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Velominatus: sgraha

Order: Level 4 Velominatus

Location: United Kingdom

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Cyclist and food lover; IT/marketing delivery specialist when not riding or eating...

@sgraha's activity:

The 100th running of Liège-Bastogne-Liège takes place this Sunday. Danny-boy Martin will be marked heavily as the defending champion. Malmerde, and Phil Gil have shown they are peaking too. Froomy has thrown his hat into the ring, as he did last year but after last years 26th place, maybe it’s training. 263 kms, past winners include a long...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Gilbert 2. Nibali 3. Rodriguez 4. Rui Costa 5. Valverde »

Wednesday sees the return of the women to the VSP. More notably, we see the return of Marianne Vos to the road. She’s won this race five of the last seven years. It makes me wonder if the rest of the field have already resigned themselves to racing for second. On the other hand, Vos hasn’t been racing of late and may not be as sharp as...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Armitstead 2. Van Dijk 3. Vos 4. Pooley 5. Johansson »

Midweek in Belgium in Spring is a wonderful thing. Hordes of people come from seemingly nowhere to fill the bars and line the roadsides when presumably they’d usually be working, or at school, or some such. That the only ones who appear to be working are the bartenders and frites dispensers reinforces my belief that Belgium is the greatest co...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Gilbert 2. Kwiatowski 3. Valverde 4. Rui Costa 5. Kreuziger »

The Amstel Gold Race, 251 km from Maastricht to Valkenburg, the hard way. There appears to be no flat sections longer than ten meters. There are thirty-four mean little climbs to ruin the legs. We have moved on from the real Spring Classics. There is no rest in this VSP; The Ronde and Roubaix were amazing but we must continue. Legs that are smoked...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Rodriguez 2. Gilbert 3. Kwiatowski 4. Valverde 5. Rui Costa »

It has been a brutal week for us Keepers, having decided not to hold a Keepers Tour this year. Watching the action from half a world away has been almost too much for us to bear, and I know most of the participants from last year must be feeling similarly. On Sunday, we would be escorted by our friends and guides, William and Alex of Pavé Cycling...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Cancellara 2. Vanmarcke 3. Van Avermaet 4. Geraint Thomas 5. Boonen »

Vlaanderen. Its no accident the Flemish word for Flanders starts with a V; there is nothing simple or easy about riding a bike here. If it isn’t wind, its steep bergs. If it isn’t tarmac, its cobbles. Most of the time, its all three. Oh, and the weather there sucks. In fact, Flanders doesn’t have weather – it has VVeather.De...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Armistead 2. Johansson 3. Vos 4. Borghini 5. Stevens »

This needs no introduction. The Spring Classics are truly upon us. The course has been modified yet again, it is tougher? The riders make the race and the 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen is loaded with racers who could win or make the Velominati VSP placings. Just to pick the winner will not be nearly as easy as it has been recently. There are small clo...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Cancellara was pushed hard last year and will be again. But when it comes down to it I just can’t see anyone living with him last time up the Paterberg. If a select group gets away at around 60km then Fab could be marked out of it – Thomas is my man for t… »

This is the kick off of the VSP for women’s racing, though the women have already kicked it off with the Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands. Now it’s down to Northern Italy, Varese, by Lago Maggiore, but this is a climbers course, more in the mountains than by the lake. And yes, Sunday is also Gent-Wevelgem for women but Trofeo is par...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Armitstead 2. Vos 3. Johansson 4. Stevens 5. Borghini »

The Kemmelberg is a brute. In my opinion, its the hardest of the cobbled climbs in the Spring Classics; it has a high speed tarmac approach that saps the guns of their snap. The transition from tarmac to cobbles is awful, the stones are very badly laid throughout and if you don’t hit it just right, you’ll come to a standstill. The cobbl...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Over-indexing on sprinters this time. But Canch must be fuming after being caught behind a crash at E3H and then forced to do the chasing, so as they came together on Oude Kwaremont he had burned too many matches to follow Thomas’ acceleration. G was supe… »

Het Volk (it will always be Het Volk to me) and now the Strade Bianche may well mark the sentimental beginning to the season, but those are specialized, pre-season races that appeal mostly to riders who are preparing for bigger objectives later in the year, such as the Cobbled or Ardennes Classics. Same goes for Tirreno Adriatico and Paris-Nice; t...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Cavendish 2. Sagan 3. Cancellara 4. Gerrans 5. Kreuziger »

Twiggo is dreaming of a Giro-Tour double. He has sent out mixed messages about his Tour ambitions. Will he use the Giro as the ultimate Tour preparation or will be burn all his matches in May and hope he can find another pack for July? He has abandoned his successful 2012 Tour run-up strategy of winning every stage race he entered the previous spri...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Wiggo Wiggo Wiggo VSP PICKS: 1. Wiggins 2. Nibali 3. Scarponi 4. Hesjedal 5. Evans »

There is something to love about a race that makes a deviation to its route for the simple joy of sending a fleet of professional riders up a fiendishly steep and narrow ramp. The Cote du Stockeu offers zero benefit to the route from a logistical standpoint – in fact, all it does is complicate things. On the way down from the Cote de Wanne &#...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Gilbert 2. Nibali 3. Rodriguez 4. Dan Martin 5. Albasini »

Last year we saw Evelyn Stevens out-last Marianne Vos at the top of the Mur de Huy. The take home message is don’t start one’s charge too early. Vos should know this finish, having won it four times already. It’s hard to know who is on form in the professional women field as the races are too far apart to infer much from the last...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Vos 2. Pooley 3. Armitstead 4. Borghini 5. Gilmore »

