Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a España 2017

Holy fuckballs. I’ve never been this late ever on a VSP. I mean, I’ve missed them entirely – which is another kind of incompetence entirely – but I’m shocked at how quickly this week blew by me. I think I have whiplash.

Be that as it may, the Vuelta is on our doorstep, and before you panic, I’ll leave the picks open until Monday so we have enough time to screw up our picks despite knowing who crashes out in the first few days.

This is actually exciting stuff. We have some serious grudge-matching going on here for the Vuelta. Chris Froome is double-talking, Bardet is trash-talking, and Contador is exit-talking. This could be interesting.

On the subject of Bardet, he is my new Schleck. I love how he looks on the bike, and he’s got a fighting spirit. And he rides a white bike, which is the color bike I’m obsessed with. And I’m equally sure he will never win a major bike race, on account that I fancy him. (Roman, if you are reading this, I ask your forgiveness.)

Alright, I’ll stop faffing about. Check the start list, get your picks in, and let’s get this party started.

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172 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a España 2017”

  1. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    @RobSandy

    @Cary

    a) i excluded Bardet from my list based on his final TdF TT, but included Cotador out of sentimentality and well wishes. one good decision cancels a bad one. story of my life.

    …and I took Bardet out based on your comments. Who’s the bigger fool? The fool, or the fool who follows the fool?

    0

    i’ve been trying to figure that out since i was in the Marine Corps. no answers yet.

    0

    Turns out we were right about Bardet after all.

    Typical that the year I might win the VSP the points aren’t being calculated and there doesn’t seem to be any prizes!

    Doesn’t matter, I didn’t enter for the prizes. Like I don’t race for points..

    0

    chapeau to Bardet on a very well contested grand tour season.  don’t we kinda have to look at this as proof of clean racing?  ten years ago, you wouldn’t see a rider of Bardet’s caliber dying like he has.  i’ll not forget that final TdF TT, he looked thoroughly eviscerated.

  2. @Cary

    Yeh, I like him. He’s a battler and looks fucking good on a bike.

    I’d like think he could win the Tour one day, although he might have to wait for Froome to retire!

  3. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

    i wanna do a cogal in England.  i’ve been all over the world, but the closest i’ve been to Europe is Rota, Spain.  i’ll leave the coffee at home, even.

  4. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    Yeh, I like him. He’s a battler and looks fucking good on a bike.

    I’d like think he could win the Tour one day, although he might have to wait for Froome to retire!

    0

    he kindareminds me of Robert Millar in his heyday.

  5. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

    If it transpired we were down at the in-laws that weekend, probably a good chance.

    I’ve broached the subject and I’ll let you know.

  6. @Cary

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

    i wanna do a cogal in England. i’ve been all over the world, but the closest i’ve been to Europe is Rota, Spain. i’ll leave the coffee at home, even.

    0

    Let me know if you’re ever in South Wales and I’ll take you out. I even know where to get good coffee.

    You do like lots of short, very steep climbs don’t you?

    1
  7. @Cary

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

    i wanna do a cogal in England. i’ve been all over the world, but the closest i’ve been to Europe is Rota, Spain. i’ll leave the coffee at home, even.

    0

    You’d always be welcome to come and stay here.

    1
  8. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

     

    If it transpired we were down at the in-laws that weekend, probably a good chance.

    I’ve broached the subject and I’ll let you know.




    0

    Fingers crossed.

    Re short steep climbs – that’s kinda the Surrey Hills for you – and I live on the top of one.  In fact I think it’s about the second highest.  Pretty hard to find a flat ride from here.  I do often yearn for one.  Though it does mean that grabbing a quick hour to hour and a half from work can give a decent workout.

     

    1
  9. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

    i wanna do a cogal in England. i’ve been all over the world, but the closest i’ve been to Europe is Rota, Spain. i’ll leave the coffee at home, even.

    0

    Let me know if you’re ever in South Wales and I’ll take you out. I even know where to get good coffee.

    You do like lots of short, very steep climbs don’t you?

