Tour of Flanders – What A Race!

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If you weren’t able to stay up late last night and wach the Tour of Flanders on SBS you missed out big time. I can’t remember the last time I watched such an exciting and wide open race. I was jumping out of my skin for the final two hours!  If you’re tired and groggy at work this morning after a late night, you’re not alone.

Yesterday we witnessed the beauty of bike racing. The strongest man doesn’t always win. What fun would it be if Cancellara just TT’d away and won every race? The man who plays to his strengths, has patience, and goes with the right moves makes it possible to beat all of the favorites. I would have loved to see Gilbert, Cancellara and especially Chavanel take the win after animating the race like they did, but good-on Nick Nuyens for being the smartest man with the legs to back it up. Edge of the seat stuff!

My favorite moments of the Tour of Flanders:

1. SBS’s coverage of the race and Matt Keenan and Dave Mckenzie’s excellent commentary (in English to boot!)

2. Seeing Mitch Docker up in a breakaway that gained almost 8 minutes.

3. Chavanel and Gilbert both deserve the BIG RING award for their panache and making it such an exciting race to watch.

4. Cancellara for once again proving that he is the strongest rider in the world and the class he shows when defeated.

5. The win that no one expected by Nuyens. Did anyone tip that one?

6. Dash Cams in the team cars and seeing Bjarne Riis giggling like a kid in a candy store while watching Nuyens win.

My not so favorite moments:

1. Boonan – what was he thinking? Did he want the win for himself or for Chavanel?

2. A disappointing Classics campaign from Garmin Cervelo and the curse of the rainbow jersey for Hushovd.

Politics of Belgium

An interesting piece of trivia that I’ve discovered in a few different places. If you look closely at the iconic Lion of Flanders flags you see everywhere in the Belgian Classics, you’ll notice that there are two subtle but important versions. One of them is the “official” flag featuring a read and black lion (as above), and another has a completely black lion. As many of you already know, Belgium has set a new world record for being without a government (overtaking Iraq last November). The black Lion of Flanders is a symbol of a separatist movement of the Flemish who want to remove themselves from Belgium. My basic understanding is that Belgium is split into two distinct areas – the North (the Flemish, 6.5 million of them who speak Dutch) and the South (the Wallons, 4.5 million who speak French). These language differences have a way of heating up and causing tension between the two regions, thus a hung parliament. I’m over simplifying this of course, but you get the idea.

I don’t really care, as long Belgium keeps producing great beer, frites and exciting bike races. Bring on Paris-Roubaix! (yes..I know it’s in France…)

Awesome to see Mitch Docker having a good crack and playing a big part in the Spring Classics.

Hats off to Clarke, Cookie and Hayman for animating the race and doing Australia proud

You know Koen is giving it his all when the tongue starts coming out!

Ballan was the only one who could respond to Gilbert’s attack on the Bosberg

1 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard
2 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep
3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep
5 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank
6 George Hincapie (USA) BMC
7 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
8 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda’s Willems – Accent
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) SKY