So excited... the Tour of Flanders is today!
Just to remind all of us of what happened last year when Cancellara decided to destroy the entire peloton. I suspect that it'll be much harder for him to win this year as he will be marked by every single team. But then again, he is Spartacus.
- Cancellara will win again. But this time he will attack after the Muur and ride away from the peloton (rather than on the climb itself).
- Hushovd and Gilbert will come in second and third, respectively.
- Boonen will not finish in the top 10.
Great race today for the Ronde van Vlaanderen! As noted by one of the commenters, I was 0-for-3 in my predictions for today's race. But it was still a spectacle. Cancellara was still the strongest rider in the peloton but a few things worked against him to foil his bid at a second Ronde title.
- Sylvian Chavanel's wheel-suckage. This sounds worse than it actually was. Chavanel did what any mortal being dragged along in Cancellara's wake would do... he just held on for dear life. But he didn't do any pulls in the front and he let Spartacus do all the work. This invariably changed Cancellara's mindset... I'd guess that if he didn't have a passenger to drag along, he very well might have gotten to the finish alone.
- All the teams were very mindful of Cancellara's escape and several teams (BMC and Sky, in particular) worked very hard and very cooperatively to catch Cancellara. Most of the pre-race analyses suggested that this would be an essential part of neutralizing Cancellara.
- Nick Nuyen's played a final crafty card at the end and was a faster sprinter than both Chavanel and Cancellara. Personally, I'm glad that he won instead of Chavanel. (There's something a little less "glorious" about winning after sitting on Cancellara's wheel for the last 40km of the race... though again, he did what virtually anybody else would've done.)
2011 Ronde images copyright ISPA photos.