The Moment The Ronde Was Won

Embed from Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel attacks on the Koppenberg. Matteo Jorgenson and Mads Pedersen try to chase but they’re quickly distanced, the Dane loses 30 seconds by the top but fared better than the rest of the lead group as they were left walking up the climb. Van der Poel left them standing.

Embed from Getty Images

A fast start and a break of eight riders from seven teams: Bert Van Lerberghe (Quickstep), David Dekker (Arkéa-B&B), Stanisław Aniołkowski (Cofidis), Damien Touzé (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale), Lionel Taminiaux (Lotto-Dstny), Jelle Vermoote (Bingoal) and Jayco pair Luke Durbridge and Elmar Reinders. It feels mean to point it out but Quickstep might have placed a rider there otherwise they’d have nothing else to write home about. Worse, some teams missed the move and it showed. Pre-race briefings were not executed for the likes of Bahrain, Flanders-Baloise and DSM Firmenich-PostNL as they chased and tried to fire riders across. The gap came down below 10 seconds but it couldn’t be closed. The break had plenty of strong rouleurs, the chase wasn’t as determined and Alpecin-Deceuninck were marking moves. After almost an hour the move was allowed clear.

The bunch sat up to peel of layers of clothing and stop for a pee, one of the curiosities of cycling is that these actions happen on and during the field of play but it marked a break all the same. As if to emphasise the difference of the sport the breakaway was halted by a closed level crossing. As per the rules they had to stop but since the bunch didn’t catch them it was just a “racing incident” and they lost the best part of a minute. It all marked a more predictable, more stable opening phase to the race compared to last year’s crosswind crashfest with the likes of Mathieu van der Poel being caught out of position. Several spectators were sporting rabbit suits, plenty had signs wishing Wout van Aert well.

Back on the start line a theme of Flemish TV had been where the race might come alive with talking of “opening” the race on the Molenberg with over 100km to go. It made sense with several teams wanted to get ahead of any move by Van der Poel. It also had a self-fulfilling element: the more the idea took roots, the more it would work. The signs of stress appeared with the first hard crash and also the roadside flags were not fluttering, they were positively flapping with the wind looking more selective than announced.

If the plan was to get ahead of Van der Poel and force his team to react, Alpecin pre-empted this by sending Axel Laurance up the road with the strong Jonas Abrahamsen of Uno-X. The move didn’t last long as none other than Matteo Jorgenson accelerated on Wolvenberg with 113km to go. Moments later Mads Pedersen launched on the Molenberg. It had Sporza’s lead commentator Karl Vannieuwkerke exclaiming “koers, koers, koers” in delight. All this ate into the breakaway and with 100km to go the lead eight had just 1m40s. Soon the rain began to fall.

Alaphilippe attacked next. He dragged a move clear and Van der Poel jumped across in person, the first of several solo moves. From this Dylan van Baarle pulled a group clear which swept up the early breakaway on the Berendries and quickly took 20 seconds. Alpecin-Deceunick had three workers lead the chase on the Valkenberg. Then Van der Poel made another luxury solo move to bridge across to the lead group. Too much, too nervous? Just very confident.

Embed from Getty Images

Pedersen jumped as Van der Poel came across. He was marked by Alpecin’s Gianni Vermeersch and in time the pair shared the work: ideal as this proved to be an important move away for 30km. Never much more than 20 seconds and it meant Alpecin-Deceuninck forced others to chase while Van der Poel’s greatest rival, on paper, was using up resources.

Embed from Getty Images

With 56km it was up the Oude Kwaremont and Van der Poel led the chase and passed Pedersen. Again another strong solo ride and enabled in part because his team mates had been doing other jobs for him on the approach. Over the top there was daylight between him and the rest with the remnants of the peloton scattered into fragments but he didn’t press on. Things regrouped on the way to the Paterberg but by now it was clear who was the strongest rider, the question was whether Van der Poel could keep a lid on things.

The effort done and the strategic location passed there’s often a move that floats away after the Paterberg, it doesn’t win the race but can allow riders to get up the road in order to latch on later. This time it was Ivan Garcia Cortina. Only he didn’t stand a chance and as soon as he reached the Koppenberg he stalled and stopped to let some air out of his rear tire.

