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Everyone runs everything

a55f2ef9248940a8663db7c1cc4b1041 - Everyone runs everything

Valverde in the Tour of Flanders, Sagan in the Walloon Arrow, Van Avermaet in Liège

Everyone runs everything

Peter Sagan rides today, the Walloon Arrow and that confirms a trend: ever more riders combine the cobblestones to the Ardennes. Get ready to enjoy a break in style on Sunday: “You don’t have typical Ardennencoureur to Liège to win.’

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Alejandro Valverde started this year for the first time in the Tour of Flanders. gmax

Valverde in the Tour of Flanders, Sagan in the Walloon Arrow, Van Avermaet in Liège

Everyone runs everything

Peter Sagan rides today, the Walloon Arrow and that confirms a trend: ever more riders combine the cobblestones to the Ardennes. Get ready to enjoy a break in style on Sunday: “You don’t have typical Ardennencoureur to Liège to win.’

Cycling

Jan-Pieter De Vlieger

BrusselEr was a time in which the Flemish classics and the ardennes classics in two separate worlds. Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, the biggest kasseispecialisten of their generation, have never been on the start stood in the Flèche wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Boonen rode never even the Gold Race, Cancellara did so only in 2004 and 2011.

Ardennes specialist Alejandro Valverde remained in those years, as far away as possible from the Flemish work. Only in 2014, took the world champion himself to the cobblestones of Dwars door Vlaanderen and the E3 Harelbeke. This year he rode for the first time ever, the Tour of Flanders. This follows Valverde the trend now: the tight line between the cobbled and klimklassiekers is as good as swept away: Peter Sagan rides today in the Flèche wallonne and Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Greg Van Avermaet stands on the start and had Oliver Naesen still no holiday booked, then he was there too. The works in the two directions, because Michael Matthews rode the Tour of Flanders, just like Tim Wellens. Mathieu van der Poel rode the Tour and the amstel Gold Race.

Van der Poel also demonstrates that it is not merely ‘participate’ is: there are more and more riders, which both Flanders and the Ardennes can win. One of the big favourites for the Tour this year was Bob Jungels, the winner of liège-Bastogne-Liège last year. Michael Matthews finished sixth in the Round and two years ago, fourth in Liège. Ardennes-driver Wellens was back on the podium in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad.

As The Vlaeminck
and Merckx

‘Riders training today is much more varied and in different fields’
Paul Vandenbosch
Wielercoach

Paul Vandenbosch

Wielercoach

After years in which everyone believed in “specialization, specialization, specialization”, will return to the championships again what more back to the time of Roger, then top as The Vlaeminck and Eddy Merckx, all reason, between Sanremo and Liège and everywhere, even could win. Museeuw, Van Petegem and certainly Michele Bartoli did it in the nineties too, but the generation after them were the two separate worlds.

Question is of course: why is it yet again the other side? Part of the explanation lies in the changed courses. There is still always a very clear distinction in altitude between the Flemish classics and the Ardennes: the Round sits on a thick, 2.000, the Amstel goes beyond the 3,000, liège-Bastogne-Liège is above 4,000 meters.

But when Peter Sagan announced that this year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege would be driving, be Tom Boonen in The Latest News on the changed finale of the Amstel and Liège: “In the modern cycling is all decided in the last fifteen kilometres”, he said. “The current arrival of the Amstel would me much better. On the Cauberg, I had nothing to search. The same with Hatch: the last miles are flat, then you have a chance as a fast guy.’

Peter Sagan makes his debut this year in liège-Bastogne-Liège. gmax agency

In addition to the less selective arrivals in the Ardennes, also plays the battle for UCI points. Five pro-continental teams have submitted an application for a World Tour license. The UCI wants the pool of eighteen, although to extend it to twenty, but even then, likely a few World Tour teams relegation. CCC is now on a strijdplaats (16th) and they are therefore keen Of the Team at the start in Liège. Boonen and Cancellara had such a state of merit, that they after Roubaix could afzwaaien. Now, we want teams with a maximum efficiency of leaders with a heavy contract.

Weight

Teams search for riders in all areas at home and wielercoach Paul Van Den Bosch agrees that riders in their training, they have adapted: ‘Riders training now much more varied, in different areas. I believe especially in the transfer of Flemish riders to the Ardennes. The Round is a sequence of explosive, short climb. In Liege, there are longer climbs and more vertical metres, but if you’re light enough as a Flemish rider, can do that too.’

The average weight of the Flemish peloton and the Ardennenpeloton was formerly very much from each other. Boonen was 1m92 above 80 kilos, Valverde low in the 60s. The ‘Flemish’ top of the now – Sagan, Van Avermaet, or even Stybar – sit low in the 70 kilos, what their scope is much broader than just the cobblestones.

Greg Van Avermaet wants a good result in Liege. Geert Tresignie

On the spectrum of voorjaarswedstrijden his Paris-Roubaix and the Flèche wallonne, the extremes. You should be heavy enough to have the cobblestones to survive and light enough to the Wall of Huy, to defy, but even in it there is still a significant cross-section. No one will dare to claim that Mathieu van der Poel (75 kg), the Walloon Arrow will never win. As no-one else Julian Alaphilippe (63 kg), in advance, no chance will call in Roubaix.

“Weight will always be a discriminatory factor”, decision coach Van Den Bosch. ‘On the Wall of Huy is the today pure watts per kilo. Dan Martin will always be a rider for the Ardennes, Alexander Kristoff will never excel. But it is true that there are now a lot more overlap. You don’t need a typical Ardennencoureur to Sunday’s Liège win.’

Today Walloon Arrow (196 miles) with start in Ans (11.15 pm) and arrival at the Wall of Huy (about 16.20 hours)

Tim Wellens was there for the first time in the Round. gmax agency

Bob Jungels rode his first Tour of Flanders. GMAX AGENCY

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