^

Freeman Cebu Sports

Cancellara Rules Ronde

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente 'JV' Araneta - The Freeman

Just when everybody thought that Fabian Cancellara’s ownership of the cobbled classics was all over, Spartacus showed them that he still owns it and then some.

In the final hour of last weekend’s RondeVlaanderen, a.k.a. the Tour of Flanders, as it is more known, it was his rivals that blinked and when they opened their eyes, he was gone.

Flanders is the third most popular one-day race in the world, after Paris-Roubaix and the World Championships. The Ronde is held in Belgium and was the brainchild of Karel Van Wijnendaele, who co-owned the sportspaper Sportwereld. The first Ronde was held in 1913 and just like most sporting events in those days, its purpose was to increased newspaper sales.

The past 10 years of so, the Ronde didn’t need any more marketing. It is so big now that if it’s the only race a pro rider can win in his career, he would still be remembered as a great rider. Cancellara has won three times in the last 5 years!

This year, the Ronde was supposed to be the year of the changing of the guards. Peter Sagan, the 24-year-old wunderkind, who came in second to Cancellara, was a favorite. So was Sep Vermarke, a not yet famous name who almost beat Cancellara in last years Paris-Roubaix. And of course, you can never count out Tom Boonen, the most famous Belgian rider of this generation who also had three Ronde wins in his palmares.

The main difficulty of the Ronde are the short steep hills, called “muur”. There were 17 such muurs with distances between 300 meters to 2.2 kilometers and gradients of 9% to 22%. This 259 kilometers race  and most of the muurs are covered with cobblestones laid down centuries ago.

Cancellara is known for having such a big motor and he is just one the few current riders you just can’t let go on the flats or short hills for a few meters otherwise, he’d drop you.

For 240 kilometer, Cancellara just bided his time and on the last muur, the 360 meters long Paterberg, he cranked it up, dropping everyone except for Vermarke. The flying duo would then catch the two breakaways, Greg van Avermaet and Stijn Vandenberg.       They worked closely for the last 16 kilometers to distance themselves from the peloton.

Then with 5 kilometers to go, the attacks started. While his three breakaway companions were clearly tense, Cancellara played it cool. Too cool, in fact, to my liking. Normally, Cancellara would win solo but this time, he didn’t even try, not seriously though.

The sprint started in the last 200m, with Fabian perfectly positioned at the left of the quartet who stayed at the right side of the road, hugging the barriers. A strong wind was coming from the right, protecting Cancellara and, boom!, off he went!

Three weekends ago, Cancellara was beaten to second place in Milan-San Remo by a sprint. This time, he made sure that he got it.

Finally, Congratulations to my SKY LOGISTICS-DAVIES PAINTS teammates who rode and finished the grueling 3-stage race, VueltaDagupan. While they failed to win top honors, members of the team, Mike Flores, Art Lambo, Ian Entica, James Kho, Andy Pasturan, Oniel Natividad and Didun Pasturan, completed all of the three stages which finished in Baguio. It was an opener for most of the team. Lessons were learned and new friendship were made.

ANDY PASTURAN

ART LAMBO

AVERMAET AND STIJN VANDENBERG

CANCELLARA

IAN ENTICA

JAMES KHO

KAREL VAN WIJNENDAELE

MIKE FLORES

MILAN-SAN REMO

ONIEL NATIVIDAD AND DIDUN PASTURAN

  • Latest
Latest
Latest
abtest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with