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  1. #51
    LA CHEVRE
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSR View Post
    Not much is being said about BMC, which is fielding a very strong team. Going out on a limb, I'll say Thor for the win!

    BMC Racing Team Roster:
    Alessandro Ballan (ITA)
    Marcus Burghardt (GER)
    Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
    George Hincapie (USA)
    Thor Hushovd (NOR)
    Manuel Quinziato (ITA)
    Michael Schär (SUI)
    Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
    That's because the BMC riders are either not in shape (Gilbert and Thor), injured (Van Avermaet and Quinziato) or past their prime (Ballan and Hincapie)... I'd be very suprised if a BMC rider does better than hit the top 10... maybe Thor, he's the kind of rider, like Freire, that can quickly go from off-form to quite strong but...

    DAN GEROUS

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  2. #52
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    I don't think FC is doing it wrong per se, his main strenght is the TT where he can motor high pace for a sustained long time. So he uses that strenght to win.

    He attacks on brute force and if noone can hold his wheel he will surely win. This is the plan A and has been successful many times

    The problem is there is no plan B when this plan A fails.

    Usually teams organise their paved classics putting a man on the breakaway and keeping a good finisher in the bunch. If the breakaway fails, then they have another card to play on the bunch finish.

    FC's current team doesn't play this card, and he doesn't know where to stop plan A. maybe because there is no plan B in his mind.

    For example in Milano San Remo, when he realised he had 2 guys on his tail that he could not drop, and one is a good finisher, then he should realise that the game is over and fall back so his man on the bunch can have an option to win. But he doesn't do that and keeps going, virtually giving the win as a gift to that other guy. Well I think he thinks didn't lose anything in MSR , because had he left the bunch to catch them then most probably Sagan would have won. So the only plan B is keep going and hope he can beat the good finisher on the line, which in my mind is flawed because he is giving the advantage to the "wheelsucker" that would be fresher.
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  3. #53
    The Dropped 1
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    I dunno, Thor is looking pretty fit (hott). Is that a Honey Stinger in his hand?

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salsa_Lover View Post
    I don't think FC is doing it wrong per se, his main strenght is the TT where he can motor high pace for a sustained long time. So he uses that strenght to win.

    He attacks on brute force and if noone can hold his wheel he will surely win. This is the plan A and has been successful many times

    The problem is there is no plan B when this plan A fails.

    Usually teams organise their paved classics putting a man on the breakaway and keeping a good finisher in the bunch. If the breakaway fails, then they have another card to play on the bunch finish.

    FC's current team doesn't play this card, and he doesn't know where to stop plan A. maybe because there is no plan B in his mind.

    For example in Milano San Remo, when he realised he had 2 guys on his tail that he could not drop, and one is a good finisher, then he should realise that the game is over and fall back so his man on the bunch can have an option to win. But he doesn't do that and keeps going, virtually giving the win as a gift to that other guy. Well I think he thinks didn't lose anything in MSR , because had he left the bunch to catch them then most probably Sagan would have won. So the only plan B is keep going and hope he can beat the good finisher on the line, which in my mind is flawed because he is giving the advantage to the "wheelsucker" that would be fresher.
    Cancellara and Sagan on the same team could be a formidable duo in the spring classics.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous View Post
    To me, Fabian is too overconfident. Yes he's strong, more than most, if anyone... but he races as if he thinks he is sooo much stronger than the others that he thinks he can drop everyone, everytime... Which is not always the case. Then he complains that the others just stay on his wheel. When you have a locomotive pulling you to the line, away from the rest, not being a wheelsucker would be stupid.

    If Fabian wants to win, he has to be smarter about when/where he attacks. In the 2010 Ronde, he attacked at the right moment and quickly had a huge gap... but lately, he just goes but not always at times and places that can get him a gap that will stick, he needs a gap, not accelerate and pull the strongest others along. And in 2010, he had a strong team working for him for a long time. Bennati? Dopopo? On such a course? Those are no O'Grady! His comments that QuickStep have the responsibility in the race shows he knows this, he hopes he can just follow Boonen and his team until the finale... But if Boonen, Chavanel and Terpstra are still there at the end, they can just tag team him to wear him down...

    Didn't notice Freire was racing? Not sure the course is good for him though...

    Rabobank has Lars Boom and Matti Breschel, if Boom doesn't try to push Boonen out of his line, they could be a dangerous duo.

