Sunday, 11 April 2010

Paris Roubaix - Spartacus enters the arena

Cancellara was stunning today, truly in a class of his own. I have been thinking since the finish, which was the most impressive, de Ronde or Roubaix. The move on the Muur was stunning and showed how much power he can deliver for such long periods. It proves what many people say in that long distance Time Trailing can be a benefit to Road Racing. But thinking about it Roubaix was the more stunning of the two, and for two clear reasons. In Flanders Cancellara was protected from the wind until about 80km to go, this left him bags of energy for the final bergs, in Roubaix the Team where spent well before this period as the action looked way hotter. He basically did more work. Again Fabian had another slick bike change, maybe he'll be doing some Cyclocross in the off season. The second reason was from how far out he attacked, nearly 50km is a long way. Boonen again was left isolated much earlier on than Cancellara, Flecha and Hushovd, again this meant just like in Flanders he had to do too much work. If I was a Quick-Step DS I'd be pretty pissed off today.

Specialized, Zipp and Sram will no doubt be using the victories over the last seven days heavily in the advertizing in the next few months. For Specialized they are 3/3, which for a bike manufacturer is a great piece of kudos. Sram are adding Monument wins like olives to a pizza, this is a great testiment to the quality of the product and how it's designed. I bet they are super pleased that the bikes didn't have the brake issues of last week. Zipp may well be the most pleased of all three. The cobbled wheel project was started some years ago, at least three, maybe four. The goal was to make a wheelset that could withstand the impact that driving a wheel into a cobble at 50kmph could yeald. They proved last year with Hushovd that they could last the course, this year they where used to win (and to grab second and fourth).

So the question on my lips is 'what else can he win', Fabian has talked about winning all five monuments. Liege-Bastogne-Liege may be difficult for Cancellara as it normally favours a rider who is more of a pure climber, but I never underestimate self belief and desire. Giro di Lombardia is well within his reach, although no walk in the park, he should be able to bag it. The question is how soon will he manage it. He's only 29 so he has some time to add them to his list and become only the fourth person to do so.


placid casual said...

nice summary.
today was a masterclass. disappointing that the eurosport commentary thought that it spoilt the race! for me it was another of 'those moments' that when i read about it in years to come will remember watching it live, not knowing how it was going to turn out.

i found myself wondering which race i prefer, the ronde or roubaix...

Rich said...

It's a difficult call, especially when both races where won in such a fantastic style. Both performances showed class and a rider who believes in his own ability.

For me, and it's close, I'd go with the Ronde. But both are what makes cycling a beautiful and a ridiculas sport, and maybe that's why I love it so much.