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Maybe but he certainly looked like he was dropping harder than what he had just recovered from.
...and the time before Merckx '75, it was also Merckx who did the double in '69, ahead of De Vlaeminck at MSR , and an epic RVV win. Against the elements, solo attack with 73 km to go, 2nd Gimondi at 5'46", the bunch at 8 minutes...It will be the individual class of Van der Poel and Pogacar against the collective strength of Jumbo-Visma.
Van der Poel can equal the record of three wins. The last time somebody won San Remo and Flanders in the same year was Eddy Merckx in 1975.
Van Aert doesn't have to do anything, but a second monument would be a splendid addition to his already impressive list of wins.
Pogacar is strong, but a lack of team support might force him to waste a lot of energy just to get to the front. To win he'll probably need to finish solo.
Outside of the Big Three the best chances are for the Jumbo secondaries. In a tactical final they can play the game of numbers and get away on a flat section.
A win by anyone else would be a surprise. Groupama and Ineos both have a strong team, but they'll probably have to settle for a place of honor.
Van der Poel, Van Aert
Küng, Pidcock, Benoot
Madouas, Mohoric, Bettiol, Van Hooydonck
E3 was roughly 1 week away from Milan - San Remo and 2 weeks from Paris - Nice.
It's not a given that the balance of power between Van der Poel, Pogacar & Van Art is the same as last Friday.
Likely, yes. But there's still the possibility that WvA uses his delayed season start to peak just in time.
Not if Pidcock attacks with 50km to go.
It will be the individual class of Van der Poel and Pogacar against the collective strength of Jumbo-Visma.
UnoX could try to be around with Tiller or Nordsaeter. After Kristoff showing from the breakaway they might have learned that being around the favorites, until you're not around anymore isn't a fortunate option.That will be too late.
One of the big 3 (most likely Pogacar) will go with 54.6 K to go, when they hit Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg in quick succession, thereby drawing the 2 others with him.
Anyone not out in front by then, will be left in their dust.
I think we'll see riders like Mohoric, Madouas/Küng, Pidcock, Powless//Honore/Bettiol, Jorgenson, Theuns, Pedersen/Stuyven and Asgreen go earlier than usual... Alaphilippe too if he does not have stellar legs that makes him think he can stay with the big 3 on the climbs... because they have all learned by now, that just trying to stick with the big 3 does not work.
Problem for them is, that anyone who goes early, will have Wellens/Bjerg/Trentin, Benoot/Laporte, Kragh/Veermersch along for the ride, doing nothing - but that is still a better proposition than being with the big 3.
Interestingly, it looks like a straight headwind for the last 9 K flat to the finish, which makes the run-in to the finish difficult for a lone rider being chased by a group.
Not sure, in De Ronde WVA might not be good enough. If you almost break at E3 you are probably definitely going to break in De Ronde.And that is exactly the thing we all are trying to get a finger behind. WvA said RVV and PR are his main goals. To me it seems like he is peaking exactly at the right time, but it's still cycling. There are no guarantees. A flat tire, a moment of inattention.. nobody should be surprised if didn't win either of them. Not because he's not good enough, just because there are so many variables. Ah, isn't cylcing fun?
Not sure, in De Ronde WVA might not be good enough. If you almost break at E3 you are probably definitely going to break in De Ronde.
...but the 2nd group could also include van Aert + 2-3 team mates
I don't think it's super likely either, but with the headwind in the end, it could make sense for Jumbo to run more of a passive kind of race if WvA doesn't feel able to follow Pogacar, and try to get into the finale with numbers instead.Don't think so. If the second group has 2-3 Jumbo riders, could very well be a group of 10.
If so, the gap should be well above minute. I just don't see a big group staying close to Pog/MVP and WVA (eventually).
All season we've been witnessing how ineffective the chasing groups have been in the classics.
It makes sense too: these are dropped riders who already went over their limit in a failed effort to hang on. Naturally they're unwilling to kill their battered legs even further in the service of potentially fresher rivals.
Same logic should apply in De Ronde. You're not coming back. Even if there are 2 or 3 Jumbo's in an 8 man chase group trying to catch up, the rest is just gonna mostly chill in their wheels and recuperate. Meaning, these Jumbo riders are gonna be useless anyway even if they come back. Really doubt they will accomplish a lot.
One exception is if Wout is with MvdP and Pogacar but totally wheelsucking and sabotaging their ride so that his teammates can return, and MvdP and Pog keep their legs still in response. I can see that happening in the early finale (just like what happened at E3 when Wout wheelsucked Mathieu after the Taaienberg), but in the late finale, would Wout rather not want to be with Pogacar and VdP rather than have his teammates bring back Kung, Mohoric, Pidcock, Alaphillipe etc?
So when it all comes down to it, it's all gonna be about the strongest again. And I think Van der Poel AND Pogacar pushing each other guarantees there will be war on every cobbled climb, which Wout's legs simply won't be able to handle.
don't think there ever was a headwind before since they switched to this finish. Bettiol said it always used to be side/tail, at least.No one has ever been brought back on the final run in. Only Van Avermaert was in front alone at the top of the Paterberg and a group of 3 caught up to him but that was only couple seconds and they got back on the descent.