Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 Ronde van Vlaanderen

Stijn Devolder attacking on the Muur

While many folks in the good ol' U.S. of A. (and especially around these parts) were eagerly awaiting "The Big Dance" this weekend, I was awaiting a dance of another kind. The Forbidden Dance, De Ronde van Vlaanderen. OK, so it's not really called "The Forbidden Dance" but the Tour of Flanders to a cyclist is a much bigger deal than the Final Four. And if you happen to be Belgian, it might as well be the Tour de France, Super Bowl and World Cup all wrapped up into one.

What a race! This has always been one of my favorite Spring Classics. It's a well portioned mixture of cobbles, steep, leg busting climbs and relentless winds with a dash of the typical Belgian spring weather to help keep things interesting. The hard men of the sport that typically compete for the place of honor in "de Ronde" also make this race a must see classic.

Sunday's race did not disappoint. the only thing that was a bit off was the uncharacteristically warm and sunny weather but this just made for faster racing. I'll leave the play by play to the pros and sum up with this quick re-cap:
  • The entire race seemed to be dominated by Team Quick Step - Boonen showed himself a few times but in the end it came down to Chavanel and Devolder. Chavanel had good legs but it was a repeat performance by Stijn Devolder. His final attack even came on the Muur, the same place he launched his 2008 victory-clinching attack.
  • Horrible crash in the final straight-away - the sprint for podium spots saw a rider forced into the barriers and went down so hard... Ugly.
As for me, due to a family scheduling conflict, I didn't participate in Saturday's spring race series. Instead I went out on my own on Saturday for about an 1.5 hours and with my buddy, Jan for 4 hours on Sunday. Good times!

The culmination of my spring race series is this Saturday. I'll be there for sure!


  1. A fan, wearing an Astana jersey, holding a Spanish flag for Flecha, on the Kappelmuur. Either this guy loves so many apsects of the sport too much and wants to display it all, or he had one too many Belgian ales and mixed up his fan gear. Either way, not as an exciting Ronde this year as it was last year, but a great spectacle of sport regardlessm and way more exciting than any college basketball game.

    My thought: a quite Ronde is a precursor to a very very loud Paris-Roubaix. Pray for rain and mud...

  2. I'm right there with you, Jason. The more sloppy the better. Remember the 2001 Paris-Roubaix? Now that was a race!

    Dry conditions aside, that attack by Devolder was pretty damn sweet!