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De Ronde van Vlaanderen (270.8 km), 2024 March 31 (Sunday)

Page 48 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
No it wasn't. It was annoying as hell because it never looked like it would put him in even a remotely good position as opposed to last year. It was as annoying as Alaphilippe always wasting his few bullets 80 kilometres from the line.

It's also possible that he wouldn't have been able to get a proper good result anyway, other than an anonymous top-10ish.

Of course, I'm also slightly biased, since for my amazing CQ Game aspirations, it was far better that Bjerg got a good result.
 
in the German interview (before the relegation) Politt called it "a clever sprint by Matthews", so he didn't really seem to have many issues with it indeed.
I think reading between the lines of that statement, he knows what Matthews did but didnt want to complain or throw him under the bus. Ultimately, he handled that question with grace and the jury then decided to relegate Matthews so it worked out.
 
Special shout out to Mozzato & Arkea B&B. A team seemingly doomed to relegation, gets 2nd at Flanders - chapeau!
Mozzato is underrated. Already beast Groenewegen at the end of a one day race this year, won the Memorial Frank VDB last year, has a 2nd place in Tro-Bro-Leon, a 5th place in Paris-Tours and he was 20th in his first ever Paris-Roubaix.

I was surprised that he wasn't picked up by a bigger team after his 2022 season at B&B Hotels.
 
here's that heli shot of the sprint, if anyone is interested. I tend to agree with Yaco

Lmao. He leaves room on the right and he only closes the door after Politt basically dies and ends his sprint.

What a complete rofltastic relegation. Feel bad for Matthews
 
I don’t think I understand the rules of sprinting. To me there’s basically 2 priorities - don’t cause a crash, and don’t completely close the door on anyone. While Matthews deviated, it didn’t look dangerous or like he was truly closing the door.

Everything about sprinting is tactical. Sprints take several km to get set up much of the time and even in yesterday’s case everyone was jockeying for position and launching at the right time. I guess my perspective is let them race, unless it’s completely egregious.
 
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These people is making great history.

I have climbed Koppenberg, with 23 of wheel wide, but even with 30 is a really difficult climb, I cant imagine wet...

The image of VDP at the last part of the Koppenberg with just another rider in the distance (Jorgesson maybe) and as well Pedersen, with no more peope appearing for lomng time, it was like: "God, two pro riders, and lot of cyclist of the weekend whom the climb had swallowed".

VDP winning De Ronde with the Rainbow jersey dirty and wet for the rain, totally emply, is the perfecgt iconic image to show the marvellous era or cycling we can enjoy.

I have watched cycling since Fignon, Hinault (i was very child), more the Lejarreta, Lemond, Perico (my idol and from most of spanish people) era, but this one just can compare to the 70s....and in some aspect now it has more merit, or maybe, it is more difficult now to have such ans spectacle than in the 70s or before...(techonology, equality, equipment, control,...)
 
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I don’t think I understand the rules of sprinting. To me there’s basically 2 priorities - don’t cause a crash, and don’t completely close the door on anyone. While Matthews deviated, it didn’t look dangerous or like he was truly closing the door.

Everything about sprinting is tactical. Sprints take several km to get set up much of the time and even in yesterday’s case everyone was jockeying for position and launching at the right time. I guess my perspective is let them race, unless it’s completely egregious.
Sometimes they aply that "rules", but the rule is clear, you have to go more or lees stratigh to the finish line, if you make a deviatiopn so clear as Michael did, you can be disculified, especially at races so important...normally if the deviation is no so clear and no close the door...they let without penalty...but with the rules is clear.
 
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I’ve decided I wanted to analyse this race and the time gaps up the decisive trio of climbs a bit (Thank God for staying on those fixed cameras for an eternity) The main takeaway is probably that Bettiol rode very hard from the top of Kwaremont to the top of the Paterberg.
Oude Kwaremont

Van der Poel, Lazkano, Teuns, Pithie, Wellens, Pedersen (2s)

+12 Naesen, Jorgenson, Garcia Cortina, Vermeersch…Mohorič, Van den Berg, Rex, Turner, Abrahamsen, Matthews, Lampaert, Skujins, Madouas, Berckmoes(?), Sheehan, Politt (21s)

+24 Trentin, Kragh Andersen, Morgado, Teunissen, Albanese, Mozzato, Tronchon, Gautherat, Bjerg, Walscheid, Tiller, T. Van Dijke, Benoot, Bettiol, Doull, Allegaert, Campenaerts (30s)

+32 Wright

+36 Sheffield, Tarling, Malecki
//Front group cutoff//

+41 Küng

+43 De Plus

+44 Milan, Beullens, Bissegger, M Van Dijke, Van Boven, Eekhoff, Degenkolb, Neilands, Steimle

Paterberg

Turner, Garcia Cortina, Teuns, Van der Poel, Wellens (2s)

+4 Lazkano, Naesen, Rex, Mohorič, Jorgenson (6s)

+8 Pedersen, Van den Berg, Pithie, Skujins (10s)

