none of this in 2013. photo: Velonews

The Double

The Double

by / / 57 posts

Winning one Monument in a career is more than most Pros will ever achieve. Winning two in a season, nearly impossible. Winning two a week apart, it has been done more than a few times, by only the toughest of men. The Ronde and Roubaix both have cobbles but that is about all they have in common. Roubaix might be the harder one to win. The evil Lady Luck lurks on the Roubaix course. Flats and crashes are more likely on the farm tracks of Northern France, helpful team cars can be minutes away. Granted, Miss Luck does like to install errant road furniture and roll loose bidons in feed zones in Ronde van Vlaanderen, and that is a cause for concern for some riders.

A paceline, drafting, hiding behind teammates all fall apart on the cobbled secteurs of Roubaix. The ability to hit the cobbled secteurs with the throttle jammed fully open again and again and again is what separates the beasts from everyone else. Speed on these stones is only sustainable by having huge power and a Roger De Vlaeminck ability to ride over the cobbles. It’s like riding your bike through sand; only power keeps the bike moving forward. If you ease up, you don’t go. Tom Boonen is the perfect example of power and ability and he has a mighty sprint. Who could even stay on his wheel to arrive in the velodrome for a sprint? Oh Tommy, you will be missed this year.

Historical perspective? I don’t think so, not here, not now. Paris-Roubaix is coming on like a freight train. Fabian Cancellara is halfway to the double, again. And unless some Johan Vansummeren break gets away… how did Boonen do it last year? He didn’t have to worry about towing everyone up the road, he just hauled ass, dropped everyone and rode away solo. That should work for Fabian. It doesn’t work on the route into Sanremo but it will work on the way to Roubaix. No wee Simon Gerrans will be riding in his slipstream all the way to the velodrome.

Who you want to pick for second through fifth place in the VSP tomorrow is your business. This is a lock I’m telling you. Bet everything you have. That college tuition your Dad gave you to hand over to the bursar, double it down somewhere, this is easy money. This is the double.

// Racing

  1. Fab was so impressive last Sunday. To see Sagan suffer like that was quite something and then that 50 kph solo time trial to the line, for me that was a tremendous display of what our sport is all about. My money’s on the double.

  2. It should be good…

  3. To bad the weather is shaping up to be a bit dull:

    In other news: flying zombies.

  4. @mcsqueak

    To bad the weather is shaping up to be a bit dull:

    In other news: flying zombies.

    Kind of like what happened in T/A a couple weeks back: the race organizers have decided PR isn’t quite hard or exciting enough, so let’s add zombies. It’ll bring up the ratings too.

  5. Entire house on Faboo – dead cert

    …..but then this is Paris Roubaix

    – I’ll be more nervous waiting for something to go wrong than for an exciting race to unfold

  6. I can’t help but have a flashback to last year’s Ronde when I was at a friend’s house getting frites ready and preparing for some serious sitting on the couch with a tripel and yelling at the TV in faux-french.

    And then the unthinkable happened.

    One of the most unpleasant beers I’ve ever had.

    But he’s making up for it wit last weekend’s powerhouse TT and probably a similar display this weekend.

    But then again… this is Roubaix, bets are never certain.

  7. Speaking of picks 2 – 5, I’ve been having a look at the start list and it will not be an easy decision. A bunch of guys that might finish in the top ten. Who knows?

  8. Boonen is the only guy awesome enough to make those horrible aero helmets look halfway decent. What class he has!

    Wee Simon Gerrans? Ahem, I’m exactly the same size/weight as him, so I enjoy watching how he rides. And, I’d like to point out that I consider myself to be on the edge of wee, right in the Medium Sized Man zone.

    Sunday is coming damn fast, huh? I’m already feeling a bit sad though that all this spring racing is winding down. Oh well, the Giro looms.

  9. Who has any idea what is up with Hushovd? And Tyler Farrar. They both seem like half the riders they used to be. I know riding at the top for any sustained period is very, very difficult, but I’m still confused by how fast both have seemed to fade.

  10. @unversio

    I do like Boo Boo’s Specialized helmet though.

