Thursday, February 21, 2013

Opening Weekend: To Pray at the Church of Cobbles




It's cold, grey and dreary outside as I'm waiting for better riding weather.

That doesn't deter me because the much anticipated 'Opening Weekend' couldn't come sooner. The classic Belgian door will open starting and finishing in Ghent-Ghent. That would be Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad followed by Sunday's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.






The real season starts here, in cycling mad Belgium, as the title reveals. It's not pretentious is it? Oman, Qatar, Langkawi doesn't do it for me. Valkenberg, kasseien and hellingen is what I understand. Add in beer and frites and stir to complete. One-day racing battling over unrelenting cobbles and cold weather will await the riders. Can it be any better for a fan?

The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team is led by the uncertain Tom Boonen, playing down his chances for victory. But, Tornado Tom and his team do look impressive in this recon video. This classic is a 12 climb extravaganza that share the same climbs; Valkenberg, Eikenberg and Molenberg of De Ronde. Add prestige and this promises plenty of cobble excitement.


Omloop Het Nieuwsblad start list.


Sunday's church service continues with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

It will end in a mass sprint, now whether Cavendish can win again is not fool proof. There's a few guys that will want to prevent the Manx Missile from firing. Andre Greipel, Yauheni Hutarovich and Tyler Farrar are riders, with the right support, to be there in the end fighting for the win.



Our Canadians in the cobble mix...

I'll be looking for local boy, Sven Tuft to turn over some cobble magic. And, I'll be cheering for Dominique Rollin as he will open his assault on the cobble classics.

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne start list.



We fully support, Opening Weekend!









Richard


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