Boonen goes long. Photo via Cycling Weekly

2012 V-Moment of the Year: Boonen Goes Long

2012 V-Moment of the Year: Boonen Goes Long

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Yes, I know, I have a major thing for Boonen. But come on, wouldn’t you? Look at those guns. Look at that position on the bike. He even makes that ugly Specialized helmet look good. He even makes that ugly Specialized Roubaix look good, come to think of it. And those White Ladies? Kill me now.

Picking the V-Moment of the year is always a tough one, especially in a year when there were so many great moments. In fact, that I’m glad I didn’t get saddled with the Anti-V Moment of the Year Award because it won’t be easy to pick out a loser for that one.

Some of the greatest instants of the season were Johan Vansummeren continuing on after he went through the meat grinder at the Tour. Or Hesjedal hanging tough on the Stelvio to stay close enough to J-Rod to take the win for the first Canuckian Grand Tour at the Giro. Faboo gritting his teeth to finish the Olympic ITT in tears despite a moronic but devastating crash in the Road Race. Gilbert coming back to take a decisive win in the Worlds Road Race after a disastrous season.

Maybe its my man-crush on Boonen, maybe its the fact that we were at the roadside for both events, but two moments stand out as what must have been two of the hardest moments in racing – with the most at stake. One was Boonen riding the Paterberg at the back of the three-man breakaway with Ballan and Potato during the Ronde van Vlaanderen; his gears were jammed and he couldn’t get into his lowest gear on that brutally steep climb. As the group got to the top, Boonen was overgeared and losing ground. Standing in a Flemish field not more than 1000 meteres (as the crow flies) from the Paterberg, I could almost hear his bike cry out in agony as he scraped the bottom of the V-Barrel to hold onto the back of the group.

But that’s not the V-Moment of the year because, in the end, there was only something to be gained by holding on – he had nothing to lose. If he got unhitched from the group, he would have called it training for Roubaix, and gone home feeling good about his chances in the Queen of the Classics.

The V-Moment of the year was instead a moment that wasn’t captured on camera; it was a solitary moment that echoed inside only one man’s heart. It was a moment that must have fluttered through his mind as he came off the secteur of cobbles about 55k from Roubaix, looked around, and noticed that no one was with him. At that moment, he had everything to lose. A wiser man would have sat up and waited for the group, knowing he could conserve his energy and pick his moment later, when the risks were more manageable.

But The V isn’t about sensibility. The V isn’t about planning. The V isn’t about calculation. The V is about making your own luck. The V is about bending the odds to your vvill. The V is about making the race beg you to relent. The 2012 V Moment of the Year was the moment Boonen decided to carry on to Roubaix, alone.

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  1. For me, the best moments of the year were De Gendt climbing the Motirolo and the Stelvio, Ryder winning the Giro in fine form, and definitely Boonen leaving everyone in the dust on the pave.

  2. @brett

    @windy rider

    @itburns

    I wouldn’t worry about what Frank says about ugly bikes; he rides a Cervelo after all.

    That’s exactly right. There is an enormous list of things I find ugly, some of them I use myself and cherish – for instance, my Bonts – and many of them are very good products. Being a perfectly good product and being beautiful things are different subjects entirely.

    I prescribe a massive helping for Rule V to anyone getting wound up about this.

    @Marko

    Since you haven’t done the Anti-V moment of the Year yet, maybe you can switch it to people getting their panties in a bunch over a joke.

  3. For me, Ryder has a place atop my highlight reel for patriotic reasons but I also like Voigt this year.Stage 6 of Paris-Nice where he was heading to the line with LL Sanchez – he did lose in the sprint but the guy is 40 and was in a long breakaway.  Voigt again was a stud at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge when he dropped the group on Independence Pass and solo’d for the next 100km to take the stage…not bad for an oldtimer!

  4. For people with a short-term memory:

    2012 Cycling Season Compilation by Sporza (Flemish commentary and subtitles. Anyway, nice footage)

    part I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVRigW3TESs

    Part II

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcbq6Csv_HE

  5. Not wanting to be a) starstruck, or b) nervous about making anti-Boonen comments, bout take it y’all saw him retweet the link to this article last night at 7pm CET?

  6. @Roadslave525

    Someone get Fronk the smelling salts!

  7. https://twitter.com/tomboonen1  

     

    RT V isn’t about sensibility or calculation. V is about bending the odds to your vvill.Boonen:

  8. @graham d.m.

    https://twitter.com/tomboonen1

    RT V isn’t about sensibility or calculation. V is about bending the odds to your vvill.Boonen:

    Ah, that’s what I like to see here – budding bromance springs eternal. I’m thinking a certain Tommeke deserves a custom engraved v-pint for his win here.

