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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