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Rocky Road: a Cobbles PowerPoll

Rocky Road: a Cobbles PowerPoll

Just to sort my own mind and get in gear for the upcoming barrage of cobbles goodness in the coming weeks here’s a quick and dirty PowerPoll of the teams as we go into the holiest of holy periods of the year. We’ve had a ton of racing already and as for cobbles we’ve seen opening weekend, Nokere and some assorted small scraps to give us some pointers as to who is where this year

1. Visma-LeaseABike

What have we seen? Well opening weekend, and all other races seem to be a continuation of 2023 which is pretty damn good news for someone who had a year like they had. They won double and did it in some impressive fashion. They raced with a democratic multiple pronged attack where Wout van Aert was merely one of the awe inspiring weapons. Just like early last year there is nothing that suggests that they won’t dominate the cobbled Monuments and you have to think that an organization this smart won’t want to be repeating whatever errors that stopped that from happening last year.
What’s new? An already insane lineup is now bolstered with Jan Tratnik, who has completed his transformation into classics wizard, and an ever improing Matteo Jorgenson who brings another dimension to the roster. They also have a stronger Kooij as a serious option for the sprintier races which gives them even more cards (although it may put more of a question mark on which role Laporte is to play in all of this).
What’s their problem? It’s all about winning one of the big ones this year, especially for Wout, and there are a lot of indications that this will be as difficult for them as last year. Their best weapon is when they ride musketeer style, all for one and one for all, like they do in the smaller races but when it becomes more the “setting things up for Wout”-team then suddenly they don’t look as terrifying anymore. And Wout one on one against MvdP we all agree is not going to work out for Visma very often, don’t we?

2. Alpecin-Deceuninck

What have we seen? There’s good cause to call this the best classics team in the world right now and there’s a reasonable chance they will move up in this ranking as we get some more races with Van der Poel on the start line. With Philipsen now a confirmed classics beast and pretty much accepted as the top sprinter in the world they have the two sharpest weapons of anyone. Add to that some terrific support and you have a team with very few chinks in the armor. They had the most miserable opening weekend…

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