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Cobbles Baby!

With Het Volk coming Saturday, I want to spend much of the week previewing the cobbles season. Starting today or tomorrow, I'd like to get some team previews going. I'll take the lead with Quick Step, but invite all interested parties to do a writeup on any other Pro Tour team or any Continental Tour team that's likely to show up on the cobbles. The task is to preview each team's riders, strategies and chances during the cobbles season, as opposed to the whole season. No rules really, and if five different people want to write up Predictor-Lotto, fine by me. Just put your thoughts in a diary and I'll promote to posts anything ready for prime time.

For now, here is the calendar of races of interest to the cobbles teams (plus the intervening "Pro Tour" events). We get a preview this weekend with Het Volk and KBK, then a hiatus (maybe) for the stage races and La Primavera before it's all cobbles for a solid five weeks. Now, as great as all that is, the potential boycott of Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo could be a problem, but might also serve to load up the teams even more for the other races listed below. N.b., the calendar is running six days later than last year, which doesn't mean much other than Paolo Bettini will keep his form all the way to Halloween.

March: (2006 winner)
3 Het Volk (Gilbert)
4 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (Nuyens)
9-11 Dreidaagse West Vlaanderen (Eeckhout)
11-18 Paris-Nice (Landis)
14-20 Tirreno Adriatico (Dekker)
21 Nokere Koerse (Roesems)
24 Milan-San Remo (Pozzato)
28 Dwars Door Vlaanderen (Veuchelen)
31 E3 Prijs (Boonen)
1 Brabantse Pijl (Freire)
3-5 Dreidaagse de Panne (Hoste)
8 Tour of Flanders (King Boonen)
11 Gent-Wevelgem (Hushovd)
15 Paris-Roubaix (Cancellara)
18 Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen (St. Boonen)
22 Amstel Gold Race (Schleck)
25 La Fleche Wallonne (Valverde)
29 Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Valverde)