  9. @Roadslave525

    Not wanting to be a) starstruck, or b) nervous about making anti-Boonen comments, bout take it y’all saw him retweet the link to this article last night at 7pm CET?

    Jeeezzhus!  I think that the V site just climaxed!  Un-fookin-believable!

  10. @graham d.m.

    https://twitter.com/tomboonen1

    RT V isn’t about sensibility or calculation. V is about bending the odds to your vvill.Boonen:

    That’ll teach me to check my Twitter account more than quarterly – what about a whip round for a V Pint and a decal – you never know the team publicity people just might let him stick one on his winter training steed.

  11. That’s what the winner get’s, A V-Pint glass.  Last year Jonny H said he’d put it in his pool room.

  12. Hmmm, I seem to be mistaken about that.  What did Hoogerland get his V-pint glass for or am I remembering a dream?

  13. @eightzero I think Boonen deserves to have his pint hand delivered to him by the Velominati at KT2013.

  14. @brett

    @brett

    @Jay

    @brett

    @windy rider

    @itburns

    I wouldn’t worry about what Frank says about ugly bikes; he rides a Cervelo after all.

    I too ride a Roubaix and find it to be an exceptional bike. Don’t disparage another’s ride unless you have ridden in their shoes, so to speak. If we all thought the same way, there would only be one choice of bike (or at the very least a much more limited selection). So long as the bike is compliant with the Rules does it matter otherwise?

    I owned two Roubaixs. And I didn’t write the article. And Cervelos are ugly.

    Touche’

  15. @G’rilla

    @eightzero I think Boonen deserves to have his pint hand delivered to him by the Velominati at KT2013.

    Yes!

    Perhaps Minion should present it to him right after repeating his statement above.

  16. @minion

    And I didn’t say Roubaix’s were ugly bikes, I said he looks like a monkey humping a tennis ball.

    Ha! I like that. I believe the photo is of the much disliked, @pedale disapproved, super wide angle shot that makes the great Tomeke look like a monkey fucking a tennis ball. 

    He looks a little more stretched out here

  17. @minion Sir Hoy is a fucking machine!

  18. @strathlubnaig

    @Dan_R

    @Tobin

    @Dan_R small consolidation is that Ryder did win the Lionel Conacher for 2012. Plus, without the Leafs to broadcast, TSN has to figure out an alternative way to aggravate the country.

    Yeah, I just that on the Toronto Sports Network! Of course, ask an average Canadian who Lionel Conacher is and you’ll get a blank stare. Even in Toronto!

    For the Americans in the crowd, he’s our version of Jim Thorpe, but he played more sports… so better.

    Yep, bon choix Canada…. was there ever any real alternative to Ryder though ? Pleased for the lad.

    You never know in Canadian sports media. Canadians don’t always get that hockey is only watches by a few hundred million people, where as cycling has about a billion fans – based on unique google searches that is. With the hype surrounding Wiggo’s plan to go after the Giro, it seems to me that even the cycling media is writing off Ryder’s chance of a defence. By all means bring it I say. Contador and Purito, Nibbs. The whole bunch should be striving to take the Giro from RH

  19. @G’rilla

    @eightzero I think Boonen deserves to have his pint hand delivered to him by the Velominati at KT2013.

    Agreed!

  20. @Gianni

    @minion

    And I didn’t say Roubaix’s were ugly bikes, I said he looks like a monkey humping a tennis ball.

    Ha! I like that. I believe the photo is of the much disliked, @pedale disapproved, super wide angle shot that makes the great Tomeke look like a monkey fucking a tennis ball.

    He looks a little more stretched out here

    (shudders orgasmically) eeerrggghhh yeah that’s the spot. I have massive Boonen man love, that’s more like it.

    Have to agree with Pedale that fisheye lenses don’t always improve the image.

  21. @G’rilla

    @eightzero I think Boonen deserves to have his pint hand delivered to him by the Velominati at KT2013.

    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus if you throw Bonnen into the Keepers Tour you will have to have caddle prods to keep the people from over-running it.

  22. Ahh, goddammit!  Make that “Cattle” prods, not “caddle” prods.  I was just looking at that old thread “Guilty be Association” or whatever it is called with Cuddles face and his fuckin mutt and somehow crossed wires there!  Man, I am too young to be going senile!

  23. @Dan_R

    @strathlubnaig

    @Dan_R

    @Tobin

    @Dan_R small consolidation is that Ryder did win the Lionel Conacher for 2012. Plus, without the Leafs to broadcast, TSN has to figure out an alternative way to aggravate the country.

    Yeah, I just that on the Toronto Sports Network! Of course, ask an average Canadian who Lionel Conacher is and you’ll get a blank stare. Even in Toronto!

    For the Americans in the crowd, he’s our version of Jim Thorpe, but he played more sports… so better.

    Yep, bon choix Canada…. was there ever any real alternative to Ryder though ? Pleased for the lad.

