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To(m) Believe Or Not To(m) Believe?

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2002 3rd, 2004 9th, 2005 1st, 2006 2nd, 2007 6th, 2008 1st, 2009 1st, 2010 5th, 2012 1st, 2014 10th, 2016 2nd.

15 years and 11 top 10 finishes with 4 victories.  That’s Tom Boonen’s record for L’enfer du Nord, the Hell of the North, the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix.

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I’ll Make You Rich Part V – Il Lombardia

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Il Lombardia, or the race of the falling leaves, is the fifth and final monument classic of the season.  Unlike the other four, Il Lombardia has a smattering or a Grand Tour stage more than a unique historic route, although that is unique in itself.  So who’s going to win? More

I’ll Make You Rich Part IV – LBL

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Thanks to Mark at www.zeitgeistimages.co.uk for allowing me to use the above image.  His cycling/art-deco inspired work is tremendous – click here to buy his Liege-Bastogne-Liege piece.  Follow Mark on Twitter @MrMarkFairhurst

When my 2 picks for Paris-Roubaix arrived in the velodrome in the leading group of 5, you could have forgiven me for whooping and a hollering.  I was imagining spending my winnings on not one but three new Castelli Gabba jackets.

So imagine the deafening silence in my head when they finished 3rd and 5th (Stannard and Bousson Hagen respectively).  I still made a profit but it’ll probably only cover a couple of brake blocks and it takes a lot to stop a big unit like me, so they won’t last long.

Onwards. More

I’ll Make You Rich Part III – Roubaix Roubaix Roubaix

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So having struck gold in last week’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen / Tour of Flanders with a win from Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) placing 4th, I thought I would give you another opportunity to share the spoils this weekend.

Paris-Roubaix is possibly the most iconic Monument Classic, it’s certainly the most ridiculous.  Starting in Compiegne north-east of Paris, the route covers a flat 257km route, across the open countryside of northern France, finishing in the Roubaix velodrome.  But what makes this race ridiculous and yet so intriguing is the fact that the route also covers 27 individual cobbled (pave) sections totalling 53km.  These aren’t you’re modern day bumps on the road, these cobbles are verging on medieval, the only traffic these roads see is farm machinery.  A society exists (Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix or the friends of the race) to maintain some of the sections and by maintenance I mean, they manually scrape the compacted dirt OUT of the gaps in the cobbles to make sure that they are in the worst possible condition for road bikes.  Throw in some rain and you have a lottery of biblical proportions so picking a winner could be challenging. More

I’ll Make You Rich Part I – MSR

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This weekend sees the first cycling Monument of 2016, the Milan-San Remo (MSR).  It’s the longest professional one-day race and consequently, the winner can be harder to predict.  So many variables enter the equation, inclement weather conditions, how the legs respond in a sprint after 7 hours of racing and being able to get over the final climb of the Cipressa without cracking, to name but a few.

What is more certain, is the likelihood that the race will finish with a sprint as the last time the winning margin was more than 10 seconds was in 1994 and more than a minute was 1974.

I’m no betting man but there are certain events where a flutter is justified and the first Monument of the season is one such occasion.  I’ve selected my favourites, a few outside chances for those who want more bang for their buck and reasoned arguments for some notable exclusions. More