Americans in Paris-Roubaix. A Ho-Hum Hell.

Farrar. Best American in Paris-Roubaix.

In the aftermath of Paris-Roubaix, the Italian press lamented that no Italian had won a classic of note since Damiano Cuengo took the victory in the 2008 Tour of Lombardy. There was much consternation in Gazzetta dello Sport and many cappuccinos consumed while the debate raged on.

Twisted Spoke is also wondering about what happened to the American’s in this year’s Hell of the North. The result sheet wasn’t particularly impressive or promising. Yes, an American based team Garmin Cervelo had the winning rider and BMC made a good showing, but the stars and stripes till not fly high in the individual placings.

Tyler Farrar rode a solid and supportive race for Thor Hushovd and managed to roll in 28th. After that, it’s a free-fall down the list. In what was perhaps his final go at Paris Roubaix, 37 year old George Hincapie was 42nd. A big disappointment for the rider who loves this race more than any other.

While the Italian press wondered aloud why they had successful stage racers but no classics stars, the same question could be asked back in the states. Bjorn Selander and Ben King , both on the Radio Shack squad, finished 72nd and 76th, over 13mins behind winner Johan Van Summeren.

That’s the full scorecard and nobody is singing the Star Spangled Banner. John Murphy (BMC), Ed King (Liquigas-Cannondale) and a hopeful Steve Cozza (Net App) were all DNF.

Where is America’s next great classics rider? What’s missing is really who was missing. The 2009 and 2010 winner of the Under 23 Paris-Roubaix, BMC’s Taylor Phinney. A persistent knee problem kept him out of the race he seems destined someday to win.

Hopefully, we’ll see Phinney at his best in the 2012 edition of the Hell of the North. There’s no question that Tyler Farrar has the toughness to do well in the cobbled classics but a Tyler-Taylor duo would be twice the fun.


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