When Fabian Cancellara attacked Tom Boonen in the 2010 Ronde Van Vlaanderen

Earlier in the week, I wrote about Belgian bike racing and how it’s different from what you’ll see in the Tour de France. I thought it might be good to add a few visuals to that, so here’s a video of part of the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen.

You get a good feel for what these races look like from this – the terrain, the crowds and the scenery – but it’s also a great moment featuring the two main protagonists of recent years. Fabian Cancellara is in red; Tom Boonen is in the black, yellow and red jersey of the Belgian national champion.

About 2m40s in, Cancellara accelerates. He is seated and you can tell Boonen is struggling because of the way he throws the bike around, trying to will himself to stay in contact. He fails, but it is how he fails which is so spectacular. There is no saving yourself for the next stage with a one-day classic, so when a rider goes, he really has gone.

We follow Boonen as he scales the steep cobbles alone and we’re left to wonder how close to Cancellara he is. When he reaches the top, we find out.