We covered Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad earlier. As for yesterdayâ€™s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, I think we were treated to more of the race we expected to see.
1. Australiaâ€™s Chris Sutton took the biggest win of his career, in my opinion. Yes, he won a stage in the Tour Down Under, but a semi-classic against the likes of Farrar and Greipel is much bigger victory.
2. Team Sky really seems to have this weekend dialed-in. Flecha was impressive again, setting a wicked pace on the Oude Kwaremont to pull away from the field with Tom Boonen.Â As for Edvald Boasson Hagen, either heâ€™s not quite in the form we thought he was or Team Skyâ€™s found a new role for him. Personally, I see his performance as a good sign that heâ€™ll be at his best for major classics still to come.
3. Once Boonen and Flecha escaped, it was Garmin-CervÃ©loâ€™s Martijn Maaskant who dragged the peloton back up to them. Another rider who seems to have found a new role within his team, Maaskant seems much better as a super-domestique than a team captain.
4. During Boonenâ€™s attack inside the final 10 kilometers of the race, it was suggested during our live Feed Zone that it is disrespectful to use a race as training. One has to remember though, that professional racers compete so often that training is more of a moot point by the time the season begins. When in a racing period, all they do is race and rest, race and rest; many of the efforts we see are nothing more than a bit of mid-race interval work.
For Boonen, he likely had this weekend penciled-in as an intensive two-days of racing; after Saturday, he needed to get his work in while he could. And while the move was clearly not meant to win the race for his team, it did turn the screws on the peloton and give teammates Geert Steegmans and Gerald Ciolek a free ride to the finish.
5. Unfortunately, Ciolek only managed 17th. I wonder how many Quick-Step riders read the paper this morning? Who will be the first rider to be called out by Patrick Lefevere now that Devolderâ€™s gone?
6. And speaking of Stijn Devolder, why was he at the back of the race coming into the Oude Kwaremont? His race today was oddly reminiscent of last yearâ€™s Ronde, a race in which he spent more time chasing at the back than racing at the front. Considering his performance Saturday, heâ€™s another rider who might want to skip reading todayâ€™s Het Laatste News. (Sorry Stijn, but youâ€™re no Peter Van Petegem.)
7. Lottoâ€™s Jurgen Roelandts spent some more time off the front, this time with six others following the Cote de Trieu. After Philippe Gilbertâ€™s no-show Saturday and Greipelâ€™s lackluster third-place Sunday, Roelandtsâ€™ weekend was the teamâ€™s lone bright spot.
8. As for Andre â€œI Had No Leadoutâ€ Greipel, at what point do we start thinking he was more a product of HTCâ€™s system than his own talent?Â Just wonderingâ€”thereâ€™s a lot of season left for him to prove us wrong.
9. Tyler Farrar finished right behind Greipel in fourth place. Considering the finish was tailor made for the American, Garmin-CervÃ©lo has reason to be disappointed. Maybe the squad has more kinks to work out than the teamâ€™s impressive start to the season first indicated?
10. Letâ€™s take a minute to acknowledge the quiet weekend enjoyed by Katushaâ€™s Filippo Pozzato. Given last yearâ€™s pre-Ronde flu, I have a feeling the Italianâ€™s taking a bit more of a quiet build-up to this yearâ€™s Monuments. Remember last year, when we were all wondering about Cancellaraâ€™s form coming out of Tirreno and Milan-San Remo? Expect much of the same from Pozzato this seasonâ€”will he reap the same rewards?
11. And last but not least, we rolled-out The Feed Zone this weekend, a live chat where we could all watch the race together, commenting, questioning, and discussing as the events unfolded on our own computer screens. Needless to say, we are gracious for the overwhelming warm response it received. Expect a Feed Zone schedule for the rest of the spring soonâ€”and thanks to everyone who participated!
Come back later for a brief Monday Musette covering the rest of the weekendâ€”there was other racing, you knowâ€¦
Share your comments and observations below.