Embed from Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel launched up the Koppenberg just where the slope pitched up. He was in full flow, head bent low, shoulder blades rising like dorsal fins. In his lowest gear but not spinning, he forced the bike up as his rear wheel slid on the mud smeared across the cobbles. Behind the best of the rest were stuck, as soon as one rider lost control the others had to unclip and in no time many were walking up. With the steep slope, the oleaginous coating and little traction from plastic cleats racers were left hunched over their bikes taking dainty steps, the world’s best briefly resembling osteoporotic grandmothers advancing with Zimmerframes.

Jorgenson did a great climb and was only five seconds behind over the top. Pedersen was next but he was 30 seconds down and after little more than 250 metres. Jorgenson chased but during the descent five seconds became six, seven and that was it, Van der Poel was gone. His was two styles, an upper body that was rocking, seemingly determined to shove the air out of the way, all while his feet spun perfect circles.

Jorgenson was swept up over the Taaienberg and from here on two races began. Up front with a comfortable lead to manage and his team car riding behind in case of a mechanical, Van der Poel embarked on a victory lap of the last circuit of the Hotond-Kwaremont-Paterberg, albeit without any trace of celebration and he kept riding like he had 30 seconds’ lead. Behind there was a race for second place.

Embed from Getty Images

Dylan Teuns and Alberto Bettiol took off on the long Hotond climb, the ideal place for Bettiol as a diesel-style rider but the pair would be reeled right at the end thanks in part to UAE having four riders in the chase on the long road to Oudenaarde. In the sprint for second it looked like their efforts came to nothing as Luca Mozzato surprised with second place to pip Michael Matthews. Only the Australian was relegated for not sprinting straight and so Nils Politt made it onto the podium.

The Verdict
The predictable outcome and even the predicted move but spectacular all the same. Van der Poel was clearly the strongest, making moves that others couldn’t, and long before the Koppenberg too. No team, no teams even, could get ahead of him and he turned the race into a one-man show for the final hour. He looked serious to the end, he never mugged to the cameras in the way Pogačar often breaks the fourth wall on his way to a win, he was on a mission and only celebrated after crossing the line, unclipping and hoisting his bike above him.

The other steps on the podium feel almost anecdotal but it’s a breakthrough ride for Luca Mozzato, long a handy sprinter in tough bunch sprints in Coupe de France races, now on the podium in a Monument and in grim conditions too. Matthew’s relegation was questionable for the danger he posed but no disputing the way he started on one side and finished on the other. Mads Pedersen was valiant and visible throughout, with luck he can recover in the coming days.

There’s the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday and Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. The forecast is for rain all week. A wet Roubaix is a fine thing but once a generation is sufficient. Such conditions just suit Van der Poel who can aim for the first Roubaix double since Tom Boonen in 2008-2009 and the first Ronde-Roubaix double since Fabian Cancellera in 2013. We make comparisons to the past because he was above his peers today.

Embed from Getty Images

66 thoughts on “The Moment The Ronde Was Won”

  1. Great summary and event once again. Wonderful to see the packed roadside crowds despite the rain.
    It is no mean feat to be both the favorite and the clear winner of a Monument. Chapeau MVDP.
    Roll on Paris – Roubaix.

  2. If he had that in his bag of tricks, I think that sprint showed that Mathews just made a mistake rather than trying to be a gentleman in San Remo.
    If only he had moved more a few weeks ago, and less this weekend and he would have had a very sucessfull spring!

    • Is it only the TikTok generation with the short attention span that are bored of seeing examples of such consistent sporting achievements?

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the coverage!
    I missed the moment the commentator said ‘koers koers koers’ but it must have been Karl or José de Cauwer. Michel Wuyts retired from the public broadcaster a few years ago 😉

  4. Must say that the contrast of the predicted winner and the absolutely unexpected 2nd and even unlikely 3d spots is highly puzzling to me. Almost as puzzling as strong guys like Pedersen and Jorgensen jeopardizing their chances on a good placing in such obviously pointless ways. As Dylan Teuns said after the race, second time up on the Kwaremont it was clear the MVDP was the best of them all so why waste energy in pointless moves? It’s all the more entertaining for us viewers (and armchair critics) but it is really hard to understand.

    • I guess Van der Poel’s absolute superiority has people doing increasingly desperate things to try and somehow conjure a win.

    • I read this and thought ‘good point’…
      Then I thought, hang on haven’t you answered your own question?

      A dominant performance from the favourite forced those actually racing for the win (basically only Jorgensen and Pedersen it felt like) into desperate actions allowing less expected riders to pick up the places. Makes sense to me – as you say.

      But I really do think both Pedersen and Jorgensen are getting far too much stick for their performances – Pedersen even after the race I thought was way too hard on himself?

