6 April 2013

Preview of Paris-Roubaix

I haven't been posting on here for a bit, but I hope to correct that in the coming months. As those of you who read my main blog know I've been busy over the last few months with starting a new job and moving. But as I am more or less settled in it is a good time to get back to watching and writing about sport.

Tomorrow is the Hell of the North otherwise known as Paris-Roubaix and if like me you have been following the Spring Classics you will know that there are two men on form who are likely to feature yet again tomorrow on the cobbles and roads of northern France. But who will take the line in the famous velodrome in Roubaix that marks the finish of what many consider the toughest one day classic.

On St. Patrick's Day while Germany's Gerald Ciolek may have taken the honours in a shortened Milan-San Remo it was the men who shared that podium that have gone on to dominate the spring classics. Second was Slovakian Peter Sagan who maybe had gone too early for full power and third a fast closing Fabian Cancellera as a sextet of riders led out in a sprint for the honours.

Five days later at the E3 Harelbeke Cancellera went on the attack 35km out and despite early efforts Peter Sagan was unable to keep up with him but sprinted it out with his group about a kilometre behind for the second place spot.

Two days later at Gent–Wevelgem Sagan finally stood on the top step of the podium. This time starting his own attack 4km out which left Bernie Eisel (SKY), Yaroslav Popvych (RSL) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) unable to catch when it exploded.

However, last weekend the Tour of Flanders saw Cancellera and Sagan head to head one again and once again the former World Time Trial champion showed the young upstart who was the man for these races. On the final cobbled climb up the Paterberg the Swiss rider attacked and it looked initially that Sagan would keep up with him, however he applied more power further up the climb and broke the Slovak who reached the summit a distant second and sat up a bit waiting for the last survivor of the earlier break Jürgen Roelandts (LOT) to ride together to the finish.

So what about tomorrow over the 27 sections of pavé that make Paris-Roubaix so tough. Providing he can avoid a mechanical at the wrong point I would say place your money on Cancellera adding this title for a third time to his second Tour of Flanders and third Harelbeke already this season. The Swiss rider has certainly looked in form and Sagan will ride him close but Fabian will decide just when to take him down and apply the power tomorrow I suspect, having done it from 35km and 15km already he will pick his spot.

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