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Freeman Cebu Sports

Ardennes Classics

- Jose Vicente 'JV' Araneta -

While the One Day Classics are not shown on TV even on replay, there are lots of video streaming available. Here are three of them:  www.steephill.tv, www.cycling.tv or www.cyclingfans.com..

As expected in last weekends Paris-Roubaix, the top 3 favorites, Belgian Tom Boonen (WC 2005, PR 2005, Tour of Flanders 2005), Swiss Fabian Cancellara (PR 2006, Milan San Remo 2008) and Alessandro Ballan (Tour of Flanders 2007) reached the Roubaix Velodrome together. But unless Boonen gets off his bike and sprints on his feet, the two rivals had no chance. The World Champion won by almost 5 bike lengths!

And where was my sentimental favorite, George Hincapie? The cycling Sysiphus was with the leaders with less than 30k’s remaining when flatted at the same moment Boonen launched his attack! How unlucky could you get?

I think that Boonen really needed that win today. Even though he has won the green sprinters jersey in the Tour and won stages last year, it is these spring classics that define his career. Losing out in both Flanders and PR would have led to whispers that he was a fluke. So you can imagine the intense pressure Boonen was in.

Four days later in the semi-classic Scheldeprijs, Boonen had the win in the bag when he made a boneheaded mistake of raising his hands before he crossed the line. Like a rocket, Mark Cavendish came up from his left, stole the win and muted a highly partisan Belgian crowd. Sometimes ego gets in the way of a win, even for a 2-time PR winner!

Ardennes Week

The Ardennes Week is a departure from the Northern Classics that ended with Scheldeprijs last Wednesday. Last night, the Amstel Gold (Holland), first of the northern classics took off.  This will be followed on Wednesday by Fleche Wallone and the La Doyenne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege (the latter two in Belgium). 

The Ardennes region is made up of steep and longer asphalted hills, unlike Flanders where the bergs are cobbled. The difference is that there are more hills that are sometimes repeated a few times during the race. While this is an advantage to the fans, the sheer repetitiveness of the climbs can sap those who are not a hundred percent ready.

Because of the terrain, gone will be Boonen, Cancellara, Ballan and the big-bodied riders of the cobbles. Smaller riders like Alejandro Valverde, Danilo diLuca and Davide Rebellin will take center stage. Rebellin made cycling history in 2004 when he won all the three Ardenne Classics in one magical week. He will be a favorite to win this week.

Disgraced American rider Tyler Hamilton is the only US rider to win a classic. He won LBL in 2003. Lance Armstrong also won Fleche Wallone pre-cancer but this race is considered a notch below LBL or PR.

Congressman Red Durano MTB And Road Race

It’s less than 2 weeks to go before the richest bicycle race in the Philippines this year. Close to 300K will  be handed out to the winners. I invited Victor Espiritu to join the race but he emailed me back saying that he already had made a commitment to the Manila-Baguio race that is also scheduled on the same weekend. The mild mannered 2008 Padyak Pinoy champion promised that he’ll join a race here in the future if he has no prior commitments.

Race Results

“By Invite” or BI category winners: 1- Celing Villarosa 2- Frank Alindao 3- Marcelo Berdun 4- Nanie Quijano 5- Johann Ermitanio. Of course, this category would not have been possible without the generous help of our friends Constancio “Nonoy” Abasola and Dan Wistihuff III.

BOONEN

PLACE

RACE

TOUR OF FLANDERS

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