HomeCyclingNonumental Race Preview - Podium Cafe

Nonumental Race Preview – Podium Cafe

The scent of minimize grass. Longer evenings. Going for a stroll with out hat and gloves. Racing in Belgium. Sure, spring is coming to these of us within the northern hemisphere, and with it comes the build-up to Flanders and (with an additional week’s delay this 12 months) Roubaix.

How, then, do the riders construct up? Nicely, let’s assume that our protagonist of selection has obtained some early miles beneath his belt, within the Center East or in Spain. He’s taken a view on whether or not to journey Opening Weekend or not. He’s raced Strade Bianche and Tirenno-Adriatico, or Paris-Good. In some way, he’s averted harm, sickness and fatigue and now merely must put the ending touches on his type. The place ought to this be achieved?


Nicely, sure. But when we take into consideration the complexity of type, the vary of choices, the totally different types of riders, the place…?


Shut up.

What follows is a have a look at the Belgian semi-classics that fill the following few weeks with a lot pleasure. I take pleasure in Catalunya and Itzulia as a lot as the following climby stage race fan, however my coronary heart will probably be in (and round) Flanders. I’ve gone again by these races since 2015 and pulled collectively a couple of stats, and some phrases on every race. All of which is designed to place these races into their correct place as beneficial prizes in their very own proper, but in addition as build-up occasions for the 2 cobbled monuments, and to think about which race needs to be focused if you’d like glory within the Oudenaarde or on the Roubaix velodrome.

Spoiler: E3.

Stats information:

All stats are proven for years 2015 to 2021, annually separated by /

Group dimension = variety of riders given identical time because the winner.

High 10, 20 = hole between winner and 10th, 20th (min.sec)

Ronde, PR winner = place of winner of corresponding Ronde, PR on this race

Winner at Ronde, PR = place of winner of this race in corresponding Ronde, PR (the place raced).

Be aware that resulting from Covid, E3, Dwars and Paris-Roubaix weren’t run and whole “spring” schedule was extremely disrupted. In 2021 Paris-Roubaix was run in October and type and calendar clashes have been rife.

De Panne

Group dimension = NA/NA/NA/19/26/1/32

High 10, 20 = 1.20,1.49/1.19,1.53/2.46,6.50/0.00,0.07/0.00,0.00/0.28,3.16/0.00,0.00

Ronde, PR winner = 1,-/-,-/1,-/-,-/-,-/DNF,NA/-,-

Winner at Ronde, PR = 1,10/DNF,113/1,-/-,-/-,-/5,NA/-,-

Getty Photographs

The primary of the upcoming one-day races in Belgium, and the stats include an enormous caveat – this race modified character vastly in 2018 when it grew to become a one-day race. Earlier than that, the three day occasion noticed some robust Belgian cobbled stuff, in addition to a difficult particular person time trial. It was additionally a race a lot of folks left early. So these “ones” early on relate to Alexander Kristoff, and it was actually beneficial as a deep prep race.

Extra lately we’re seeing a comparatively flat race that sometimes finishes in a bunch end. The 2020 model, gained solo by Yves Lampaert was an exception, and that was brought on by wind. It appears unlikely that we’ll have a wind-blasted race in 2022, and if not this needs to be a bunch gallop. The likes of Bennett, Groenewegen, Cavendish and Merlier line up.

As a predictor for the monuments that is fairly ineffective. Get pleasure from it as a dash race and hope for echelons. Additionally, mourn the passing of a 3 day race for successfully a second Scheldeprijs.