    1

    yeah. actually, that’s exactly my game!

  10. @Teocalli

    @Cary

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Any chance you might get a pass for the Surrey Soup Cogal on the 16th?

    0

     

    i wanna do a cogal in England. i’ve been all over the world, but the closest i’ve been to Europe is Rota, Spain. i’ll leave the coffee at home, even.

    0

     

    You’d always be welcome to come and stay here.




    1

    though this forum seems to be on an, at least temporary, hiatus, it would be just great if the remaining contributors could make the best of what’s left.  i really appreciate this.

  11. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    @Cary

    @Teocalli

    You do like lots of short, very steep climbs don’t you?

    1

     

    yeah. actually, that’s exactly my game!

    0

     

    This is what it’s like round here.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/707430920




    0

    that looks outstanding, i wish i had terrain like this locally, but it’s pan-flat, and windy here.  i have to go out of town for even moderate hills, though the hilly rides just outside my metro area are SUPER nice.  heaven on earth, really.  nice ride, by the way.

  12. @Cary

    @RobSandy

    @Cary

    @Cary

    @Teocalli

    You do like lots of short, very steep climbs don’t you?

    1

    yeah. actually, that’s exactly my game!

    0

    This is what it’s like round here.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/707430920

    0

    that looks outstanding, i wish i had terrain like this locally, but it’s pan-flat, and windy here. i have to go out of town for even moderate hills, though the hilly rides just outside my metro area are SUPER nice. heaven on earth, really. nice ride, by the way.

    0

    It was brutal. Some of the gradients are silly – 30% ish. Funny thing is, you could do a similar ride up the valley floors and miss out nearly all the hills. It’s a great place to live for a road cyclist round here. And the mountain biking is good too. There’s a reason we churn out loads and loads of pros.

  13. @Cary

     




    1

     

    though this forum seems to be on an, at least temporary, hiatus, it would be just great if the remaining contributors could make the best of what’s left. i really appreciate this.

    We’re still here, chatting about bikes and rides and riders.

  14. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    1

    though this forum seems to be on an, at least temporary, hiatus, it would be just great if the remaining contributors could make the best of what’s left. i really appreciate this.

    We’re still here, chatting about bikes and rides and riders.

    0

    for sure, cycling is LIFE!  as a fan, and a rider, i’m not going anywhere.

  15. Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Arnaud Courteille (FDJ) have maintained an average speed of 42.8km/h in the first two hours of racing. 

    That’s my average speed for my 10 mile PB. And look at the parcours they have done that on?

    Animals.

  16. @RobSandy

    Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Arnaud Courteille (FDJ) have maintained an average speed of 42.8km/h in the first two hours of racing.

    That’s my average speed for my 10 mile PB. And look at the parcours they have done that on?

    Animals.

    0

    That’s why they get paid to ride, and we don’t!

  17. @Teocalli

    i just took my new Masi out for a 30k hellfest.  while i was suffering like a stray dog in a gutter, i kept looking at my chrome luggs, and was duly fortified by the visage.  the communication from the road, provided by Reynolds steel, an appreciated bonus.  road cycling is so much more than heart rate and wattage.  a GREAT day in my life, among many, provided by a finely crafted and properly equipped machine.

  18. @Cary

    @Teocalli

    i just took my new Masi out for a 30k hellfest. while i was suffering like a stray dog in a gutter, i kept looking at my chrome luggs, and was duly fortified by the visage. the communication from the road, provided by Reynolds steel, an appreciated bonus. road cycling is so much more than heart rate and wattage. a GREAT day in my life, among many, provided by a finely crafted and properly equipped machine.

    0

    Nice

  19. I watched today’s stage courtesy of Steephill. I was hoping for some fireworks on the 28k climb to the summit finish. In the end, the GC contenders finished mostly together. Zakarin attacked and gained time to move into third place overall (which screwed my VSP picks).

    It seems these days everyone in Grand Tours rides to preserve their podium place rather than to win.

  20. @Rick

    I watched today’s stage courtesy of Steephill. I was hoping for some fireworks on the 28k climb to the summit finish. In the end, the GC contenders finished mostly together. Zakarin attacked and gained time to move into third place overall (which screwed my VSP picks).

    It seems these days everyone in Grand Tours rides to preserve their podium place rather than to win.

    Maybe that’s it… But dang, the Sky train and Froome have mastered the tempo and power meter. Attacks get out ahead and as they come back out of the red, they slowly get reeled back in with steady Sky tempo that’s gotta be just near the limit. Nibali today got out front and then was pegged right at 10 sec and allowed to dangle out there. Wout Poels leads tempo in front and still finishes with lead group at end today ?!? So strong. More than a few attacks today were gobbled up and dropped out the back yes ? Lopez has looked super strong these past couple of days for sure. Cheers
  21. @Randy C

    @Rick

    I watched today’s stage courtesy of Steephill. I was hoping for some fireworks on the 28k climb to the summit finish. In the end, the GC contenders finished mostly together. Zakarin attacked and gained time to move into third place overall (which screwed my VSP picks).

    It seems these days everyone in Grand Tours rides to preserve their podium place rather than to win.

    Maybe that’s it… But dang, the Sky train and Froome have mastered the tempo and power meter. Attacks get out ahead and as they come back out of the red, they slowly get reeled back in with steady Sky tempo that’s gotta be just near the limit. Nibali today got out front and then was pegged right at 10 sec and allowed to dangle out there. Wout Poels leads tempo in front and still finishes with lead group at end today ?!? So strong. More than a few attacks today were gobbled up and dropped out the back yes ? Lopez has looked super strong these past couple of days for sure. Cheers
    0

    I agree that Sky has become very skilled at riding to power numbers. I was surprised that no one attacked in the last kilometer, or 500 meters. They all just rode to the finish with Froome.

     

  22. @Rick

    @Randy C

    @Rick

    I watched today’s stage courtesy of Steephill. I was hoping for some fireworks on the 28k climb to the summit finish. In the end, the GC contenders finished mostly together. Zakarin attacked and gained time to move into third place overall (which screwed my VSP picks).

    It seems these days everyone in Grand Tours rides to preserve their podium place rather than to win.

    Maybe that’s it… But dang, the Sky train and Froome have mastered the tempo and power meter. Attacks get out ahead and as they come back out of the red, they slowly get reeled back in with steady Sky tempo that’s gotta be just near the limit. Nibali today got out front and then was pegged right at 10 sec and allowed to dangle out there. Wout Poels leads tempo in front and still finishes with lead group at end today ?!? So strong. More than a few attacks today were gobbled up and dropped out the back yes ? Lopez has looked super strong these past couple of days for sure. Cheers
    0

    I agree that Sky has become very skilled at riding to power numbers. I was surprised that no one attacked in the last kilometer, or 500 meters. They all just rode to the finish with Froome.

    0

    for me, excessive focus on hr and power has sucked a bit of the joy out of some group riding, and even watching certain races.  i know people that cannot talk about anything else on a group ride.  i have seen SO many crashes and other avoidable blunders on local rides due to lack of proper awareness and focus.  indeed, the idea that made the Velominati rules, and this community so attractive to me initially, was the embrace of the ride, and the awareness and soft focus necessary to fully EXPERIENCE it.  cycling on many levels, has turned into a live action SIMS game.

  23. @Rick

    I watched today’s stage courtesy of Steephill. I was hoping for some fireworks on the 28k climb to the summit finish. In the end, the GC contenders finished mostly together. Zakarin attacked and gained time to move into third place overall (which screwed my VSP picks).

    It seems these days everyone in Grand Tours rides to preserve their podium place rather than to win.

    0

    Suits me – I’ve now got the top 3 in the right order. Wont last.

    I guess the reason no one launches attacks against Froome and Sky is simply that they can’t. The pace is so high that to attack from it is just too much.

    Unless you’re Lopez and can ride away from everyone, at altitude, and cross the line on your own without seemingly needing to breathe. Hmm….

