Welcome to Flanders Club, Hoste Can Take DaPanne

Mar 29 2006

I apologize for another late post. Fortunately, there’s not too much on the News-o-Meter to cover today. THE FIRST RULE OF TOUR OF FLANDERS CLUB IS: You not talk about Tour of Flanders Club. THE SECOND RULE OF TOUR OF FLANDERS CLUB IS: You do not talk about Tour of Flanders Club. THIRD RULE: No shirt, no shoes. FOURTH RULE: Actually, the real rules are here (scroll to “Five rules”), along with a hidden fifth rule about waving flags in front of riders, which is actually the first rule (they made it last year), probably in response to a flag getting caught in Leif Hoste’s wheel about 230k into the ’04 Roubaix. Speaking of the Discovery rider, he snared his first win of the season at Three Days of Pain, today, smoking Pez’s early Flanders pick (scroll to bottom) Gert Steegmans, and Bernhard Eisel, who’s no slouch himself, in a three-up sprint. Most of the rest of the field rolling in a minute down, and in a race this short, that gap is significant.

But despite the windy, crash-happy fun at DaPanne, Flanders does seem to be the topic du jour this week (despite the fact that jour means “day”); Danilo Hondo is eligible to race, but first he needs a new team (scroll to “Hondo”). M-SR winner Pippo Pozzatto will be on hand to assist his teammate, Tom Boonen, who is apparently the Belgian Superstar of the decade. Despite the fact that the author’s own website has been humbling me with cycling trivia, I’ve got to object to the assertion that Freddy Maertens was the best Belgian rider, or even a dominant rider, in the 1980’s. Yes, his ’81 campaign, with a World Road Title and five Tour stages is nothing to sneeze at, but of his 142 pro wins, only 9 came after 1979. Of course, Mr. Jones does also have the advantage of having been alive back then, and probably knows better than I do who was dominant when; at any rate, he puts his first-hand knowledge to good use here in this Flanders/Wevelgem/Roubaix preview, which features an excellent photo of Greg Le(gour)Mond hiking his bike over one of the Muurs.

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