by Kat Statman
It is a stubborn winter here on the East Coast: snowing in Virginia in April, and not having a day over 60 for weeks on end – with the occasional fluke. But that does not change the fact that it’s spring, and watching spring bike racing almost makes up for a lack of cyclocross on the weekends. If only we had World Cup cross country to watch, but alas, that is not until May this year … This week we got a quick look into Paris-Roubaix, Tom Meeusen’s surgery success, Francis Mourey back in action, and Marianne Vos!
Which veldrijders will be at Paris-Roubaix this week?
On a quick run through start list, it looks like we have at least Lars Boom, Steve Chainel and Zdenek Stybar lining up. So, will any of them be able to take a surprise win and beat Cancellara? My prediction, even with the two crashes this week: Cancellara is going to steamroll the field and just ride away. But on this list, those that may be able to hang on for a little bit or get in the early break that goes clear, like with Van Summeren in 2011, are definitely Boom and Stybar. Boom has made it into those early breaks and into the important chase groups multiple times at Roubaix, and knows how to position himself to be ready for sudden speed changes before the cobbled sectors. While Stybar doesn’t have the same experience, being on a cobbles-savvy team like Omega-Pharma Quickstep will clearly not hurt, and may even give him an advantage. While Boom may be one of the leaders on Blanco this year, Stybar is probably not a leader and is there to support Chavanel’s run at the title. But then again, it is Paris-Roubaix, a race that defies prediction.
Tom Meeusen Undergoes Surgery
In the off-season, the news from those ’crossers that don’t play double duty on the road like Chainel, much of the news is spring training, injury reports, who is in Mallorca because the weather in Europe (and the eastern United States for that matter) is unrelenting and not allowing spring to come through, etc. But sometimes, we get the off-season surgery story. After Tom’s troubled season with crashes and doping allegations, he had other worries on his mind too, like a sinus problem affecting his ability to breathe – oh and those pesky tonsil things that are supposed to keep you from getting sick. Well, I am happy to report that Tom made it through surgery safe and sound, and that he is recovering before getting ready for the next season.
Francis Mourey at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe
Yes, it’s spring classics season in Belgium, but there are stage races going on elsewhere, and Mourey just won one. Three cheers to the wily and quick Frenchman getting an early season victory.
Marianne Vos (needs no introduction)
We’ve been saying this for quite awhile now, but Marianne Vos is clearly the best cyclist in history … Not only is she adding mountain biking back to her palmares in order to prepare for the Rio Olympics, but she is not even losing a step on the road, winning her first Tour of Flanders in a sprint. Not only that, somewhere it came down through that she not only won Flanders, but the next day proceeded to win another mountain bike race. It is absolutely flabbergasting to think what a machine she is. But, could she win an XC eliminator, or a 4X, or a downhill, or an enduro? Well, only time will tell, as you must remember she is only 25!