So a wheely good welcome to you all and I write this on the late night train back from London having just been to the 2017 Rouleur Classic in London with my good friend Karl and his dad Roger. This is our third time on the trot and we enjoy more each year. Once again the venue was the amazing Victoria House and yet again Rouleur didn’t fail in putting on a superb night surpassing previously visited years with oozing amounts of quality, memorabilia and stars of the cycling world. From the Mavic service course cars parked up outside I knew this was gonna be a treat. Entitled Monuments it was to celebrate the great riders who had conquered on the cobbles and roads of Flanders and Roubaix.
On entering the event it was awash with the creme de la creme of brands showing their products under the dazzling lights. I could go on for an eternity but one that stood out for me was the s-works stand complete with the latest SL6 tarmac and some very nice custom frames. I know I am biased but s-works bikes, components and frames for me are the epiphany of top drawer bike manufacturing and I know my good friend Paul Jackson in Northern Ireland would not diasagree with me.
Of course any show is not just about the products but it’s meeting the pros and people from the industry that make it all tick. You can imagine my delight seeing Sir Bradley Wiggins once again. This guy is a legend and chatting to him about tattoos and bikes was just great. Every time I have met him over the years he’s always made time to talk and just generally be cool as he is.
Of course the main stage hosted a wealth of top names. From Jonathan Vaughters talking about the new Drapac team to Johan Museeuw reminiscing on all his classics victories every guest had a story to tell and entertained the packed crowd.
As the evening drew to a close all it left was one more skirt of the stands, collect our goodie bags and head off into the crisp London night air. Once again a totally amazing evening and I would recommend get a ticket for next year as rumour has it with the theme being World Champions we may see a visit from Peter Sagan, now that would be special.
Just leaves me to say thanks for reading and subscribing and please check out my twitter and Instagram. Until next time happy riding and laters!
Hello one and all and a wheely good welcome to Paul Ashman Cycling.
So what is a Classic? A novel that’s stood the test of time, a piece of music or song that is still played over and over many years after its release or a car like an E-Type Jaguar. Yes they all meet that criteria and term but ask someone in the Cycling world then it’s a different answer all together.
Tour of Flanders, Liege Bastoigne Liege, Amstel Gold and the greatest of them all Paris Roubaix……these are all classics in the cycling world. Every March and April the peleton heads for Belgium, North France and The Netherlands for the teams respective classics campaigns. This time of year can throw up all sorts of weather and it’s this that is one of the factors that makes every race a spectacle and an unknown. There is always a favourite but often this isn’t who wins and only the toughest hardest men in the sport survive to take top spot on the podium. Take last year at Roubaix who would have bet on Mat Hayman to triumph over Boonen, Stannard and Van Marche.
The cobbled classics of Belgium require an upmost amount of skill and resilience to conquer. Coupled with the bergs, some with up to 20% inclines it really sorts out the hardmen in cycling. Last year at Flanders Sagan broke clear over the Patterberg and soloed to victory. I don’t think many will bet against him repeating that again this year. He has already just a fortnight ago come second at Omloop and won the following day in Kuurne so is clearly showing he has the legs. After Flanders the following weekend is Paris Roubaix or better known as the Hell of the North. This is probably one of if not the hardest race in cycling. Leaving Compiegne in Northern Paris the parcours winds itself up through France to Roubaix via many kilometres of horrendous cobble stone sections. These rattle the bike and body like no other roads. Tom Boonen is one of the most successful classics riders of our generation and will be bidding for record 5th win in Roubaix before retiring after the race. It will bring the curtain down on a career from a man who has won pretty much every Classic, been world champion and wore the coveted Yellow Jersey. Good luck Tornado Tom!
Alongside the ones mentioned there are many other classics that in their own right command a great deal of talent and a raw edge to show you have what it takes to win. Whether the white gravel roads of Strade Bianche, the gruelling 290 kilometres of Milan San Remo or the relentless winds across the Belgian open lands in E3 or Gent Wevelgelm these races require a complete all round rider. Chapeau to every rider who enters, rides and to the few who conquer victorious.
So to my tips and these are just my opinion of who I feel and believe could come out on top.
Milan San Remo – many would disagree but 8 years after his previous win there I feel it’s the year for Mark Cavendish.
Tour of Flanders – I cannot see past Peter Sagan. He is a complete solid riding machine and his physique suited to the terrain the race throws up.
Paris Roubaix – I would love to see a home win in the shape of Luke Rowe like any other Brit. However it would be a fitting end to a glittering career to see Tom Boonen take his fifth victory here and that’s who my money will be on.
Liege Bastoigne Liege – already showing strength and good legs I believe this will be Dan Martins second victory in Liege come mid April
That’s all for now so happy riding folks and please check out Paul Ashman Cycling on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.