Ronde van Vlaanderen: October 18th, 2020

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After his strong performance in G-W (I'd say only WvA and MVDP were stronger), I think Senechal might win. I know his won't be captain for QS, but I think that might afford him the opportunity to sneak under the radar.
Agree, Sénéchal should not be discounted completely.

As for the Alaphilippe debate, I don't think his riding style suits any old school cobbles race.

His tendency to be slightly unbalanced, with a lot of side to side movement, when he is punching, is an immense handicap on the big cobbles IMO.

One of the things WvA and MvdP are good at, because of their cross background, is keeping the bike straight, even when applying maximum power.

The same can be said for many of the big TT guys, that are usually also good on cobbles.
Alaphilippe, coming from the track, of course with a disadvantage here. :p
 
After his strong performance in G-W (I'd say only WvA and MVDP were stronger), I think Senechal might win. I know his won't be captain for QS, but I think that might afford him the opportunity to sneak under the radar.
Senechal is good indeed, and so is Lampaert and Asgreen. Lampaert looked better than ever before in GW (imho). Asgreen did big efforts to chase back the front group, but I feel he will be better on Sunday. If you see who else is in the team (Jungels, De Clercq, Stybar and Alaphilippe), they are for sure the team to beat and to make it hard when some of their riders are attacking / up the road while MvdP and WvA have to chase without too many team mates.
 
Another way to look at it is to arrange the teams in order of strength.

  1. Elegant - Quick-Step: They don't have the individual top favourite, but they are likely to have the numerical advantage in the final. Declercq and Devenyns are pure helpers; the other five might still be around in the final. They can attack in turns in the tactical zone 35 to 20 km before the finish. Their best chance might be Asgreen. If he attacks after the Taaienberg he might be strong enough to stay away.
  2. EF Education First: With last year's winner Bettiol and eternal hope Sep Vanmarcke they have two specialists in good shape. Langeveld and Keukeleire will provide quality support.
  3. Trek - Segafredo: Mads Pedersen won G-W; Stuyven won the Omloop. Theuns and Skujins are strong helpers.
  4. Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, Benoot, C. Pedersen
  5. Jumbo-Visma: Van Aert, Teunissen, Wynants
  6. Ineos: Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Rowe
  7. AG2R: Naesen, Vandenbergh, Bardet, Dillier
  8. Lotto - Soudal: Wellens, Degenkolb, Wallays
  9. Alpecin - Fenix: Van der Poel
  10. Groupama - FdJ: Küng
 
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Another way to look at it is to arrange the teams in order of strength.

  1. Elegant - Quick-Step: They don't have the individual top favourite, but they are likely to have the numerical advantage in the final. Declercq and Devenyns are pure helpers; the other five might still be around in the final. They can attack in turns in the tactical zone 35 to 20 km before the finish. Their best chance might be Asgreen. If he attacks after the Taaienberg he might be strong enough to stay away.
  2. EF Education First: With last year's winner Bettiol and eternal hope Sep Vanmarcke they have two specialists in good shape. Langeveld and Keukeleire will provide quality support.
  3. Trek - Segafredo: Mads Pedersen won G-W; Stuyven won the Omloop. Theuns and Skujins are strong helpers.
  4. Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, Benoot, C. Pedersen
  5. Jumbo-Visma: Van Aert, Teunissen, Wynants
  6. Ineos: Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Rowe
  7. AG2R: Naesen, Vandenbergh, Bardet, Dillier
  8. Lotto - Soudal: Wellens, Degenkolb, Wallays
  9. Alpecin - Fenix: Van der Poel
  10. Groupama - FdJ: Küng
Casper Pedersen won't start after his crash in Scheldeprijs.
 
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Another way to look at it is to arrange the teams in order of strength.