      From my point of view once yesterday got to 100km out and the collective peloton hadn’t broken Alpecin to isolate MVDP the race was pretty much over – the only way you ever beat a dominant favourite is by isolating them early – and when MVDP himself bridged over to the only dangerous move of the race, it really was over barring a crash or mechanical?

      I can’t understand whether it was the headwind that made attacking too difficult or the other riders didn’t realise how far superior MVDP was or the strongest riders were unwilling to take the necessary risks as early as they needed to – but for anyone wanting beat MVDP, imo they lost before the final 100km by not ganging up on Alpecin earlier to isolate him and force the fave into more tactical decisions once the endgame came.

      I guess the problem is the only way to make that plan work was for strong riders to take risks early, which is understandably a big ask – but of the true faves only Pedersen really went for it (aside from the usual early Politt move and the forlorn Alaphillipe attempts) and for that I think Mads should be praised and it’s the other riders and teams who genuinely wanted to win who should be criticised for not following his lead and doing similar earlier to create a scenario that gave MVDP a tactical headache. It’s harsh to criticise either way when a rider is as dominant as MVDP but I definitely don’t think we should be too hard on those who actually try?

      It’s true Pedersen’s attack was a lost cause and maybe he cost himself a podium but he’s already been a World Champ and had an Flanders podium, and it was also obvious that returning to the group just further confirmed MVDP advantage/likely win at that point – so why not stick it out in case something odd happened? He was damned either way, especially when injured, but for me the intention should be praised and if anything, rather than conserving energy, he&Trek would have been better to double down and attack earlier… that way he may have drawn others out possibly and increased the likelihood of something strange happening that might end up with either him or Skujiņš getting lucky.

      As for Jorgensen, he just went all in and got caught by the length and his inexperience – no shame in that, he’s a brilliant rider with a great future so again, I think again he should be praised for trying.

      Those who played the conservative game on lesser teams got their just rewards and deserve praise (Mozzato and the unfortunate Matthews) but the stronger teams like UAE, Ineos, Visma are the ones I’d be critical of, Politt got 3rd which is great but UAE had three riders in the top10 and four in the top20, surely they could have done more earlier in collaboration with Trek/Pedersen, Visma and others?

      Anyway. Pure armchair DS’ing going on – and fully accept any criticism and differing opinions. I’m just a slightly frustrated fan as I wish MVDP had had to work a bit harder for the win.

      But whatever happened he’d likely have won.
      It was a remarkable performance and he’s exceptional.
      As always with this golden generation it’s a privilege to watch them.
      It was just a far lesser race than 2022’s one for the ages.

      • “teams like UAE, Ineos, Visma are the ones I’d be critical of … surely they could have done more earlier in collaboration with Trek/Pedersen, Visma and others?”

        I’m reminded of what Pedersen said last year, when asked why he didn’t latch on when Pog went streaming by on the Kwaaremont: “You have to know your limit.” And what Pidcock said after Strade: “There were dead bodies everywhere … it felt like we were in the grupetto.”

        A shame WvA got hurt and Pog didn’t show up, but it was still a spectacular race: it’s Flanders, with an imperious MVDP, and the Koppenberg in the rain is always special.

        • Yeah, I just wanted to defend him a little – as I really don’t see a huge change in the result either way and thought it was unfair Pedersen getting so much criticism – especially when we all knew he was injured.

          Although I acknowledge it shows how absurd modern racing is by saying ‘attack earlier’ as people are still going so far out compared to when this route was first ridden as Cancellara’s column on cycling news noted.

      • Jorgensen spent too much time wasting energy that his team-mates should have been expending (and it wasn’t as if he didn’t have them most of the time). Not that it would have changed the result and it was that certainty that detracted from the excitement.

  5. “, the world’s best briefly resembling osteoporotic grandmothers advancing with Zimmerframes.”
    That had me laughing out loud. Chapeau. As to MvdP, it’s a privilege to witness such a convincing display as the favourite. Same as Pogacar’s ride at Strade it’s a spectacle every time.

    • Yes! That whole paragraph is Pulitzer quality. Had me laughing and grateful for this blog. It’s the “adult table” of sports and cycling journalism.

  6. Another win lacking much drama, but I don’t mind that some other contenders blew themselves up trying to stay in the race with MVDP. I prefer that to having everyone start battling for second place from 80 km out.

