Stannard dishes out a masterclass

from peleton magazine…..

The defending race champion somehow managed to beat three super-strong riders from the same team — Etixx-Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra, and Stijn Vandenbergh — and take the classics season opener in Ghent, Belgium.

It was a huge disaster for Etixx-Quick-Step and an unforgettable performance by Stannard.

First, here are the top 10 results (via Sporza):


Here’s how things played out in the finale:

In the closing kilometers of the race, after the group of four had been out in front for 40 kilometers, the three Etixx riders started attacking repeatedly in hopes of forcing Stannard to chase and tire himself out.

Almost everyone seemed to be saying that Etixx had the win in the bag and that it would be too difficult for Stannard to win. It looked possible for Etixx to dominate the whole podium in a clean sweep.

And with the likes of Boonen and Terpstra attacking, all that made perfect sense. It was a really classic set-up in terms of tactics: three riders versus one. So, attack the lone guy until he’s blown and win the race.

Boonen put in the first big attack. Stannard was isolated but kept on the gas, with Terpstra and Vandenbergh sitting on his wheel. Then Boonen imploded, and Stannard closed the gap to him.

Next to attack was Terpstra, and Vandenbergh jumped on his wheel, which was puzzling (why not let Stannard chase Terpstra, then attack Stannard again with another hit?). They gapped Stannard right away. But Stannard clawed his way back to them. Suddenly, it was all four back together.

That’s when Stannard jumped. It was quite a sight. He got a gap right away, surprising the Etixx riders, who seemed to be tiring themselves out.

Terpstra rode up to Stannard, while a totally blown Boonen tried to get back to them (Vandenbergh had imploded and was gone). It came down to Terpstra and Stannard going to the line mano a mano, with Terpstra leading out the sprint and Stannard just coming around him to cross the line first.

Watch the final 10 or so kilometers of the race below. (Skip to 6:00 for the real fireworks.)

We already knew Stannard was super strong and a real hardman. Saturday he showed he’s not only one of the toughest riders in the peloton but also one of its most astute tacticians. The guy doesn’t know how to give up. His combination of brute strength and clever riding won him the race.

What looked like a predictable outcome after classic tactics of three-on-one backfired. Conventional wisdom failed because Stannard was too strong. He’s only 27, so expect to see him winning more races.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Stannard told after the race. “It’s nice to do the double sweep at the race, but after the difficulties I had last year breaking my back it’s nice to have got myself back to where I was.

“Being with those three guys I knew they were all committed to trying to win. As a team they haven’t won it for 10 years and it’s a big one missing off Boonen’s palmares. I knew they were going to race hard. With Sep Vanmarcke and Greg van Avermaet chasing behind it put the pressure on them. I could just sit back, play a bit of poker and enjoy the ride.

“I just wanted to get a free ride for as long as I could. That was my idea. When they all started attacking me it wasn’t a great feeling. When Boonen went I was thinking ‘right, what do I do here?’ I knew if I rode him back I’d get attacked. I paced myself back a little bit. I could feel the wheel behind was trying hard to stay with me. So I felt like it was going pretty good and then I just took my chance.”

Here’s what Terpstra and Boonen had to say (via

Terpstra: “Looking back, maybe it would have been better to wait for the sprint with Tom and not attacking, but it’s a question of moment and circumstances. Stannard was really strong in the end against our attacks, and deserved the win.”

Boonen: “Today we made a mistake in the final,” Boonen said. He added: “There is a thin line between a great race and a costly mistake and unfortunately we took the risk of not waiting for the sprint, and it didn’t work out. It would have been great to win the race, but that’s cycling. Congrats to Stannard. He rode a smart tactical race and his reactions to our attacks were impressive. His sprint was also strong. As a team we rode super strong today and while we unfortunately fell short of victory, we know what we are capable of for future races.”

Eddy Merckx – new book reveals a heart problem

A new book is out that has just shot onto my buy list …..