    He looks the balls in that photo. It’s a weird helmet from the side but from the front Tommeke looks like a superhero, ffs.

  11. @Ron

    Boonen is the only guy awesome enough to make those horrible aero helmets look halfway decent. What class he has!

    Wee Simon Gerrans? Ahem, I’m exactly the same size/weight as him, so I enjoy watching how he rides. And, I’d like to point out that I consider myself to be on the edge of wee, right in the Medium Sized Man zone.

    Sunday is coming damn fast, huh? I’m already feeling a bit sad though that all this spring racing is winding down. Oh well, the Giro looms.

    OK, wee in a relative sense. Fabs is a big boy, 181lbs, 82.2 kg, He is only 10+ pounds lighter and twenty times more powerful than I am. 82 kg is very big for a pro cyclists and amazing he can drop everyone on the bergs. The Man!

  12. (Sammy Davis, Jr. voice) Hey… Fabs babe. If you must wear a helmet over your cap — or a cap under your helmet — then make sure thine helmet touches the top of the brim daddy. Tighten up that gap man. Do you dig it?

  13. @unversio

    Because those lines deserve a visual.

  14. @Ron

    Farrar has made a career of crashing lately, which really sucks.

  15. Meh.

    What’s so hard about the double. I did two in my lounge chair during the Flanders race.

    A little like this one…

  16. I’m putting my money on Phinney. Mainly because I think it is the only thing that would be cooler than the double.

  17. @Ron I also think it’s funny that in sports almost nobody lists themselves below 5’7” i.e. ”Purito”. There is no way that cat is 5’7”.

  18. @Erik

    I’m putting my money on Phinney. Mainly because I think it is the only thing that would be cooler than the double.

    A winny Phinney would be cool. But how about Turgot winning for Europcar and France? Far-feteched I know, but 2nd last year and form in RVV and Scheldiprijs.

  19. I’m sure you’ve all heard this, but The Motor took a little beater today in the Scheldeprijs. It will be interesting to hear how sore he is in the next couple of days and how that may affect his fitness heading into Sunday:

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/04/news/cancellaras-paris-roubaix-threatened-by-scheldeprijs-crash_280611

  20. Got to have a sneaky thought that one of teh Sky boys might come good this year. To be fair though, unless he’s been playing a particularly clever long game Eddy the Boss doesn’t seem to be where he was two years ago, so i’d have to back either Thomas or Stannard as placing in the top 5.

    I can’t see beyond Faboo winning either, but since his little fall in Scheldprijs, he might not be on top form for Sunday.

    Going to be an interesting one.

  21. @simonsaunders

    Got to have a sneaky thought that one of teh Sky boys might come good this year. To be fair though, unless he’s been playing a particularly clever long game Eddy the Boss doesn’t seem to be where he was two years ago, so i’d have to back either Thomas or Stannard as placing in the top 5.

    I can’t see beyond Faboo winning either, but since his little fall in Scheldprijs, he might not be on top form for Sunday.

    Going to be an interesting one.

    Having caused G to fall off his bike at MSR and RVV by picking him at 1. I am afraid to put him there again – your choice of Stannard is an interesting one though, so long as he doesn’t ender the V-drome in company

  22. @Harminator

    Meh.

    What’s so hard about the double. I did two in my lounge chair during the Flanders race.

    A little like this one…

    Ahem, Rule #47 may need some reviewing…

  23. @Dr C

    @simonsaunders

    Got to have a sneaky thought that one of teh Sky boys might come good this year. To be fair though, unless he’s been playing a particularly clever long game Eddy the Boss doesn’t seem to be where he was two years ago, so i’d have to back either Thomas or Stannard as placing in the top 5.

    I can’t see beyond Faboo winning either, but since his little fall in Scheldprijs, he might not be on top form for Sunday.

    Going to be an interesting one.

    Having caused G to fall off his bike at MSR and RVV by picking him at 1. I am afraid to put him there again – your choice of Stannard is an interesting one though, so long as he doesn’t ender The V-drome in company

    Agreed, if Stannard has any company he’ll be out sprinted. He rode so well in MSR that I think  given the right luck he could be well placed on the run into the velodrome. It’s have to be a faboo, power TT effort to get there first though. Here’s hoping.