    You never know in Canadian sports media. Canadians don’t always get that hockey is only watches by a few hundred million people, where as cycling has about a billion fans – based on unique google searches that is. With the hype surrounding Wiggo’s plan to go after the Giro, it seems to me that even the cycling media is writing off Ryder’s chance of a defence. By all means bring it I say. Contador and Purito, Nibbs. The whole bunch should be striving to take the Giro from RH

    Lord above I hope Wiggins / Sky do not win the Giro next year, it’s bad enough listening to the Anglos still going on about 1966…. I’d need to re-migrate back to the Le Vieux Pays again.

  24. What are the opinions on Sky & their tactics during this race? Could they simply not real Boonen in or did they do a poor job of chasing him & using their numbers?

  25. Well I just had my V moment for the year, heading up Greenhill Rd climb (6.5% for 7km) and right at the bottom Rachael Neylan comes past me. Naturally the compunction is to chase, swapped a couple of turns, reduced to wheel sucking about halfway and dropped about three quarter way to finish 50m back. I was utterly on the rivet, I suspect she was not! Still I smashed my best time and probably will spend the rest of the day in the foetal position.

    http://app.strava.com/rides/34459603

  26. @Daccordi Rider

    Great job, especially considering the company she keeps.

    http://www.rachelneylan.com/

  27. @strathlubnaig

    Lord above I hope Wiggins / Sky do not win the Giro next year, it’s bad enough listening to the Anglos still going on about 1966…. I’d need to re-migrate back to the Le Vieux Pays again.

    As a Yorkshireman living in Scotland, I never bring up 1966 and don’t know any Englishmen who do either. In my experience it’s the Scots who like to perpetuate the myth that we keep going on about it, as it gives them something to complain about!

  28. @Ron

    What are the opinions on Sky & their tactics during this race? Could they simply not real Boonen in or did they do a poor job of chasing him & using their numbers?

    One of the only things I’ve learned riding the Roubaix cobbles is: it’s impossible to draft. Everyone is trying to get across to the next paved section. When Boonen is the strongest on the cobbles the only chasing can happen on the asphalt parts. And that means everyone has to be finishing the cobbles together so they can form a paceline. And that is very hard to do.

    Roubaix is a particular race. Team tactics don’t work well once the cobble sections begin. The baddest, strongest rider on the stones can really open up some gaps that are very hard to close on the short asphalt parts.

  29. Ah, got it Gianni! That makes sense. Love that I’m always learning something new about this awesome sport! I hadn’t considered how difficult, or impossible, it is to draft on cobbles. Now I just need to get there so I can find out for myself.

  30. @strathlubnaig oh I hear ya! I spent a large portion of my military career in a highland regiment. Nothing like ‘neeps & haggis. Accept an Englishman making himself look stupid.

    @McTyke bloody Campbell.

    VLVV

  31. @Dan_R

    @strathlubnaig oh I hear ya! I spent a large portion of my military career in a highland regiment. Nothing like ‘neeps & haggis. Accept an Englishman making himself look stupid.

    @McTyke bloody Campbell.

    VLVV

    I posted in another thread where I was guessing you being in Alberta you was an ex- PPLI, regardless, Chapeau.

  32. @McTyke

    @strathlubnaig

    Lord above I hope Wiggins / Sky do not win the Giro next year, it’s bad enough listening to the Anglos still going on about 1966…. I’d need to re-migrate back to the Le Vieux Pays again.

    As a Yorkshireman living in Scotland, I never bring up 1966 and don’t know any Englishmen who do either. In my experience it’s the Scots who like to perpetuate the myth that we keep going on about it, as it gives them something to complain about!

    Living in Scotland that’s a good tactic. It’s the meeja in englandshire who harp on.

  33. @Daccordi Rider

    Well I just had my V moment for the year, heading up Greenhill Rd climb (6.5% for 7km) and right at the bottom Rachael Neylan comes past me. Naturally the compunction is to chase, swapped a couple of turns, reduced to wheel sucking about halfway and dropped about three quarter way to finish 50m back. I was utterly on the rivet, I suspect she was not! Still I smashed my best time and probably will spend the rest of the day in the foetal position.

    http://app.strava.com/rides/34459603

    Got confirmation of this from Miss Neylan this morning, when I brought it up she said ‘oh was that the MIttiga guy? Yeah he did ok to start with…’

  34. great choice,boonen’s the MAN.

  35. @motor city

    Rabottini on stage 15 of the Giro gets my vote. God knows only how he found that final kick to take the stage win.

    I still get goose bumps thinking about watching that race..

    That was fucking classic, wasn’t it? My goodness my Merckx – and even the motorcycle drivers (if you can call those scootery things that) were pumped. Great moment. Like we said – lots of great moments this year – hard one to call!

