Friday Group Ride #162

Two time Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Judith Arndt has retired. That leaves former winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabobank) as a firm favorite in a race in which experience is so crucial to success. German veteran Ina Teutenberg’s Classics season was derailed by a bad crash and concussion a few weeks back, and that will leave Rabobank, where van Vleuten races alongside Marianne Vos in the driver’s seat. Vos has to be considered a contender for any race (in any discipline) she enters. Having said that, the Classics are always packed with chaos and anything can happen. The list of potential winners from the rest of the peloton is long.

On the men’s side, the favorites have to be Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen and Peter Sagan, not necessarily in that order. It is always amusing to hear the pre-race interviews as each of them explains in detail why the others are more likely winners. This is sandbagging at the PRO level.

In year’s past we have done a straight ahead prediction thread for the pre-Flanders Group Ride. This year, let’s try something slightly different.

For the women’s race, it would be cool to have someone with greater expertise than I have, explain what’s going to happen and who the dark horses are (Where is Whit Yost when you need him?).

For the men’s race, let’s do two things. First, let’s predict the full podium. Then, per my friend Dan’s suggestion, let’s figure out what the winner will say to the other two guys on the lower steps.

Here’s an example: Sagan to win, Cancellara second, Boonen third, and Sagan says, “This is fun, huh? How long have you guys been riding bikes?”

Anyone who correctly picks a podium that does NOT contain all three of those guys will get a pair of RKP wool socks and my unreserved respect. If you also correctly name the women’s winner, I’ll spring for an Eddie ’72 shirt from the RKP store.

Image: PhotoSport International

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  1. scaredskinnydog

    Mens race- Paolini, Tommeke, Thomas. From the top step Paolini looks up at Boonen and says ” Shoulda wore my elevator shoes”.
    Womens race- Marianna Vos, by such a large margin no other rider finishes inside time.

  2. Jan

    Cancellara, Sagan, Chavanel

    Cancellara: “That’s how you do a victory celebration.”

    Alas, I’d love to see the women’s race. Is it likely to be televised or on the web?

  3. Margaret Smiddy

    Men’s race: Cancellara, Sagan, Chavanel.
    Women’s race: Vos, Wild, Stevens.
    Who will be at the top? Not sure, I’m rooting for Cancellara though. On the women’s podium, I suspect it will be Vos.

  4. gmknobl

    I’m out of the running as my favorites are

    1) Cancellara
    2) Sagan
    3) Boonen

    Women’s? No idea.

    Cancellara: “Today my motor was running!”

  5. rudyard

    Chavanel, cancellara, sagan

    id like to thank boonen’s gimpy elbow for giving me the opportunity to devolder him

  6. August Cole

    Follow up: Cancellara’s podium quote if my earlier prediction is wrong…

    It’s a Tony Montana line … “I never f’d anybody over in my life didn’t have it coming to them”

    Women’s Race: Vos

  7. Sam Findley


    Hushovd, Pozzato, Chavanel (no really, it could happen!)

    Hushovd thanks Pozzato for doing the lion’s share of the work that made the break stick.

  8. Jay

    Great Race! A lot of fuss re: the pinch. I’m thinking Old Fab looks a bit dazed w/one PG’s giving a peck, the other pressed up against him and he looks like he can only think about a bath and finding his walker. PS appears to have recovered pretty quick! I think the girl will be just fine, provided her Dad isn’t upset that she didn’t get Sagan’s autograph! Hope the anti podium girl group doesn’t get their knicks in a bunch when the Giro starts…

  9. Patrick O'Brien

    Maybe poetic justice will give Sagan a pinch flat about 5k into his next race.

    Wife and I watched Judith Arndt win the La Vuelta de Bisbee in 2006 from a neutral support vehicle, our pickup with a bed load of spare wheels, during the last stage. We were about 100 yards behind her group all the way to the finish line. What a great way to watch a race.

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