  24. After looking at the start list i figure there are probably 9 guys that can finish 2-10.

  25. @anthony

    @Ron I also think it’s funny that in sports almost nobody lists themselves below 5’7″ i.e. “Purito”. There is no way that cat is 5’7″.

    Aside from the obvious awesomeness of being a Velominatus, this is the first sport I’ve passionately pursued where my size isn’t a major limitation. Being on the small side always made my life harder when I played basketball, football, lacrosse & hockey. Now…I’m perfectly happy to be this size, makes drafting and climbing much easier.

    Soccer & cycling are my main sports these days, where speed & quickness, not just height or bulk, are key.

  26. I can’t say I’m a big fan of the new aero helmets, but Tommeke sure make them look good. He certainly makes Fabian’s Bontrager lid look awfy big and ugly – and making Spartacus look unstylish is  difficult thing to do!

  27. I read a week or two ago that the Prophet was having a pacemaker installed. Can anyone shed more light on this? Seems like it would have been bigger news, if true.

  28. @wiscot

    I can’t say I’m a big fan of the new aero helmets, but Tommeke sure make them look good. He certainly makes Fabian’s Bontrager lid look awfy big and ugly – and making Spartacus look unstylish is difficult thing to do!

    That Specialized one on Boonen is the only one I’ve seen that hasn’t looked horrible. I think Cavendish wears that same model & it doesn’t look nearly as good on him. That said, some helmets just don’t look good on some heads. Yeah, Cancellara normally is pure class, but that Bontrager helmet is not working on his head at all. I’d leverage my wins into a new helmet sponsor right away if I were him.

    Lazer helmets seem to be all the rage in some circles but they look huge and bulky on most folks I’ve seen wearing them.

  29. Pellos Paris-Roubaix

  30. @Ron Yes, it’s true.  It was all over the news in Belgium, of course.  Not a word on the news here.

    http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/wielrennen/1.1581815

  31. @Ron

    I have a lazer helmet that I quite like, though it’s just the standard semi-expensive road helmet, not some weird areo-bullshit.

    Though I did have a lady last year ask me if the red barrel adjuster on top (to tighten/loosen the fit) was a removable flashlight.

  32. @Erik

    I’m putting my money on Phinney. Mainly because I think it is the only thing that would be cooler than the double.

    Phinney has a real chance of making the podium and would be the “first” American to do it (although not first North American–That would be our man from the North–Steve Bauer) with Big George’s result being thrown out.

  33. @LA Dave

    I’m sure you’ve all heard this, but The Motor took a little beater today in the Scheldeprijs. It will be interesting to hear how sore he is in the next couple of days and how that may affect his fitness heading into Sunday:

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/04/news/cancellaras-paris-roubaix-threatened-by-scheldeprijs-crash_280611

    Fell off again today in the recon ride.  Hoping and praying that it wasn’t Frahnk who took him down like he did the tdf descender years ago while crossing the road to get the photo!!!

  34. @Buck Rogers

    @Erik

    I’m putting my money on Phinney. Mainly because I think it is the only thing that would be cooler than the double.

    Phinney has a real chance of making the podium and would be the “first” American to do it (although not first North American-That would be our man from the North-Steve Bauer) with Big George’s result being thrown out.

    It isn’t like Phinney doesn’t know the cobbles and velodrome. He placed well last year. He one twice for the juniors. His build up has been good. I’ve pretty much given up on Thor. Cancellara can’t seem to keep the rubber side down. Sooooo…..

  35. @Erik

    @Buck Rogers

    @Erik

    I’m putting my money on Phinney. Mainly because I think it is the only thing that would be cooler than the double.

    Phinney has a real chance of making the podium and would be the “first” American to do it (although not first North American-That would be our man from the North-Steve Bauer) with Big George’s result being thrown out.

    It isn’t like Phinney doesn’t know the cobbles and velodrome. He placed well last year. He one twice for the juniors. His build up has been good. I’ve pretty much given up on Thor. Cancellara can’t seem to keep the rubber side down. Sooooo…..

    Taylor Phinney’s men’s fragrance will be called “Bici,” and it will blend together citrus and sage. True story.

