With images of Tornado Tom Boonen’s victory at the Ronde van Vlaanderen fresh in the mind, and some of the biggest races of spring still to come, we’ll be theming our content this month around the demanding world of the spring Classics.
Paris-Roubaix is only days away, and will be followed as ever by Ardennes Week: the Amstel Gold race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. We’ll have previews, reports, and analysis of each, with images from official WorldTour photographer, Stefano Sirotti.
Our man in Belgium, Matt Brammeier of Belgian ‘super team’, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, will be bringing us insights into the physical demands of the Classics, their importance to his team, and their significance to the Belgian people.
We’ll be talking to Team Sky mechanic, Richard Lambert, on how the bikes of Britain’s only WorldTour team will be set up for the brutal demands of Paris-Roubaix. And Dan Duguid, head of equipment at British UCI Continental squad, Team IG-Sigma Sport, will be telling us about the team’s wheel and tyre choice for Britain’s ‘Hell of the East’, the Maldon Dengie Tour.
Bikes to test this month will come from Ridley, the Belgian bike supplier to the Lotto-Belisol WorldTour team, and from Wilier, the flagship Zero 7, the weapon of choice for Lampre-ISD leader, Damiano Cunego, on which he will tackle the Ardennes Classics, will provide our ‘super bike’ test.
Spring is in the air, but perhaps only in the UK is the cyclist faced with double digit temperatures and snow within days. British clothing manufacturer, Shutt, know all about our, err, ‘unique’ climate, so they were a natural choice for this month’s clothing test. And in keeping with our Belgian theme, Vermarc, a company founded by former Beligan national champion, Frans Verbeek, whose clothing is worn by Omega Pharma-QuickStep, will be sending us bibknicks, jerseys, and jackets to test.
If you’ve ever considered setting yourself the challenge of riding a Classics course, we’ll be finding out from amateur riders just how demanding the parcours of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is, thanks to our friends at cycle tour operator, La Fuga.
With Boonen in his best form for years, Sagan threatening to deliver the biggest win of his young career, and BMC’s heavyweight Classics squad overdue a victory this season, the weeks ahead should be filled with the sort of muck and bullets intensity only the Classics can supply.