We came tantalizingly close to adding a foray up the Mur de Huy during our excursion to Liege-Bastogne-Liege during this year’s Keepers Tour. But good sense and the Anti-V prevailed, as they are wont to do, and only two of us were left wanting a dig at the most notorious finishing climb in the Classics season.I write this, then, woefully igno...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Rodriguez 2. Gilbert 3. Uran 4. Gerrans 5. Valverde »

Yes it is a race named after a barely drinkable Dutch beer. I have enjoyed Amstel beer, brought to our table by a nice waitress, sitting outside in the Dutch spring. Atmosphere is everything. Do the Dutch brew awesome beer? I drank some good stuff in Amsterdam last spring but I’m pretty sure it was Belgian.Now we begin the Ardennes three race...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Sagan 2. Gilbert 3. Moser 4. Cunego 5. Tiernan-Locke »

It looks so easy on the television. Well, no, actually it looks pretty bloody hard. We think we have some understanding of how they suffer, how their bodies can take the continual beating. But we don’t really know. Not even by riding these abominations they call roads twice in the space of a few days can we understand the scale of the thing...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Fab lives up to his name. Again. VSP PICKS: 1. Cancellara 2. Sylvain Chavanel 3. Boasson Hagen 4. Stannard 5. Thomas »

Imagine a world without the little things we take for granted; a house without a roof, a pub with no beer, a Keepers Tour without any clothes. The last one is a reality for me at the moment, five days in and still no trace of where the hell between Wellington and Paris my bag (filled with V-Kit, shoes, helmet, everything) is. The other thing that h...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Super Fab to ignite the race in the final. VSP PICKS: 1. Cancellara 2. Sagan 3. Chavanel 4. Boonen 5. Thomas »

Marianne Vos has never won this? She who wins everything all the time has never won this? Is it not hilly and tough enough? This seems like a tear in the time-space continuum. Someone is going to be wanting to add this to her palmarés. Weather sounds like a cold but dry day for racing. This is a big one, maybe worth two bumper stickers, so ponder...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Vos 2. Armitstead 3. Gilmore 4. Borghini 5. Bronzini »

This is the second round of the Women’s World Cup, the first being the Ronde van Drenthe. Laveno Mombello to Cittiglio, 120 km of racing in Italy. It is a very worthy course and we know who will be wearing the number 1 on her jersey. Enough already, I like Ms Vos as much as the next person but someone has to work her over on the climbs and ri...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Lizzie Lizzie Lizzie VSP PICKS: 1. Armistead 2. Vos 3. Pooley 4. Bronzini 5. Gilmore »

Gent (Deinze)-Wevelgem, it starts with 130 km of cruising around Belgium and Northern France followed by a flurry of bergs and then a final 38 km of  flatter riding to the inevitable sprint finish. How hard can the climbing be if Super Mario got over them? Ask the riders from KT 2012, (the ones not in the following car) and they will tell you...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Super Cav !!!!!!!!! VSP PICKS: 1. Cavendish 2. Sagan 3. Goss 4. Hushovd 5. Boonen »

Finally, we have Milan-Sanremo. I hope pedale.forcetta is ready to shoot some pictures, especially black and white because it will be cold and possibly wet. Throw in a little wind and a race of this distance will weed out the less hardy. Recently, but not too recently, this race would be won out of a decent size field sprint. And yet, besides Fabs...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. I suspect it will finish with a select group, so Sagan has the edge. If Cav makes it to the finish in the front he wins. Will be interesting to see if Moser gets away again to crank up the pressure on the others; would also love to see Faboo blow the race… »

Ok, so you guys and gals don’t miss a trick, but sometimes we do. In fact, we kind of specialize in it. @Bianchi Denti just texted me to point out, as others have done on site, that we have almost missed the next stop on the VVomen’s VSP calendar, the Ronde Van Drenthe. On International Women’s Day, of all things.All I can tell yo...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Heart says Lizzie, head says Marianne VSP PICKS: 1. Vos 2. Armitstead 3. Gilmore 4. Stevens 5. Bronzini »

Until the 70’s it was common to race on gravel roads, but the Paving of the Planet has led to nearly every road being graced by smooth, black tarmac. As is the case with most things, once we are shown the easy path, it is difficult to return to more arduous ways. So it is with gravel roads; we take measures to avoid unpaved roads and in doi...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. Fab Fab Fab VSP PICKS: 1. Cancellara 2. Sagan 3. Pozatto 4. Evans 5. Paolini »

Finally, some cold nasty Belgian one day racing. Oman, Qatar, does anyone brag about winning those stage races? Yes, they might but really, it’s a tune up for the real season which finally begins this Saturday. Will racing in China or Oman grow the sport? Will there be a new wave of inspired young racers from these countries. Does professiona...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. C’mon Lizzie. You can do it. Believe. VSP PICKS: 1. Armitstead 2. King 3. Borghini 4. Teutenberg 5. De Vries »

Outside my window, its pouring rain. My bike is leaning agains the wall in my office, covered in grim and grit from the ride in, which was characterized by equal parts cold, wind, and rain. The spot in the locker room where I changed before my shower was marked by sand and mud, and when I walked to the shower, I left a trail of dirty footprints.It...

@sgraha's posts:

  1. VSP PICKS: 1. Thomas 2. Pozzato 3. Vanmarcke 4. Terpstra 5. Stannard »

  • Wilkins is right about his role in his bike/car incidents. There’s 2 sides to the equation, always. As cyclists,...

  • One word, old mate … abridge!

    Fuck me that’s a long article. I really should read one someday around here.

  • @DeKerr

    Indeed, great story. What year was it published? I could not find the date. Mentions Pharmstrong’s...

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