Ride London 2016 Goes to Tom Boonen
The worst thing about going to the Tour?
‘Cold turkey’ is tough – Dave and I used to go to a kermis on the Monday after the Tour finished to ease our ‘crash.’
And last year Callum and I went to the post Tour crit in Aalst.
Not this year however because we flew home from Geneva.
But our man Callum found another solution; he got himself down to the ‘Ride London’ race; whilst we had to watch it on TV – with no coverage of the crucial last few K.
But Callum let us have some pictures - we hope you like them.
It’s a whole weekend of cycle sport with the ladies racing on the Saturday then sportivs on the Sunday before the pros take the stage.
Distances were 46 and 100 miles, as I recall.
It’s ‘all in a good cause’ with many riders getting themselves sponsored for charity to do the ride.
But just because you can afford a nice machine and the entry fee for a sportive it doesn’t mean you know anything about bikes...
The Johns Ambulance were there for the inevitable ‘fingers in the chainrings’ – that’s not so bad on gears, I did it once with a fixed and almost chopped my thumb off.
I can still hear the ‘crunch!’
There could be no complaints about the parcours, taking in some of London’s most famous landmarks.
The main event was always going to be a glitzy affair with Christopher and the Sky boys just back from sorting out Johnny Foreigner.
And team cars don’t get much glitzier this one ...
It’s not like Brad to get upstaged but...
We were a tad surprised at how low key Adam Blythe’s British Champion’s jersey was.
Adam is a boy for the bling and we’d expected sequined or maybe LED bands on the jersey – but it was actually very ‘trad.’
We did spot the white shoes with red and blue flashes though.
An improvement on those leopard skin jobs he wore in the British a year or two ago.
He didn’t disappoint with the shades, though.
The man they’d all come to see was there – a three time Tour de France winner, you’d have got long odds on that back in his Barloworld days.
His right hand man – well, one of them – was there too.
The Commonwealth Games champion bridged up to the break was joined by Ian Stannard then attacked the croup with around 50 K to go.
Riding solo along the Thames and putting on a great show for the crowd.
Even though he had a good lead coming in to the last 20k or so we were reminded of how gaps shrink when a lone rider is battling hard to do 40+ kph whilst the peloton is rampaging at 60 kph.
But Lefevre’s boys don’t mess about – not when Tom’s on form and there’s a huge first prize.
They closed it down then set it up for the big chap.
Boonen explained after that race that he hadn’t had it easy, getting caught in a split and having to fight back after a puncture.
At the finish he was lengths clear – just like the old days but let’s not forget how impressive he was in Paris-Roubaix this spring.
Not a bad finale, I thought – but then I always love a Boonen win.
When Tomeke hangs up his wheels it’ll leave a huge gap in the sport – proper charismatic champions are getting thinner on the ground...
With thanks to Callum for the images.