The King & I: Liquigas-Cannondale's yankee doodle Ted King and RBA's
Neil Shirley share a smile before the Ronde. Well, Ted forgot to
Sunday was no Christmas Day in Flanders for Fabian Cancellara, nor for Filippo Pozzato. Cancellara crashed hard with 61km to go in the final feed zone of the Ronde Van Vlaandren, breaking his collarbone in four places, ignominiously ending his 2012 spring classics campaign. Filippo Pozzato rode a great race, his best effort in years, but ended up first loser at the finish line in Oudenarde to King Tommeke. Tom Boonen the sovereign of cycling mad Flanders who took his third career win in the so-called Belgian World Championships and moved to the top of the World Tour rankings ahead of Milano-Sanremo winner Simon Gerrans. This makes a compete comeback for the big Belgian who had struggled with his form and personal problems the last few seasons. Next stop is Paris-Roubaix, where Boonen will be seeking his fourth career win in the French classic where his most formidable foe may once again be Pozzato.
Although controversial before the Ronde Van Vlaandren, the new finishing circuit turned out to be on the boring side with none of the drama leading up to the climb of the Muur in Geraardsbergen as in previous editions. Instead the circuit which included three laps of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg turned put to be somewhat monotonous, with the battle between Boonen, Pozzato and Alessandro Ballan providing the only drama.
Nothing is left to chance in big races like the Ronde; team Lampre writes all the team tire pressure needs down, before...
lining the bikes up at the filling station.
Plenty of pre-race crazies on hand, with the group of Belgian SuperFans fueling up with Primus official Ronde Van Vlaandren beer.
Filippo Pozzato's Farnese Vini-Selle Italia's MCipollini RB1000, with special geometry for the pave' and increased clearance for 25mm tires. Although wheels are labelled as Ursus Miura, they appear to be Campagnolo Hyperion Ultra tubulars with Veloflex Paris-Roubaix 25mm tires and blacked-out sidewalls.
Road Bike Action's Neil Shirley in action at the Ronde, here shooting his former KBS teammate David Veilleiux's Colnago C-59.
Movistar's Italian champion Giovanni Visconti shares a laugh with his former Farnese Vini-Selle Italia teammates before the hostilities started Sunday.
Hey Dude! Liquigas-Cannondale's Daniele Oss has become quite proficient in english recently. The Oss family business is pizza as his family owns a popular pizza restaurant in Pergine Valsugana Italy, where Daniele can be found once in a while in the off-season working as a pizzaiolo. His special recipe is tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto with an egg on top!