Post-Flanders Drama

Apr 6 2010

Yes! My oh-fer 2010 continues ! After saying that Boonen was on another level this season on the climbs, and would ride clear on the tougher Ronde parcours, it’s Fabian Cancellara who rises to the challenge over the steepest pitch of the Muur and solos away to victory.

Much was made of a telling screenshot, revealing the Swiss champ seated and comfortable while Belgium’s finest stood thrashing in his wake. Some people who’ve actually ridden the section claim it may be easier to sit, but a brief photo hunt doesn’t entirely agree; regardless, Cance’s gap (I can’t really say that he attacked, per se) was immediate, enormous, and continued to extend for kilometers after.

It’s gotta be tough for Tom Boonen. He’s in good enough form to take second in two entirely dissimilar Monuments this season, yet comes up short twice in eight days to the same rider. And that rider just so happens to be one of only two guys to beat him at Paris-Roubix in the past five years—when else could beating the rest of the field by nearly a minute be so deflating?

I suppose I should also say something about the two Americans in the Top 10. Chapeau to Farrar, and to the suicidal teamwork of an on-form David Millar—with Maaskant thrown into the mix, Garmin could well be the sleeper this Sunday. The only comment I have on Hincapie’s performance has already been made.

This year’s Flanders also delivered no shortage of drama. Cancellara went through two bike changes, including one pre-orchestrated CX-style pit stop, while his teammate Matti Breschel, who did not receive such awesome support, excoriated his mechanics in a profanity laced post-race rant. There used to be videos of both these things, but they’ve since vanished PaveBlog got a screen capture of the bike exchange. While I love to hint at conspiracy theories, it’s tough to blame this one on politics; Breschel hasn’t been shy about shopping around.

While we’re on the topic of intra-team politics, the Cav-Greipel thing has really blown up, with Cavendish saying not only would the German never win a major classic, but he would refuse to race with Greipel ever again.

That’s pretty bold talk so early in the season, especially considering Cavendish still needs to replace one of the best lead-outs in the business. With Cav bailing on the Giro, Greipel, beginning with tomorrow’s Scheldeprijs, has some serious spotlight time to prove his worth as mid-season transfer—or possibly even to stage a coup at HTC.

Cavendish’s palmares to date (he’s only 24, after all) are untouchable, but his 2010 season has been considerably less impressive, with only a single win—at the second-tier Volta a Catalunya. He attributed his failure to defend his MSR title to bad luck—apparently six-minutes’-worth.

Baden Cooke, who’s scarcely seen a podium since he took the points title at the in 2003 Tour (aged 24) might do well to remind the Manxman that the road to becoming the next Cipo’ is paved with Ivan Quarantas.

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9 Responses to “Post-Flanders Drama”

  1. David 6 April 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    “Chapeau to Farrar, and …. The only comment I have on Hincapie’s performance has already been made”
    The USA’s Tyler Farrar won the sprint for fifth, with George Hincapie sixth.

    No need to be a hater, dude. Put Hincapie’s failure to finish higher than #6 to an arguably bad decision or perhaps lack of strength, but the disparity between your opinion of #5 and #6 (separated by a wheel) seems overly harsh.

  2. cosmo 7 April 2010 at 8:37 am #

    Not hating, just not impressed.

    Hincapie’s been racing Flanders since the Clinton Administration. He knows the course, he knows the riders, he knows he has the legs. “Hesitating” on a Boonen/Cance attack with 40km to go, after what they did at E3 Prijs? I don’t care if Sky had all 25 guys and the team bus at the front—that’s not a move you pass on. And he knows it.

    Then watching him sit in with that “chase” group was just ridiculous. Even in the Gilbert/Leukemans/Millar move he could have made a world of difference. I would have rather seen Hincapie nuke himself in no-hope pursuit.

    Hell, I’d settle for a single attack. I think back to the major wins I’ve seen—the ’05 KBK and the inexplicable Tour stage later that year, and in both events, he just seemed to be along for the ride. That wait-and-see approach is great for a stage race GC, but it’s pretty low-return in the classics.

