It almost goes without saying, here in the eerie calm before the Flanders storm, that the FSA DS will be a-rockin this weekend and into the next week. Holy Week is bookended by two monuments -- Cat 2 with 350 points awaiting the winner -- and another decent cobbled(ish) race in between. On the men's side, there's much more: two races tomorrow (GP Miguel Indurain in Spain and Hel van het Mergelland in the Netherlands), de Ronde Sunday, Pais Vasco and Circuit de la Sarthe stage races kicking off, the Scheldeprijs, and Paris-Roubaix. The Women's slate is lighter, but still big: De Ronde Sunday, GP de Dottignies (cat-5, sprinters' race) Monday, and the cat-3 Energiewacht Tour, six stages around Marianne Vos Country, the rest of the week.
This time matters not so much because of the point totals but what they can do to the race. Take Tom Boonen. If he goes berserk and wins the Double, or even if he comes close (say a win and another podium), his point total will be up around 1400. Since he was off last year and went for 12 points in the league, that kind of production makes it almost impossible to win without him on your team. Then again, he's on 380 teams, so that doesn't alter things too much. Surprise winners obviously are a big deal, though most of the guys who fit that description are guys who you were already counting on top-10 points for, so the delta there isn't likely to be big. Boonen's overall delta? Big.
Fabian Cancellara is a different story. The reason he cost 26 points is because he seems to get points all season long, no matter what. Even if he gets shut out this week+ -- say if his daughter came home from school with a nasty virus -- he's still going to get 2000+ points before it's over. Missing one goal seems to only make him more determined in the next. Also, the chances of him getting shut out are limited to forces beyond his control; if he's himself, he'll score big. In any event, his performance doesn't really influence the standings; it's the guys who suddenly go big, or small, that make all the difference.
Note to Philippe Gilbert owners: Don't sweat. Wait a month. Then start sweating.
OK, who ya got? My Ronde list is the usual suspects, Eddy Boss, Breschel, and Sep. But my Scheldeprijs lineup is gonna kill! Aidis Kruopis, Andrea Guardini, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Jens Keukeleire, Martijn Maaskant, Sep Vanmarcke, Tyler Farrar. I will not be stopped in a cat-4 race.
Roster generator here.