Friday, April 3, 2009

The Spring Classics are in the air

If this is April we must be in Belgium!

April is here and that means some of the best one-day races of the season are upon us:

The Classics’ 2009
  • Sun April 5 Tour of Flanders - “Vlaanderens mooiste” ("Flanders's finest") The race starts in Brugge. Last year’s winner: Stijn Devolder
  • Wed April 8 Gent- Wevelgem – “sprinters' classic” due to its flat finishing terrain. The race start in Deinze. Last year’s winner: Oscar Freire
  • Sun April 12 Paris Roubaix – “the hell of the north”, also has been called “A Sunday in Hell”, “Queen of the Classics” or “La Pascale” (the Easter race). The race starts in Compiegne. Last year’s winner: Tom Boonen
  • Sun April 19 Amstel Gold - Last year’s winner: Damiano Cunego
  • Wed April 22 Fleche-Wallone - Last year;s winner: David Rebellin
  • Sun April 26 Liege Bastogne Liege - La Doyenne ("the oldest") Last year’s winner: Alejandro Valverde
About the Races
Early-season dates mean that riders are often tested by cold, wind and rain. Spectators (Schloogs) by the hundred’s of thousands line the route to cheer on their favorite heroes, while inside, those watching on TV, hope for brutal weather conditions to add to the drama of the race. The races are long, cobbled, and have stopped only for two world wars, and the occasional train (Boonen was not happy about the train)!

Some Links
2009 Tour of Flanders, preliminary start list
2009 Ghent-Wevelgem preliminary start list
Five Reasons Why You Must Not Miss The Tour of Flanders
Pez Does Flanders: Day zero - preview of the course

Which climbs are in which race:
Tour of Flanders: Murr de Grammont, Koppenberg, Eikenberg, Taaienberg.
Gent- Wevelgem: Kemmelberg
Paris-Roubaix: forest of Arenberg pave, Carrefour the l’Arbre, velodrome in Roubaix.

You could do it too:
Citizen rides / Cyclosportifs:
Sat April 4 Citizens Ride: Tour of Flanders Cyclosportif ; 140km or the 70km.
Sat April 18 Citizens Ride: Tourversion Amstel Gold Race - Nederlands

Some fun facts
Yes Gent is the same as Ghent, same city, 2 names: Ghent – French, Gent - Dutch

How to pronounce Gent- Wevelgem
Gent Wevelgem = ghent vay-vul-gum

How to pronounce Paris Roubaix
Paris Roubaix = Pah-ree Roo-bay

How to pronounce Ronde van Vlaanderen
Have a few Belgium beers and give it your best try.

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