Paris-Roubaix & Itzulia Basque Country | The Cycling Race News Show


Welcome back, this week the cobbled classics
conclude on Northern France with Paris Roubaix, we have the sprinters classic, Scheldeprijs,
stage racing in the Basque Country and the Netherlands, plus records tumble in the velodrome
at the Commonwealth Games. It is with great sadness though that I have
to start this week’s show by telling you of the passing of Michael Goolaerts. The 23 year old suffered a cardiac arrest
during yesterday’s Paris Roubaix, and despite the best efforts of the medical team in the
race, and later at Lille Hospital, he wasn’t able to pull through. Messages of condolence have since been flooding
in from all quarters of the cycling world, and it goes without saying that I’d also
like to add mine, and those of us all at GCN. Our thoughts are with Michael’s friends
and family, and also his team Verandas Willems Crelan. It took around sixty kilometres for the early
break to form at Paris Roubaix on Sunday. Six men went up the road and reached a maximum
gap of around nine minutes to the main peloton. One of the six was a certain Marc Soler – we’d
speculated that he probably wouldn’t have wanted to race over the cobbles but it turns
out that he did, it was his choice, and he certainly made the most of it, too, only being
caught by the favourites with seventy kilometres to go. The main action behind kicked off on the very
first pavé sector. Quickstep, full of confidence, already hitting
the front hard. A crash behind split the bunch, leaving last
year’s winner Van Avermaet trailing, along with Oliver Naesen, and although it did eventually
come back together, the attrition had started. By the time we got to the Arenberg Forest
with ninety five kilometres remaining, the group was already much reduced, and it was
toward the end of that sector where we saw Philippe Gilbert head up the road with Mike
Teunissen. It must have sent alarm bells ringing amongst
Quickstep’s main rivals,with Trek riding to shut things down, only to see Zdenek Stybar
immediately go on the counter attack. This time, though, the moves proved to be
a little premature, and the decisive move came with fifty three kilometres to go. Peter Sagan seemed to catch everyone unawares,
and with a good deal of hesitation from the rest of the group behind, he soon took a lot
of time. It wasn’t long before he caught the remnants
of the early breakaway. Behind, despite the best efforts of Terpstra,
Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet and a surprise performance from Taylor Phinney, they weren’t able to
make any real inroads into Sagan’s lead. The world champ continued to press on with
his companion Silvan Dillier, who, somehow, was able to not only keep up, but give Sagan
almost equal turns on the run into Roubaix, despite having been up the road for close
to two hundred k’s. Coming into the velodrome, the result was
pretty much a foregone conclusion, Sagan easily out-sprinting Dillier to take his 2nd monument
win, and become the first rider to win the race in the rainbow bands since Bernard Hinault,
37 years ago. We said in our preview that it was a bit of
a surprise that he would start the race as the bookies favourite, as he’s never previously
finished in the top five, but we also said it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did win
– and it wasn’t, it was a well deserved, well crafted win from Sagan. We also said in our preview that it was a
race where being in the early break could get you a long way, and so it proved to be
– that was some ride by Dillier to get second, especially when you consider that he broke
a finger at Strade Bianche just a few weeks ago, and so wasn’t even certain of making
the AG2R line-up for the race. I bet they’re pretty glad they took him! And it’s Silvan who is our rider of the
week. Before we finish with Roubaix, we’ve got
a really cool insight into the power demands of the race, courtesy of TrainingPeaks – online
and mobile training software for athletes. In particular, we’re going to look at Taylor
Phinney’s stats for the day, and they’re pretty bloomin’ impressive. His overall average power was two hundred
and eighty seven watts for the six hour race, with a normalised power of three hundred and
fifty one watts. His peak one minute of seven hundred and sixty
seven watts came in the first part of the race, presumably either chasing down a break
or trying to get in one himself. What is very interesting, though, is the Arenberg
Forest. In order to get himself and his team leader
well placed, Phinney averaged five hundred and seventy two watts for the final kilometre
run in, averaging 55 kilometres per hour and then hitting the cobbles at exactly sixty
fiive kilometres an hour, which is, quite frankly, crazy. And then, on the sector itself which took
just under four minutes, he averaged three hundred and thirty nine watts, and whilst
that’s still pretty good going, that does highlight to me that the fight to get to the
sectors can often be harder than the sectors themselves. Later in the race, though, on the next 5 star
sector Mons en Pevele, Phinney averaged four hundred and nineteen watts for just under
