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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In their first showdown this year, the 2 biggest sprinters in the world went head to head on the 3rd stage of the Ruta del Sol today. Petacchi took the win this time. Boonen, 2nd. It's going to be an interesting year for the sprinters.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/road.php?id=road/2006/feb06/rutadelsol06/rutadelsol063

As per usual, in the overall, the Spanish guys are kicking each other's teeth in to take the win in this early season Spanish race. They love this thing. Overall leader after 3 stages is Carlos GarcÃ*a Quesada from Unibet.com. Good showing for him so far.
 

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Who's team is stronger

Ale-Jet is usually faster, Boonen is the bigger engine for the long haul. In the end it's mostly the guy with the best team support that gets into a position to go for the win. Barring injury, Tom will be Cyclist of the Year again.

FWIW - I'd like to see Basso take the Giro, Vino the Tour and Levi the Vuelta.
 

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SantaCruz said:
the guy with the best team support that gets into a position to go for the win.
A team can only do so much, Lance won the Tour so many times because when it came to the final climb or the TTs he could lay down more power than his rivals, his team didn't have anything to do with that other than not letting his rivals get off the front to enjoy a tactical advantage. All the team work in the world isn't going to get Petacchi over the bergs in the Ronde or the cobbles in Roubaix. MSR is the best he can hope for as it almost always comes down to a reduced bunch sprint, and that's only if he is on great form. Like Cipollini I think he lacks the proper mentality. He only rides as a bunch sprinter not as a classics rider like Boonen.
 

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agreed

Petacchi is a classic bunch sprinter and he is the honch. Boonen is a classics rider who also has a nice sprint. If it is a 'classic sprint finish' Petacchi will take the lions share. MSR has added hills this year, will be interesting. I think Bonnen wants to add it (but not at the cost of R-V-V or P-R)
hey don't slag Mario so bad. He took Ghent Wevelgem in a break a few years back, something we may never see from Ale Jet.
 

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atpjunkie said:
. He took Ghent Wevelgem in a break a few years back, something we may never see from Ale Jet.
Yeah I have it on DVD. He impressively crossed a gap to the winning breakd and rode a lion of a finale closing down almost every attack in the closing kilometers as the others tried to get rid of him. As I recall, afterwards he said it was the FIRST break he had ever been in as a professional, and I think the only. Think how much more he may have accomplished with the right mind set.
 

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Is that the one...

Dwayne Barry said:
Yeah I have it on DVD. He impressively crossed a gap to the winning breakd and rode a lion of a finale closing down almost every attack in the closing kilometers as the others tried to get rid of him. As I recall, afterwards he said it was the FIRST break he had ever been in as a professional, and I think the only. Think how much more he may have accomplished with the right mind set.
Where Boonen was still with Postal, and the break was made with Fred Rodriguez and George Hincapie? Yah, that was an epic bridge in that wind. McEwen couldn't make the go... boom. Nice race for Mario.
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
Like Cipollini I think he lacks the proper mentality. He only rides as a bunch sprinter not as a classics rider like Boonen.
Supposedly Ale was training with Bartoli having him help to prepare for the classics. I'm not putting any money on him yet, but he is taking it more seriously than Mario ever did.

Silas
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
A team can only do so much, Lance won the Tour so many times because when it came to the final climb or the TTs he could lay down more power than his rivals, his team didn't have anything to do with that other than not letting his rivals get off the front to enjoy a tactical advantage.
Lance was/is an exceptional rider, no question - but to say say that "his team didn't have anything to do with that..." is nonsense. In many of the TdFs, Postal/Discovery protected him at the front with several riders for extended periods.
Petacchi (so far in his career) has been highly dependant upon his team for support and a strong lead-out. If a race comes down to a bunch sprint with AleJet, Boonen will greatly benefit from team support to save his legs.
 

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What I've found interesting is that...

as you can see in the pictures Ale Jet is beating Boonen by a fairly long way. Ah, the curse is begining to strike! Will the world champ be struck down by Mononucleosis???
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Too early...

hayaku said:
as you can see in the pictures Ale Jet is beating Boonen by a fairly long way. Ah, the curse is begining to strike! Will the world champ be struck down by Mononucleosis???
I think it's still too early to be calling out the curse just yet, especially since Boonen has a bunch of wins (minor ones of course in the early season) under his belt. Guys who have been struck with "the curse" in the past have not won a single race the following season, or have just gone down the tubes altogether (Romans Vanstein anyone??). On the other hand, Petacchi has been beating everyone by lengths of bikes for the last couple of seasons for the most part, unless he's out of position, or misses his leadout train, but when he's on it, he most almost always takes the win, and usually by a good length. I remember watching some races last year where you could see him sitting, waiting, everyone else around him starts to sprint, he's still waiting, finally he goes, and it's like he's got another gear. It is amazing. Of course, there are races where he hasn't needed his vaunted leadout either, I think he's becoming a better more all around sprinter, with still a very fast top end. Let's just hope that he never goes on Dancing With the Stars.
 

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SantaCruz said:
Lance was/is an exceptional rider, no question - but to say say that "his team didn't have anything to do with that..." is nonsense. In many of the TdFs, Postal/Discovery protected him at the front with several riders for extended periods.
Petacchi (so far in his career) has been highly dependant upon his team for support and a strong lead-out. If a race comes down to a bunch sprint with AleJet, Boonen will greatly benefit from team support to save his legs.
You left out "when it came to the final climb or the TTs....his team didn't have..."
By protecting Lance they were also protecting any of his rivals that just sat on his wheel until the final climb when it came down to mano a mano. Certainly in a bunch sprint a team mate could do a lot more to get you the win than climbing a mountain. Boonen for the first time is getting an "Italian" style lead out this year rather than the more typical Belgium lead-out of only one or two riders trying to keep him protected. Haven't seen any video from the Ruta to see if the Quickstep and Milram trains tried to fight it out.
 

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Well, Boonen finally managed to beat Petacchi in the Ruta del Sol today, the first time he beat Petacchi in a sprint.
 
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