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a weekly double-shot of road racing

Wednesday 27th March 2013

issue 02

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SATURDAY —Volta a Catalunya S6 —Critérium International

SUNDAY —Volta a Catalunya S7 —Gent-Wevelgem —Critérium International





—Driedaagse De PanneKoksijde

—Driedaagse De PanneKoksijde

—Driedaagse De PanneKoksijde

gent–wevelgem review


Sagan takes Wevelgem Borut Bozic ASTANA




Greg van Avermaet BMC


Dubiously dubbed a ‘semi-Classic’, Gent-Wevelgem was traditionally held on the Wednesday between Flanders and Roubaix. In a bid to maximise (i.e. ‘footballize’) cycling’s appeal, in 2010 the UCI moved it to a Sunday slot, before Flanders. The unseasonably cold weather led to rumours the 75th edition of Gent-Wevelgem might be moved to Monday. Instead, it was shortened by 50 kilometres, starting not in Ghent, nor in Deinze, but in Gistel. Amid the changes one thing remained certain: the big boys ride here. And none came bigger than three-time winner Tom Boonen, who on Sunday ultimately proved the old adage about ‘the bigger they are’ when he came a cropper on a kerbstone. Boonen still climbed the Kemmelberg to massive cheers but his Omega Pharma team had Cav right up there in the mix. Of the other contenders, Heinrich Haussler and 2010 winner Bernie Eisel both flattered to deceive as the business end of the race approached. Bearing not one but two lucky sevens on his back, Peter ‘The Terminator’ Sagan timed his move with Cancellarian precision, launching his decisive attack 4km from Wevelgem (and gambling, of course, that the race would actually finish there). Sagan is a rider for these crowd-pleasing times, popping a one-handed wheelie on the line, albeit only at the second attempt. Perhaps it was in recognition he’d only won a semi-Classic. On the other hand (the one not used for the wheelie), perhaps he was giving us another message: “I’ll be back.” Like the race badges featured in the Doppio? See the whole set in our Team Sky Season Guide 2013, available at:

The racing at this time of year is always dangerous. John Herety, Directeur Sportif, Rapha-Condor-JLT, after a crashstrewn Tour of Normandy, during which several of his riders went down. doff of the cap

Sources report a rare outbreak of sunshine in Flanders, but brisk winds off the North Sea and lows of -2C as we go to press will make Three Days of De Panne a race for the brave. Chapeau to every man on the start line.




—Ronde Van Vlaanderen

belgian style special

Hardmen soft pedal Ahead of last Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, Omega PharmaQuick Step’s (Belgian) DS, Patrick Lefévère, was overheard telling his riders: “The only way to keep warm today is to pedal hard.” While there was more than a kernel of truth in what he had to say, Lefévère was showing his age: here’s a guide to Belgian cycling style past and present. roger’s sideburns Modern Belgians are Little Lord Fauntleroys in comparison to vintage hardmen like Roger De Vlaeminck and Big Teddy Merckx. No hi-tech insulation, hats or eyewear for them. Instead, they simply grew massive sideburns and rubbed goose fat on their legs. De Vlaeminck's backwards cap, Brooklyn jersey and permanent face-huggers made him one of the most iconic riders of any era. flecha’s knees If Rik van Steenbergen had witnessed fellow Belgian Greg van Avermaet sprinting for his third place in Wevelgem in full tights and gloves, he’d have been spitting waffles. Once, knees could only be covered (bandaged) if they were bleeding. On Sunday, Spain’s Juan Antonio Flecha, honorary Belgian and all-round tough guy, kept things real with knee warmers. The rest? Soft tappers. freddy’s sausages Unfortunately for Flemish fashionistas, compulsory aero lids have heralded the demise of the ‘sausage helmet’. Pioneered by the likes of Freddy Maertens, they were once the crowns worn by the kings of the cobbles as the peloton hammered across northern Europe. With their crude construction, they exuded a simple, rudimentary charm. Today’s modern plastic lids reflect only the automaton-chic of the modern era. phil’s muffs Philippe Gilbert's ear muffs might well be the last word on modern Belgian style. His furry white pom-poms take some beating. However, the BMC rider is from the French-speaking south of Belgium, so greets the stylings of his northerly compatriots with a certain Gallic indifference. To carry off performance earwear like this? Bon courage.

is that wheelie # p r ost y le?