  1. Elegant - Quick-Step: They don't have the individual top favourite, but they are likely to have the numerical advantage in the final. Declercq and Devenyns are pure helpers; the other five might still be around in the final. They can attack in turns in the tactical zone 35 to 20 km before the finish. Their best chance might be Asgreen. If he attacks after the Taaienberg he might be strong enough to stay away.
  2. EF Education First: With last year's winner Bettiol and eternal hope Sep Vanmarcke they have two specialists in good shape. Langeveld and Keukeleire will provide quality support.
  3. Trek - Segafredo: Mads Pedersen won G-W; Stuyven won the Omloop. Theuns and Skujins are strong helpers.
  4. Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, Benoot, C. Pedersen
  5. Jumbo-Visma: Van Aert, Teunissen, Wynants
  6. Ineos: Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Rowe
  7. AG2R: Naesen, Vandenbergh, Bardet, Dillier
  8. Lotto - Soudal: Wellens, Degenkolb, Wallays
  9. Alpecin - Fenix: Van der Poel
  10. Groupama - FdJ: Küng
Casper Pedersen is out after his crash in Scheldeprijs yesterday. Sunweb still looks strong though.

And Van der Poel doesn't really need more than a bike and a team car.
 
What's up with Florian Vermeersch? I have to admit that I hadn't really heard of him before Gent-Wevelgem and suddenly he was riding with the best! He isn't even a former crosser, is he? That would be Gianni from Alpecin (who, to confuse matters, was also on the attack in Gent-Wevelgem).

Anyway, at 21 years of age, he seems to be a good prospect for the future.
 
What's up with Florian Vermeersch? I have to admit that I hadn't really heard of him before Gent-Wevelgem and suddenly he was riding with the best! He isn't even a former crosser, is he? That would be Gianni from Alpecin (who, to confuse matters, was also on the attack in Gent-Wevelgem).

Anyway, at 21 years of age, he seems to be a good prospect for the future.
Florian Vermeersch used to also be a crosser (at junior level).

He turned pro at the restart of the season and already got multiple top 10 results in quite big races (Paris-Brussels, stage in Tirreno, Binck bank tour).

Big, good rouleur and fast. Lotto don't really have a leader for de Ronde so lets hope he can continue to be aggressive.
 
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Another way to look at it is to arrange the teams in order of strength.

  1. Elegant - Quick-Step: They don't have the individual top favourite, but they are likely to have the numerical advantage in the final. Declercq and Devenyns are pure helpers; the other five might still be around in the final. They can attack in turns in the tactical zone 35 to 20 km before the finish. Their best chance might be Asgreen. If he attacks after the Taaienberg he might be strong enough to stay away.
  2. EF Education First: With last year's winner Bettiol and eternal hope Sep Vanmarcke they have two specialists in good shape. Langeveld and Keukeleire will provide quality support.
  3. Trek - Segafredo: Mads Pedersen won G-W; Stuyven won the Omloop. Theuns and Skujins are strong helpers.
  4. Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, Benoot, C. Pedersen
  5. Jumbo-Visma: Van Aert, Teunissen, Wynants
  6. Ineos: Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Rowe
  7. AG2R: Naesen, Vandenbergh, Bardet, Dillier
  8. Lotto - Soudal: Wellens, Degenkolb, Wallays
  9. Alpecin - Fenix: Van der Poel
  10. Groupama - FdJ: Küng
I'd put Bora somewhere in that mix. Chessman is no mug, and the whole team will ride for him.
 
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Finish around 15:45 CET
No, they moved the time forward to not conflict with the Giro finish:

TOUR OF FLANDERS - 18/10/2020:
  • Elite Men: start at 9:45 a.m. - finish around 3:45 p.m.
  • Elite Women: start at 1:45 p.m. - finish around 5:35 p.m.
I would have to get up about 3:00am west coast time just to catch a decent amount of the men’s race, so am resigned to Wait and watch a replay that evening.
 
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No, they moved the time forward to not conflict with the Giro finish:

TOUR OF FLANDERS - 18/10/2020:
  • Elite Men: start at 9:45 a.m. - finish around 3:45 p.m.
  • Elite Women: start at 1:45 p.m. - finish around 5:35 p.m.
I would have to get up about 3:00am west coast time just to catch a decent amount of the men’s race, so am resigned to Wait and watch a replay that evening.
Here’s the link explaining the time change:
 
No, they moved the time forward to not conflict with the Giro finish:

TOUR OF FLANDERS - 18/10/2020:
  • Elite Men: start at 9:45 a.m. - finish around 3:45 p.m.
  • Elite Women: start at 1:45 p.m. - finish around 5:35 p.m.
I would have to get up about 3:00am west coast time just to catch a decent amount of the men’s race, so am resigned to Wait and watch a replay that evening.
15:45 CET and 3:45 pm is the same, my friend. And I'm pretty sure Zlev was asking for the finish time of the Elite Men's race.
 