five minutes. We also got a slightly different insight from
Team Dimension Data of how brutal this race is, and not just on your legs. This is the particularly sore looking hand
of Jay Robert Thomson. Ouch. Just before we finish with this race, a quick
message of congratulations to Tanguy Turgis, who, at just 19, became the youngest finisher
or Paris Roubaix for over half a century, coming in with his older brother in 42nd place. Meanwhile at the Scheldeprijs last Wednesday,
we saw a much reduced sprint finish. A quick list at the winners of previous editions
is all you need to see that this is very much a sprinters classic, but not only were the
weather conditions particularly attritional, but a whole group got disqualified, and combined
that meant we only had a group of fourty contesting the win. Why were they disqualified? Riding through a train crossing on red. Some riders apologised, some said they didn’t
have time to react, and others claimed the first group should have been disqualified
too. Amongst those DQ’d were Arnaud Demare and
Dylan Groenewegen. The race was over for Marcel Kittel, on the
other hand, due to three punctures. In the end it was yet another win for Quickstep
– neo pro Fabio Jakobsen taking his second win in the space of three weeks, ahead of
Pascal Ackermann and Chris Lawless – average age of the podium? Twenty two. THAT makes me feel old. Quickstep continued their run of quite amazing
form over the first two days of the Itzulia Basque Country – Julian Alaphilippe won the
opening two stages, both times getting the better of Primoz Roglic. A sprint finish on stage 3 saw Jay McCarthy
take a well deserved win, his 2nd of the season, but it was the time trial on stage 4 that
saw Roglic come into his own. The former ski jumper won the stage and launched
himself into a commanding lead in the overall classification. And such was the Lotto Jumbo rider’s form
that, despite a lot of pressure being put on by Mikel Landa and Movistar, he held steady
over the last two stages to take what is his biggest stage race win to date. Last week I mentioned that it’s one of the
hardest one week races on the Calendar – and to underline that here’s some more trainingpeaks
data, this time from Team Dimension Data’s Ben King – for the first hour and a half of
stage 2, he had an average power of three hundred and forty six, and a normalised power
of three hundred and eighty six – and he’s a 68kg climber. Bonkers. It was another impeccable performance for
Boels Dolmans at the Healthy Aging Tour in the Netherlands – winner of the prologue?….well
you can probably guess, it was Anna Van Der Breggen. However she passed the baton the following
day to teammate Amy Pieters, who won stage two in a 2-up sprint from twenty two year
old Alice Barnes of Canyon SRAM. World Champion Chantal Blaak took a win on
stage four, and the team also won the team time trial in such dominant fashion that they
finished with the first four places in the overall classification, with Pieters on the
top step. The only blemishes in their race were stages
3a and 5, won by Kirsten Wild and Aafke Soet respectively. Every single stage was won by a Dutch woman,
plus the top two steps of the podium, further underlining their current domination in women’s
cycling. That was, incidentally, Pieters first overall
stage race win as a pro, and thoroughly well deserved, she’s been one of the most consistent
riders so far in 2018. The Commonwealth Games are taking place at
the moment on the Gold Coast in Australia. For those not familiar, it’s like a mini
Olympics for nations in the Commonwealth, a total of 71 teams are taking part across
all sports. Anyway, the big news there in cycling circles
is that Australia broke the team pursuit world record, the first team ever to go sub three
minutes fifty, with a time of three minutes forty nine point eight zero four. It’s the first time that the World Record
has been broken outside of the Olympics since 2003, and the Australian’s were clearly
prepped specifically for it, they skipped this year’s world cups and world champs,
and it clearly worked. That’s a time that was unimaginable a decade
ago, so congratulations to Leigh Howard, Sam Welsford, Kelland O’Brien, Alex Porter,
and also Jordan Kerby who helped the team qualify. To give you an idea of just how fast they
went – they averaged 64.5kph, that’s over 40mph, for the final 3km’s. Nuts. Charlie Tanfield was just one second off the
individual pursuit world record in qualifying, en route to his gold medal in that event,
whilst Michael Glaetzer set a new sea level record for the one kilometre sprint, fifty
nine point three four zero seconds, but the most impressive overall performance had to
be Stephanie Morton, who won three golds in total, in the sprint, team sprint and kierin. And that’s a wrap for this week’s show,
next week we’ll be back reporting on the men’s and women’s Amstel Gold Race, the
warm up for that race which is the Brabantse Pijl, the commonwealth games road race, plus
a number of one day races in France including the hipster’s favourite, Tro Bro Leon. See you then. In the meantime, make sure you check out this
video.