Roadside Report: While Richard was enjoying an amazing day with VeloClassic Tours, Ashley and Jered were on their bikes in search of as many photo locations as possible in the finale of Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen. They managed twelve. Let's take a photo look back at their day...
On the eve of Belgium’s greatest race, speculation is rampant as to how considerable course changes and the improved form of certain perennial race favorites will play on what many are calling the most challenging Tour of Flanders of the modern era. One such rider is 2010 winner Fabian Cancellara who believes the more difficult course will prove to be a better overall race that favors the strongest and smartest riders. While Cancellara is widely considered a favorite this weekend, it remains to be seen whether Spartacus can repeat his 2010 success and claim a second win in Vlaanderens Mooiste.
Race Preview: ‘It’s one thing starting the Ronde as favourite; it’s quite another thing winning it as favourite. It is a long road between Brugge and Oudenaarde, it’s stress every metre of the way; you must be able to handle that constant stress. You must be 100%, all of your team must be 100%, no bad luck whatsoever can befall you, and even then you might be beaten by a better rider on the day.’ Those were the words of Johan Museeuw, earlier this week – one of only three men in 95 editions to win the race three times.
Most of Saturday’s Flemish papers will have a 16 page pull out section – all of the kassein and hellingen (cobbles & hills) will be analysed as if for a military campaign; the form of every favourite examined by panels of experts, and past winners will be cross examined rather than interviewed. The ‘Ronde’ isn’t just a bike race; the population of Flanders is around six million; on Sunday the organisers expect 800,000 roadside – assuming that 50,000 are foreign spectators – that’s 12.5 % or one in eight of an entire nation standing beside the road to watch a sporting event.