2009 - A dose of the same
QuickStep’s Stijn Devolder completed an amazing repeat of 2008 by soloed his way to another victory. Heinrich Haussler and Philippe Gilbert took the minor placing around 1 min behind. Last year’s second placed rider Nick Nuyens came in at the same time in 15th just behind Roger Hammond. Flecha, third in 2008, came in at the tail of the group.
De Goulden Flandrien Cyclo Sportive
Photos of the top finishers in the 250km “Golden” ride are now online and around the route (links since closed). Did any of you ride the Gold, Silver or Bronze distances this year? If so send in your comments.
Latvia’s Gatis SMUKULIS took the honours ahead of Belgians Jérôme BAUGNIES and Jan GHYSELINCK. But for the English-speakers it was Simon Clarke of Australia in fourth and Cole House of the USA in seventh that were the most notable. And just behind were GB’s Jonathan BELLIS and Australia’s Wesley SULZBERGER. For those of you that took part in the cyclo-sportive there are some photos online here ...
2008 - A Vintage Year
Rain, sleet, 4 degrees C and massive crowds were the back drop to a hard fought men’s race. Those at the back on the climbs were reduced to walking - and the poor conditions lead to many crashes. But it was sunshine over the final kilometers as QuickStep’s Stijn Devolder soloed his way to another Belgian victory. Nuyens and Flecha took the minor placings. The Pro Tour points system meant that André Greipel retained the Pro Tour leader’s jersey despite not reaching the finish.
Meanwhile it was Team High Road’s Judith Arndt that took the women’s race for Germany- from Kristin Armstrong. Kirsten Wild, Oenone Wood and - new track world champion - Marianne Vos were the leaders in the sprint for third place. Despite Arndt’s win it was sixth placed Suzanne De Goede (Nürnberger) who took over the World Cup lead.
And a result that I have never noticed before was that the women’s race had more finishers than the men’s - 105 to 100.
Twenty five teams of eight are on the men’s start list for Sunday, with Alessandro Ballan starting as number one. More...
André Greipel will start out wearing the Pro Tour leader’s jersey but the betting is still on Boonen to take it from him. Lots of people will be making the trip to see the race in person but if that’s not possible then Eurosport (and RAI probably) will be providing live coverage from the morning onwards.
The women’s start list is here...
Boonen Leads the Betting
Checking around the online betting services the latest odds indicate that Tom Boonen is the pundits’ choice for a win on 6-April. However he is only just ahead of the on-form Fabian Cancellara - recent winner of both Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico. The other leading names in the frame are - Ballan, Hoste, Bettini, Pozzato, Gilbert, Devolder, Nuyens, Steegmans, Burghardt, Hincapie, O’Grady, Gusev and Kroon.
2008 Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres
05-Apr Cycling for All / Cyclo Sportive
06-Apr Elite Women more...
06-Apr Elite Men
12-Apr Espoirs (no details yet)
25-May De Goulden Flandrien Cyclo Sportive more..
29-Jun De Retro Ronde - Bikes over 20 years old + vintage cars more..
A full article about De Ronde is coming soon [make that later] but the important items - the route maps - are available for the women’s race here... and the men’s race here...