  7. On one hand I understand the sentiment of this race being boring because of the inevitably of the outcome so far from the finish, but on the other hand I still find it exciting to witness the pure class of a generational talent. The race between the two chase groups also provided a good deal of suspense, at least for those rooting for Bettiol or Teuns (myself being a Bettiol fan). Gutted for both of them.

    • Likewise, agree.

      Although I slightly preferred Pog’s win at Strada because it felt like he really tested himself by going even earlier than previously but obviously Flanders is a more valuable race so it wasn’t a time for MVDP to be reckless, even if it was hard not to watch yesterday (despite his interview after) and feel like it was a slightly easy win that didn’t really push Van Der Poel to his limits.

      Was a little surprised by INRNG ‘s seemingly criticising Pog for mugging the camera on his way to wins above, unless I’ve read the word ‘mugging’ wrong (and apologies if so). I personally feel like all sports desperately need characters and it’s great when riders are allowed to express themselves, I vividly remember Voeckler’s 2011 gurning and him getting called out for playing to the cameras, as does Alaphillipe, but I don’t see the issue – life and cycling would be exceptionally dull without the characters and it’s usually quite a boringly macho sentiment that wants to put the flamboyant back in their box/back in line in favour of ‘real’ men who look determined and serious on their way to victories! Honestly who cares? At some point Pog will experience the misery of life and be hollow and depressed like the rest of us, happy to let him play to the cameras until the grind of time and pointlessness of day to day existence dawns.

  8. This was a real triumph for Alpecin as a team. Often under scrutiny for being unable to properly support MVdP, they were exceptional covering individual moves and closing the gap between groups allowing MVdP to brilliantly bridge. They played Pederson’s possibly ill-advised move perfectly. With recent success, it seemed Mads got over his skis and quickly realized he’s not a go at 80K kind of rider. Although I love the confidence. He’s not far off from that. This was an exciting race throughout. MVdP was perfectly positioned to mitigate the slick conditions of the Koppenberg using his cross skills to affect the final split. With all the hard effort from the other riders to that point, you could sense their dreams of grandeur sucked right out of them. However, in those conditions, anything could have happened to the end.

    • 100% agree.
      The deserve huge kudos for yesterday.
      For all MVDP’s brilliance, it was the teams ride that actually impressed me the most yesterday. They were excellent.

  9. Small note –
    I really loved The Cycling Podcast’s review of the race?
    Wondering if other’s listened?

    Big Friebe fan anyway, find him smart but with that kind of oddball energy that keeps you interested in whatever he has to say next and feels like there’s a nice on-air rapport building with Richard Abraham, who initially sounded a bit too much like a soft-voiced shaman for me, the kind of voice you could imagine a hypnotist having, but I’m starting to enjoy. Add Mitch Docker into that team and you’ve got a winning combination.

    Thought Friebe was punchy and funny yesterday, plus spot on saying it was a easy victory… was a nice antidote to the commentary calling everyone a legend, a warrior… blah blah blah… in a ‘race for the ages’ in what was really a slightly forgettable edition of Flanders!

    Also big LOL for calling Flanders a good race for cycling snobs – 100% agree!

    Looking forward to a thousand promo clips saying how Roubaix’s cobbles ‘aren’t like your puny city cobbles!’ (as if anyone cares??) in the coming week… more looking forward to the race though, massive Roubaix fan. Easily the most consistently great monument.

  10. Take away 1st place and the battle for the podium was very exciting.

    Cut to me cursing the broadcast as i am looking at what is happening behind MVDP way down the road after he finished trying to determine if the dots are getting closer to each other.
    I wasn’t a huge fan of how the drone was used not because it wasn’t interesting footage but because it was shown without regard to the race situation at the end when i was trying to make sense of the various groups of riders so it sort of interrupted the race coverage.

    I did see a commentator or 2 consider if the Koppenberg was too decisive a climb because the race was seemingly over at that point. But i don’t see it that way as it was a long way from the finish and all the groups behind split up and reformed many times. There was lots of time to chase down MVDP, he was just too superior.

    • Ad Koppenberg issue: in dry conditions it was not so decisive in the near past. There is usually one decisive berg, but every time it is different one. So there is an element of surprise always and being well positioned is important in addition to available power and stamina. Great race in spite of dominant winner.

  11. Impressive domination of Flanders by such a talented rider. In his current form, would Pogačar have been able to beat MVDP if he were there?

