Races of the week:
After week seven, this week we took a breath before the next couple of weeks leading up to the Giro:
- Amstel Gold Race
- Brabantse Pijl
- Tour du Finistère
- Tro Bro Leon
- Paris - Camembert
- TT & RR at Commonwealth Games
Team of the week:
First named rider is the rider of the week and if a rider has a number in parentheses after their name it means the number of times they have made the select Team of the Week here.
1.Michael Valgren (2). Beautiful Amstel Gold win in two ways: First and like his win at Omloop, he worked beautifully with his teammates, in this case Fuglsang who did a wonderful job repeatedly attacking. Second, three big attacks: the first was at around 4k to go and was slowly pulled back, the second was around 1.5km to go and only Roman Kreuziger could follow. The third was in the last 100-200m when he rode Roman off his wheel when a lot of us thought that it was Kreuz who had the faster finish.
We’ve had a bunch of nice finales to races this year but in my mind Valgren’s two wins were just extra satisfying. I just loved his win at Omloop and this win at Amstel was so so good also. Discuss.
2. Tim Wellens. Brabantse Pijl winner with a strong move that no one could follow. Was also in on the final group at Amstel and finished 6th-which shows you the difference between the quality of the two races.
3. Jonathan Hivert. Tour du Finistère winner. The end of that race finished a few riders on good form but Hivert’s fast finish once again wins him the race. 33 years old and this and last year might be the best years of his career. Earlier this year he won that stage at Paris-Nice and also won the preseason Haut Var by winning both stages. Next will be seen at LBL.
4. Lillian Calmejane (2)- Paris - Camembert winner. I don't always put in cat 6 race winners (like you won't be seeing any mention of the Commonwealth Games winners) but this week he gets the nod.
5. Roman Kreuziger. 2nd @ Amstel. Pushed the finale constantly, first with Gaspa then was the only rider to go with Valgren.
6. Enrico Gasparotto. Like Roman just not quite as good at the end. Having Sagan in the final group is tough, especially if you aren't used to it. he doesn’t budge gaps but you expect him too. I wonder if that is why Gaspa did not go with Kreuz when Valgren attacked as Sagan was next in line. Gaspa hesitated and couldn't quite bridge over. With him having a faster finish than Kreuz or Valgren you are left wondering what might have been: a third AGR win? Not today, sorry.
Note to self: both of these guys (K and G) are in very good form for this week coming up, especially LBL.
7. Sonny Cobrelli (2). Strong 2nd at Brabantse Pijl after finishing 1st last year. Almost but couldn't quite bridge over to the final group at Amstel and he then faded. We’ll se him at Romandie next.
8. Damien Hellhound Gaudin. I mean seriously: his Tro Bro Leon race was epic. He. Just. Would. Not. Die. But then again are hellhounds actually alive? I don't think so.
9. Christophe Laporte. Tro Bro Leon winner and a gutsy one at that. 25 yers old and has ben hanging around the leaders all spring. 4th at GW, 13th at MSR, 16th at Dwars, plus a couple of stages at Provence and Besseges. Along with the 4th place finisher at TBL, Hugo Hofstetter the cycling world and Cofidis sure aren’t missing Bou Bou much. Points to Cedric Vasseur showing some tough love.
Team of the Week- Astana (2)
For their 1-2 at Amstel with Valgren and Fuglsang. Beauty.
Reverse Survivor Game:
Unchanged final six: Doom, Gaviria, D-Mart, Bouhanni, Porte and Chaves. Seems like Daniel Martin should score this week, right?
FSA DS Team of the week
I’m switching things up this week and instead of award this coveted prize to the DS who got the most points I’m gonna go with crevaison ds’ed by cmec. Maybe its Will infecting my brain but cmec has Laporte, Calmejane, Gaudin, Bardet, and Hofstetter and so cleaned up on the French races. They also have Molard that earned them some pocket change at Amstel. Go French or go home!
Previewing the week to come- the Ardennes and Giro dreaming
The end of the Ardennes in La Fleche Wallone and our 4th Monument, Liege-Bastogne-Liege plus two interesting Giro prep stage races in Tour of the Alps and Tour of Croatia. Anyone who can climb will be active this week.