Vulpine’s images and thoughts from the cobbles of the Tour of Flanders 2012.
Poor unfortunate Cancellara follows domestique Rast. All photography, Nick Hussey.
Just before the Ronde I was invited out for dinner by Velo News editor Neal Rogers, the night before The Tour of Flanders. It gave me the kick I needed to down tools and see a race I have obsessed about for over 25 years, but never seen for real.
I have so many sensations and memories from that 3 day trip. But I won’t bang on, suffice to say it was absolutely brilliant. Thank you to Polocini for helping me with race route accomodation on very short notice.
The images were taken on the newly re-laid Kruishoutem section of cobbles, just before the notorious Doom (no really) section. There was a party family atmosphere everywhere I rode. And the weirdest thing was being able to ride he cobbles minutes before the race, and directly afterwards. If you dared take on all the maniacs smashing past, nearly decapitating excited children.
As far as the race went, I think Spartacus was sorely missed. It became an extremely tactical finale. I think Pozzato was stronger than he dared think and I was screaming for him to attack Boonen at 2KM to go. Ballan was obviously spent, and self-proclaimed Beautiful Man Pippo was never ever going to beat Tommeke in a sprint. Why not risk coming third to win it all? Tis has always been his problem.
Lovely hair though. And a great ‘comeback’ after being shutout from Katushka.
Click image below to see full set of images on Flickr.
Hincapie leads Hushovd, alongside Chavanel. Big George has now completed (an achievement in itself) a record seventeen Ronde.
Pozzato looking relaxed at the rear of the race. Black socks, a strange sartorial choice for an Italian!
Boassen Hagen leads Friere (with bandaged knee).
Quick Step lead the charge after the Farrar escape group. They would be looked upon to do the work all day.
Steegmans, Boonen’s right hand man.
Aussie legend Stuey O’Grady still looking lithe in his late 30s, with his trademark freckles.
Baden Booke of GreenEdge, with Hincapie prowling behind. Ballan to the right.
Paris-Roubaix ’11 winner Johan Van Summeren shows the loose style required to ride cobbles.
Tyler Farrar leads Lastras in the long early break. They were five minutes ahead at this point.
Ex-Armstrong lieutenant and slightly scary man, Popovych. Is he hating on me?
Matty Goss, shows what a fight it is for placement out there. If he ended up off the cobbles, he would have ploughed through my teeth. Not sure who the Eskimo is from AG2R.
Genius bike handler Sagan, still with his youthful puppy fat.
Team Sky’s Ian Stannard. A great Classics rider, still developing.
Popular with the public, but not he peleton, Voeckler with tongue planted firmly within.
Pozzato shadows a couple of Northern European chaps.
The break arrives. You can hear the gasps and hum before they arrive, then smash past in an instant. What gives them away are the helicopters hovering above like bees. The anticipation is delicious.
Rear end of the break.
Everyone pours back onto the cobbles and continues drinking long after the race has gone.
Is he the Boonen of 2032?