    Oh and I predict some Euskaltel riders will crash...

    Should be an interesting race that's for sure.
    Yep...

  6. #56
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    Tony Martin

    This guy has a big engine and can climb as well, so just wondering why he isn't a participant/contender in the early one day classics?

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salsa_Lover View Post

    FC's current team doesn't play this card, and he doesn't know where to stop plan A. maybe because there is no plan B in his mind.
    Yeah, I don't think when you are putting out the effort to ride away from the best bike riders in the world, after 5 or 6 hours, your mind is going through a lot of contingency options. But the other favorites were playing their cards as well by not going with him and thinking the break would fail.

    If Boonen thinks FC is 1-2% stronger, then he should be able to at least hold his wheel.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain stubbing View Post
    This guy has a big engine and can climb as well, so just wondering why he isn't a participant/contender in the early one day classics?
    I was also wondering about Tony Martin, not specifically for De Ronde but... I think I saw him being very sub-par à la Philippe Gilbert early in the season but haven't seen him since. Injured? Sick? His zombification is finally complete?

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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerminatorX91 View Post
    That was in Paris-Roubaix and I never said Boonen was infallible.

    Cancellara road Boonen off his wheel in the 2010 Ronde because he was having one of the best days of racing career while Boonen wasn't 100%.

    Cancellara trying make an attack on the Kemmelberg, 25km from the finish in Wevelgem wasn't a smart move. Boonen has been economical with energy lately wheres Cancellara always relies on brute strength to ride away from everyone even where its practically imposible and he's got two guys on his wheel that he can't drop. His physical gift works spectacularly sometimes but I don't believe he's as tactically smart as Boonen.
    When either man is in top form they both race boldly, I think I've seen more of this from Boonen than Cancellara. Boonen has attacked and isolated himself numerous times when he had 3-4 team mates with him. When they feel good (and sense the others don't), they go.

    FC can do it again. The new finish is an unknown. If FC doesn't make his signature move stick, Boonen wins the sprint. Sagan is great but I'd be surprised if he's got race winning kick after a race this hard. There's not much sitting in once De Ronde heats up so only the strongest have a chance in the end. I thought the same thing about Cav before he roasted everyone at MSR in 2009 though...
    Côte du Petit Pas d'Ane - Best climb name ever.

  10. #60
    waterproof*
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    this thread needs more video.

    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  11. #61
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    surprise winner

    Sylvain Chavanel
    “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.”
    -Groucho Marx

  12. #62
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    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by piano,piano View Post
    Sylvain Chavanel

    I wouldn't be surprised.

  14. #64
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    Great race.

  15. #65
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    I'm really liking Chavanel for this one. Boonen is my second pick.

    I don't think that Cancellara has lost any strength or form lately; i just think that the peloton is on to him. In the past, riders would let him go, turn up the gas, and start an impossible chase. I think that now, whereas in the past riders would be afraid to burn a match too early, they have realized that it is to their advantage to go ahead and essentially do an all-out sprint to catch him when he goes. I think that unless he catches his rivals not paying attention, it will be very hard for him to continue delivering those brutal wins in the future when racing against the big guns.

    I haven't counted him out though and still consider him a favorite.
    I like when you get to that point and I don’t know if it’s the endorphins kicking in or what, but you realize you’re so far from where you started, that you’re finally really somewhere else, a completely different place.

    -Richard Sachs-

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salsa_Lover View Post
    I don't think FC is doing it wrong per se
    What I wrote didn't come out right...he is doing what worked in the past. At Milan-San Remo he simply did it at the wrong time. If he had jumped when a couple of lesser riders were on his wheel he could have gapped them and rode away to win. But Gerrans and Nibali were too good to drop.

    Maybe he is still frustrated from last year's Spring campaign, and his anger overrides his logic. He was definitely the stronger rider there. He needs a team that can deliver him fresh to a point near the finish where he can jump away cleanly.

  17. #67
    Milk was a bad choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salsa_Lover View Post
    I don't think FC is doing it wrong per se, his main strenght is the TT where he can motor high pace for a sustained long time. So he uses that strenght to win.

    He attacks on brute force and if noone can hold his wheel he will surely win. This is the plan A and has been successful many times

    The problem is there is no plan B when this plan A fails.

    Usually teams organise their paved classics putting a man on the breakaway and keeping a good finisher in the bunch. If the breakaway fails, then they have another card to play on the bunch finish.

