Saturday, April 7, 2012

Paris-Roubaix: Pozzato wins!

Get ready to see Filippo Pozzato rock those
cobblestones on Sunday the 8th of April!
As you can see I’ve once gain changed the set-up. Instead of listing a couple of my favorites, I rather want to explain why I think Filippo Pozzato will win this year’s Paris-Roubaix.

Would you have picked Pozzato to take second place in Ronde Van Vlaanderen less than 2 months after he broke his collarbone? Well, I was impressed! And I think he has another top performance ready for us this Sunday.

Ever since Milano-San Remo this year Filippo Pozzato has consistently been among the best riders in all the races he has participated in. 6th in Milano-San Remo, 6th in Dwars door Vlaanderen, 9th in Gent-Wevelgem and 2nd in Ronde van Vlaanderen last weekend. Especially last Sunday he showed how strong he is right now, when he dropped Boonen on the last part of Paterberg. In the end it seemed like Pozzato had a too much faith in his own sprint but I doubt he will make this mistake again. If the Italian Playboy wants to win Paris-Roubaix he needs to get rid of Tom Boonen before the Velodrome and even though that may seem as an impossible task, I think he can do it. And what is more important, so do Pozzato.
Filippo Pozzato broke his collarbone
less than two months ago.

Like every year Pozzato is super motivated for Paris-Roubaix and with his 2nd place from 2009 and 7th from 2010 he sure knows how to handle himself on the cobblestones. Last year he was right up there with the best after Forest of Arenberg, but unfortunately Pozzato had bike problems and since his team car had punctured earlier on, there was no one left to help the Italian.

The way I see it, Filippo Pozzato is the second strongest rider right now. As predicted in December, Tom Boonen is back, and only a fool wouldn’t pick him out a the biggest favorite for Paris-Roubaix. So why don’t I think he will win it again? Well, the truth is that I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Boonen has the strongest team of all with Chavanel and Terpstra to play out in the final, but without Fabian Cancellara in the race, everyone now looks at Quickstep to take control – and that’s why I think Pozzato has a good chance of winning. Everyone wants to attack Tom Boonen and if he uses up his team mates too early, since ‘why should anybody else take control of the race?’, it will open up for a hectic finale. Ballan, Flecha, Van Summeren, Vanmarcke, Boom, Oss, Paolini, Devolder etc etc are all strong riders who aren’t afraid of attacking and why would any other team want to chase down a breakaway just to see Tom Boonen outsprint them in the final? (To put it simple).

Pozzato's gesture to Ballerini
who died in car accident in 2010.
I think Filippo Pozzato will stay in the wheel of Tom Boonen for most of the race but in the end I think he will give a go. And if Pozzato first gets a good gap he just showed it takes one of the strongest riders in the world to catch him.

Another aspect is Franco Ballerini. In 2010 Pozzato crossed the finish line, as Italian champion, showing a picture of the late Ballerini and this year he wants to do more. “I want to win Paris-Roubaix for Franco”, Pozzato recently told La Gazzetta and that’s the same spirit we find at the Farnese Vini team. DS Luca Scinto rode, like Pozzato, with Ballerini at Mapei back in the days and Scinto is sure the team will get extra strength on Sunday. “That day we will be racing in nine, instead of eight”, he told velonews after Ronde van Vlaanderen. So there it is. My pick for Paris-Roubaix: Filippo Pozzato! If I had to mention a few outsiders I would tell you all to look out for Lars Boom (Rabobank), Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) and Italian sprinter Danielle Bennati (Radioshack).

1 comment:

  1. Good pick! But Pozzato is just strange. He had the chance to go with Boonen but decided not to, shame on him.