The 2012 Ronde von Vlanderen runs on Sunday.
Thus begins my favorite part of the pro racing calendar–the period that runs from the early Spring Classics and ends with the Giro d’Italia. But the best part is the hard nugget at the heart of the Spring races: RVV > Paris-Roubaix > Amstel Gold > Fleche Wallone > Liege-Bastogne-Liege. One-day races that, to my mind, are the pinnacle of bicycle racing.
And the RVV is probably my favorite–I like it even better than Paris-Roubaix, if that can be imagined.
It’s not a question of whether this year’s RVV will be a great race. Most editions are. The question rather is whether Fabian Cancellara can once again power away from the peloton (having little to no team support in races like these) or whether he’ll get worked over by Boonen’s Omega-Pharma or Sep Vanmarke’s Garmin squad. Or will we see a win from someone a little less likely, such as Peter Sagan, Nicky Terpstra, or Edvald Boassen-Hagen.
My pick? Fabian Cancellara, unless we see another version of last year’s Paris-Roubaix in which everyone spends their time marking Cancellara, in turn providing room for one of the lieutenants–perhaps someone like Nicky Terpstra.
In any event, let’s hope for some rain, wind, and cold. Races like these should not take place in the sun.