I love it at this time of year, when it's cold, when you have to put on layers of clothing to go for a ride, when you go a bit fast you get tears in your eyes and a runny nose, I love it because all that means there's bike racing in Europe. A lot of you have had to listen to me go on about mountain stages and time trials, Tour de France, and Lance Armstrong, so the fact that I think it's awesome is no surprise.
Last Sunday night I had a fantastic treat, I got to watch a sensational bike race...the Paris-Rubaix won by a great cyclist. It's a special race, and this year's was brilliant. Watching the big names go at it for 259km over such tough roads is inspiring enough, but when Fabian Cancellara attacked with 50km to go and with such ferocity you couldn't help but barrack for him as he toughed it out on those bone jarring cobbled sections. No sitting on someones wheel for a sprint finish( that happened for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on), he just went flat stick for 50k's on his own. His timing was perfect, just as Tom Boonen went to the back of the bunch for a sausage roll or maybe a piece of rabbit, whack ! Off the Swiss champ went, no one could catch him, he just kept increasing his lead, to over three minutes at one stage, only two made ground on him near the finish, but he still came home over 2 minutes ahead of them.
In parts, the roads are so rough on this "Queen of the classics", that most of the bikes have 27mm tyres on them, not the usual 23's. For winning this race, the trophy is a hunk of rock, that's attached to a piece of wood...Cool, it's got a section called "the road to the abattoir", and the last few hundred metres is raced in an old velodrome. The only thing missing from this race is a good sword fight.
While it may look like a couple of blokes prepairing to set land mines, the photo is actually of maintenance work on the cobbled roads.
Well Done Fabian.