Group dimension = 1/1/3/1/1/4/NA/1

High 10, 20 = 0.38,0.38/0.11,4.48/0.52,0.52/0.20,3.19/1.04,2.49/NA/1.30,2.47

Ronde, PR winner = 4,25/2,-/2,1/1,26/4,11/NA/1,-

Winner at Ronde, PR = 14,DNF/27,-/2,1/1,3/36,8/NA/1,68

Now, that is a lot extra prefer it. The group dimension and the highest 10 and 20 splits appear like a monument. You aso see a lot of cross-over in winners. It’s noteworthy that the hyperlinks to the Ronde are a lot stronger than the hyperlinks to Paris-Roubaix (of the final six runnings, we’ve seen the Ronde winner win this twice, end second twice and end fourth twice). The winner of Roubaix has skipped this twice, and solely completed within the high ten as soon as (when van Avermaet gained each races).

It’s hardly a shock that this race units up completely as a warm-up for Flanders. The roads are related, the hills are related, and most of the identical riders go for each. Additionally, it sits properly within the calendar, with simply 9 days (typically with a journey achieved much less critically within the hole) earlier than the principle occasion. The crossover to Roubaix is lower than I might have anticipated.

When Friday comes round you may anticipate all of the cobbled ideas to be on the startline. If you wish to see your rider thrive in Roubaix this could be too early to shine, however if you’d like them to win at Flanders, a high 4 end appears virtually important. It’s time for the cream to rise to the highest.


Group dimension = 1/4/2/19/28/3/7

High 10, 20 = 6.54,6.54/0.11,0.17/0.06,0.06/0.00,0.05/0.00,0.00/1.40,3.02/1.25,1.57

Ronde, PR winner = 9,DNF/1,-/-,1/39,1/22,DNF/9,NA/-,4

Winner at Ronde, PR = 52,44/1,11/2,1/6,1/11,56/59,NA/6,7

Nicely, right here’s a factor. Roubaix winners have gained this twice and completed fourth on one other event (albeit the fourth got here with a six month hole between the races). Ronde winners do much less effectively right here – Sagan was the final winner of each, again in 2016 – than at E3, however for Roubaix it’s maybe the opposite approach round. A part of that’s timing and type, with Flanders riders maybe not going eyeballs out per week earlier than the principle occasion, however a part of it’s parcours. This can be a flatter course than E3 and Flanders and depends extra on slim, uneven roads, and on the riders, to achieve separation. After all it isn’t Roubaix however nothing is.

So, your chosen riders needs to be both skipping this or taking it straightforward (for Flanders) or eager about exhibiting energy and type (for Roubaix). Too early to say what the startlist will appear like at this stage, however anticipate a mixture of some classics riders searching for one other pipe-opener and a few quicker guys who’ll be skipping Flanders.

Getty Photographs

Dwars door Vlaanderen

Group dimension = 1/34/1/1/5/NA/1

High 10, 20 = 1.29,4.46/0.00,0.00/1.03,1.03/0.59,2.42/0.19,0.19/NA/0.26,0.26

Ronde, PR winner = -,-/-,-/2,-/9,-/51,DNF/NA/30,73

Winner at Ronde, PR = 106,DNF/-,-/36,82/29,29/-,-/NA/10,OTL

Dwars suffers from sitting too shut within the calendar to Flanders, and right here we see a race that (excluding a bunch dash in 2016) seems like a Flanders end, however merely doesn’t characteristic guys who’re going to thrive within the monuments. The final significant crossovers have been high tens for Gilbert and Terpstra, who would win Ronde (in each circumstances as lengthy attackers from, maybe, guys who anticipated to journey in service of others).

Count on to see extra lieutenants given their likelihood to journey for themselves, and don’t be stunned if some large names (van der Poel rides, so does Stuyven, so does a really sturdy QS lineup) are right here for the train and never pushing for the win.


Group dimension = 14/16/13/29/34/21/22

High 10, 20 = 0.00,0.24/0.00,0.03/0.00,0.05/0.00,0.00/0.00,0.00/0.00,0.00/0.00,0.00

Ronde, PR winner = 1,-/DNF,-/-,-/-,-/-,-/-,NA/-,-

Winner at Ronde, PR = 1,10/-,-/-,-/-,DNF/-,-/-,NA/-,-

This race is right here as a result of it occurs in Belgium in the course of the buildup to Roubaix. Alexander Kristoff’s peculiar 2015 as soon as once more throws the numbers, however primarily we shouldn’t anticipate something that occurs right here to make any distinction to the monuments. This will probably be a sprinter’s day, and in case your monument guys are right here, simply hope they keep away from harm.

