Mild shocker in the Dwaars door Vlaanderen today, as Chocolate Jack's Frederik Veuchelen was the last man standing in an early four-man break and just managed to stay away for a narrow two-second win. You can read the results as well as me, but since I actually saw this one, a few thoughts...
- Cycling.TV absolutely rocks, when available. Granted, it can be a little disorienting listening to guys with Scottish accents for long periods, but the picture and sound worked very well, the commentary was no-nonsense solid, and since they appeared to be using a local TV feed you could see everything you needed to.
- One caveat -- I may need to buy the premium coverage, my toddler son banged on the keyboard in the last 6km, interrupted the feed, and I got blocked off the server by the traffic until just after the finish. Cycling.TV's premium subscribers get preferred access, so I would have logged right back on. Still, he's a great kid, and the race situation didn't really change much.
- Great day for those who were getting sick of the Quick-Step juggernaut. I suppose it was worth trying for Boonen to join Van Impe and see if they could ride away, but 35km or so is a long way for a two-man break on largely flat roads, with no hope of catching the two race leaders until near the finish. Boonen is Boonen and Van Impe is strong, but seeing the rainbow jersey just up the road is a strong motivator for the group.
- Highlight of the race: Unibet's blocking technique. A little old school, but with maybe 15-20km left, they started to rightfully wonder if their own escapee, David Boucher, would make it to the finish with Veuchelen, and sent their whole squad led by Franck Vandenbroucke to the front to slow the chase. Blocking seems a little futile and silly at times, but watching the effort on these twisting little farm paths... well, I think I know where the technique came from. Only single riders could get around until the road opened up a bit, and with a two-second victory margin, it's safe to say that every block counted. Too bad Boucher exploded a few minutes later.