Economic Cycles

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Ronde van Vlaanderen Predictions

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April is perhaps the greatest month for professional cycling outside of July. This coming Sunday is a big reason for that. The Tour of Flanders is my favorite race of the year by a long shot. It has all the passion, aggression, and luck of any one day race, but what separates Flanders are the cobbles and 20% grades. There is almost nothing more enjoyable than seeing your favorite hard men wincing with pain as they try to turn their gears over — with a cadence of around 42 — on a 22% cobbled climb. It’s pure magic.

With that in mind, I’m going to attempt to make some predictions about Sunday’s race:

First and very obvious prediction – Cancellara is the man to beat. ‘Nuff said.
Second: Phillipe Gilbert is my runner up.
Third: Tom Boonen will not be the clear cut second best. I predict he won’t even finish in this year’s top 10. Bold? Yes, I know.
Fourth: Peter Sagan is my darkhorse pick for a solid top 5 finish.
Fifth: Only 1 Garmin rider will crack the top 10 (and I’m not even sure about that).
Sixth: Pippo, several riders from BMC, and Stuey O’Grady will animate the race. Pippo because he’s sick and tired of being called a wheel sucker, BMC because they are super strong this year, and Stuey because he will be let off his leash due to Cancellara’s dominance.

Will this year’s Ronde feature another long escape? I hope not. The only person capable of that is Cancellara, and as much as I love the guy, I want the last 10 K’s to be a war among several hard men. I want to see men with dirty faces on the verge of tears riding side by side, looking one another over, assessing the damage they’ve done. Who looks like they want to quit? Who looks determined? Who looks willing to die for this win? With less than 10K’s to go, the rider with the biggest heart will attack in desperation. Not because they think they are the strongest, but because they are daring the others to follow. Calling their bluff. Who will have the biggest heart on Sunday?

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Written by jlongo12

April 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Posted in cycling, TV

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