Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paris Roubaix 2011 - Brief thoughts

I would be remiss if I didn't make a couple of observations about this week's Paris Roubaix. So here we go... brief thoughts!

  • Johan Van Summeren is a stud. He's a nice guy who always puts himself out there for his team leaders... and never really gets any recognition for it. In fact, he's probably better known as one of the tallest men of the peloton at 6' 5.5" (1.97m). But he gutted it out and won the biggest race of his career.
  • To add to his studliness, he proposed to his girlfriend immediately after he won. Maybe I have a skewed sense of romantic... but I thought that was pretty damned cool.
  • Cancellara is still the strongest man in the peloton. But even the Swiss Time Machine will have trouble beating an entire field. Most of the strong men in the peloton did not ride to win... they rode to prevent Cancellara from winning.
  • Team tactics are what they are and Garmin played their cards right and won as a team. Tactically, I understand what Hushovd and Ballan were doing... but it was still a little aggravating. In fact, there was a short stretch after Cancellara stopped pulling where Ballan put his hand on his arm... probably saying something like "listen, I'm doing what I have to do to try to win this race but I understand it sucks for you."
  • Ballan and Hushovd (and to a lesser degree, Flecha) rode themselves out of the race.
  • A great week of racing with both an awesome Ronde and Paris-Roubaix. On to the Ardennes!!

Photos by Graham Watson.

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