Reflections From The Ardennes Classics
In our final Spring Classics photo-series of three parts, we recap the Ardennes Classics through the lens of Kristof Ramon…
Ardennes Classics consists of Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège Bastogne Liège and is the third and final act of the Spring Classics. The early season racing begins with fireworks at Milan-San Remo, and then rebuilds throughout the Semi-Classics as a precursor to the Cobbled Classics. The racing then moves from gruelling cobble stones of Flanders and rises into the steep bergs and narrow roads of the Ardennes in eastern Belgium and the Netherlands where a new cast of riders emerge and the Grand Tour contenders come out to play.
What insights can we derive from the Spring Classics with the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France coming up? Here are a few of the obvious but significant ones:
– Thomas Voekler is going well and on track to deliver his exciting attacking style during the Tour de France. As always, he gives us a good show to watch and it’s looking like he won’t disappoint.
– Cadel is far behind where he was last year at this time. He pulled out of Amstel Gold with 60km remaining and withdrew from the rest of the Ardennes races. He finished 29th overall at the Tour of Romandie (which he won last year). Although Bradley Wiggins didn’t race any of the Spring Classics, he’s already won Paris-Nice and the Tour of Romandie and is looking like he’ll be the man to beat at the TdF.
– The Schlecks didn’t make an impact in the Ardennes and RadioShack-Nissan team manager, Johan Bruyneel, has split them apart and threw Fränk into their Giro lineup. WIll this move put them out of their comfort zone and force them race more for themselves? We’ll see…
– Vincenzo Nibali was third in Milan-San Remo and second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege by launching gutsy attacks and getting caught in the final moments. He’s not racing in the Giro, but he’ll be a man to watch out for at the Tour. He came 2nd at the Giro last year and 3rd the year before and won the 2010 Vuelta, so this man has proven that he has the maturity and development to win the Tour.
Here’s another beautiful photo gallery from Kristof Ramon of the 2012 Ardennes Classics just past: