Just caught this last night on [Cycling.tv][cyc]. Pretty standard race till Thomas Voeckler took off at 32km. By the end of the race he had almost a minute on the group, that is a commanding lead. With 26km left he had 22 seconds on the group, and pulled it to a minute by 16km. Voeckler put in a solid performance, certainly showing he’s strong this year.

This is a hard race with 28 categorized climbs. Had a bunch of falls again due to the dry/wet transitions on the pavement and cobbles, most disappointing was [Peter Sagan][pg] who could have been a contender. No huge pile ups like we saw in the Paris Roubaix. Huge props to [Maxim Belkov][mb] for being in the break all day, then not getting dropped to the back of the pack when caught. He managed to stay with the break group that caught him. Didn’t have enough left in his legs to stick with Voeckler when he blew by but Voeckler was much fresher.

This performance makes me wonder what Voeckler can do in the Tour de France this year? He’s still a long shot but he showed how fast he was last year and could he stick with the Yellow Jersey till the end?

I’ll admit that I have not really watched the early season Classics, more often a Grand Tour watcher. Every one I’ve watched this year has been awesome. Maybe I’ll start to watch the Classics and not the Grand Tours?

[cyc]: http://cyclingtv.neulion.com/cycling/
[mb]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxim_Belkov
[pg]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sagan