Races of the week:
- Paris - Roubaix
- Pais Vasco
- Circuit del la Sarthe
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.Peter Sagan (2). So. You win Paris - Roubaix from the front these days. Beautiful move by the Fastvakian when the Bigs were hesitating 53 klicks out. He’s also taken the overall lead in FSA-DS passing Valverde 1205-1144.
Final FSA-DS cobbles points standings for the year:
- Terpstra - 1105 points including three wins (de Ronde, E3, and Le Samyn) Number of cobbles races- 8. VDS points per race- 138
- Stuyven- Look at Jasper at #2! 830 hard earned points in 7 races. His highest placement was 4th at Omloop but in all his races he was in the top 10 except KBK where he was 38th. VDS points per race- 119
- Sagan- 800 points with the wins at Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix. Number of cobbles races- 4. VDS points per race- 150 Sagan is in many ways the successor to Cancellara in that most of the time he skips the opening weekend and just does the top races. 26th in his first cobbles race, E3, he then was 1st, 6th, and 1st.
- Gilbert- 790 points. Seemingly always a little behind Terpstra. He’s right-he doesn't quite have that edge that he did last year. Amstel will be very interesting. Number of cobbles races- 6. VDS points per race- 132.
- GVA- 775 points while scoring in 7 races. VDS points per race- 111. Greg also was a little off of last year’s razor sharp edge but he’s coming along: he started weak in the opening weekend (50th and 56th places) then slogged through Tirreno-Adriatico, started to round into form with a 17th at MSR then placed 3rd, 14th, 8th, 5th, and 4th today. He can still get back to his peak from last year.
- Sep 730 points in 7 races for 104 points per race. Winning a race? REALLY????? WINNING’S FOR LOSERS PAL.
- Stybar 615 quiet but important points in 7 races. Never the #1 threat for QS, still his presence at the sharp end of the race made QS that much stronger. Points per race-88.
- Valgren - 520 points with the win at Omloop for the Dane. Number of cobbles races- 6. VDS points per race- 87. He did not race at Paris-Roubaix (both he and Benoot skipped the race and will return at Amstel) but this spring is a nice step up in impact. Can't wait till next year!
- (tie) Demare- 510 points. Number of cobbles races- 7. VDS points per race- 73. 61st at paris-Roubaix-just didn't quite have the luck he needed. That and the DQ at Scheldeprijs made for an unsatisfying week. But overall this spring is another step up for a guy who hasn't reached his ceiling yet.
- (tie) Naesen- 510 points. Number of cobbles races- 7. VDS points per race- 72. Imagine if Dillier had been healthy all spring-they would have formed an imposing duo.
- Debusschere- 475 points in 7 races for 68 points per race. Another rider who’s form is on the upswing.
- Pedersen- 440 points. Number of cobbles races- 7. VDS points per race- 63. Ran out of steam (I think) at PR. Future is bright!
- Benoot- 390 points. No PR for Tiej. Number of cobbles races for Benoot- 5. VDS points per race- 78. VDS points per race- 65
2. Primoz Roglic. Biggest win in his career at Pais Vasco err Itzulia Basque Country. It will be interesting to see how he does going forward. That flat ITT clinched him the victory as his main competition were not so good at the chrono. But on that last day with seven categorized climbs, he got distanced on the final one. The question now is can he keep up on the longer climbs of summer? If he can he’s a serious threat at the Tour. We see him at Romandie next.
3. Fabio Jakobsen (2). Won that weird Scheldeprijs. Kid’s got talent don’t ya think?
4. Guillaume Martin- Circuit de la Sarthe winner. Didn’t see it at all. No idea what happened.
5. Enric Mas. Fun Fact! “Mas” translates to “But” in English. There are a couple of riders from the Basque race that I could put here. I put young Mas because of his strong queen stage win, his winning the young rider competition, his 6th place on GC, and 3rd place in the Points competition. He’s had a quiet season so far, but as this race got harder he got better. Quality in spades. He does the Ardennes next.
6. Greg Van Avermaet. 4th at PR. Seems to be slowly growing into top form. On the short list for winning Amstel.
7. Niki Terpstra (4). Completed the podium at PR. Don’t you have the feeling that if not for Niki, who is obviously feeling totally confident right now, sagan and Dillier would have been minutes ahead at the end.