  24. @Cary

    for me, excessive focus on hr and power has sucked a bit of the joy out of some group riding, and even watching certain races. i know people that cannot talk about anything else on a group ride. i have seen SO many crashes and other avoidable blunders on local rides due to lack of proper awareness and focus. indeed, the idea that made the Velominati rules, and this community so attractive to me initially, was the embrace of the ride, and the awareness and soft focus necessary to fully EXPERIENCE it. cycling on many levels, has turned into a live action SIMS game

    Agreed. I for one have removed my bike computer. I let my phone record my ride so after I’ve finished I can see how far, how hard, how fast I went. During the ride I go with feel.

     

  25. @davidlhill

    @Cary

    for me, excessive focus on hr and power has sucked a bit of the joy out of some group riding, and even watching certain races. i know people that cannot talk about anything else on a group ride. i have seen SO many crashes and other avoidable blunders on local rides due to lack of proper awareness and focus. indeed, the idea that made the Velominati rules, and this community so attractive to me initially, was the embrace of the ride, and the awareness and soft focus necessary to fully EXPERIENCE it. cycling on many levels, has turned into a live action SIMS game

    Agreed. I for one have removed my bike computer. I let my phone record my ride so after I’ve finished I can see how far, how hard, how fast I went. During the ride I go with feel.

    0

    i do the same.  i turn on Strava, and shove the phone in a jersey pocket.  i must say that many of the data-driven riders i know are FAR fitter than i am.

  26. I had to give up doing mtb navigator events when I could no longer read the map on the go as I needed to stop and get out reading glasses.  I’ll soon not be able to read the Garmin anyway.

  27. @RobSandy

    @Rick

    I watched today’s stage courtesy of Steephill. I was hoping for some fireworks on the 28k climb to the summit finish. In the end, the GC contenders finished mostly together. Zakarin attacked and gained time to move into third place overall (which screwed my VSP picks).

    It seems these days everyone in Grand Tours rides to preserve their podium place rather than to win.

    0

    Suits me – I’ve now got the top 3 in the right order. Wont last.

    I guess the reason no one launches attacks against Froome and Sky is simply that they can’t. The pace is so high that to attack from it is just too much.

    Unless you’re Lopez and can ride away from everyone, at altitude, and cross the line on your own without seemingly needing to breathe. Hmm….

    0

     

    I have Zakarin in 4th, along with the first two in order on the GC. I am hoping he finishes just off the podium.

    Lopez certainly did make that climb look easy while everyone else struggled. Although that shouldn’t be suspicious at all since he rides for Astana. Lopez was too far down the standings to register on the Sky radar so he was allowed to go. What I wouldn’t give to see some good old fashioned

    What I wouldn’t give to see some good old fashioned attacks and responses on summit finishes. Some good old fashioned LeMond and Hinault drama would be great.

     

  28. in the “thoroughly unrelated to the Vuelta” dept:   Jobst Brandt made it onto a Clif Bar.  i am a little surprised he hasn’t had a writeup on this site.  surely a cycling icon, maybe in no small part due to this image of him on the Gavia.

  29. @RobSandy

    Yeah did see that re Phinney.  He said it was a split second decision – I guess he did not know the Highway Code re the flashing lights.  I guess in the US they just keep crossing when the bells are ringing.  Maybe he does not realise how fast some of our trains run over here compared to a 5 mile freight train in the US…….

  30. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Yeah did see that re Phinney. He said it was a split second decision – I guess he did not know the Highway Code re the flashing lights. I guess in the US they just keep crossing when the bells are ringing. Maybe he does not realise how fast some of our trains run over here compared to a 5 mile freight train in the US…….

    0

    I think he was completely aware – but he was out the back in the cars so I imagine he thought he might not get back on again. Feel for him actually.

  31. @RobSandy

    So who’s going to win the TT today, and how many minutes will Froome’s lead be by the end?

    0

    Are the organisers taking the V-line by placing the TT and hardest climbs after the second rest day swaps?

