he was almost at the front  He must have just powered past nearly everyone on a narrow brick road.

Good race.
Boogerd_Fan

This week Peto was OK to play cat & mouse and see if the others would help. Next week he won't wait, and will be saying "See Ya" as he darts up the road.

GVA - clearly confident after the Olympics. The hat trick of races he has achieved now, it's Sagan 2016-esque in a long peak period.. can he hold the form another 7 days for Flanders? Peter was 2nd, 108th and 3rd in those races, but also podiumed San Remo, and dominated Tirreno in between.

Interesting to see who will carry that form another 7-14 days now its the turn of the BIG ONES.
gerry12ie

I watched it again last night (Line of Duty permitting  Very Happy) and it was indeed a fine race.  GVA and Keukelaire were super strong, and both laid down big markers - especially GVA who is on a serious roll.  Sagan was right to sit up, his big focus is a week away but I don't think Terpstra was in the wrong either.  He wasn't going to finish any higher than fourth out of that group anyway (and indeed thats where he finished), and with Gaviria and Boonen in the group behind it would have been a bit thick to pull the best finisher back up to the two up front.

It's likely that next Sunday should be a straight mouth-watering shootout between Sagan and GVA, which reminds me a bit of 2011 which was one my favourite ever races.  In the shootout between Cancellara and Boonen that year they managed to finish second and fourth.  Is there a Nick Nuyens waiting out there for this year?
gerry12ie

Nice day's racing so far in Driedaagse de Panne - lovely spring weather and Berendries, Ten Bosse and the Muur  Very Happy

Phil Gilbert is taking it seriously, riding hard on the front group and mopping up bonus sprints
gerry12ie

Gilbert must think it's 2011 again because he's burnt all his matched on the Muur. Cartoon Kirkby is delighted though because Turbo Durbo TM is coming across to him
gerry12ie

Well at least we know now who is going to be Quick Step's main man for Sunday. Funny old game this innit? 😉
Boogerd_Fan

Gilbert will be the wild card again, just like in E3.. able to go hunting because behind are some able guys who can win from the selection that chases or tries to bring him back. Or he could play the foil, and Styby is given the wild card role.
=
Sometimes i think QS have too many options to make a definitive strategy.
Biosphere

FPs for Flanders are up and running.

http://justcycling.myfastforum.org/sutra236205.php#236205
Biosphere

Biosphere wrote:
FPs for Flanders are up and running.

http://justcycling.myfastforum.org/sutra236205.php#236205


gerry12ie wrote:
I'm kind of tempted to go long with either Benoot or Naesen as a surprise but seeing as there isn't anything for each way I would be daft not to run with Greg van Avermaet please
[code]

How do you define each way? I'd have thought points down to 6th is more or less each way, but then I don't normally have much to do with bookies.

Thought you might have waited to see if Valverde was a late entry Wink
HuwB

gerry12ie wrote:
Well at least we know now who is going to be Quick Step's main man for Sunday. Funny old game this innit? 😉


Gilbert tried to pour cold water on that idea during the post win interview.
He said wot Boogie said: QS have too many options to make a definitive strategy.
Never finished better than 3rd.....
gerry12ie

HuwB wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
Well at least we know now who is going to be Quick Step's main man for Sunday. Funny old game this innit? 😉


Gilbert tried to pour cold water on that idea during the post win interview.
He said wot Boogie said: QS have too many options to make a definitive strategy.
Never finished better than 3rd.....


Yes, it's the old Quick Step spring conundrum.  They have too many that seem* to be capable of winning any race, but we are never sure who is going to go for it, and what the tactic is.  This was perfectly highlighted last Sunday, because for QS there is almost always someone coming in the group behind - or by extension, they have somebody in the group up the road so they can't/won't chase.  As much as I love Boonen, it must be disruptive carrying Old Man River around as well, because no matter what the tactic is, if Tommeke is in the frame then he becomes Plan A, regardless.

In comparison, the other favourites have it easy.

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