Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dwars Door Vlaanderen: The Cobbles are Coming

With Milan - San Remo out of the way, it's back to the short but steep (18% - 20%!!) cobbled climbs that Belgium is known for. Dwars Door Vlaanderen means Straight Through Flanders or Right Across Flanders, depending on how you translate it. It takes place tomorrow and it marks the beginning of a series of races that ramp up towards the next major goal of the spring classics season--The Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) on April 6. In fact, many of the same nasty sections will be featured in the next several races. So starting tomorrow, we will start to get a good sense of who some of the big favourites are for the Ronde. These are the races that Tom Boonen seems to prefer. But while he's got to be considered a strong favourite, he's also been notably silent in the last little while, making his $19 price tag seem a tad exorbitant, especially compared with the bargain known as Fabian Cancellara. Pretty soon we'll know whether Boonen's just been biding his time or if he's really not on form at the moment. Cancellara will be there too. Surely he won't win again, will he? This is more of a Stuart O'Grady race.

Brief preview available from PdC. Startlists here. More info, including maps, on the official website.

OTT: The Decemberists, The Sporting Life

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