a weekly double-shot of road racing

Wednesday 27th March 2013 weekend weather

critérium international

Froome on Corse

Ta ai a i e nbe r g

Ei k e nb er g

M o l en be rg

Re ke l be rg

B er en dr i es

V al k en be rg

Hot on the heels of Milan-Sanremo, the Ronde van Vlaanderen is the second of the Monuments on the calendar, each year carving out new heroes on the celebrated climbs of Flanders: Bosberg; Lerberg; Muur Kappelmuur; Paterberg; and Kruisberg. To paraphrase W.B. Yeats, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the rider from the ride, as it is over the various ‘muurs’ and ‘bergs’ that a Ronde champion is made. Often cobbled, always steep, these are climbs that, when slick, push the front of the race faster and make the back a disaster area. This year’s race starts in Bruges and ends in Oudenaarde. After several passes over the Oude Kwaremont – considered the first real test of the race, it has featured in every edition since 1974 – it’s on to the dreaded Koppenberg. By some margin the most recognisable and feared part of the race, it’s a climb known affectionately as the ‘VDB of the bergs’, in honour of Frank Vandenbroucke, second at the Ronde in 1999 and 2003. The late Belgian racer was known as much for his panache as his failures and the Koppenberg invariably provides a backdrop of similar extremes, with the ability to create stars or send pretenders crashing back to earth. As for contenders, look for Fabian Cancellara, who rode away from the bunch in 2010 only to be accused of ‘mechanical doping’. Nick Nuyens has been relatively quiet since his win here in 2011. Will he have the legs, or ride for team-mate Johan Vansummeren? Threetime champion Tom Boonen should not be counted out, and neither should Peter Sagan after his victory at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.










150m 125m 100m 75m 50m 25m 8

1 10

















is that whe elie # p r ost y le ?


10 9




15 14



Pat e rb er g

race type: Monument distance: 256km region: Flanders, Belgium

1s t f e e d zo n e


Until 1978, the Critérium International was actually the Critérium National de la Route, a de facto French national championship won by the likes of André Darrigade, Jacques Anquetil, Raymond Poulidor and Bernard Hinault. However, last weekend the podium chat was all English as a Kenyanborn Brit, an Australian and an American took the top three positions. The Critérium, also known as ‘Le Tryptique de la Route’ because of its three different stage types, has always been difficult to characterise – perhaps because it is the only top-level road race still to split stages in one day. On Saturday, Theo Bos (Blanco) won a flat, 89km road stage in the morning, while Richie Porte powered to the yellow jersey in the afternoon’s 7km time trial. But Corsica is all about climbing. On Sunday, Chris Froome launched a solo attack on the final climb, the 14.1km Col de l’Ospedale, to leapfrog Porte in the GC. Porte then attacked the remaining peloton to take second place on the stage and overall, as well as the points jersey. Perhaps it’s also difficult to pin the Critérium down as the race has so often changed location, first taking place in 1932 in the Chevreuse valley south of Paris and finishing in the Parc des Princes velodrome. One edition even started in Algeria, when the country was a French colony. Following its move to Corsica (widely seen as a test run for this year’s Tour de France start on the island), it seems to have found a home: since 2010, the island has consistently delivered weekends of exciting, intense racing. For a look at the beautiful cols of Corsica in better weather, check out Rapha’s Spring/Summer 2013 lookbook:

Flanders’ Finest

T i e ge m b e r g



tour of flanders preview


Tejay van Garderen BMC

O ud e K wa r em o nt

5C on Sunday. A little rain and light winds, classic RVV weather. Wind Jacket, Winter Hat.

Ho og b er g /Ho t on d

Chilly but sunny on Saturday, with a maximum temperature of 8C. Pro Team Jacket, Winter Tights.

Pa t e rb er g

Temperatures touching 50F, clear on Saturday, rain Sunday. Long Sleeve Pro Team Jersey, Rain Jacket.

O ud e K wa r em o nt

Sun due to appear this weekend. Highs of 7C. Winter Jersey, Winter Collar, Merino Hat.

Chris Froome TEAM SKY

Richie Porte TEAM SKY

Kr u i sb er g/ Ho to n d


S t ee nb ee k dr i es


Ko p pe nb e rg

San Francisco

O ud e K wa r em o nt Pa t e rb er g


16 230


17 250

Doppio: 02  

The Doppio is Rapha's weekly double-shot of road racing reportage. A two-faced publication of the week's action and what's up the road, ever...