The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix dominate the early part of the spring campaign. In this episode, Richard, Lionel and Daniel discuss what makes these races great, delving into their own memories of covering the events.

The cobbles are coming…

Our second Friends Special Podcast will look ahead to the big cobbled Classics, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and discuss the imminent changing of the guard with Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen in the autumn of their careers.

They are the Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal of cycling. Already guaranteed to go down as two of cycling’s greatest Classics men, Cancellara could add another one this spring, though Boonen will be missing after crashing at Paris-Nice. We examine the life and career of each, with contributions from Hugo Coorevits, the Het Nieuwsblad journalist who is close to Boonen, and Cancellara’s current manager and first coach, Luca Guercilena. We also hear from Boonen himself, with his analysis of his greatest opponent – Cancellara.

Classics promo“I’ve been racing him since I was 16 years old,” Boonen tells us. Does he know when Cancellara is on form? “I can feel it, I can’t see it.”

Andreas Klier, the retired rider and sports director at Cannondale-Garmin, tells us: “Both of them made the Classics what they are now.” As for who is best, Klier can’t separate them: “Both of them dropped me whenever they wanted to.”

Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe also dip into their own memories of the two Classics, recalling some of the great races and riders of the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s. And finally we look ahead to who will succeed Boonen and Cancellara, with an interview with one of the young pretenders, Belgium’s Sep Vanmarcke.

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