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Freeman Cebu Sports

Hell of the North

ALLEZ - Araneta - The Freeman

Niki Terpstra outwitted favorites Fabian Cancellara, his more illustrious teammate Tom Boonen and seven other breakaway companions to win the 2014 edition of the "Hell of the North".

The Dutchman broke away from the pack with 6 kilometers to go and held on for a 20-second win over his chasers.

It was Boonen who lit the first match when he accelerated with 60 kilometers to go. Unfortunately, his companions were not in his caliber and therefore were too scared to help him. He continuously remonstrated with his arms in disgust at his companions who were clearly not interested to tow him to the line.

For a backgrounder, Paris-Roubaix is a one of the five monument races, one day races so named for their prestige. It is 260 kilometers in length and 51 kilometers of it, is on cobblestones or pave (pa-vay). While the race is generally flat, the 51-kilometer of pave consists of 28 sections ranging from 300 meters to 3.7 kilometers long, is the main difficulty.

To say that the cobbled sections make the race is an understatement. Some riders even have arthritic symptoms weeks after the race as a result of the pounding they get from the pave. Technology and equipment choices are also another aspect of the race. Comfort is more important than aerodynamics. For instance, double bar tapes are used for ore cushion. Wider tires are also used. Some 20 years ago, Rockshox suspension was even used instead of rigid forks.

With the pave, you either like it or not. Five-time Tour de France champion called the race stupid and he said he would race it once, win it and never come back. And he did. But with Boonen and Cancellara, they approach the pave like fish approach the waters.

How come Cancellara and Boonen failed so miserably? IMO, Boonen was fried after his long attack and Cancellara had no teammates left (Boonen had three). While Cancellara was the strongest in the group, I don't think he'd they allowed him to go that easy. In essence, if they had chased Terpstra and caught him, I'm sure that Boonen, with his exceptional sprint and the presence his other teammate, Zdenek Stybar, would simply take the win.

While it was a disappointment that the main favorites didn't figure out in the win, it was one of the more animated Paris-Roubaix in recent years.

Paris-Roubaix closed the curtains on the flat classics. It will now be rest and recuperation for Cancellara and company. Next week (last week) is the start of the hilly classics and a different cast of characters will come up the stage. Alejandro Valverde, Philippe Gilbert, et al will headline the events.

While Terpstra will never reach the stars like Cancellara and Boonen, his name will forever be mentioned with the legendary names of the sport. Win one monument and you're set for life.

Finally, a big thanks to Art Lambo for pointing out that I omitted two names from the SKY LOGISTICS-DAVIS PAINTS team that raced in the VueltaDagupan. I missed RaldyVios and Rupert Omero in the list. Sorry guys......Next appointment is the Danao City Vice Mayors Cup road race on May 25, 2014.

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

ART LAMBO

BOONEN

BOONEN AND CANCELLARA

CANCELLARA

CANCELLARA AND BOONEN

DANAO CITY VICE MAYORS CUP

FABIAN CANCELLARA

HELL OF THE NORTH

NIKI TERPSTRA

PARIS-ROUBAIX

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