The Tour of Flanders didn’t really end, it just took a pause for seven days.
You might actually think that if you read the very short list of contenders for tomorrow’s queen bitch of the classics, Paris-Roubaix. It’s the same two guys that finished behind Tom Boonen in Flanders. The Ronde comes Round again.
Make this race, Flanders, part 2, the sequel. Master P and Mr. Montova back for more. Because if you’ve searched the cycling news for who else might possibly win the Hell of the North, there ain’t nobody. The drop off from Ballan and Pozzato is extreme, a free-fall down the peloton.
Anything can happen in a crazy, unpredictable race like Paris-Roubaix. But does anyone really think Lars Boom or Luca Paolini or Edvald Boasson Hagen is going to crawl onto this podium? Possible yes, but the odds are way low and something extraordinary would have to happen. Juan Antonio Flecha is a tough classics guy but plans to finish his recovery from a hand injury by riding 27 sections of cobblestone. Thor Hushovd still isn’t a 100% after his recent illnesses. Like Cancellara crashing out of Flanders, it would take a disaster day from Boonen to open this race up.
The only argument against Flanders, part 2 is the Johan Van Summeren Scenario. That means somebody who is on serious form who rides at the front for his leader and benefits from a tactical chess move on the pave. But in this case the two riders most likely to benefit from that situation are teammates of heavy favorite Tom Boonen: that would be Niki Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel. One way or another Omega Pharma QuickPedal will dominate this race.
Throw rain into the equation and the Van Summeren scenario gets more interesting and conceivable. The most exciting part of this year’s Paris-Roubaix is seeing who comes out of nowhere.
You never know, perhaps Johan will win two years in a row. But no proposals in the velodrome — been there, done that.