After another huge week of northern Classics, Cyclingnews readers are now gearing up for the Ardennes Classics. It's become the hot topic amongst the road fans, as they prepare to watch the likes of Damiano Cunego, Alejandro Valverde and Davide Rebellin battle it out in southern Belgium and Holland.
Track fans are salivating at the thought of Fabian Cancellara riding the hour record, and are talking about it in the related section of the forum.
- Some people prefer Flanders/Gent/Roubaix but for me Ardennes week is probably my favourite cycling week of the year. I love seeing GT guys going up against the week-long stage racers and the explosive climbers.
At this point I don't know exactly who is racing where(those preliminary lists are never very good – I think the Amstel one still lists Horner) but some early thoughts:
Valverde and Cunego have to go in as the big favourites for the week with several others: the Schlecks (especially Fränk), Joaquin Rodriguez, Rebellin, Pfannberger, Kroon, Samuel Sánchez, Gesink... I could also see Nibali up there
Lots of question marks with riders due to injury/lack of form: Dekker, Kirchen, Freire. I think Evans might wind up on the podium somewhere but I don't know about a win.
Nuyens and Gilbert skipped Roubaix for Amstel/Ardennes, but I don't particularly like their chances. I think their best shot (along with Chavanel) would have to be at Amstel.
It's a shame Di Luca's team got left out as he's always a contender and animator in these races.
You guys know if any Giro guys are planning to have a go or are they all biding their time? Seems like I remember Basso performing ok in the past and obviously Di Luca has.
Dark horse picks or inside info? Who else loves these races? - jaylew