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!