AntBanter: Cobbled dreams and Classics wishes

Valentine’s Day has been and gone, and the first daffodils are starting to peek through, which means that spring is just around the corner. Spring is a great season: full of optimism, positivity, and renewed vigour. Most of all though, it’s full of bike racing!

Welcome to the start of Spring Classics season! (image courtesy of Davide Calabresi)

Let’s hope we don’t have snow in spring this year! (Image: Davide Calabresi)

In the next eight or so weeks, we’ve got Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the tours of Catalunya and Pays Basque, and most excitingly of all, eight one-day races on the WorldTour calendar. So let’s take this opportunity to make some classics wishes!

Ant: The beauty of the classics is their unpredictability – pretty much anything can happen – so have a think, if you could have one wish come true, what would it be?

Panache: Ant, my classics wish is for Taylor Phinney to win Milan-San Remo and Roubaix and for me to be there for both.

Ant: I like this wish, Panache! We should definitely start a Twitter campaign: #GetPanacheToTheClassics. As for That Boy Phinney, this is a wish that could come true. Last year he seemingly conned everybody into thinking he’d abandoned Milan-San Remo, before hammering in to a seventh-place finish in a race that looked like it was taking place on Hoth instead of Italy. He’s started this year in good shape too, picking up his first pro stage race win with overall victory in the Tour of Dubai and, let’s be fair, he’s only going to get better. He’d be a popular winner too.

Is this the start of a great year for Phinney? (Image: Dubai Tour)

Phinney started strong this year – but can he win a classic in the spring? (Image: Dubai Tour)

Jack: My wish for the spring classics is resident permed wonder Pippo Pozzato springing a surprise and leaping past Tornado Tom to take a long-awaited win in the Roubaix velodrome. If not, rain, mud, beer and frites would do …

Ant: Ha! I like your back-up plan there, Jack! My favourite things about the classics!

Tom and his shadow Pippo (image courtesy of Louis Wall)

Will Pippo get the better of Tom this year? (Image: Louis Wall)

Kathi: My wish list for the cobbled classics is easy. I want them to be gladiatorial battles between Fabs and Boonen with Stybar and Sagan thrown in, and Haussler and Chavanel hot on their heels. I want the finishes to be magnificent and majestic and right down to the wire. I want them all to cry on the podium from the exertion and leaving their hearts and souls out on the road.

Ant: Oh yes! Explosive racing from some of the most entertaining guys out there. Stuff to get us screaming at our TVs. Racing to make us throw our frites in the air and spill our beer!

Wish 7: Let's see Spartacus back to his old self (image courtesy of Tirreno-Adriatico website)

Will Fabs be spraying the bubbly? (Image: Tirreno-Adriatico)

Tim: I expect I’ll end up on the receiving end of a derisive howl (or at least a snort) from La Fondue for having the temerity to suggest this, but I’d like to see each of the four spring monuments crown a new winner. Yes, I know that means Tom and Fabian leaving empty-handed, but wouldn’t it be great if we could be talking about Peter Sagan, Taylor Phinney, Zdenek Stybar and maybe Diego Ulissi as monument winners come April? [ducks out of the crossfire]

Ant: I would be very pleased to see this come true, especially Zdenek Stybar after his horrible luck in Paris-Roubaix, and Taylor Phinney for his heroic efforts last spring. I’d also like to see Chavanel or Greg Van Avermaet up in the mix somewhere.

Ronde van Vlaanderen c GRUBER IMAGES Gilbert, Stybar, Sagan

Will we see young guns Sagan and Stybar riding away with the Classics? (Image: Gruber Images)

Kathi: Ahem! For the record, Tim, I did name some of those people in my wishes. And if you notice, I didn’t name a desired winner. I just want fantastic, hard-fought races. [sticks out tongue and stomps off]

Ant: What about you, Sheree?

Sheree: For the cobbled classics, I’d love a massive showdown with Boonen, Cancellara and Sagan battling for supremacy on the cobbles with maybe an unheralded outsider in the mix too. To be honest, I don’t really mind who wins, just as long as it’s a ding-dong battle. Oh, and bad weather would just add to the drama! For the Ardennes, I’d really like Samu Sanchez – still trying to get used to seeing him in the red-and-black of BMC instead of orange – to win one of these. Don’t mind which one. Maybe I’d better ask him which he’d prefer?

It just looks wrong, doesn't it? (Image: @JimmyGaztelu)

Will we be able to spot Samu in his new BMC colours?  (Image: JimmyGaztelu)

Ant: There’s a fairly strong theme running through here, we want to see thrilling racing in bad weather. And Jack & I want to drink beer and eat frites. Oh, and I want to see a panda on a unicycle riding alongside the bunch through the Arenberg Forest.

So now it’s your turn. What do you think? Do you agree, or do you think we’re a sadistic, demanding bunch? Let us know what you’re hoping for and who you want to see winning in the next couple of months, and I’ll come back in a couple of weeks with a round-up.

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