Roubaix cometh

Oh hell. You can write me off for the balance of Sunday. I will take no calls, I will answer no emails, I will read no cases, I will read no commercial outlines, I will not work on the second draft of my advanced writing requirement. I will do little else aside from spraying beer laden spittle across my flat screen t.v. as I get properly blotto’d in my living room before the glory which is time -delayed Paris-Roubaix coverage on Versus.

Phil. Paul. Pilsner. Done, done & done.

Graham Watson calls it like this:

My tip: Boonen, Cancel, Hincapie.

I like Boonen, his issues with the ski lodge and all. (see Tom Boonen snowed in at the ski lodge, letboonenride.com, Boonen snowed in. Again.) Young Tom will be very strong on Sunday.

I think Cancellara is on the form of his life. And he most certainly be a protagonist, one who shapes the story with the sheer force of his will. He tore Flanders in half last week. I am still giddy from watching that attack!

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Gorgeous George is also in the hunt for the Big Win. I haven’t had a lot of faith in the old boy years past and the race has not always treated him well (e.g., ditch, steertube), but I feel something has changed. I’ve got a special feeling about Hincapie this year. I can’t quite put my finger on it, I just feel it in my bones. He’s one move away form the top spot on the podium. Velonews has a class write up and interview with Gorgeous, Don’t count him out: Hincapie says he’s still a Roubaix favorite. Definitely worth your time.

If you’re a betting man (and it is best for all involved when I am not), the odds for Paris-Roubaix are interesting. They track two things; the smart money bet (the guys who underwrite the enterprise always keep their thumb on the scale), and the trending (where people are throwing their money).

2010 Paris-Roubaix Betting Odds
Fabian Cancellara at 2.88 with Betfred
Tom Boonen at 3.60 with Bet365
Matti Breshel at 11.00 (10/1) with Blue Square and Unibet
Thor Hushovd at 15.00 (14/1)0 with Sky Bet and Sportingbet and Unibet
Juan Anotonio Flecha at 19.00 (18/1) with Blue Square
Filippo Pozzato at 21.00 (20/1) with Bet365 and Betfred
George Hincapie at 34.00 (33/1) with Betfred
Berhard Eisel at 35.00 (33/1) with Unibet
Tyler Farrar at 45.00 (44/1) with Unibet
Leif Hoste at 51.00 (50/1) with Bet365 and PaddyPower
Stijn Devolder at 51.00 (50/1) with PaddyPower

From velotips.com.

I went with the list of eleven to show the long odds on both Hoste and Devolder. Either of them have, in my opinion, the horsepower to do it. But neither are in control of their own destiny – they need a lot of cards to fall their way before they’ll be out front & alone. Just like my man Servais Knaven in 2001. When the cards are right, the smart take flight.

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When Knaven rolls across the line on Sunday (and I believe that he will indeed do so), he will set a record for being the only man to both start and finish Paris-Roubaix 16 times. Good on, ya. You are a very hard man.

Another interesting tabulation of odds can be found at odds.gambling-guru.com/cycling/paris-roubaix/winner/. They have, at the moment, trending toward the overall in this order: Cancellara, Boonen, Breschel, Hushovd, Pozzato.

Hushovd. Roubaix did him low last year. And you had better believe he full well knows it. He’ll be looking to hurt people this year. (Sorry for the choppy vid, best one I could find.)

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Breschel is a dark horse as far as I’m concerned. I’ve certainly been wrong before, but he’s not on my radar. Pozzato too. I just don’t see it happening. But, I do like surprises.

In other news, Alessandro Ballan is out while his team pending the outcome into a doping investigation. I’m not sure now much of a difference his presence would have made in the outcome of the event, but it’s a shame to see him kept home for a reason such as this. I want pro cyclists on the road competing, not sitting on their thumbs while the prosecutors dig through their trash.

David Millar is looking sharp with a win in the Three Days of De Panne and one hell of a showing in Flanders. And I love the guys style. Always have. I haven’t seen much mention of him for the overall, more of a “wow, look who is maturing into a classics rider” type discussion. Maturing is a good word to use when describing David Millar. He has been through a lot and grown considerably as a result.

I think it is important to recognize those who admit wrongdoing, take their lumps, and get on with it as Millar has.

First, though, is Paris Roubaix – only Millar’s second start in the Queen of the Classics. A reconnaissance of the final 90km on Thursday left him “terrified,” but he is looking forward to his first proper shot at the pave. “It scared the shit out of me,” said Millar. “Arenberg blew me away, and there were times I thought: oh god, what have I signed up for?”

