Wednesday, January 19, 2022
HomeCyclingFinish of Autumn Open Thread

Finish of Autumn Open Thread


64th E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2021
Picture by Tim de Waele/Getty Pictures

So many odd and ends…

A lot to say now I don’t know the place to start. I assume I’ll begin with my traditional vacation pleading — you possibly can’t imagine how busy my life is in December! What? Everybody’s is? Okay, effectively are you able to high Thanksgiving, straight into Hannukah (approach too early), straight into two child birthdays, capped off by a little bit of Christmas? I’ve registered this grievance earlier than, as a approach of letting why the area has been quiet, however no matter, it’s winding down and I can get away from household and holidays and pleasure, and again to essential issues like running a blog about biking.

Monte Carlo Beking 2021
Picture by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Pictures

WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT FLANDERS!

Pop Quiz: who’s the final Tour de France winner to get a high ten end result within the Ronde van Vlaanderen?

When you can’t consider that one, effectively, I’ve excellent news for you: you’ll most likely be capable of decide the subsequent one. Yesterday Tadej Pogacar’s camp introduced that the Slovenian double-Tour winner will take the beginning on the Ronde van Vlaanderen (he stated “4 monuments” however there’s just one headline to take from that). And I’m right here to announce that he’s going to get a very good end result.

Clearly this prediction is based on the proof that Pogacar is solely good at every little thing he tries. His climbing and time trialling want no introduction, however his sprinting is a bit underrated, or was earlier than final fall when he beat Fausto Masnada for the Lombardia crown, and took excessive placings in such occasions as Tre Valle Varesine (third), the Euro Champs (fifth), and the Olympics (third). One other curious information level is his 18th place in his lone try in Flanders, the U23 race, which he rode as a 19 yr previous in 2018 and completed within the bunch dash for second behind the likes of Robert Normal and Marc Hirschi.

So what can’t he do? His LBL win makes a very good case for him as a punchy climber who can navigate the twists and turns of Belgium. Flanders is kind of totally different, however what number of instances has he already ridden there and the way far more observe will he must succeed on the cobbles? My guess is, not very a lot. If he received, no one could be terribly shocked, would they? Flanders was much less of a specialists’ race (in comparison with Paris-Roubaix anyway) and has its share of former winners who had been grand tour stars. And whilst you by no means see Tour guys cease by to race Paris-Roubaix, presumably #5 of the 4 Monuments Pogacar is planning for subsequent yr, you see a trickle of them round at Flanders.

The potential issues for Pogs could be an absence of pack positioning ability, one thing his workforce may also help him with, and perhaps an absence of cobbles dealing with, although in Flanders the stones aren’t of a personality the place they will simply throw you off your bike. The likeliest situation is that he’s overwhelmed in a dash, or hammered off the wheels by Fast Step in a small group someday within the final 40 minutes or so. Second likeliest is that he will get caught on the Koppenberg behind some guys who’re strolling their bikes.

E3 Course Announcement

Our favourite Flanders warmup, the re-renamed E3 Prijs Harelbeke Saxo Traditional honoring the E… 17, introduced its 2022 parcours yesterday. I don’t see any drastic adjustments and it’s not price breaking down a map, since will probably be about the identical race we noticed final yr. However this can be a nice strategy to current a course that individuals may in any other case not be prepared to concentrate to:

Talking of Parcours Particulars

I assume perhaps you heard that the Vuelta is Going Huge in 2022? Right here’s one other enjoyable video model quite than the same old information. Oh and the squiggly yellow traces on the highest finish of the map? That’s the Picos de Europa. That’s the excellent news.

Go right here for the whole stage listing.

CX Examine-In: Getting Actual

One in all my convo threads talked about how the children have had their enjoyable however now the grownups have come dwelling. Sorry if that’s disrespectful to Eli Iserbyt and Quinten Hermans and Lars van der Vaar, however Wout Van Aert’s return has seen the smack laid down so completely that even wizened Cross followers are greatly surprised. Doesn’t he must heat up for a race or two? [Nope.] Aren’t the remainder of the group not less than able to pressuring him? [Sorry, no.] Can’t Pidcock not less than sluggish him down? [You’d think. And you’d be wrong.]

Van Aert has now received all three of his begins in Cross this season, with the Christmas Interval races looming massive. Saturday was in Italy on the Val di Sole World Cup, raced on a carpet of snow. It went… fairly effectively? Regarded loads like a standard race besides in sure sections and corners the place dealing with the bike turned practically unimaginable. Van Aert himself crashed a pair instances, as did most likely everybody else.

The Kerstperiode is the Cross equal of late March-mid April for the cobbles: a continuous rolling sequence of races that everybody exhibits up for. Rucphen (NL) is subsequent this Saturday, and was slated to be the place Mathieu van der Poel started his world championship protection, however he banged his knee in coaching and has pushed his begin again by every week. Nonetheless, there are many races occurring, with Van Aert and Pidcock already going and van der Poel about to affix the enjoyable. Van Aert shall be at just about each race, and the Wout-Matti showdowns are marked beneath.

  • 12/18 Rucphen NL (WC)
  • 12/19 Namen BE (WC)
  • 12/26 Dendermonde BE (WC) WVA-vdP
  • 12/27 Heusden Zolder BE (Sup)
  • 12/29 Diegem BE (SUP) WVA-vdP
  • 12/30 Loenhout BE (X20) WVA-vdP
  • 1/1 Baal BE (X20)
  • 1/2 Hulst NL (WC) WVA-vdP

January stays busy and each van der Poel and Pidcock are concentrating on a go to to the Worlds in Fayetteville, Arkansas (USA), the place there shall be a not inconsiderable Podium Cafe contingent available, together with myself. So begin gearing up!

Quiz Reply

Geraint Thomas registered a career-best eighth place (he was beforehand tenth) on the 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen. Thomas would go on to win the Tour de France in 2018.

Nevertheless! If you would like a greater analogy, a rider who was already a Tour de France champion when he rolled as much as the Ronde van Vlaanderen and received a end result, you would need to go all the best way again to… take a wild guess… Eddy Merckx, who received de Ronde in 1975, whereas holding all 5 of his Tour de France titles.

Extra lately, 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali rolled up and took twenty fourth on the 2018 Ronde. Greg LeMond missed being the reply to this query by a year-plus, taking seventh in Flanders in 1985, simply earlier than his breakthrough 1986 season in France. Additionally Joop Zoetemelk was tenth in Flanders a yr earlier than his Tour win. Possibly the perfect latest instance is 1990 Giro d’Italia winner Gianni Bugno exhibiting up and taking the Flanders victory in 1994. Or that will be an amazing instance if outcomes from the Nineteen Nineties had any that means.

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