Saturday, April 10, 2010
Crash and Burn 2010
“This wasn't a race. It was a pilgrimage.”
-Henri Pélissier, speaking of his 1919 victory
L'enfer du Nord. The Paris – Roubaix, first run in 1896, celebrates its 108th edition this Sunday.
Saxo Bank powerhouse Fabian Cancellara’s win at the Tour of Flanders last week has many naming him as the overwhelming favorite. Although Cancellara won the Roubaix in 2006 and Flanders a week ago, it is Quick Step’s Tom Boonen who currently holds the bragging rights to the ''Queen of the Classics''.
Boonen is looking to match the record set by fellow Belgian great Roger De Vlaeminck, who holds the most wins (with four) at the grueling Hell of the North. De Vlaeminck won the race in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1977, Boonen in 2005, 2008 and in 2009. For Cancellara, a win would make him only the ninth rider to accomplish the prestigious Flanders-Roubaix double.
Despite a crash midweek during the Scheldeprijs in preparation for the weekend, Boonen dusted himself off and remarked "That was perfect preparation for Roubaix"
The Belgian native Boonen is under pressure to deliver the country's first win of the season, starting with this cobbled classic. With 53 wins in 107 editions, history puts the odds in his favor.
200 riders will embark on the 259 km race, which includes 27 cobble stoned sections. The weather for Sunday’s race is expected to be good, but even that doesn’t make it any less unpredictable, which is truly the allure of the race.
My plans for tomorrow… First it’s mimosas, over-easy eggs, and live streaming the Roubaix in bed via http://www.steephill.tv live stream and the Velo News live chat updates. And then, back to sleep only to re-watch the mayhem on vs. later that night. The perfect Sunday indeed.