Tweets of the Week: The FABulous Ronde

Spartacus, Fabs, Fabu, the Swiss Express, Monuments Man, Legend, three-times RVV champion. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that this week’s Tweets is dominated by the Big Swiss. And I do not apologise for that.

The Ronde run-up

A year ago, Fabian Cancellara attacked on the Kwaremont, handed Peter Sagan his ass as he rode away and TT’ed all the way to the finish. Here is what last year looked like.

preRVV 2013 1Fabs has his eyes closed, no doubt thinking to himself, ‘Do not tell me that boy just pinched her bum.’ He did.

preRVV 2013 2

Fast forward to last week – lots of recons, lots of press conferences, lots of lots-of. Tom and his magnificent Boonens was back in the peloton, ready to take on what up to now had always been his race. With his uber-strong OPQS classics team, who would bet against him?

preRVV Boonen billboard

The obligatory press conference – both looking on and looking out. And yes, as Neal Rogers says, Niki Terpstra looks thrilled to be there – like a petulant child who has been told they have to sit still or they won’t get any ice cream.

preRVV OPQS press 2 preRVV OPQS press 1

Sylvain Chavanel, the name I like to say most of all, was in full press-friendly mode, as he is more often than not a key protagonist in these one-day races. And he looked mighty grand in that gorgeous IAM kit.

preRVV Chava interview preRVV Chava

preRVV IAMChavaThe look in this little girl’s eyes says: ‘I could beat him, no problem.’

preRVV Sagan little girlTrek’s press conference – and some pinstriped legs. Fabs was relaxed and joking.

preRVV Christmas week

preRVV Trek press preRVV Trek cobbles

That Boy Phinney was given the keys to Bicycling Magazine’s Instagram account – as always, exuberant to be making his debut in one of the hardest races in the calendar. He was up to the challenge.

preRVV Phinney Instagram 3 preRVV Phinney Instagram 2 preRVV Phinny instagram 1For any rider who needed a refresher course on what to expect and how to prepare for the cobbles.

preRVV Cobbles cartoonPanache knows me so well.

preRVV Fabs comicSo far, the best pair of custom shoes of the season.

preRVV millar shoesHow to get around bad planning? Or at the very least, plot revenge.

preRVV missing race

Sunday! We’re ready to Ronde

Signing in, Fabs was playing it cool. And looking sleek and panther-like (told you it was going to be unbearable) in his Trek kit. He wisely has eschewed the unfortunate fashion ‘decision’ by Trek to offer one white arm and one white leg warmer. Fabs is in black.

RVV Fabs Sunday morningBut everyone still had their eyes on OPQS and Tom Boonen.

RVV on course Boonen 2 RVV on course bidon teethThat Boy Phinney was in the break for a good part of the day. Looking strong. Looking sleek. Surely one day he will be an honorary Flandrian.

Rvv on course PhinneyLadies’ Favourite™ Bernie Eisel also made it into a breakaway during the race. >cue sound of global swoons<

RVV on course BernieJohnny Hoogerland – the toughest man ever anywhere – kept getting flats. Just as Stijn Devolder kept crashing. Both just kept riding on. No matter what.

RVV on course Hoogerland

The trio everyone thought would be duking it out at the end. Tom, Fabs and SuperSagan.

RVV on course 1Ya gotta eat!

RVV on course musette RVV on course Boonen groupRemember last year’s Roubaix? Fabs seemed to have cajoled Sep Vanmarcke to ride with him as opposed to sucking his wheel and letting Fabs drag him to the win? Looks like Fabs started the Jedi mind tricks early in the race with Sep. And they worked. Again.

RVV Fabs looking VanmarckeEven the mark of the beast couldn’t help Sep.

RVV on course 666“You know what? I’m so relaxed and in control, I might just have a little snack. Mmmmmm, gels!”

RVV on course gelHow fast were they going? Meowclank was there – on the day! – and got some great pics of the Swiss Express leaving the Belgian Flyers behind.

RVV On course sprint 1 RVV on course Fabs sprint 2 The victory

I’ll just let all these speak for themselves.

RVV infogram

RVV Fabs wins 1 RVV Fabs wins 2 RVV Fabs wins 2b RVV Fabs wins 2c RVV Fabs wins 3 RVV Fabs wins 3b RVV Fabs wins 4 RVV Fabs wins 5 RVV Fabs wins 8 RVV Fabs wins 9 RVV Fabs wins 10 RVV Fabs wins 11 RVV Fabs wins 12 RVV Fabs wins 13 RVV Fabs wins 14 RVV Fabs wins 15 RVV Fabs wins 16 RVV Fabs wins 17 RVV Fabs wins 17a RVV Fabs wins 18 RVV Fabs wins 19 RVV Fabs wins 20 RVV Fabs wins 21 RVV Fabs wins 23 RVV Fabs wins 24And this is what the podium kiss looked like this year.

RVV Fabs wins podium 2 RVV Fabs wins podiumThe aftermath

But what about the others? What about poor Vanmarcke who had his head in his hands, again, as he sat in the changing tent beside the man who once again employed the track stand manoeuvre to cross the finish line first.

RVV Vanmarcke reactionWhat is Sep sleeping with (besides his bike…on cobbles)? What is that little doll/puppet/thing beside his ear?

RVV aftermath Vanmarcke bedtime

He might want to loan it to Zdenek Stybar – maybe take those nightmares away.

RVV aftermath Stybar dreamsTeam Sky didn’t make much of a mark in the race. You know, if Geraint Thomas can stay on his bike through an entire race, he might just win it. (Not being horrible, I like G, but man, the ground is like a magnet for that boy!)

RVV results Sky RVV results Sky 2Never need an excuse to put in a picture of Manuel Quinziato.

RVV results QuinziatoA little post-race analysis …

RVV results 3And now we know that Fabs has more power than three vans.

RVV results 4And finally, if you didn’t know your cheers make a difference, you know now.

RVV Taylor 1The Gruppetto

Next week – Roubaix. preRVV Fabs ugly preRVV Jens mudOkay okay, I’ll stop with the Fabs pics. Promise.

G TdF RVV Fabs yellowOh oops! I lied. No, now, after this one, I will stop with the Fabs pictures. Double promise.

G Fabs magsSo Cav must be feeling better. Lucky there’s a member of ZZTop to catch him.

G Cav bus HolmAnd here’ s a picture of Cav and Delilah.

G Cav with baby seatLast week, Cipo looked like Stretch Armstrong, this week he looks like Buzz Lightyear.

G Cipo girlsWhile Marcel Kittel looks like a blond GI Joe, according to Panache.

G Kittel as Ken dollMy CostaCrush. What glorious teeth!

G Costa smileI love this picture.

G OPQS mattress bounceWe *thought* That Boy Phinney was riding in Belgium, but could he also be modelling for Burberry in his spare time?

G Phinney Burberry lookalikeI have no idea what is going on here, but I like it.

G Paolini michelin man

Mr Moon has discovered the key to longevity.

G Turbo trainingSeemed like the right picture to end this column on.

Gruber last word sunset

 The Last Word

Last word

 

 

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