Ardennes 2016

the great and exciting cobbled classics are over, now the week of the boring uphill sprints, known as the Ardennes Classics, is ahead.

Amstel Gold Race
Fleche Wallone
Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The questions:
Will we get an exciting Amstel Gold / Fleche Wallone for once? Or is it waiting for Cauberg + Mur de Huy again..

Which are the main riders to look out for?

Who will be the surprise this year?

Who will dissappoint?

Discuss it here :)

There are so many interesting questions to speculate about, so why not have a thread to do so
 
May 20, 2010
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I'm eagerly waiting to see what Sky have done with Kwiatkowski. Will he be able to deliver a stunnig result on both Sundays?
 
Just waiting for the final climb isn't very exciting. Nearly never are big moves made in FW for instance. Everyone just waits for the final climb. I guess the last 6 minutes are exciting though.
 
Guess we just have different opinions here. :)
I for one like watching even the somewhat dull parts of a race, knowing that all hell could break lose at any point. Sure, sometimes no big moves are made, but that's just the dynamic of that particular race.
 
Tiesj Benoot will win Amstel and surprise everyone in the Ardennes. Gerrans will fall and abandon. Hopefully.

Henao will win La Flèche, beating Don Ale and Purito easily

Valverde wins L-B-L for the 4th time in a sprint against Benoot
 
The race dynamic is just not there. Sure, the final kilometers are exciting. But a 100km finale like in Roubaix or Gent Wevelgem is out of the question.

I think if they make the back-end of a race less heavy, like RVV/Roubaix, last 15km without a major hill, then you get a much more open race. Leave all other hills in there, if they race on them, you'll get a heavy selection
 
I have no expectations whatsoever, so I could actually end up enjoying anything that happens before the final 5 km of each race.
I'm curious to see what Benoot can do in AGR, after a somewhat disappointing cobbled season.
 
Re:

rhubroma said:
In addition to Nibali, Valverde and Rodriquez, it's a damn shame we don't get Contador, Froome and Quintana at least for LBL.
Quintana is scheduled to take part in L-B-L, but he sucked last year. Hopefully he will do better. If he does, Movistar will be able to control the race with Visconti and Moreno also, OR play them out earlier.
 
Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
rhubroma said:
In addition to Nibali, Valverde and Rodriquez, it's a damn shame we don't get Contador, Froome and Quintana at least for LBL.
Quintana is scheduled to take part in L-B-L, but he sucked last year. Hopefully he will do better. If he does, Movistar will be able to control the race with Visconti and Moreno also, OR play them out earlier.
Oh, hadn't realized that thanks.
 
I think there's a couple of problems with the Ardennes classics that the Cobbled classics don't have

- The benefit of sitting in the peloton is greater. There's less consistent fighting for positions, roads are less narrow, so there's a lot less selection going on early on. It also means that teams are preserved for longer and that attacks can be brought back way later then in cobbled classics
- It is possible for the favourites to make the difference on the last 2-3km of the race.
- More teams think they benefit from making sure the difference is made on the last 2-3km of the race
- Because of these, a *** load of riders don't anticipate, because they're afraid of being brought back before the last climb, and are essentially top 20 fodder. See Mollema and the like
 
Aug 31, 2012
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I really like uphill sprints. The Ardennes are great, especially FW. Usually amongst the top 3 minutes of televised cycling every ear
 
Uphill sprints can be great. As a variation, and in low doses. However, these are some of the most prestigious classics. Classics are well like because of the action they provide from favourites from far out. Liege is in the same category as Flanders and Roubaix, yet it pales in comparison to those races in the action that it provides. Sure you have Sanremo, but there the lottery element is the specific niche that the race carved out.

I don't mind the Fleche as it is. It's been like that for a while and it's a nice counterpart to the much worse scheldeprijs as an unofficial WC sprint up the hill. It's on wednesday anyway, so you rarely have the time to watch it for long. From AGR and Liege, though, I want to see more. One uphill sprint amongst the biggest ardennes classics is enough. I want the ardennes classics to have climber actions on hilly terrain that they wouldn't ever do in a GT because of GC.

I like uphill sprints way better as stages of stage races. Nice variety to bunch sprints, though it's even better if a hilly stage provides more opportunities than a sprint uphill. And even then I don't want a race to overdo it like the Vuelta.
 

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