  36. @unversio

    I think that image sums it up well, universio.

    -Dinan

  37. @Ron

    Lazer helmets seem to be all the rage in some circles but they look huge and bulky on most folks I’ve seen wearing them.

    I dunno, I’m pretty happy with the way mine sits…

    (any excuse to lob that photo up again)

  38. @Erik

    @Buck Rogers

    @Erik

    I’m putting my money on Phinney. Mainly because I think it is the only thing that would be cooler than the double.

    Phinney has a real chance of making the podium and would be the “first” American to do it (although not first North American-That would be our man from the North-Steve Bauer) with Big George’s result being thrown out.

    It isn’t like Phinney doesn’t know the cobbles and velodrome. He placed well last year. He one twice for the juniors. His build up has been good. I’ve pretty much given up on Thor. Cancellara can’t seem to keep the rubber side down. Sooooo…..

    Absolutely.  He’s been in my top 5 since I started trying to figure out P-R for this year and with Tomeke out, he’s moved into my top 3.  Still think Sparty will win it, though and I think that Thor will show up.  But who knows?  No one until Sunday.  Cannot WAIT!!!

  39. Cancellara, would bet my rent on it. Thor to win the sprint out of the chase group.

    How the hell do I get to watch these in the US? Still eurosport subscription and watch it at 5am with a cold one? Hmmm. Pacific time sucks.

  40. @Joe

    It’s on NBC Sports live in the am and highlights at night.

  41. @mcsqueak

    @Ron

    I have a lazer helmet that I quite like, though it’s just the standard semi-expensive road helmet, not some weird areo-bullshit.

    Though I did have a lady last year ask me if the red barrel adjuster on top (to tighten/loosen the fit) was a removable flashlight.

    I’m sure we all knew it, but aero helmest are another marketing wank. I recommend Cycling Tips “The Secret Pro” series to enlighten us all on issues like this.

    “Riders will say in public that they benefit from “marginal gains” with their aerodynamics, but really nobody cares. If you have the legs, then you’ll win. Simple as that. No helmet is going to make a difference with all the other variables thrown in there.”

    http://www.cyclingtips.com.au/2013/04/the-secret-pro-the-spring-classics/

  42. I really can’t see past Faboo, but if he is feeling rough after his 2 wee tumbles then I think Stannard or Phinney could be in with a shout. Would like Stannard to do well, but as mentioned above, he would have to enter the velodrome alone to stand a chance!

  43. @Bianchi Denti

    Thanks for that link. I love Cycling Tips Blog but always forget about it.

    And I absolutely agree about those dumb aero helmets. Who won last weekend? Not someone in an aero helmet.

    Who won the week before that at Gent? Not someone in aero helmet. *slams fist on table*

  44. @Ron Yeah for sure I am 5’6” I know only to well.

  45. Hey, I didn’t say everyone in a Lazer helmet looked bad! With all helmets I think some look da biznass & others just don’t look so hot. It’s a helmet-to-noggin marriage that must be carefully arranged.

    I liked my helmet so much, and got a fair number of compliments, that I picked a second one up, one zwarte, one witte.

    Here is a cobbled cheat sheet. Tape it to your dining room table so you can follow along on Sunday, as an good PRO-dreamer should!

  46. The Useless C. International announce plans to restrict any UCI license holder from participating in non-UCI licenced events:

    http://www.cxmagazine.com/usa-cycling-sends-clarification-uci-ruling-riders-unsanctioned-events

    Do Cogals count?

  47. @Ron – Here is a cobbled cheat sheet. Tape it to your dining room table so you can follow along on Sunday, as an good PRO-dreamer should!

    Hell yes!  Better yet, tape it to the beer bottle.

  48. @Chica That would have to be a pretty big bottle. Better tape it to the beer koozie instead.

  49. I risk poop and disaster by opening this site, it seems. What is up with the Google warnings that the site has been infiltrated by all sorts of nasties?  Apparently hundreds of bad things!!

  50. @DocBrian

    I think it was spammers posting comments with malicious links.  Gave Frank a merry chase for a bit but he took them at the line.

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