+13 Matthews

+17 Sheehan, Madouas

+19 Berckmoes, Bettiol (! next from his group is Benoot)

+21 Lampaert, Abrahamsen, Politt, Vermeersch (23s)

+25 Benoot, Kragh Andersen, Mozzato, Campenaerts, Bjerg, Morgado, Trentin, Albanese, Teunissen, Sheffield, Doull, …Tiller, Tarling, T Van Dijke, Walscheid, Tronchon, Malecki (35s)

(Allegaert)

(Wright)

Koppenberg

Van der Poel

+7 Jorgenson

+31 Pedersen

+37 Teuns

+41 Garcia Cortina

+45 Bettiol, Rex, Wellens
// chasing group cutoff//

+54 Turner, Naesen, Benoot, Mozzato, Albanese (56s)

+1:00 Mohorič, Vermeersch

+1:03 Malecki, Politt, Madouas

+1:06 Sheffield

+1:09 Teunissen, Trentin

+1:12 Berckmoes, Walscheid

+1:15 T Van Dijke, Morgado

+1:21 Sheehan, Van den Berg, Lampaert, Skujins, Matthews, Tronchon, Pithie (1:25)

1:30 Bjerg, Tiller, Tarling, Doull… Kragh Andersen (1:33)

1:35 Campenaerts

1:45 Degenkolb (!)( started the steep part of the climb at ~1:06 to 1:08 to the main group, so similar pace to Teuns), Abrahamsen… Lazkano

(M Van Dijke, Rutsch)

(Haller, Valgren)
 
Cant wait to get back next year. Riding around 3 days in Flanders and basically getting to ride every climb in the area makes watching the races infinitely more fun since you know where they are on the route, know the turns, the climbs, just everything that you wouldn't know just watching on the television. Just getting to know the in and out of how the route is constructed (and realizing just how small of an area the actual race actual takes part in) is very interesting, riding along the route of the sportive and the race itself the previous days and doing all important climbs multiple times. Didn't do Geraardsbergen though, thats blasphemous, but that area south of Brakel isn't really that interesting outside of that.

I really like the asphalt climbs of Wolvenberg, Berendries, Leberg, Kapelleberg, Valkenberg, Ten Bosse etc. They were easy work honestly, but a lot of steep pitches and prolly harder than their average gradient suggests. That being said, Im glad they went away from the finish in Geraardsbergen since that lead-in is a bit too easy IMO and misses most of the real hard stuff in Flanders which is situated around Oudeenaarde and Ronse.

Koppenberg is by far the hardest climb IMO. Taainberg felt super crisp and not too bad, Patersberg is a beast as well obviously and probably the steepest? I dno, but its definitely easier than Koppenberg. Kruijsberg/Oude Kruijsberg into Hotond is a nice combo and a hard climb as well, especially using the old roads on the cobbles - have they always dont that road in Flanders? I dont remember, but they did this year obviously. And then of course, Oude Kwaremont, by far my favorite climb. Just a VO2 max test going flat out all the way, hard middle section and then just keep pushing on the false flat cobbles. That felt great, especially in the sportive, I think I overtook 150-200 riders on that climb alone lmao. Everybody knows, that section is by far the hardest of the entire race (Kwaremont, Patersberg, Koppenberg, Taainberg, Oude Kruijsberg) and is the bread and butter of the race, and also the most fun part to ride as an amateur if youre in reasonable shape and is not too fat. Then it becomes a problem and you are probably better off doing the asphalt climbs and pavees which to begin with which are also very fun tbh, well, at least the asphalted climbs are, dno about cobbles on flat roads.

Molenberg is a bit remote from that area, basically being north east on the route compared to all these monster cobbled climbs mentioned above being south west, but is a great climb as well. Comparable to Taainberg IMO, VERY narrow run-in, very *** cobbles, but not that long and not that steep, but a classic regardless. It goes along with most of the asphalt climbs and these incredibly shitty pavees like Kerkgate and (ugh) Paddestraat and Haaghoek. Paddestraat is just so hard IMO, and Haaghoek is flat out dangerous. Hated that, but hard secteurs and it drains you differently than the climbs. That part of the route we did early, basically like the pros, and Molenberg was the definite highlight. Its a very different race though when you reach THAT part of the route (the finale) which is just a level up from everything else - we also did Berg Ten Houte after the Koppenberg - Steenbeekdries - Taainberg combo which is a nice climb, and honestly one could could throw in the mix as well before Kruijsberg in the pros. Its not really needed though, but a fun, but relatively easy climb tbh. I think only 300 metres on cobbles and rest on asphalt. On top of that we did Kernemelkbeekstrat just after Oude Kruijsberg/Hotond and before Kwaremont. Would be useless in the pros, but nice to try that climb which is pretty significant in E3 and its not really adding that much flat in between. Honestly, you could just do so much stuff, but I don't really think you need to thinker with the finale that much, but more so the run-in in the "easier" part of Flanders. I think you could make that harder until you reach Kwaremont a second time - first off just start with doing Oude Kruijsberg instead of regular one, but I feel like you could somehow pace the route a bit better, even though you are bound to have some flat going into Ronse do start Kruijsberg or starting Oude Kwaremont.

