clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Countdown to the Cobbles: The Eagles Have Landed

Short one today; mad scramble to get my life in order before departing... Anyone have a spare campy-compatible clincher rear wheel they wish to lend with no hope of it being returned? I promise its demise (unlike the wheel I planned on using) won't have been in vain. Wayofthecross-3_medium[Crickets]... Me and my skinny gatorskins, so getting klopt by the Paterberg...

3. Koppenberg Air Flight 257 Now Boarding...

Today is one of the few great travel days in Cycling. The Twittersphere is alive with the details of flight arrangements, baggage shipments, and riders turning on to the Cobbles Season, putting the warmup tours and the Primavera monument behind them and focusing only on the rough ride ahead up north. OK, not everyone, as the Volta a Catalunya and Settimana Coppi e Bartali will (or has) retain(ed) their respective share of locals and climbers and local climbers. But for the Classicians, there is no more preseason. Except maybe Dwars door Vlaanderen. More on that shortly.

2. Pressure Drop

I am always a bit nervous doing the psychoanalysis thing, not being a pro cyclist, or within 6000 miles of any (for the moment), but De Telegraaf reports that Oscar Freire's victory in Milano-Sanremo may have a trickle down effect on the team. The translation is very choppy so I will post the original Dutch in the hopes that someone can make more sense of it.

Dankzij Freire gaan ook de andere renners met een geruster hart het voorjaar in. De door Rabobank steevast zo gevreesde druk van buitenaf is enigszins weg en de ervaring leert dat een team in de winning-mood vaak boven zichzelf kan uitstijgen.
Freire thanks also go the other riders with a calmer heart in the spring.  By Rabobank invariably so feared outside pressure is slightly away and experience shows that a team in the winning mood-often can rise above themselves.

Er, OK. Well, two springs ago a previously inconsistent Columbia-High Road team dominated at the Tour Down Under and kicked off a rampage that lasted two full years and netted something like 175 wins. Rabo themselves got off to a good start last spring with a handful of early wins (mostly by Graeme Brown) and then the Giro d'Italia title, and while things didn't last forever, they enjoyed a healthy improvement overall in ending up ranked #3 in the world. So momentum may seem a tad ethereal, but it can't hurt, particularly for a Rabo team that seems to bear a lot of pressure, often rather openly.

1. Back in the Saddle

Johnny Hoogerland will return to racing in Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen after coming a-cropper in Paris-Nice and winding up with an aching back. Speaking of pressure, Vacansoleil need a miracle to get a last-minute invite to the Giro d'Italia, so if Hoogie can improve on his 13th last year (like, say, first), the team can start making its case.

Cuddles' Corner!

Cuddles_the_cobble_small_mediumPeople like to diss Google Translations, but the world would be less fun if not for their unintentionally sexy ways. Here's Tom Boonen describing Oscar Freire, with seemingly great affection:

I had seen in the Tirreno he played with the pedals. In the sprint I sat where I was sitting. Maybe a little faster I could spurt my address. But that's talk afterwards.

Funny, back in my day we would try to spurt our phone numbers when we wanted to get someone's attention. But as he says, that's talk afterwards.