    Not that it matters to me having Delgado’ due rose induced lethargy.

  32. @chris

    @RobSandy

    So who’s going to win the TT today, and how many minutes will Froome’s lead be by the end?

    0

    Are the organisers taking the V-line by placing the TT and hardest climbs after the second rest day swaps?

    Not that it matters to me having Delgado’ due rose induced lethargy.

    0

    Frank seems to have removed rest day swaps this year. Accident or design, it’s fine by me.

    Did you notice that Froome was talking about how the GC favourite wouldn’t be going full gas in the TT to save themselves for the mountain days to come…then went full gas and smashed it.

  33. @RobSandy

    @chris

    @RobSandy

    So who’s going to win the TT today, and how many minutes will Froome’s lead be by the end?

    0

    Are the organisers taking the V-line by placing the TT and hardest climbs after the second rest day swaps?

    Not that it matters to me having Delgado’ due rose induced lethargy.

    0

    Frank seems to have removed rest day swaps this year. Accident or design, it’s fine by me.

    Did you notice that Froome was talking about how the GC favourite wouldn’t be going full gas in the TT to save themselves for the mountain days to come…then went full gas and smashed it.

    0

    Yes I saw that… mind games !

     

  34. Unrelated to the Vuelta, but want to out myself for a stupid move. Riding to the library last night, heading down this big hill leading out of my neighborhood. For some reason, the world-class university has decided to not light this part of campus at all. I lean down to turn on a light mounted on my fork. The mount slips and goes down the fork, with the light pinging into the spokes. So leaning forward, half off the bike, I grab my left (front) brake way too hard. It’s a v-brake and works great, but modulation is difficult as it’s so smooth.

    I go (insert what ass over tea kettle phrase you like here) head first over the bike, landing on my shoulder and elbow. Surprisingly, I only drew a few scrapes and blood. But today, my entire right torso is sore as heck, as is my right elbow and knee. Oh, and neck. I commuted to work today, but couldn’t imagine a 200k + stage. Those bastards are HardMen.

    On a brighter note, I zip tied the mount in place. Getting old sucks. I used to take an impact like that in contact sports daily and not even notice. Not today, not today my friends.

  35. @Ron

     

    On a brighter note, I zip tied the mount in place. Getting old sucks. I used to take an impact like that in contact sports daily and not even notice. Not today, not today my friends.

    0

    I hope the guys who used to tackle you weren’t made of tarmac. Crashing hurts, heal up quick.

  36. @Ron

    Unrelated to the Vuelta, but want to out myself for a stupid move. Riding to the library last night, heading down this big hill leading out of my neighborhood. For some reason, the world-class university has decided to not light this part of campus at all. I lean down to turn on a light mounted on my fork. The mount slips and goes down the fork, with the light pinging into the spokes. So leaning forward, half off the bike, I grab my left (front) brake way too hard. It’s a v-brake and works great, but modulation is difficult as it’s so smooth.

    I go (insert what ass over tea kettle phrase you like here) head first over the bike, landing on my shoulder and elbow. Surprisingly, I only drew a few scrapes and blood. But today, my entire right torso is sore as heck, as is my right elbow and knee. Oh, and neck. I commuted to work today, but couldn’t imagine a 200k + stage. Those bastards are HardMen.

    On a brighter note, I zip tied the mount in place. Getting old sucks. I used to take an impact like that in contact sports daily and not even notice. Not today, not today my friends.

    0

    Lucky man! Could have been much worse! Hope you feel better soon.

    I had a narrow one myself on Monday helping a pal get a duck hunting boat out of a lake in southern Indiana. I was carrying the front of the boat up the metal trailer ramp and my legs slipped out from under me. The bow of the boat came down hard on the upper inside of my right kneecap. Small scrape and some pain, but all seems to be ok. Just as well: I’m riding the Door County century this weekend.

    Aqua Blue Sport. Worst jersey ever? No sponsor name on the front. What genius designed that? Discuss.

