The time has finally come! There is racing again. The Strade Bianche opens the WorldTour season again and then a preview of José De Cauwer cannot be missed. “This is the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders in one go. The whole peloton is turned upside down”
“The whole pack is turned upside down”
Today the riders are presented with the Strade Bianche the first WorldTour race. It will be a sweltering return to racing. Some riders are therefore with an egg. “A warmed egg”, says José De Cauwer at Sporza.
How everything will go from now on is anything but clear with the corona crisis. “I have already spoken to a few riders and everyone is somewhat in the dark. They have trained hard, but are still a bit afraid of the unknown.”
“This is the race as if it is the first race of the year. With a lot of doubts about the future, whether everything will continue. For some riders this feels like it is their only chance to make something of it, and you can feel that too. ”
The bubble in the cycling platoon is something very fragile. “I just saw it with Teuns. He stopped at the men of Bahrain and then people immediately come there. It is as if that one and a half meters does not exist. The rider has to back off to save the one and a half meters. People know, but they quickly forget. ”
“Everyone is so eager. This is the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders in one go. The whole peloton is turned upside down.”
There will be riders who will be surprised. I’m not saying it will be as bad as Mathieu van der Poel at the World Cup, but there will be riders who will suddenly drop out because of a hunger knock, or something else.
“More difficult than the winter edition”
Then to the race itself. The trail, has anything changed compared to a winter edition? “I think this is more difficult,” De Cauwer said. “Difficult given the temperatures, food and drink. People will have to have even more concentration to drink even more than usual.”
Compared to spring, the pebbles also seem to be looser and there seem to be more pits. “I just told Renaat Schotte that winter didn’t do any good. You see a lot of grooves where the water ran down and they have small bubbles made where you should not give too much gas even by car. Although the riders will probably do that. ”
Even more benefit for the riders, then what? “Of course we will come to those men. Also men who used to ride a mountain bike. People who are able to handlebars have an absolute advantage here. But it will be extremely heavy conditionally.”
“Everyone thinks they know where they are. With all the power meters they can now also measure and know a lot, but there will still be riders who will be surprised. I’m not saying it will be as bad as Mathieu van der Poel at the World Cup , but there will be riders who will suddenly drop out because of a hunger knock, or something else. ”
“We won’t get away without falls”
In addition to all the gravel strips, there are also other places where it will get hard. Like the crucial “strip of Cancellara”. “Absolutely, up and down, very steep strips. In addition, it is a good 25 km from the end. The gravy is a bit off, who is still fresh? It will mainly be dust.”
“I expect a – for everyone – very strange race. Whether the riders can meet what is expected, I wonder. Without crashes we will not get away. The sense to race is dripping off. A podium is only 3 large and there are quite a few that can do that. ”
But who will reach that podium, according to De Cauwer? “Gosh … Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Greg Van Avermaet. I don’t know why …”, De Cauwer laughs.
Watch the full interview with José De Cauwer