5 Things We Learnt From The Tour Of Flanders | The Cycling Racing News Show

(start clock beeping) (start clock rings) (men cheering) – Coming up this week on
the GCN Racing News Show, five things we learned
from the Tour of Flanders including a monumental cockup from GCN, even by our own low standards. We’ve also got the Dwars door Vlaanderen, the continued emergence of a bright young American talent at the at
the Giro Di Sicilia plus, we’ve actually got a
race that I competed in the Battle on the Beach. It was the the first cobbled
monument of the year, the Ronde, and the first thing we learnt is that we’re getting
even worse at predictions. That’s right, not only did we not predict Alberto Bettiol to win, we
didn’t even name check him. Even by our standards that is poor, and in fact it was
pointed out to us pre-race in the comments section
by Evert Borghraef. There we go, yes, perhaps
we should have taken the advice of Jan Willem Kuilenburg. He said ‘if you would
have had some more beers you could have mentioned
the complete peleton’, which is a very good point actually, and there will be an
extra long Paris-Roubaix preview show coming right
up for you this week. Either way, it was a
phenomenal victory for the 25-year-old of EF, Education First. Here is what his colleagues
had to say to Lloydy after the race starting with Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters. – JV, congratulations,
that must have felt like a long time coming. – Yeah, for sure, I mean what
is it 15 years or something big, I mean back when
you were riding for us. Yeah, I mean
– Where we had no chance. – Right, exactly, where we had no chance. No, yeah, I mean it was a, it was a really beautiful
victory for a guy that really deserves it, you
know, that went through a really rough year last
year with a lot of crashes and injuries and came back and you know, just beautiful teamwork
all the way around, a lot of sacrifice from everyone involved, from you know, Sep Vanmarcke
and Sebastian Langeveld and, I mean what can you say I think it’s, we were debating if it’s the most beautiful
win of this organization since it began and it’s like
2011 Roubaix or this one. And it’s tough, I don’t know we’ve won every monument
except Milan-San Remo, dammit but this one, I think
this one’s number one. – That’s cause it was about an hour ago, of course it’s gonna
feel number one. (laughs) – I know, I know, I know. – Andy, your entire cycling career has been about the Tour
of Flanders, and today you’ve won it with Alberto, that must feel pretty special. – Yes, absolutely. I mean I wasn’t in doubt
that he can drop everybody, I just wasn’t sure if he
can manage to hold off a 10K group of, whatever how many and I was very happy afterwards
that he managed, yes. I’m sure he’s gonna have many more victories in his career. – Well this is the first one. (chuckles) – Yeah, yeah I didn’t know. They said first pro victory. – Matti you’ve been in some
monument-winning teams before, but I’m sure it doesn’t get any worse when you win the Tour of Flanders. – Yeah I’m almost getting
emotional here, it’s incredible. For sure. I didn’t expect it, I
hoped for it and, yeah, but for him to pull this
out you know, it’s amazing. – And what about Sep
because obviously he comes into this race every year
as one of the favorites, this year he’s had his problems
but he rode his heart out for somebody else today. – Yeah, it just shows
how much class he has. I mean a couple of days ago he couldn’t even ride his bike still, he showed how much he want this and how much he loves this race and for him as the normal
road captain for us kind of stepped down and helped Alberto and made the difference. Yeah, shows some character. – How far will the
celebrations go tonight? – Full gas. – Good man. (Chuckles) – Still hard to believe
that his first pro win was the Tour of Flanders. Now clearly we didn’t know an awful lot about Alberto Bettiol before Sunday and it seems we weren’t the only ones. Visits to his page on Pro Cycling Stats are up 17,000 this week,
but first up, he is 25, which makes him the
youngest Tour of Flanders winner since Tom Boonen in 2005, he was born in Poggibonsi, Tuscany and now lives in nearby Castelfiorentino. He turned pro in 2014 with Cannondale, spent last year with BMC, where most of his season
was affected by injury, and returned to EF this year. He showed a lot of promise in 2016 taking second at the
Bretagne Classic in Plouay and finishing top ten at both the Canadian one-day world tour races. To be fair, his performances
