“I was not planning this,” Boonen said. “But when I arrived in the front with Niki and he dropped off, I was thinking, ‘Ok, I already have won Flanders. Why not try to win my fourth Paris-Roubaix in a very special way?’”
Sadly the move that made the race happened before this coverage starts. But watching Tomeke thrash the cobbles at 35 mph on his own is just beautiful.
Here is the move, with Russian comentary (which is very good incidentally, best line right after the move, “The boys in the group are preying to God for someone strong enough to chase Tom down, but doubting they’ll get an answer today.”):
When Boonan is strong he wins this race. Why? He rides at the front. Here’s a snip from Velonews that captures it:
The pressure a rider uses is determined by a lot of different factors. Rider size, tire size, tire casing rigidity, weather, rider skill and elapsed tire pressure drop for a given tire all play into what is best described as an artistic science experiment.
It is no surprise that larger riders often ride higher pressures, but Tom Boonen rides some of the lowest pressures in the peloton. With skill and often an unobscured view, Boonen can run extremely low pressures for a rider of his size. Others, struggling to stay on a wheel mid-pack end up hitting unforeseen holes and must put their pressure a bit higher to avoid compressing the tire to the rim bed.
It seems every time Boonan wins someone is crashing off of his wheel, or flatting out of the race.
Here is a full hour of the Flanders coverage. Say what you will about Phil and Paul (Yes they do refer to “One, a Lance Armstrong” once (though just once) but the are brilliant and enthusiastic commentators who really understand the appeal of these rites of spring, the Classics.