Brabantse Pijl

Getty Photographs

Group dimension = 1/1/8/1/1/4/3/2

High 10, 20 = 0.02,0.19/0.20,0.31/0.06,0.16/0.14,0.19/0.12,0.18/0.13,0.25/0.12,0.53

Ronde, PR winner = -,-/-,DNF/15,-/-,-/6,-/2,NA/-,64

Winner at Ronde, PR = -,-/-,-/10,-/-,-/-,-/DNF,NA/-,-

I’ve thrown within the Brabant arrow not as a result of it traditionally means a lot, however due to the calendar jiggery-pokery that places it earlier than Roubaix. Will anybody use it as a stepping-stone? It appears impossible – if something it’s a higher information for Flanders – but when your rider wants a couple of extra kms beneath the belt, possibly, simply possibly, we’ll see a warm-up journey in Brabant prematurely of the second monument.


Group dimension = 2/1/1/1/1/2/2

High 10, 20 = 0.49,2.34/0.49,1.16/0.53,2.29/0.25,1.13/0.17,1.58/0.08,2.41/0.47,2.15

PR Winner = 7/-/2/6/DNF/NA/55

Winner at PR = 10/11/-/3/-/NA/68

I’ve thrown the monuments in right here for 2 causes. First, to point out the group dimension and high 10 and 20 figures for comparative functions, and second, to reply a unique query – is Flanders one of the best warm-up for Roubaix?

Nicely, it isn’t unhealthy. We have now three high ten rides in Flanders for Roubaix winners, and three winners of Flanders who’ve gone on to complete within the high 11 at Roubaix. The final two years don’t actually work for comparability, so that’s from an inventory of 5. This 12 months, after all, there’s two weeks between the races. I believe that, in the event you’re searching for a Roubaix winner, this would be the race to have a look at for type.


Group dimension = 6/4/5/2/2/NA/3

High 10, 20 = 0.31,0.31/2.20,6.18/0.12,0.12/2.23,3.07/0.37,3.07/0.37,1.40/NA/1.16,6.21

Ronde winner = 10/11/-/3/-/NA/68

Winner at Ronde = 7/-/2/6/DNF/NA/55

There you might have it, the final of the stats. We haven’t seen a solo rider enter the velodrome since Niki Terpstra in 2014 – however that could be a peculiarity of latest editions, with the overwhelming majority of races earlier this century gained that approach. It’s useful to have a fast end, positive, however huge energy and the power to win solo is unquestionably extra use.

This isn’t a race that it’s straightforward to discover a winner of from a pattern perspective, and it’ll be more durable than ever this 12 months with the disruption, however let’s see if the additional restoration permits a Flanders winner to double up for the primary time since Cancellara in 2013.

Getty Photographs


A really fast have a look at some numbers, and a whole lot of very totally different races beneath one umbrella. It’s nice to see the numbers confirming two issues that all of us thought we knew – E3 is the King of prep races, and Roubaix is simply too peculiar to suit any statistical parallel. After all issues will probably be altered this 12 months (and I haven’t talked about Amstel Gold, over the border within the Netherlands however this 12 months, theoretically, a Roubaix prep race. I haven’t talked about Route Adelie both, however we’ve got to cease someplace) and the influence of that’s unclear. The hyperlinks between Roubaix and GW are tentative however intriguing, however this 12 months I anticipate the hyperlinks between Roubaix and Flanders to be stronger than ever.

So… Belgian semi-classics. Six races. Six superb days of racing. Six probabilities to prepare for the monuments. Who’ve you bought, and the place would you like ‘em?



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