Read the rest: cyclingnews.com.

I’m not sure how he’ll figure in. But I imagine that he will. We will see, of course. We will see.

Our man Whit drops bombs on his Pave blog as he’s prone to. Check out: 2009 Preview to the 2010 edition of Paris-Roubaix and Monday Musette – Special Wednesday Edition. Be sure to watch the vid of Cancellara’s bike hand-off in Flanders. Impressive stuff.

Happy Friday.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

19 thoughts on “Roubaix cometh

  1. Believe me, there is no one I want to take Roubaix more than Hincapie, but I just don’t see it. Cancellara and Boonen will have to have major issues for him to be there. George deserves it more than any, but he just never takes the risks needed to pull off the win. With Ballan out, so goeth Georgie Boy.

    Let’s break out the booze, frites, and the booger sugar…think Tomekke Poonen takes it.

  2. Excellent post, Jonny.

    Yeah, Thor catching a pedal on the fence and letting Tommeke get away last year, pure heartbreak.

    And holy crap, Jonny’s right, you gotta se that Cancellara bike change— run the video under bullet #4 of the Pave blog entry— yeah, that’s all-pro right there.

    I’d like to see the cards fall George’s way on Sunday, but I sure wouldn’t bet on it.

  3. George has earned his turn. If he by chance comes across the line first, I’ll shed a tear with him. It would be the cinderella story of the past decade.

  4. …georgie boy will break my heart one more time if he factors in the top five without winning that heavy chunk of pave’…

    …further back & i’ll let it go…

    …the man has turned his pedals admirably over those stones for so many years, i agree, i’d also have a tear in my eye…

  5. Man, I hope Big George doesn’t make the podium. I bet another chap a few scotches that he would be no better than 4th. And, boy oh boy am I getting thirsty…

  6. I would fucking love to see George win. I like the guy a lot. I like his family a lot, have spent time riding and racing with his brother, met his Dad, all good folks. I just don’t think the old boy has it in him. I mean, last week, he could have made the move with Fabian and Boonen, but he didn’t react. He missed the move, AGAIN.

    And like you said J-Man, FC ripped apart Flanders last week, I mean, it was a freakin’ thing of beauty no doubt about it. I love that guy’s style. He is pretty much, The Man out there as far as I’m concerned. You cannot deny the power of Spartacus, and he’s on blazing form.

    I’ll be sitting down in front of the TV on Sunday as well, waiting for the coverage to come on. Plan is to make a pile of moule frites, get some bad ass Belgian beer, and yell at the TV for a couple of hours. This is my favorite time of the year.

    On another note, Tour of the Basque Country has been televised on NBCUS, it’s been not too bad either.

  7. I think George’s odds just got a lot longer with Ballan out. He’s going to be all alone out there. I like Boonen for this one. He’s on form and bringing enough backup to keep the race under control. Cancellara will be on the podium, but it’s going to take another train for him to get off the front again. If Thor gets into the velodrome with those two, things will get interesting.

  8. 300watts,
    You know, I shouldn’t write of Flecha. I like him and I like Sky. They signed some boys who really know how to suffer.

    Both Flecha and Hayman will be at the front of affairs tomorrow. I don’t know if either can bag the Big Win, but they’ll be in the front group on a lot of the cobbled sections.

    Flecha, a brilliant winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad earlier this season, has an outstanding record at Paris-Roubaix in recent years.

    He was runner up in 2007, third in 2005, fourth in 2006 and sixth 12 months ago after a crash in the closing stages destroyed his chances of winning.

    “It’s a race that I’ve always enjoyed,” he explained. “Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes unlucky but at the end of the day it’s a great race. It’s just one day a year and you really try and enjoy everything about it.

    . . .

    “It’s the Queen of the Classics and harks back to the early years of cycling. There’s often a lot of adversity – the mud, the weather, the way you have to race it – so it makes it pretty different to all the others.”

    That’s echoed by Australian Hayman who admitted: “The Tour de France is always going to be the race that most teams are judged on, but that’s a shame in a way because these classics are also pinnacles of the sport.”

    Read the rest: http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,15264_6083948,00.html.

  9. There will be a blizzard tomorrow in Belgium . followed by a tornado spinning through the hell of the nord . Got my 8 ball ,my super model, and a flagon of Chimay . Tomeke blow us away !!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Cancelarra , officially out of the shower when Tomeke crossed the line !.