Another way to look at it is to arrange the teams in order of strength.

  1. Elegant - Quick-Step: They don't have the individual top favourite, but they are likely to have the numerical advantage in the final. Declercq and Devenyns are pure helpers; the other five might still be around in the final. They can attack in turns in the tactical zone 35 to 20 km before the finish. Their best chance might be Asgreen. If he attacks after the Taaienberg he might be strong enough to stay away.
  2. EF Education First: With last year's winner Bettiol and eternal hope Sep Vanmarcke they have two specialists in good shape. Langeveld and Keukeleire will provide quality support.
  3. Trek - Segafredo: Mads Pedersen won G-W; Stuyven won the Omloop. Theuns and Skujins are strong helpers.
  4. Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, Benoot, C. Pedersen
  5. Jumbo-Visma: Van Aert, Teunissen, Wynants
  6. Ineos: Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Rowe
  7. AG2R: Naesen, Vandenbergh, Bardet, Dillier
  8. Lotto - Soudal: Wellens, Degenkolb, Wallays
  9. Alpecin - Fenix: Van der Poel
  10. Groupama - FdJ: Küng
one correction: Devenyns isn't in the team on Sunday, but he was riding along in the recon :) A bit like Vincent Kompany being on the Belgian soccer team without playing, but still valuable. :D

About the other teams: Alpecin has De Bondt, Rickaert, Vakoc, Vermeersch. Vermeersch should have been in the finale in GW but crashed in a stupid way after Kemmel (not paying attention). Rickaert flatted at a bad moment. So both of them have the ability to last until the last Kwaremont ascent. Vakoc was looking better than ever this year (and last). De Bondt is a bit underestimated, but I don't know his current shape.
I would say Alpecin has as good a team as e.g. Jumbo for this.

In AG2R there is also Gougeard, and in Sunweb, I wonder how Joris Nieuwenhuis will do (as he has CX pedigree, something that elevates road potential immediately these days! :D )

Bahrain has Colbrelli, Garcia Cortina (if he doesn't have any setbacks crashing in Scheldeprijs), Teuns and maybe Haussler.

Last, I hope Niki Terpstra is back in the mix. He worked superhard for his comeback, and if it doesn't show on Sunday, I wonder how much he can still charge himself for next season.
 
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Devenyns is in the team, Jungels is not.

They announced the team yesterday: Alaphilippe, Asgreen, Declercq, Devenyns, Lampaert, Sénéchal and Stybar.
Good decision, Jungels has been rather weak (compared to what you would expect) this year. I wonder what he will be like next year at AG2R. Devenyns is not exactly a cobbles specialist, but was really, really strong. If it wasn't for his age I would say he deserves more chances of his own next year...
 
Devenyns is in the team, Jungels is not.

They announced the team yesterday: Alaphilippe, Asgreen, Declercq, Devenyns, Lampaert, Sénéchal and Stybar.
There's five there who are very capable of a top ten and therefore depending on how the race goes anyone in the team apart from Declercq and Devenyns is a possible winner.
I really like Quickstep but they're such a pain to bet on. it's quite often the one you don't expect (eg Jungels at LBL) who triumphs and it makes no sense to bet on all of them.
I therefore think I have hexed Kasper Asgreen. Sorry Kasper.
 
Nope, and Florian is from East-Flanders (close to Ghent) while Gianni lives in West-Flanders (close to Diksmuide). Completely different physical build too, although that doesn't mean you can't be related.
I suppose we can't completely rule out the possibility that they might be somewhat related; as in, sharing a common ancestor 10-20 generations ago.
But, yeah... I've been wondering about the more possibility of a more closely related relatedness between them, but this is one of the cases where I just refer to PCS, and their Family list on riders' profiles (and the fact that they don't look that much alike.)

Besides; seems like Vermeersch is a quite common name in Belgian cycling circles.
 

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