Monday Musette – Vattenfall, ENECO, and Films About Flandriens

2010 Vattenfall Cyclassics - Final Podium

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Here’s this week’s Monday Musette:

1. Tyler Farrar became the first back-to-back winner of the Vattenfall Cyclassics with his win Sunday.  Edvald Boasson Hagen and Andre Greipel took second and third, rounding-out what I had suspected would constitute the final podium (albeit in different positions).  The race went as planned for Garmin-Transitions—the team timed is lead-out perfectly, with Julian Dean putting the final touch on the work of Team Sky in the final 2 kilometers.  With head-to head wins over just about everyone at this point in 2010, Farrar is now rightfully the second-fastest man in the world.  This begs the question: what does Farrar have to do to close the gap to Cavendish?

2. Looking down the results, two names inside the top-15 stood-out to me: Frederic Guesdon and Kevin Hulsmans.  For Guesdon, it was a solid placing for a rider many thought would be making his swan song this year.  That’s not to be however, as the 38-year-old Frenchman has already signed a 1-year extension with FDJ.  As for Quick Step’s Hulsmans, his result is notable if only for the fact that he’s a rider largely known for his efforts on behalf of Tom Boonen.  In a race where Boonen’s absence was by particularly felt, it’s nice to see his domestiques giving it a go for themselves.

3. Boasson Hagen and Greipel now head to the ENECO Tour, where Hagen hopes to defend his title in what would be his first Pro Tour stage race win for Team Sky.  On paper, there’s little reason to believe he doesn’t have the form to accomplish the feat, but Stijn Devolder, Tony Martin, Lars Boom, Richie Porte, Andreas Kloden, and José Ivan Gutierrez (a two-time ENECO winner himself) will all give the Norwegian a run for his kroner.  The ENECO Tour also marks the return of Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Jurgen Van den Broeck following his fifth-place finish in this year’s Tour de France.  It’s also a race featuring Johan Vansummeren, one of the peloton’s most popular Belgians—and an outside bet for the title.  My gut has Hagen, Devolder, and Martin taking the first three places on GC—but in what order?

4. Did you happen to watch the short film over at Rapha about Johan Museeuw, “A Throw of the Dice”?  To be honest, I was a bit disappointed.  The piece started strong with images from the Roubaix countryside, the velodrome itself, and several highlights from last year’s edition.  Then things took a turn for the bizarre with some hazy flashbacks to Napolean, WWI, and a “famous” day in 1992(?) when Museeuw was given a rosary by a suspicious fan while out training.  I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I wish the producers would have done a better job with some of their research—the flashback to Museeuw circa-1992 had the Belgian wearing black shorts and a Mapei-Bricobi jersey, for example.  And the scene depicting Museeuw the night before the 1998 Paris-Roubaix had the champion wearing a Rapha jersey in his hotel room.  Small oversights/indulgences like these detracted from what was otherwise an entertaining and well-produced film.  Your thoughts?

5. Speaking of film, Big Jonny brought an interesting Youtube series to my attention featuring episodes from a Belgian TV special called De Flandriens.  While you don’t need to speak Flemish to know what the series is about, you will need to spreek een beetje vlaams to understand the commentary.  Despite the language barriers though, it’s still a fantastic documentary offering terrific footage of some of the sport’s greatest Flemish hardmen—well worth your time.  And there’s a book too!

6. And last but not least, it’s time for me to eat some crow.  If you recall, last week I criticized the lack of any meaningful coverage of the Tour de France in the most recent issue of VeloNews. While I stand by my earlier opinion, I must give the magazine a bit of credit for an incredible photo of Christian Vande Velde getting a helping hand after his Stage 2 crash, as well as some great research on the world’s best up-and-coming riders that features some names you might not be otherwise familiar with—a great read for anyone who enjoys prognosticating.  While the lack of Tour coverage is a bit of a downer, it’s still a worthy pick-up if you’re in the US have nothing better to spend your money on.

That’s it for today—share your comments and insights below!

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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10 Responses to Monday Musette – Vattenfall, ENECO, and Films About Flandriens

  1. Chris says:

    I too was disappointed with the Rapha vid. I failed to grasp the significance related to Napoleon and WWI. Maybe I’m just dense. It was all a little low brow cheesy especially compared with the great stuff Rapha produced with the Continental films from 2009 which actually made me want to throw my bike in the trunk, right then. The Roubaix flic stirred feelings more closely related to a nap. Good stuff Whit!

