Three Vans and a Can at Flanders
What messages did the riders have on their top tubes?
Flanders squad only Matteo Trentin is below six feet at five foot 10 inches. Mark Cavendish only proves the OPQS height rule is true by stopping the tape measure at five foot nine (I suspect much like everyone’s driver’s license that’s an exaggeration). Anyways – back the Vanderbergh.
Other than being just a tall drink of water, Vanderbergh had a strong 2013 Classics season with a second place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and an eighth place finish in Gent–Wevelgem. This year hasn’t been too bad either with a fourth place finish in the recent E3 and him finishing fifth in Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne.
Regardless of Vanderbergh’s past accomplishments, the Quick-Steppers were focused on getting Boonen to the line first – that’s why his race bib ended in a “1” letting everyone know who was the leader.
It was a smart team-move to get the Stijn into an early move – the pressure is off the team to chase any breaks. Sit back, stay out of trouble – easy peasy. Boonen gets a free ride, courtesy of the other teams, and sprints by to take win number four.
I imagine the messages taped to Stijn’s bike were, “Get in early break, wait for Tommeke to bridge and take win. Enjoy cray cray after-party ;)” or, “Hulk smash!”
Sep Vanmarcke rounded out the break and was also on the short list of possible race winners. Already this year he has finished in the top five of Omloop, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, E3 and Gent-Wevelgem. In pre-race interviews he was cagey about his chances, putting the pressure of Belgium squarely on his country’s Golden Boy, Tom Boonen. When Fabian applied pressure on the Kwaremont it was no surprise that Sep was the only one who could go with him.
Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, also a huge favorite, could only look at the duo disappearing over the summit of this iconic climb and look down at the message taped to his C’dale, “No matter what – STAY WITH FABS!!!”. I’m also betting he has a photo of Kate Upton on the stem because that’s how he rolls.
With the finish line just 300 meters in front of them Cancellara started his sprint, taking what pundits call his best Tour of Flanders victory so far. It’s looking like a smart bet that Trek Factory Racing gambled on Fabs being the star rider rather than the Schleck brothers, because Classic victories are a bigger bang for your publicity buck than finishing top 15 in the Tour de France. Oh yeah, I went there.
Next up is the Queen of the Classics – Paris-Roubaix. Cancellara was already a strong favorite in this Northern French race. With his Flanders victory he’s going to be marked so hard by his rivals that Boonen might accidently follow him into the Trek Factory Racing bus.
Now the question is, what message will Cancellara tape to his tube for Roubaix?
While we wait for this year’s Paris-Roubaix, are you looking for a new top tube to tape something onto – or do you need other cycling gear? Buy new gear