    I will be officially 100% satisfied with George Hincapie if he attacks even once at the front of Paris-Roubaix this Sunday. It doesn’t even have to be a good move. He and token Euskaltel guy and Thomas Voekler can go at 150km. Just make a positive move to try and win the effing race.

  3. Trent 7 April 2010 at 12:00 pm #


    I agree. I like Hincapie. He has had a number of near misses. But when have we ever seen him take his destinty into his own hands? I too would prefer to see him try and fail instead of his current strategy. And this stategy has been employed for how many years? And to no avail. Does he really need another Top 10 result to prove anything?

    George, if you “listening”, please go on the attack. If you fail, we will still enjoy seeing you take matters into your own hands!
    And you should know better than to let the likes of Boonen and Cancellara go on the attack an you not mark them. Who else were you watching and expecting to make the race?!?

  4. Roland 7 April 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I love George and would love to see him win, but … read the below:

    “We let our guard down when the [race-winning] move went; now we’re kind of kicking ourselves for it. In a race like Flanders, you have to be ready on every hill. ”

    Thats George talking in 2005 when he missed the move on the Valkenburg and lost to Boonen, de Peet and Klier. See the cycling news interview with him in 2005. I almost cried when I read his post race comments this year. You cannot keep telling the same story. I am sure he knows much better than I do, but I was yelling at the tv “you have to go with that!” It would be better for him to say – Boonen and Cance went, I couldn’t follow, seriously those two are in a league of their own.

  5. Paul 7 April 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Totally agree with comments on George. He won’t get too many more tries, so go on the attack!

    Tyler may grow into a classics guy, but I don’t see a Paris-Roubaix win just yet. It’s good to see him get some results he has always been strong, but I think his lead outs and positioning needed to improve, put him behind the HTC leadout and he would have a lot more wins by now.

    The Cav and Andre spat, would make a good reality TV show! I’m not sure Cav needs a new leadout guy – Renshaw looks like he is on the way back and was well up at Scheldeprijs today. As for Greipel having a chance to get in some “serious spotlight time” he finished in 22nd, 7 places behind Renshaw? Unless Cav gets the big Team Sky check this winter I think Andre the Giant will be looking for a new team.

    Paris-Roubaix Boonen v Cancellara again!

  6. Jim 7 April 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    re: Hincapie. Played it too tactical and was pissed he did.

    The way Boonen detonated and Spartacus rode away was compelling, but Monday armchair racers have forgotten TB got caught behind a couple of crashes and had to chase back hard, setting the stage for a cramp on the Muur.

    FC’s been skinny since Worlds and seems to have found a new layer of souplesse to go with raw power. Boonen was on another level. Turns out someone was on the floor above him.

  7. Nof Landrien 8 April 2010 at 6:58 am #

    I struggle to work out why Tommeke went with Cancellara from the top of the Molenberg, 44kms out. Maybe FC would have time trialled to victory anyway (and he was pulling 4:1 for Boonen, so it’s a good chance), but I think things might have been different had he been out there himself for the whole distance. I would have advised Boonen to sit up for the other Quicksteps (I think Wynants, Devolder and Chavanel were all in the lead bunch that got left behind by Cancellara’s acceleration on the Molenberg) and organised the chase, let Cancellara sit in the wind alone for as long as he likes.

  8. Big Mikey 8 April 2010 at 11:37 am #

    I’m with the crowd on GH. What he should have said was what Roland suggested….”I couldn’t go with the move, etc.” But making excuses is part of bike racing; for every race, there are 179 riders that have to have a reason why they didn’t win.

    And, to be fair, he’s probably not listed as a favorite anywhere other than in the English-speaking media. So he’s not fully to blame. We are told that he’s a favorite to win every year, when he’s doing well to make the podium.

  9. soxiam 11 April 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    there’s a video of cancellara explaining why we was sitting on the climb:

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