  37. Thanks, guys. This is my commuter bike, so just cheapo Tektro V’s paired with Avid levers. Very nice pull action, but modulating with one hand/brake is NOT easy.

     

    So sore can barely move my right arm and my right knee is swollen as hell. Very sore, but I don’t think it’s anything long-term.

     

    It all happened so fast, as crashes usually do. Went down hard though, one of those where you get a weird taste in your mouth from the impact (not blood).

    Dropping a boat on yourself? Ouch!

  38. @Rick

    This is the attitude that is ruining Grand Tours. If Lemond would have had this attitude he The Professor would have another Tour win.

    I am not trying to pick on Kelderman, many riders seem to have this attitude these days.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kelderman-i-will-fight-for-the-vuelta-a-espana-podium/

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kelderman-nibali-and-zakarin-are-my-vuelta-a-espana-rivals-not-froome/

    0

    i blame the rise of data-driven cycling for this, and many other ills.  data clearly works, though.  Kelderman is likely correct in his assessment.

  39. @Cary

    @Rick

    This is the attitude that is ruining Grand Tours. If Lemond would have had this attitude he The Professor would have another Tour win.

    I am not trying to pick on Kelderman, many riders seem to have this attitude these days.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kelderman-i-will-fight-for-the-vuelta-a-espana-podium/

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kelderman-nibali-and-zakarin-are-my-vuelta-a-espana-rivals-not-froome/

    0

    i blame the rise of data-driven cycling for this, and many other ills. data clearly works, though. Kelderman is likely correct in his assessment.

    0

    It is not just Kelderman. It is Uran sucking wheels the entire Tour, happy to finish second by less than a minute. Data isn’t it is the riding to finish second or third or tenth that is ruining the sport. I blame the everyone gets a trophy culture.

  40. @Rick

    @Cary

    @Rick

    This is the attitude that is ruining Grand Tours. If Lemond would have had this attitude he The Professor would have another Tour win.

    I am not trying to pick on Kelderman, many riders seem to have this attitude these days.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kelderman-i-will-fight-for-the-vuelta-a-espana-podium/

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kelderman-nibali-and-zakarin-are-my-vuelta-a-espana-rivals-not-froome/

    0

    i blame the rise of data-driven cycling for this, and many other ills. data clearly works, though. Kelderman is likely correct in his assessment.

    0

    It is not just Kelderman. It is Uran sucking wheels the entire Tour, happy to finish second by less than a minute. Data isn’t it is the riding to finish second or third or tenth that is ruining the sport. I blame the everyone gets a trophy culture.

    0

    I guess the value of a result, any result, to the team and the rider also contributes. These guys will get a big paycheck for finishing top 5 or top 10 -why risk that trying to challenge the race leader?

    If you get it wrong you can really fall from contention – see Adam Yates and Chaves.

     

  41. @davidlhill

    @Cary

    for me, excessive focus on hr and power has sucked a bit of the joy out of some group riding, and even watching certain races. i know people that cannot talk about anything else on a group ride. i have seen SO many crashes and other avoidable blunders on local rides due to lack of proper awareness and focus. indeed, the idea that made the Velominati rules, and this community so attractive to me initially, was the embrace of the ride, and the awareness and soft focus necessary to fully EXPERIENCE it. cycling on many levels, has turned into a live action SIMS game

    Agreed. I for one have removed my bike computer. I let my phone record my ride so after I’ve finished I can see how far, how hard, how fast I went. During the ride I go with feel.

    0

     

    Uh, as someone who still loves the size, simplicity, and durability of plain old Nokia “brick” phones, how does this work? Do you need a sensor on the bike or can the phone do it alone?

    I like to know distance and total time, for fun and for charting parts-life, and would LOVE to get even my basic computers off the bike. Please enlighten me.

  42. @Ron

    You just need a smart phone and run something like Strava on it.  Smartphones have GPS inbuilt.  Only potential downside is log rides as it does tend to chew the battery vs the capacity of a dedicated GPS.  Might be better on newer phones though.

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