    • Impossible to say – but given his dominance over MVDP last year I’d take a punt at yes.
      I also think it’s what slightly takes away from Sunday’s result/race as a whole. Shame we weren’t able to see the rematch. I won’t start my calendar ramblings again but it’s why I think fans have a legitimate grip when we/they feel short changed by not seeing the best riders battling in the best races consistently – especially when that when leaves a race like Flanders only one badly timed crash away from having a single overwhelming favourite to nullify the proceedings.

  12. It’s weird, despite every rider being at an amazing level just to be in Sunday’s race, it really does seem like it was a day for the losers this year – some dreadful results when you look down the finishers – (sure some of these were for crashes etc I’m yet to hear about):

    38 TURNER Ben (assume P-R is more for him but still expected more)+ 04:29
    41 KÜNG Stefan (must be a crash as was 5th+6th last two years)+ 04:29
    47 ASGREEN Kasper (what a disaster?)+ 07:35
    50 WRIGHT Fred (expected more, better at P-R I guess?)+ 07:35
    59 GIRMAY Biniam (hoping he finds form later in year?)+ 07:35
    70 ALAPHILIPPE Julian (despite form, amazed he’s so far back)+ 07:43
    78 MOSCON Gianni (what happened to Moscon?)+ 11:49
    83 VAN BAARLE Dylan (he was ill I believe?)+ 12:30

    also shout out for the magnificently named:
    53 CRAPS Lars + 07:35
    Hope we hear a lot more about Mr Craps in the coming years.

    • Biniam had some decent form until the horrible crash last Wednesday, in a race you probably didn’t watch cause you only want races with all the best.

      • Ha, good point, I forgot he was involved – desperately want to see him kick on this season.

        And yes, I totally agree, we should all take some time to look down on and if possible shun anyone who who doesn’t spend the majority of their lives watching cycling coverage, the scum that they are!!

    • I was spectating at Oude Kwaremont. Asgreen, Alaphilippe and another QS rider went up the last time way behind and with waterproof jackets on. They had obviously given up by that point and presumably stopped to put layers on. Only Lampaert appeared to have attempted to race on.
      It was a bizarre race in some ways for the lack of any sort of concerted opposition to MVdP/Alpecin. I’d worry for the combined mental health of the peloton if MVdP steamrollers them again on Sunday, which I fully expect he will.

      • I noticed a fair amount of booing of MVDP (while Carlton Kirby informed us all of how much the Belgians love him) and even an unidentified liquid thrown on him on the Kwaremont, sadly. How did you find the crowd – was it just the odd brainless nationalist?

        • I was stood a couple of metres up from where what I think was beer was thrown at him. The spectators at that point on that side opposite me were in some sort of VIP/garden party and were by this stage absolutely leathered. I only noticed the beer throwing when I watched my own video back.
          I didn’t notice any booing. There was some pro WVA chanting from some young presumably Belgian lads, but also quite a lot of pro MVdP stuff from Dutch and French fans. I heard a lot of ‘Allez Mathieu’ where I was. The only thing negative towards him I noticed in real time was whistling from some of the crowd at a big screen TV when he crossed the line. But that was equalled by the amount of people applauding him.

        • I noticed that – Kirby in full on gushing mode about MVDP was adored by the Belgian crowd even though Dutch, while the sound track was steady booing up the Kwaremont and at least at one point what looked like beer being thrown!

    • Küng had an early crash and was always on the back foot thereafter.

      Turner rode a good race I thought; he was still in contention well into the finale and had been attacking before VdP got away. I guess if your legs go, they go – but better to have tried and failed than ridden an anonymous race into 20th place, in my view. I’d love to see him take a big win somewhere, but I suspect he is one of those riders who will always be challenged, in our hosts own phrase, “but how to win?”

  13. Truly a ridiculous ride by Pedersen. It was patently obvious that going from so far out with only one of MVDP’s team mates for company was a terrible idea. And yet he carried on for lord knows how many km, totally scuppering his own race.
    So much for the riders being controlled by radios – what was his DS thinking letting him do that?
    Sean Kelly, Dan Lloyd and Robbie McEwen all said the same thing in commentary. (Kirby incessantly banged on about how ‘brave’ and ‘superb’ it was, which is all you need to know.)
    I questioned some teams’ tactics here in the race preview, and I stand by that.

    • ‘Ridiculous’ was the word Sean Kelly was quoted as using to describe Pedersen’s riding, so I feel like I can use it here. Also, I don’t need to have ever raced to know that riding on the front for tens of kilometres, always fewer than 30 seconds ahead of the peloton is not the way to ride a race.
      Pedersen looked good enough – even after all that – to have possibly taken 2nd if he’d ridden with any tactical nous whatsoever.

