Pics via Steephill.Tv
Awesome racing last night, all the big guns had a crack but a less favoured belgian toke out his nations biggest race, going one better then his second in 2008! This is the AFL grand final of Belgium! A big win for Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank) with a controlled ride where he was never looking as a direct threat, staying in the hunt and holding with Cancellara's final deceive break away move @ 4km to go, holding the big fellas pace when many could not.
Looked like Cancellara and Chavanel where the men to beat and defiantly the most aggressive pair in the race and Cancellara appeared to be the strongest on the day. In the end Cancellara had done to much work pushing off the front for alot of the final 60km cutting alot of air. But in the end Nuyens had more strength in the finishing straight and opened it up just in time to beat Chavanel and Cancellara to the line.
Good ride by Tom Boonen, Coming fast at the finish, and at one point looked close to running the three man break down. An impressive effort after 260kms of hard core racing!
To put the race in some context and some of the "little" climbs in perspective - the Koppenberg is one of the harder climbs cobbled and 19% - It's like checkers hill, but cobbled, single lane, tight and windy and your've done 10 similar climbs over 180km's in a pro peleton just to get there, and you have 75 km to go once over the top, while trying to hold on to Cancellara while your at it! Ouch!
FLANDERS Video Highlights @ SBS on Cycling Central
Wed April 06 - SBS2 @ 8.30pm "Hell of the North"
Documentary covering Stuart O'Grady's 2007 win of Paris Roubaix details @ SBS.
Sun April 09 - Paris Roubaix live @ 10.20pm on SBS 0ne*. details @ SBS.
Next weekends Paris Roubaix will be a cracker with a lot of classic riders showing form @ Flanders. Look for the favourites of Boonen, and Cancellara at it again. Chavanel and Gilbert will no doubt be up there. And look for Thor Hushovd to put in a better performance in a race that suits him more, supported by Farrar and Haussler. Ballan looked good and Hincapie road sensational in support, and finished ahead of Ballan in the end in sixth!. Fletcher of Sky also looked strong and his team mate english champion Geraint Thomas looked excellent in the final km's for a young rider. A strong ride by Langeveld of Rabobank too, really was a scrapper of a bike race and no one could have picked a winner at any point - brilliant viewing and next sun should be more of the same! FS
* Also see Eurosport ch. 511 on Foxtel if you have it, there was an extra 2hr live coverage of Flanders on Sun night so expect like wise. Also the Foxtel feed thru eurosport was about 30 min ahead of SBS, bonus sleep + Sean Kelly commentates - a classics legend - check the legs on the bastard in 1988!!!