  36. @Buck Rogers

    @Roadslave525

    Not wanting to be a) starstruck, or b) nervous about making anti-Boonen comments, bout take it y’all saw him retweet the link to this article last night at 7pm CET?

    Jeeezzhus! I think that The V site just climaxed! Un-fookin-believable!

    I blacked out for two days after that. Has anything cool happened in the mean time? Because if it did, I missed it.

    @brian

    great choice,boonen’s the MAN.

    Yes he is.

  37. @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider

    Well I just had my V moment for the year, heading up Greenhill Rd climb (6.5% for 7km) and right at the bottom Rachael Neylan comes past me. Naturally the compunction is to chase, swapped a couple of turns, reduced to wheel sucking about halfway and dropped about three quarter way to finish 50m back. I was utterly on the rivet, I suspect she was not! Still I smashed my best time and probably will spend the rest of the day in the foetal position.

    http://app.strava.com/rides/34459603

    Got confirmation of this from Miss Neylan this morning, when I brought it up she said ‘oh was that the MIttiga guy? Yeah he did ok to start with…’

    Ouch!

  38. @Daccordi Rider I hope you told her I am 41, don’t train full time and weigh more than 45kg dripping wet! She should Yale pity on me.

  39. No, I said it served you right for trying to stay on her wheel in the first place!

  40. @Daccordi Rider of course this has nothing to do with the jealousy felt at your being able to get up there nearly 4 minutes quicker than someone over 10yrs your junior…

  41. @strathlubnaig

    @McTyke

    @strathlubnaig

    Lord above I hope Wiggins / Sky do not win the Giro next year, it’s bad enough listening to the Anglos still going on about 1966…. I’d need to re-migrate back to the Le Vieux Pays again.

    As a Yorkshireman living in Scotland, I never bring up 1966 and don’t know any Englishmen who do either. In my experience it’s the Scots who like to perpetuate the myth that we keep going on about it, as it gives them something to complain about!

    Living in Scotland that’s a good tactic. It’s the meeja in englandshire who harp on.

    For the avoidance of doubt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10&feature=share

  42. @the Engine

    @strathlubnaig

    @McTyke

    @strathlubnaig

    Lord above I hope Wiggins / Sky do not win the Giro next year, it’s bad enough listening to the Anglos still going on about 1966…. I’d need to re-migrate back to the Le Vieux Pays again.

    As a Yorkshireman living in Scotland, I never bring up 1966 and don’t know any Englishmen who do either. In my experience it’s the Scots who like to perpetuate the myth that we keep going on about it, as it gives them something to complain about!

    Living in Scotland that’s a good tactic. It’s the meeja in englandshire who harp on.

    For the avoidance of doubt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10&feature=share

    I saw this clip last year somewhere…perfect and the fact that it was done by a Merican was not lost on me!

  43. @Deakus

    Awesome little instructional vid. His treatment of The Netherlands is even better because he manages to sneak in the word “jackalope.”

    For the benefit of foreigners, a jackalope:

  44. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Deakus

    Awesome little instructional vid. His treatment of The Netherlands is even better because he manages to sneak in the word “jackalope.”

    For the benefit of foreigners, a jackalope:

    Frank may appreciate this – particularly as he also manages to sneak in Hawaii which appears to be the place to be just now

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_575176&feature=iv&src_vid=rx0iYx66svM&v=eE_IUPInEuc

  45. @Tobin Having ridden that route of the USAPCC, I concur.  Maybe it’s not P-R, but that was a hell of an achievement. 

    Just getting back on line and catching up on articles and comments.  Spent my holiday in @wiscot ‘s town of West Bend, WI and it never got above -3C the entire time I was there!

  46. I just saw this photo and thought of Frank and his man-crush.  Apologies if it’s been posted here before!

  47. @Sauterelle

    Seattle paramedics are en route.

  48. @itburns

    @Sauterelle

    Seattle paramedics are en route.

    I’d need them myself if *that other guy* was wearing that shirt!

  49. Fuck!  I think that LeFevere must be using Boonen’s powder bag!

     

    “Lefevere suggest shortening the Grand Tours to 15 days
    A few days ago Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov’s claimed he’d stump up €1 million to be shared by Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quinta if all four complete the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta in one season. Omega Pharma-QuickStep CEO Patrick Lefevere has responded, telling Het Nieuwsblad that it might be time to shorten the Grand Tours, particularly if we want to see the best of the best facing off against one another.

     

    “As the Grand Tours now are organized, it is not physically feasible for them to race all three”, Lefevere said. “The Giro starts in early May, the Vuelta ends in mid-September, and in between is the Tour. Whoever races them all has 66 days of racing over about 120 days.

    “The solution is to shorten the Vuelta and the Giro to 17 days, or in my opinion, 15 days.”

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