THE YEAR OF THE EARLY BREAK

Procycling - - Review Of The Year 2016 -

2016 was a good sea­son for at­tack­ing riders in the Mon­u­ments, to a point. While Mi­lan-San Remo was a sprint fin­ish again (it’s eight years since a solo break won, and the last three years have been bunch sprints) and Liège-Bas­togne-Liège con­tin­ued a turgid run of at­tri­tional races, there was much ear­lier ac­tion in the other three Mon­u­ments.

In the Tour of Flan­ders, Sa­gan’s ini­tial at­tack took place with 33km to go, com­pared to Kristoff go­ing with 28km to go in 2015 and Fabian Can­cel­lara go­ing with 17km to go in 2014. Sa­gan then at­tacked again, alone, with 13km to go. Paris-Roubaix was even bet­ter – win­ner Hay­man’s first at­tack came with an as­ton­ish­ing 182km to go, and the other racedefin­ing mo­ments – Boo­nen and Etixx’s forc­ing and Can­cel­lara’s crash were a long way from the fin­ish. In Il Lom­bar­dia, Chaves’s first at­tack was 57km from the fin­ish, and the fi­nal split 35km out. It’s un­clear if there’s a trend emerg­ing – 2016 might be an out­lier – but it was re­fresh­ing to see riders tak­ing the ini­tia­tive early.

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