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Freeman Cebu Sports

Tom's Tour of Flanders

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente 'JV' Araneta -

The 2012 Tour of Flanders was supposed to be a duel between Swiss strongman Fabian Cancellara and Belgium’s former golden boy Tom Boonen.

But with 60 km left of the 267 km race, and everything still up for grabs, an errant water bottle (bidon) got caught in Cancellara’s Trek putting an inglorious end to his 2012 classics season. The accident happened on the feed zone (the local cycling vernacular is “revictualing area” which is Greek to most), one of the most dangerous areas on a race-course.

Cancellara, the favorite to win The Tour of Flanders, was seen from a helicopter shot writhing in pain on the asphalt, trying to get up but couldn’t. A hospital report later said that he had broken his collarbone in four places!

With the strongest rider out, Tom Boonen’s win became a formality with token resistance from his two Italian breakaway companions, Filippo Pozatto and Alessandro Ballan. Boonen had won Flanders twice, in 2005 and 2006 but had two mediocre years before 2012. Tom, 31 yo, isn’t as explosive as he was seven years ago but he is craftier. He’ll be my favorite for today’s (last night) Paris-Roubaix.

The Tour of Flanders route has been changed for economic reasons. Two of the famous “muurs” (climbs) has been eliminated and instead of a point-to-point race, Flanders will end with three finishing circuits. This is to ensure that “paying” VIP’s can be seated in one area and watch the race thrice. A lot of people have voiced their opposition to the changes, Velonews even called it blasphemous.

For me, it’s the right decision since the race has to make money to survive. It also makes for exciting TV. But what I would want to see is that the TV revenues must not go directly to the coffers of the event nor the TV networks but a big chunk should go to the riders themselves. But then again, professional cycling isn’t the NBA or the NFL.

Paris-Roubaix

Boonen is the favorite to win the “Hell of the North”. He has a well-oiled team, a perfect lieutenant in Sylvain Chavanel, and a very experienced crew. One kid to watch though is Taylor Phinney, the son of Davis Phinney, the winningest US rider and 2-time Tour de France stage winner. Phinney the younger had won the under-23 version of the Paris-Roubaix twice and he’ll debut this year with the pros. I hope he can put up a good performance.

Finally, I thought that Cebu City had bad roads. But Tagbilaran City has taken “bad roads” to another level. The main roads are fine but the smaller roads are terrible. My suggestion for the city government is to organize a bike race like Paris-Roubaix. This way, they won’t have to fix the roads and cyclo-tourists will come like moths to a flame. IMO, these huge potholes would make the cobbles in Northern France as smooth as Italian tiles.

BOONEN

BUT TAGBILARAN CITY

CANCELLARA

CEBU CITY

DAVIS PHINNEY

FABIAN CANCELLARA AND BELGIUM

FILIPPO POZATTO AND ALESSANDRO BALLAN

PARIS-ROUBAIX

TOM BOONEN

TOUR OF FLANDERS

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