This race was my favorite to begin with, but studying the routes now of E-3, Omloop, Dwaars and Flanders and really studying the race on TV should be a lot more fun since I pretty much found my self recognizing most stuff on day 3 and having a very good sense of where we were situated compared to the different climbs and towns.
 
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Did you ride Varent, Lange Munte and Nokereberg?
Nope, I basically just downloaded the GPX of the real route and the route we did the day before (which was somewhat similar) and tried to hit as many climbs as I could in that short time I was there. So thats basically all the bergs of the pros plus a few more that we did in the sportive, but not those mentioned above nor Muur/Bosberg.
 
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Cant wait to get back next year. Riding around 3 days in Flanders and basically getting to ride every climb in the area makes watching the races infinitely more fun since you know where they are on the route, know the turns, the climbs, just everything that you wouldn't know just watching on the television. Just getting to know the in and out of how the route is constructed (and realizing just how small of an area the actual race actual takes part in) is very interesting, riding along the route of the sportive and the race itself the previous days and doing all important climbs multiple times. Didn't do Geraardsbergen though, thats blasphemous, but that area south of Brakel isn't really that interesting outside of that.

I really like the asphalt climbs of Wolvenberg, Berendries, Leberg, Kapelleberg, Valkenberg, Ten Bosse etc. They were easy work honestly, but a lot of steep bitches and prolly harder than their average gradient suggests. That being said, Im glad they went away from the finish in Geraardsbergen since that lead-in is a bit too easy IMO and misses most of the real hard stuff in Flanders which is situated around Oudeenaarde and Ronse.

Koppenberg is by far the hardest climb IMO. Taainberg felt super crisp and not too bad, Patersberg is a beast as well obviously and probably the steepest? I dno, but its definitely easier than Koppenberg. Kruijsberg/Oude Kruijsberg into Hotond is a nice combo and a hard climb as well, especially using the old roads on the cobbles - have they always dont that road in Flanders? I dont remember, but they did this year obviously. And then of course, Oude Kwaremont, by far my favorite climb. Just a VO2 max test going flat out all the way, hard middle section and then just keep pushing on the false flat cobbles. That felt great, especially in the sportive, I think I overtook 150-200 riders on that climb alone lmao. Everybody knows, that section is by far the hardest of the entire race (Kwaremont, Patersberg, Koppenberg, Taainberg, Oude Kruijsberg) and is the bread and butter of the race, and also the most fun part to ride as an amateur if youre in reasonable shape and is not too fat. Then it becomes a problem and you are probably better off doing the asphalt climbs and pavees which to begin with which are also very fun tbh, well, at least the asphalted climbs are, dno about cobbles on flat roads.

Molenberg is a bit remote from that area, basically being north east on the route compared to all these monster cobbled climbs mentioned above being south west, but is a great climb as well. Comparable to Taainberg IMO, VERY narrow run-in, very *** cobbles, but not that long and not that steep, but a classic regardless. It goes along with most of the asphalt climbs and these incredibly shitty pavees like Kerkgate and (ugh) Paddestraat and Haaghoek. Paddestraat is just so hard IMO, and Haaghoek is flat out dangerous. Hated that, but hard secteurs and it drains you differently than the climbs. That part of the route we did early, basically like the pros, and Molenberg was the definite highlight. Its a very different race though when you reach THAT part of the route (the finale) which is just a level up from everything else - we also did Berg Ten Houte after the Koppenberg - Steenbeekdries - Taainberg combo which is a nice climb, and honestly one could could throw in the mix as well before Kruijsberg in the pros. Its not really needed though, but a fun, but relatively easy climb tbh. I think only 300 metres on cobbles and rest on asphalt. On top of that we did Kernemelkbeekstrat just after Oude Kruijsberg/Hotond and before Kwaremont. Would be useless in the pros, but nice to try that climb which is pretty significant in E3 and its not really adding that much flat in between. Honestly, you could just do so much stuff, but I don't really think you need to thinker with the finale that much, but more so the run-in in the "easier" part of Flanders. I think you could make that harder until you reach Kwaremont a second time - first off just start with doing Oude Kruijsberg instead of regular one, but I feel like you could somehow pace the route a bit better, even though you are bound to have some flat going into Ronse do start Kruijsberg or starting Oude Kwaremont.

This race was my favorite to begin with, but studying the routes now of E-3, Omloop, Dwaars and Flanders and really studying the race on TV should be a lot more fun since I pretty much found my self recognizing most stuff on day 3 and having a very good sense of where we were situated compared to the different climbs and towns.
Loved your report—glad you had a chance to do that!
 
Loved your report—glad you had a chance to do that!
I enjoyed being there, and I enjoyed giving you the report!

Already planning the trip next year and hoping to get a couple of days more in, maybe get there Tuesday and watch Dwaars? Or even better, the entire week and then catch G-W on top, get some more time to do climbs I didnt do like Kemmelberg, Muur, Bosberg and some of the lesser known climbs of E3, G-W and Omloop.
 
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