  2. Vancouver says:

    Whenever I see Rapha’s marketing of late, it always leaves me with the feeling that cycling should return to its working class roots and get off the high street.

  3. domesgique says:

    I think they were trying to link together the origins of the area and “The Hell of the North” moniker. That was my take at least. But it still didn’t quite hit with me. I enjoyed their film on the Tourmalet and the recreation of that stage more. This one was “meh”. I was underwhelmed I suppose.

  4. Touriste-Routier says:

    I didn’t get the Rapha film either. Too much art, not enough substance? The recurring presence of the rosary seemed extremely contrived, and the focus on and historical connections to the Trouée d’Arenberg are disconnected from the race itself, especially considering that stretch wasn’t included in the race until 1968. And there is a lot more career definition to the “Lion of Flanders” than his crash in P-R, and revival.

  5. Adam says:

    I agree with you Whit – I wanted to see Museeuw in the old Lotto kit when I saw the date. As for the rest of the film, it was nearly redeemed when Museeuw recalled that it was impossible to pee after riding P-R. I’m hoping for better from the other two Rapha films, and without so many non-subtle Rapha plugs. Still, in a way it made me excited for the Classics again.

    Thought about your comment on Farrar catching up to Cavendish. Looking at the finishing sprint, it seems as if Farrar is learning from some of the things Cavendish gloats about being major advantages – like aerodynamics, Farrar is still a lot higher up than the Manxman, but seems lower than before, and he has seemingly adopted the aero jersey pretty wholeheartedly. Still, being humble and sprinting in a straight line seem to be endearing him to the public more effectively than Cavendish…

  6. cthulhu says:

    Rapha: As I once said, i have never worn any of their products so I can’t say anything about their quality. It might be superb and worth their money (and praise). But I have a really strong antipathy for their brand thanks to their marketing and image they try to create. Like the way they keep rambling about the little details that make the difference but not getting them right then, like national colours, French language…And all this promoting about the origins and roots of cycling and it’s myths and it’s joys and how basic and down to earth it is while addressing and producing for exactly the opposite target group, an exclusive snobbish/elitist group. And not only because of the pricing.

    Ya!y Eneco tour, the pro tour stage race directly in front of my door. And I’m gonna miss it ;_;
    Anyway, EBH and Lars Boom are my top picks for the race. I guess Devolder will try to show something but despite claiming the Belgian National championship he is having a bit of an unlucky season, so I guess that takes him out of the picture, though maybe Hulsmann can end up high in the GC for Quickstep, but if Richie Porte shows as good form as at the Giro he can end up in the top five, maybe even challenge the top contenders. I don’t see Tony Martin that far in the front because I think he has to work for Greipel but maybe he can take the TT win. And I will watch Daniel Oss a bit more closely, he seems also very talented and and in good form. Though I’m not sure if he has the luck/gets chance to prove himself. But he is still young.

  7. michael says:

    Eneco now, Denmark last week, if I were the other aspirants to the Worlds TT crown this year I would stand up and take note of the statement of form Svein Tuft is making lately.

    I saw him at the Tour de White Rock in July and he was absolutely STOMPING. He clearly found a rish vein of form post-Giro. Word on the street is he is not racing the Vuelta and will instead focus on TT specific training at home, then the 2 Pro tour stops in Canada before hitting the worlds in stride.

    Worth watching in the next little while!

    • Whit says:

      You said it Mike! Tuft’s one to watch as the season winds down to Worlds. Does he have another podium in his legs? I say so, but beating Cancellara’s a tough task.

  8. m.s. says:

    Trainspotters! Let’s for a moment look at the bigger picture and be glad that a company is even willing to take risks (creatively and financially) to put the sport we love in an artistic context. While I can see cringing when some historical aspect is not quite right, we shouldn’t be so blind as to miss the idea that these films represent: cycling culture can be beautiful and painful, mundane and transcendent, and most of all – misunderstood.

    • Whit says:

      Good point, Mike. Rapha’s never been afraid to explore the sport in new contexts, shedding light on the historical and personal undertones that make the sport so fantastic. In my case, I was just surprised that a company with such an eye for detail let some little blips slide through. In an anglo-american world where “Lance Rules”, it’s indeed refreshing to see some of the sport’s other heroes highlighted for once.

      Thanks for the comment!

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