      (Matthews clearly regretted his not veering across the road in Sanremo and decided to give it a bash here.)

      • Matthews “move” surely seemed more the result of exhaustion than conscious tactics? Not saying he shouldn’t have been relegated just that any blocking, if there really was any, wasn’t much thought out.

    • Well it was certainly brave (foolhardy?) and MVDP’s team probably thought it was a superb move. Maybe that’s what he meant?!

      • Yeah, it was definitely foolhardy and any commentator is right to point it out, I just think given a pause post race there’s a more thoughtful reading of Pedersen’s tactics where they’re not as stupid as they initially seem – but that’s the problem with a favourite as dominate as MVDP, pretty much everyone looks silly in the aftermath if they do anything other than race for the podium or a top10.

    • It was fair enough to try I think. And fair enough to take an all or nothing, 2nd is the 1st loser approach. But once he only had Vermeersch sat on his wheel and it was obviously going nowhere he should really have sat up.

        • I obvs see what you mean and do agree.

          I guess what I’m thinking is that watching at that exact moment once MVDP had bridged across, I (and assume everyone here) was thinking he had 99% won barring a crash/mechanical – and pretty much everything was futile because they’d collectively failed to break his team earlier to create a difficult scenario for MVDP… so whatever Pedersen did or didnt do at the point where he saw no one come with him aside from Ganni V was going to make zero difference – knocking it off or staying away both meant he (or whoever he was riding for) had likely lost so I just can’t have too much of a go at him when it was essentially a lose-lose? Even if he just kept riding out of frustration I’d forgive him.

          But obviously you are right, you never know and it would’ve been sensible to knock it off, even if to stop every commentator jumping on his back after!!

          It likely says more about the deflation I was feeling for the prospects of a good race at that point that i sympathised with Pedersen Pershing a lost cause!

          • I was watching a big screen with muffled Belgian commentary and to be honest I presumed Pedersen wasn’t 100% after the crash the other day and was working in some way to set up a teammate!

          • yeah, I was watching thinking the same also tbh.

            I actually listened to the second Cycling Podcast with Mitch Docker who had more enthusiasm for the race than I expected and caused me to reflect on my thoughts after.

            I don’t think it was a great edition but I do think maybe Visma and others tried harder to break up the race early than I thought while watching and maybe the truth is Alpecin and MVDP were just excellent and they deserve all the praise and no one deserves criticism.

    • I came here to post basically the same thing. It’s one thing doing a little solo attack to see who he can bring along, unfortunately he only managed to get a teammate of Matthieu’s to wheel suck.

      I had my head in my hands, crying at the screen, when he just kept going and going and going. For… 30 km? All he did was kill himself. When it was perfectly obvious the winning tactic for /him/ was to sit on VdP’s wheel and just do his best to be there with MvdP at the end. If he could achieve that, he can beat Matthieu in a sprint. That was his chance!

      Maybe he was thinking he needed a buffer to get over the final bergs, that he couldn’t stay with MvdP on them. But… an attack at 100+km didn’t help him with that!

      Not sure what Mads was thinking!

      And he was, despite his crash earlier in the week, one of the strongest there. He had a chance, if he’d done a canny race and gotten it to a small bunch sprint at the end. His tactics… went against that objective :).

      Mads, Mads, Mads! 🙂

  14. “A wet Roubaix is a fine thing but once a generation is sufficient.” – Can’t say I agree with that. Weather is all part of racing, and a rainy Roubaix is fabulous. We’ll no doubt have to endure lots of ‘safety’ complaints, and we already have the headline, “Riders ask for Paris-Roubaix chicanes to slow sprint into Forest of Arenberg”.

    So, the riders are apparently happy to ride Arenberg on tyres that come off the wheels on rough terrain, but they want to be artificially slowed rather than decide themselves at what speed they go. And, as many retired riders have said, a lot of the danger is caused by the riders being told to get to the front by their DSs at ‘dangerous’ points, thus making that danger a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The charge into the Forest is one of the great moments in the cycling season. Also, as safety measures go, I suspect all this will do is create a sprint for the chicanes before the Forest of Arenberg.

  15. Great write-up as always, thanks. One little thing slipped through, it seems:
    >Jorgenson accelerated on Wolvenberg with 1130km to go.
    No wonder he could not stay away for that amount of distance.

Comments are closed.