(AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
The prediction here last night was of a Fabian Cancellara repeat. The only repeat was that a CSC riders rode everyone off his wheel to win. This time the man in the CSC kit was Stuart O’Grady. The Aussie was in an early breakaway probably doing the work of setting things up for his teammate. O’Grady was able to keep ahead and counter attack when he was caught. He entered the Roubaix velodrome with over a 50 second lead which allowed him to comfortably take the lap and one half around and savor the victory.
Boonen looked stronger on the day, but could not do much to get away and catch O’Grady. Quick-Step is suffering a poor year for performance in Classics. The team is under-performing this year.
Juan Antonio Flecha gets a place on the podium again after missing out last year.
Fabio Baldato the old man of Lampre was in the mix for a while and finished in tenth place just behind Cyclocrosser Enrico Franzoi.
FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Roubaix awaits the tough men. My bet is for a Cancellara repeat this year. Cancellara has the form as he tried to get the action going at Flanders last weekend.
Others to watch for would be a very much on form Alessandro Ballan. He is on a hot streak after winning Flanders last week. He hung tough with Boonen last year and looks like he has the winning formula set. Ballan will be danergous but will be tough to mark since there are so man y favorites this year.
Tom Boonen does not have that extra gear this year. He was spoked at Flanders after a crash, but he did win several smaller races this year. Can Boonen make up for his lack of big results?
Magnus Backstedt is back and supposedly in great form, can he jump into racing and perform well enough to win? Or can it be Liquigas teammate Pippo Pozzatto? He has no pressure really and has already won Het Volk early in the season. He could be an outside contender. If he is near the front at the end, do not bet against the very cagey Italian.
Following the Tour of California Tour Tracker, the same technology will be used for the The Tour de Georgia Tour Tracker.
Allan Padgett of Adobe was originally involved in building the Tour of California Tour Tracker. He provided details on how it was built using the Adobe Flex Framework. The entire app was built within 4 weeks with only one or so developers. They were also using beta technology that was not fully tested. Cell phones were used to constantly broadcast GPS positions of riders. This was complicated at times when the course would run through areas where T-Mobile coverage was spotty or non-existent.
Allan even built a live Tour Tracker for the US Open Cycling Championships using only GPS data, no live video.
Needless to say there were bugs that needed to be worked out. Despite all of the issues the Tour Tracker did a great job of getting information on the bike races in real time. Something to geek out on while sitting at your desk.
Matt over at spokepost.com asked about Talcum powder in tubes and why it is not used any more on new tubes. You used to have a pwder around the tubes in the past, but now the tubes are sans-powder. We have all heard that you should use some sort of powder on tubes and it seems logical. Turns out you would be better off without it.
There is a cool list of “Underrated Sports Movies” that includes every cyclist favorite movie Breaking Away. If you don’t know, the story revolves around a boy from Indiana who gets into bike racing in the mid-70s. He idolizes cycling in Europe particularly idolizing Italians and Italian culture. He speaks Italian, shaves his legs, asks his mom to cook Zucchini and plays Opera music. The Dad gets pissed about this I-talian stuff and wants his son to get a real job.
Photo by: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
After winning the Three Days of De Panne Ballan looked to further continue his Belgian domination. That domination continued on Sunday with Ballan taking an very impressive victory at The Ronde Van Vlaanderen ahead of eternal Flanderian second Leif Hoste. Hoste did all he could as he went with Ballan when he attacked
on Muur of Geraardsbergen. Until that point most all of the favorites bar Fabian Cancellara were ready to pounce. Tom Boonen lead the group up the climb but did not seem to have the extra power to drop everyone. A powerful Ballan pounced up the most difficult section of the climb and was then followed by a very clever Leif Hoste. The pair worked perfectly to maximize their advantage as the chasers behind tried in vain to launch attacks. But after more than 100 miles in the Belgian countryside the extra snap needed to close gaps was not there.
The Inaugural US Open Championships in Virginia seemed to be a warm weather type of event. But my Central New York cold weather depression was lifted when I watched the NBC coverage and saw snow and cold temperatures greeting the riders. The weather was bad enough to delay the start of the race for 90 minutes, especially since the TV helicopters were downed. TV, I was surprised to see the event was on NBC Sports on a Saturday afternoon. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come?
The US Open Championships racing did not disappoint. CNY man Dan Timmerman of Kodak-Sierra Nevada was in an early breakaway when the weather was at its worst. Perhaps he was so used to riding in the snow that he had to show others how it was done. The Mexican Tecos team was said to be begging other teams for spare warm weather gear. The weather in the Richmond Virginia suburbs was nasty, the cobbled roads of Libby hill and some of the industrial sections of town made it feel like a Belgian Classic race. The Richmond circuit could have been more scenic and some of the roads seems to be in back alleys behind giant industrial buildings.
In secret meetings held during the last week in Lausanne, Switzerland WADA, USADA, ASO and the UCI have decided to drop all charges against Floyd Landis clearing the way for him to join French team Francaise De Jeux. Dick Pound the head of WADA was quoted as saying
“Well, I was in my kitchen working to unplug a stubborn clog in my sink. When I got underneath the sink I hit my head and passed out. When I came to it was like everything was so clear. It was as if my head was stuck between my buttocks for several years and now it is free and things just seem different. I remember all of these crazy things I said about cycling and doping and I am so embarrassed. I mean, I am a leader of a neutral organization and I said all of those crazy things, geez, sorry for being such a dick. I mean couldn’t someone just tell me that I had my head up my ass? Oh, I guess a bunch of people did…sorry.
Anyway, so I called up all the head guys at all of these letter organizations and said WTF are we doing bickering about all this shit. Lets get together and just drop this case so we can move on. Plus it helped that I flew them all in on the WADA plane which luckily for us, we don’t get tested for anything since a few of the guys, and I am not saying who like to drink the sauce a bit too much… hey, ha ha”
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Tom Boonen looks to be ready for the upcoming Classics. Boonen is always in contention for winning no matter what time of year it is, but his money is made in early April. The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are Boonen’s bread and butter races, so he needs to be on form and ready. This is why the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen win is important. E3 Prijs Vlaanderen (say that quickly) is an important appetizer race for the action that is to come in the next few weeks.
Fabian Cancellara showed very good form, but just was beat by the sprint of Boonen. No problem since Cancellara basically rode everyone off his wheel in Paris-Roubaix last year and looks like he can do the same again this year.
Cancellara actually thought he had a chance against Boonen in te sprint as he told cyclingnews.
The Time Trial World Champion was expected to launch an attack during the final kilometres but he waited for the sprint. “I wanted to play my cards in a sprint because I noticed Boonen wasn’t pedalling like normal, we’ve known each other since 1998 so you can see if something’s different.
He is known as Mr. 60 Percent in some circles and was a member of the notriously doped up Gewiss-Bianchi teamof the 90s. It was the high flying 90s and who wasn’t on something? But the past is the past and Bjarne just wants to move on. This is just one more reason why cyclist from the 90s and any other time should get some type of amnesty.
“I have never had a particularly close relation with Jef d’Hont and he has no validation for the allegations he is making. There will always be some one out there trying to make money by talking about the past and in my opinion that is probably, what he is trying to do here,” Riis said. “This is probably not the first nor the last time these kinds of stories surface. To me, it’s all in the past and I do not wish to be held accountable every time some one finds it interesting to bring up some ten-year-old story. I truly believe the future is much more important than the past. I want to be judged on the work I’m doing with my team today, and the results we achieve – that is what’s important to me.”