8. Silvan Dillier. Won Route Adéie de Vitré and oh yeah- 2nd at Paris-Roubaix. Next race: Finistere.
9. Jens Debusschere. Nice two races: 4th at Scheldeprijs then 10th at Paris-Roubaix
Team of the Week- Quickstep Floors (3)
I tried to find another team but with Jakobsen’s win @ Scheldeprijs, Alaphilippe’s two stages and Mas’ queen stage and youth jersey wins plus 6th on GC at Pais Vasco and Terpstra’s 4th, Stybar’s 10th, and Gilbert’s 15th how can I deny them? Quantity + Quality = best.
Reverse Survivor Game:
Same final six on the schneid: Doom, Gaviria, D-Mart, Bouhanni, Porte and Chaves. Hard to see any changes this week as Chaves, D-Mart, Doom and all not riding and Porte is (he says) not yet in shape while Gaviria is still injured.
Past Cobbles FSA-DS totals
Terpstra scored the highest FSA-DS totals in cobbles races the year with 1105. Stuyven scored 830, Sagan 800, Gilbert 790 and GVA 775. How do these guys compare to past cobbles campaigns? Glad you asked!
- 2017- GVA scored an even 1500 points (the highest point total since 2010) with wins at Omloop, E3, GV, and Paris-Roubaix. Gilbert chipped in 980 points with his Flanders and ddP wins. Sagan scored 630 and Stuyven 540.
- 2016 Sagan scored 1100 points with wins at Flanders and GW. Sep scored 815, Kristoff 650, and GVA 555.
- 2015 Kristoff scored 1305 points with wins in Flanders and Scheldeprijs. Terpstra scored 780, Stybar 725, GVA 670 and Sep 650.
- 2014 Sep scored 1265 while not winning any of the races. Terpstra scored 1220 while winning PR and Dwars. Boonen 775 with a KBK win. Sagan 710 with a win at E3. Cancellara scored 705 with his last Flanders win. Degenkolb scored 615 with an GW win and GVA scored an even 600.
- 2013 Sagan scored 790 with a GW win, while Cancellara scored 950 in 3 races, all wins: PR, Flanders, and E3. GVA scored 740, Kristoff 680, and Terpstra 510.
- 2012 Boonen cleans up with 1400 points and wins at PR, Flanders, GW and E3. Terpstra scores 795 with a win at Dwars and Ballan scored 630 while being runner up at both Monuments.
- 2011 Cancellara hit 825 in three races with a win at E3. Boonen 580 with a GW win.
- 2010 Cancellara scores 950 with wins in all three of his races: PR, Flanders and E3. Boonen is runner up with 720.
Notice that neither Omloop nor KBK figure in much with the top riders’ point totals. Sagan and Cancellara usually skip the opening weekend and while Boonen more likely rode that weekend he did not score much there. Its the Monuments + E3/GW and Dwars where riders’ points and reputations are earned.
Its also good to note that Niki Terpstra, who isn't seen much of the rest of the year, should be thought of as among the best of this most recent generation of cobbles riders. Plus Stuyven is continuing his upswing year on year.
My Favorite Race of the Year
Holy week is special in the cycling calendar; in many ways its the peak of the entire year. Most riders are in form for the first time of the year and its the only week that has two Monuments. The action is furious and unsubtle. Flanders means so much to Belgium while Paris-Roubaix has (to me) that insane Mad Max: Fury Road feel to it that you don't see anywhere else in the year. I love these races. And yet my favorite race of the year is Pais Vasco. This is just a matter of taste I know and I suppose most people here disagree with me but the stages of Pais Vasco are fought with equal intensity as the Monuments and unlike later stage races with their big climbs, Pais Vasco’s hills have a balls to the wall immediacy that’s unmatched in any stage or single day race. Plus I love the speed. The last stage of this year’s race with its seven climbs had me in cycling heaven and every year the race delivers. I wrote this not to open debate over which is the best race: that would be silly as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I just wanted to share that for me this race is the peak of a week that is a peak to the cycling year.
FSA DS Team of the week
DS oneone81 and his team is Lionel Hutz, Esq. Works on Contingency? No, Money Down! He had the winner of Sarthe, Guillaume Martin, plus Terpstra, Stuyven, GVA, Politt, and Jelle Wallays for 1135 points. Well done!
Previewing the week to come- to the Ardennes!
Smaller races this week with the highlight being Amstel Gold race. We also got Brabantse Pijl, the underrated Tour du Finistere, and three cat 6 races: Paris-Camembert and the two Commonwealth games races (Time trial and road race).