- Apr 12, 2009
Don't think the ardennes are harder than PR and RvV, or vice versa. I do think LBL would be harder for Boonen, and PR would be harder for Schleck, only very few can do both (and compete for top 20).
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Bala Verde said:I disagree here. I think the Walloon classics (including the AGR) are slightly harder then PR and Vlaanderen, mostly because the competition is more diverse, and possibly tougher.
A field with potential winners from many different teams, such as, Valverde, Cunego, Gesink, Kroon, Kreuziger, Sanchez, Rebelin, Rodriguez, Schleck (2), Freire, Dekker, Evans, Gilbert, Nibali, Monfort, Chavanel ... , to me, outweighs any field with 'only' competitors like Boonen, Cancelara, Devolder, Chavanel, Flecha, Hushovd, Hoste and Haussler and of which three are on the same team...
Bala Verde said:On the other hand, you seem to be inconsistent. When it comes to PR and RvV, you say you love the 'dangerous' elements, namely the kasseien. They are as artificial as anything, mainly because some of these paves are 'protected' for the purpose of racing. Local gvmt isn't even allowed to improve their conditions, because some are afraid that PR and RvV becomes too 'easy' if the kasseien are straightened! Organizers could also have chosen to leave them out (but hey then the race would have been reduced to San Remo without the Poggio, long and further nothing)
When it come to th AGR, you find the narrow winding roads too artificial, or too dangerous? So the question becomes what is too dangerous.
il_fiammingo said:I agree the list of big names is longer in the Amstel/Ardennes; unfortunately 3/4 of them didn't move at all. So they didn't add anything to the hardness of the race. Or is your list of potential winners simply not realistic?
If the number of potential winners determines the hardness of a race; then flat races have to the hardest. Quite frankly, the question which one is the hardest, is totally irrelevant because both types of races are so different. And that's what's leading to a high level of specialisation in today's cycling.
Do you think the Ronde or PR will be harder/more valuable if Valverde & Schleck start?
il_fiammingo said:I don't like dangerous elements at all. Cycling is not about that. Besides that i don't consider cobblestones/kasseien dangerous. I easily could, because i don't like riding on them, but i never felt in danger. OK, i'm not rushing into the Bois de Wallers at 55km/h (IMO the only dangerous part of PR); but still, i did some wet and muddy sectors in Flanders. The protection of the cobbles might be artificial, but what on earth is artificial about that stone itself??
It's normal a race tries to find difficulties on its road. But it's laughable how hard the AGR tries. It's like racing on a handkerchief. These narrow road are enjoyable, i really like that, but in the AGR you're doing them all day long with a peloton of 180 riders. That and all this traffic junk makes it incredibly dangerous. After all, i don't seem to remember a rider breaking his pelvis during PR this year. Honestly, i'm waiting for the first top rider to skip the AGR because of that; just like a lot of them treat PR as it's a cancer.
Dekker_Tifosi said:An unexpected lead role for the Dutch today. We hoped for maybe a good result by Kroon, Gesink or hell even out-of-shape Dekker.
And the result is? 2 Dutch riders in a 3 man lead group, with behind them... Dekker chasing for Gilbert
Too bad it wasn't an happy ending for all 3 of them. Kroon and Gesink were not strong enough to beat Ivanov, and Dekker's work was for a 4th place from Gilbert. Heh, well though luck.
I give Gesink a big big chance for Fleche Wallone though, the way he went up and over Gilbert at the Keutenberg was a good preminition.
Jasper said:I wonder who the big guns will be. Gesink out, no Di Luca, Kirchen barely recovered from injury, Rebellin seemingly out of shape (or is the age finally getting to him?), same for Valverde, Wegmann and Dekker, Fränk Schleck doubtful to start, and this is not really his type of finish anyway. Evans moves up a step this year, or Cunego to take another classic? Maybe Ivanov thrives on his good form and Amstel win, or perhaps Pfannberger for the surprise? I'd love to see Gilbert taking it, but I'm afraid the Mur of Huy is too steep for him, and he'll be saving himself for Liège.
jaylew said:Or maybe one of the young guns - Nibali, Kreuziger, or A Schleck? I wouldn't count out S Sanchez either. I also bet we'll see a stronger Valverde, Rebellin, and J Rodriguez on Wednesday. Last week I heard Rebellin saying he expected to be stronger at FW and LBL this year than at AG. Kroon's gotta be smarting after his 2nd. Does he try to make up for it at Fleche or save it for Leige?
The Fleche finish might be my favorite in all of cycling. There's nothing like that race up the Mur to the line, watching people take turns going for it and blowing up on that steep grade. What does it get up to, like 23%? Admittedly, sometimes it can be a bit boring before then if everybody just saves their energy for the Mur.
Dekker_Tifosi said:I also noticed some of the stronger riders in the Amstel being not so good here. Perhaps conserving their energy for Liege. It's always a matter of choice.
jaylew said:Also, some of the stronger guys at AG(Pfannberger, Ivanov, Kolobnev, Kroon) were involved in moves which probably left their legs less than fresh for the Mur.
Zoncolan said:And I said Rebellin was past his prime
Andy was really strong today. Can't wait for that Ventoux!