2012 V-Moment of the Year: Boonen Goes Long

Boonen goes long. Photo via Cycling Weekly
Boonen goes long. Photo via Cycling Weekly

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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112 Replies to “2012 V-Moment of the Year: Boonen Goes Long”

  1. @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

  2. @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!

  3. @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:

  4. @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!

  5. 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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