Merckx, it is claimed, suffered from non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition closely related to that which appears to have caused Fabrice Muamba to collapse playing for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Daniel Friebe in Eddy Merckx: the Cannibal recounts an incident during the 1968 Giro d’Italia when Enrico Peracino, team doctor at Merckx’s Faema squad, invited Italy’s leading cardiologist professor Giancarlo Lavezzaro to test the Belgian and another top rider Vittorio Adorni using a then state-of-the-art cardiogram at a sponsors dinner following stage three of the race.

Lavezzaro was shocked to notice that according to the results one of the riders – Merckx – was right in the middle of a heart attack although outwardly the rider appeared to be OK, though noticeably fatigued following a tough stage. Lavezzaro asked Merckx to repeat the test first thing the next morning. The result again appeared to confirm a clear case of non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Merckx’s team and Lavezzaro faced a dilemma. Did they tell Merckx – who to all intents and purposes appeared to be a superfit and healthy 24 year-old, about his condition, or even pull him from the race?

In the book Lavezzaro remembers Merckx “making vague noises about his cardiograms always being funny” but also recalls the Belgian insisting that he would race on whatever the diagnosis. Lavezzaro returned to his home in Turin and fully expected to hear news every day over the next fortnight of a Merckx collapse during race.

In fact the Belgian proceeded to his first grand tour triumph, the first of his five Giro titles, before going on to win five Tours de France. He was also three times the victor in the Vuelta a España, won three world championships and on 19 occasions claimed victory in one of cyclings’s five ‘monuments’ – the one-day classics Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.

“Now,” says Lavezzaro emphatically in the book, “Merckx wouldn’t be allowed to race. At the time we could see that he had a problem but couldn’t make a precise diagnosis without doing a cardiac catheterisation, which obviously wasn’t practical at the Giro. We just knew that he was at risk.

“Later I wrote to Merckx’s doctors in Belgium but they said it couldn’t be anything because he was still winning on the bike. The next year, the brother of the president of Torino football club had exactly the same thing and we went to Houston in the US to get it diagnosed properly, because we didn’t have the right apparatus in Turin.

“It was a non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Nowadays, you pick it up straight away in the electrocardiograms that, for instance, professional cyclists have to pass to get their licence. And someone with that diagnosis wouldn’t be allowed to race. There are no symptoms … but there is a risk of sudden death.

“In 1977, an Italian footballer called Renato Curi with this problem dropped dead in the middle of a match … But no, there were no aerobic advantages and nothing Merckx could feel. There was just this sword of Damocles above his head every time he raced.”

Youri Zoon Kitesurf Champ

A very sweet video with old style VO man as an extra touch ….

This is the story of new world champion in kitesurfing; Youri Zoon.
EyEFORcE productions has followed Brunotti rider Youri Zoon over the last couple of years, filming him on locations across the globe.
This video documents his career.

-PKRA footage courtesy of Extreme Elements
-OLD footage courtesey of

from his website

Year of Birth : 14/12/1989

Size: 175

Weight: 72

Years of Xperience : 7

Lives in : Dirksland, NL

Favorite spot: Brouwersdam

Has been riding : Netherlands, France, Brazil, , Italy, Belgium, Spain, Cabarete, Portugal,japan, mexico, venezuela, canada, USA, , vietnam, Germany, austria ,thailand,egypte,mexico, south africa,  probely more that i forget heheh

Why kiteboarding: I was a windsurfer before but I wanted to do more than that and then I discovered kitesurfing. Afther the first lesson i was hooked!

Dislikes: Sand in my bed. If i get sand in my bed i am gonne freak out…

Listens to: hardstyele and just chilling music. I like a lot of music but it has to have a good rithem.

Occupation: Pro kiteboarder

My Kiteboarding gear:

What brands of kites are u flying?

Slingshot kites

Why are you flying Slingshot kites kites?

The first time i felt the kite i was like woow this definetly my kite. And i am still very happy with it.

Whats you’r favorite kitesize?

This year i am riding with the RPM, i helped develope this kite and testing it.Til i was statisfied with it.

What brand of boards are u riding?

Brunotti boards(youri zoon pro)

Why are u riding Brunotti boards(youri zoon pro) boards?

The boards are just everything i want, if i want to have something in it, i will get it from Jinne Sietsma the shaper of brunotti boards.

What’s your favorite boardsize/style?

My favorite board is 133*40