this year in Tirreno and E3 were more than enough to
have warranted at least a mention in our preview show. We will never learn. Well, hopefully we will actually. – It’s not often you get a crowd this size outside the bus of a Pro Continental team, but such is the furore
around Mathieu van der Poel and that incredible ride today where he hit the deck, managed to get back to the front and then
start attacking again. Not surprised if so many people so excited about his prospects on the road. – The crowds in Flanders
and cycling in general are loving Mathieu van der Poel and it’s easy to see why
– just like Peter Sagan, he makes riding a bike look effortless. And not in that he’s going blooming fast, but also the fact that he does it with incredible style,
white shorts excepted. Bike riding the van der Poel way just looks like a heck of a lot of fun and let’s face it, we kinda need more of that flamboyance in cycling. Every kid that’s into bike riding now wants to be the next van der Poel and he’s gonna attract more participation into road, cyclo-cross,
and mountain biking, and that’s just brilliant! His ride yesterday was
nothing short of spectacular, crashing on the run-in, to the second time up the Oude Kwaremont,
he managed to get himself back to the coat-tails of the peloton, ride past everyone to make the front group at a time when the race
was well and truly on, then go faster than everyone up the final climb of the Paterburg before finally taking second in the group sprint to finish fourth in his first ever
participation at the race. It was the story of the day, and whilst there wasn’t
a fairytale ending, there almost didn’t need to be. At the other end of his
career is Alejandro Valverde, the world champion just 18
days before his 39th birthday, made his debut at the Tour
of Flanders yesterday. And not a single person was surprised that he managed to finish eighth. His versatility really is remarkable. He may not have set the
world on fire yesterday, but when you consider how important road knowledge is deemed
to be in Flanders, that was an extremely impressive ride. And according to Strava, he was also the fastest up the Paterburg yesterday. Now what was also evident to me yesterday was just how much of an influence he’s had on his teammates’ performances. Movistar, normally most
notable for their absence in the finale of the Cobbled classics, but yesterday, rallying
around their leader; they had a total of four
riders in the top 50, which is something they’ve
never achieved before. The Ronde as a race is bigger
than it’s ever been before, there are more and more
people on the roadside, the VIP tents continue to get larger, they have an increasingly international television audience,
but for the first time since World War II, no Belgian rider has won a one-day classic yet this year. Now if that trend continues, will that affect the Belgian classics? Well, probably not, in the same way that the Tour de France
is bigger than ever despite not having had a French winner for over thirty years, but that said, the celebration at the finish line was perhaps slightly more muted yesterday. The best Belgian finisher
was Oliver Naesen in seventh place; the only other time that Belgium has failed to place a rider in the top six was 1997,
when Jo Plankaert was eighth. Talking of future
hopefuls, Man of the Match for me yesterday had to be Kasper Asgreen of Deceuninck-QuickStep. He was one of four riders in the top eight who were making their debut at the race and he was the best of the lot, in second. Now what made that performance
even more exceptional was how much work he
had done along the way. He did an enormous amount
on the front of the group after things split over
the top of the Muur, then got in a break with Vanmarcke, Vandenburgh, and van Baarle, and still found the strength to attack the group of chasers
in the last few kilometers. Now Asgreen only turned pro with QuickStep in April of last year, and
he’s already proven himself as a potential monument winner. And what more important weapon in that team’s seemingly
never-ending arsenal of talent. To be fair to our new
recruit, Marty McDonald, he did somewhat save our bacon
when it came to predictions. – Women’s race, I’m gonna
go for Marta Bastianelli. Okay, so she’s had a
great start to the season. – Thank goodness he absolutely
nailed that one, didn’t he? To be fair, Lloydy’s pick
of Annemiek van Vleuten was the runner-up and
my pick of Chantal Blaak was in seventh place, so