    FC's current team doesn't play this card, and he doesn't know where to stop plan A. maybe because there is no plan B in his mind.

    For example in Milano San Remo, when he realised he had 2 guys on his tail that he could not drop, and one is a good finisher, then he should realise that the game is over and fall back so his man on the bunch can have an option to win. But he doesn't do that and keeps going, virtually giving the win as a gift to that other guy. Well I think he thinks didn't lose anything in MSR , because had he left the bunch to catch them then most probably Sagan would have won. So the only plan B is keep going and hope he can beat the good finisher on the line, which in my mind is flawed because he is giving the advantage to the "wheelsucker" that would be fresher.
    All good points. I hope he doesn't come up with a Plan B, though because Plan A is so damn exciting to watch, even when it fails spectacularly. It can certainly not be said that FC leaves anything out on the road.

  18. #68
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    “I lost by trying to win, the others rode only to make me lose”

  19. #69
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    Im going with a dark horse, "Sagan"!

  20. #70
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    Big George!
    Buy the ticket, Take the Ride-HST

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icculus View Post
    Big George!

    Have you ever seen George up close in real life?
    Last edited by TerminatorX91; 03-31-2012 at 04:52 PM.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icculus View Post
    Big George!
    Naw..he's saving himself for Roubaix.

  23. #73
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    I would love to see Lars Boom win just so I could say, "Here comes the BOOM!"

    I don't know how much the teams have prepped on the new course. My guess is a lot. If Fabian can pick the right place AND TIME to ride away SOLO, he will win. But I don't think that will happen this go-around. Teams have shown the way to beat to him: never let a gap form and make him lead. Fabian will always work to pull the riders away from the Group because he can't win in a field sprint. Well, not a true field sprint. We have seen him hit the gas with 1k to go and take the victory. Even with his trick new bike I am not sure Spartacus can pull it off.

    BMC is fielding a good team, but I am not sure they have all the pieces together. Thor really seemed to enjoy stage poaching his way through France last year, Hincapie is there for pace-setting and tutoring (and American Fanbois), and for some reason I just don't see it.

    Boonen and Company have the target on their backs. They will need to control the race and have a designated springboard moment. Their worst nightmare would be for Boonen to flat with only Chavanal him 25k from the finish in a group of heavy hitters.

    I don't know why, but I keep coming back to Devolder. We have seen him take it. Twice. While lots of Belgain cheer will be targeted to Boonen, Stijn uses that fuel to best Boonen's Ronde record.
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  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by weltyed View Post
    I would love to see Lars Boom win just so I could say, "Here comes the BOOM!"

    I don't know how much the teams have prepped on the new course. My guess is a lot. If Fabian can pick the right place AND TIME to ride away SOLO, he will win. But I don't think that will happen this go-around. Teams have shown the way to beat to him: never let a gap form and make him lead. Fabian will always work to pull the riders away from the Group because he can't win in a field sprint. Well, not a true field sprint. We have seen him hit the gas with 1k to go and take the victory. Even with his trick new bike I am not sure Spartacus can pull it off.

    BMC is fielding a good team, but I am not sure they have all the pieces together. Thor really seemed to enjoy stage poaching his way through France last year, Hincapie is there for pace-setting and tutoring (and American Fanbois), and for some reason I just don't see it.

    Boonen and Company have the target on their backs. They will need to control the race and have a designated springboard moment. Their worst nightmare would be for Boonen to flat with only Chavanal him 25k from the finish in a group of heavy hitters.

    I don't know why, but I keep coming back to Devolder. We have seen him take it. Twice. While lots of Belgain cheer will be targeted to Boonen, Stijn uses that fuel to best Boonen's Ronde record.

    Anyone on any team could have a flat at a bad time and place. You seem to be not considering Terpstra and Steegmans with regard to the strength of Omega Pharma - QuickStep.

  25. #75
    AJL
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    Well after pondering the contenders for a while, I think OP-QS is the team to beat and that puts Tommeke and Chavanel as my first picks. FC is in good form and will be dangerous, I just don't see him getting away this year. This is a tough Ronde this year, I wonder who will be strong at the end besides the favorites. How badly will the three loops through Oudenaarde beat up the riders? It could be extremely selective b/4 the 15KM home straight. This could be a really good race, though the weather is unfortunately going to be nice.
    “In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.”
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