not too bad all round. As Marty said, Bastianelli had pinpointed the Tour of Flanders
as a race she could win and would target this year. Bastianelli has been the epitome
of consistency this year, she’s not finished outside the top eight in any of the ten Pro
races that she’s done. Like the men’s race, the winning move went on the Oude Kwaremont, but
rather than just one rider, here we had four:
Bastianelli, van Vleuten, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig,
and Kasia Niewiadoma. The Pole did lose
contact on the Paterburg, leaving the other three to
share the podium places, and really, from that point, there was never a doubt
as to who would win. Bastianelli is one of the
world’s best sprinters, and she actually took the win relatively comfortably from van Vleuten. Uttrup Ludwig had to settle
for the last podium spot, but it was yet another step up for the 23-year-old, who
continues to improve and impress. Rewind a little further than Sunday, and four days before the Tour of Flanders came Dwars door Vlaanderen, which marked van der Poel’s second World
Tour race, and his first win. He was part of a five-man
group that fought for victory and such was his dominance
in the final sprint he was able to raise
his arms in celebration with about 50 meters still to go. In the women’s race,
Ellen van Dijk made it back-to-back wins for her, the Trek-Segafredo rider attacked with a little under 20Ks to go and would never be seen again. That was her first victory of 2019, and came just after we’d said
on the Flanders Preview Show that she’d yet to take a win this year. Pro riders, you know where
we are, if you need us. Last week also saw the
return of the Giro di Sicilia after 42 years of absence. The four-day race saw Brandon McNulty take another leap forward in his career, the 21-year-old set up overall victory with a dominant display
on the penultimate day, to Ragusa, under some
pretty horrific conditions. Attacking with 10Ks to go,
McNulty showed strength but also some pretty
mean bike handling skills to take the win by almost a minute. The following day, he and his team admirably defended the overall race lead, McNulty therefore taking his first two professional UCI wins in
the space of two days. Expect to see plenty more of
him in the next few years. In other news, Pete
Kennaugh of Bora-Hansgrohe has officially called time
on his cycling career. The Manxman put out an open, honest, and heartfelt message on Instagram, saying that he has been struggling both on and off the bike
for a number of years. We here at GCN wish him well
in his future endeavors. Finally, our random Race of the Week, and this was actually one that I was in! Yes, that’s right, the Battle on the Beach takes place in South
Wales, here in the UK, and is three laps of a
circuit which includes five kilometers flat out down a beach before looping back to the start on a mixture of forest trails. Bram Imming took his
third victory at the race from his teammate Hank Verdonk and Welsh hill-climbing
sensation Dan Evans, and the women’s race was won
by young Harriet Harnden, from Ffion James, and Terry Fremineur. And finally this week,
the results from our poll from last week’s show where we asked you if you were fans of e-racing. The results: 64% of you said
that you are a fan of e-racing. Now without a doubt, it
is a discipline in cycling that’s gonna be here to stay. Next week, we will be back
with the Hell of the North, Paris-Roubaix, and we’ve
got a special treat for those of you in the USA and Canada: A one-hour program with
full race highlights over on Facebook with commentary from Dan and expert analysis from
multiple top-10 finisher, Juan Antonio Flecha. Oh yes, that’s gonna be good. You can catch it over
on our Facebook page, where you’ll also be able to catch shorter highlights of the
Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. The seven-day Tour of the Basque Country also starts today, and
if you’re in Europe, you’ll be able to catch
live daily coverage on Eurosport, as the likes
of Julian Alaphilippe, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates,
Mikel Landa and Dan Martin duke it out on the
notoriously steep climbs of that beautiful region of Spain. Now stay tuned this coming Thursday for our Paris-Roubaix preview show with added beers, plus if
you’d like something else to watch in the meantime
why not click down here for my epic and very English bike ride with US cyclo-cross star, Jeremy Powers.

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