It Begins

It Begins

by / / 102 posts

This weekend proper bicycle racing starts for the season with Omloop Het Volk (yes, I know it’s not called that anymore but I like the old name better and it’s easier to spell for my dumb American ass) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Now that riders have stretched their legs in the TDU, Oman, Algarve, Qatar and various and sundry other spots on the planet, the peloton gets down to serious business in the country that suits it best in weather that will hopefully befit Rule #9. Can I get an A-Merckx from the cog-gregation!?!?

Although the Velominati Super Prestige won’t launch officially until Milan-San Remo, we thought it would be fun to have an un-official, no points awarded banter about this weekend’s races. Is Flecha going to repeat in Gent? Will Vaughter’s strategy of splitting Thor and T-Bone to captain each race respectively result in two for the win column for Garmin-Cervelo? What of Phillipe Gilbert, is he primed to start an onslaught on the great podiums of his country? Will Steampunk show his form in a semi-classic by tipping the winner or bluff until a monument? We will never find consensus among us when it comes to tipping the winners and also-rans.

The one thing I can say for sure is that we’ll all be cheering for rain to cover, no deluge, the cobbled bergs of Flandria. The potential for a heaping helping of Rule #9 served up on a big old platter of the V is the one thing we can all agree would make this weekend’s racing that much better. So I tuned in Al Roker to see what the chances are that our heroes will need to don arm and knee warmers underneath rain capes and he says yes, more than likely. The Flandrian forecast for both Saturday and Sunday looks like precip has an 80% chance of coming from the heavens. Looks to be a good weekend.

So tip your top five for OHN and KBK here if you’d like and know that no points will be awarded. But at a minimum, we felt the need to create a space where we could discuss the weekend’s festivities. Our V-Chalice runneth over with stoke and it just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have a dry space for it to spill.

// Racing

  1. Sitting in Prague, drinking some Czech beer and watching KBK…I feel as if I’ve shed my domestic pro status and upgraded to Continental PRO!

    Either way, just feels a bit cooler to be in Czech Republic and watching a race in Belgium. Somehow feel a bit closer to the action. Now I need to get to a race in person while I’m here.

    Enjoy the race everyone!

  2. Farrar showing he’s no Hushovd so far today… I think this will be a theme for Garmin in the classics this year.

  3. Stijn is wearing Yellow Princesses on his hands.

  4. @il ciclista medio

    Ha, no kidding right? I’m fine with both hands in the air or some sort of fist pump because it seems less planned. I loathed Alberto’s gun… so full of douche.

    Of course, there is always the guy who is so concerned about celebrating that he does it early, then someone powers past him for the win…

  5. @Ron

    Sounds fun! Reminds me when I was in Germany for a month during July ’03 and was able to watch the Tour on TV, live, one country over. Good stuff!

  6. Boonen goes at 6 K!!!

  7. @Buck Rogers
    Huge move. Flippin sweet if it sticks.

  8. Amazing. Go Tommy!!!!

  9. Not much of a leash

  10. Bet he goes again soon (I hope!)

  11. Oh well, made for some fun for a bit.

  12. I expect attacks from Sky now….

  13. great finish.

  14. @Buck Rogers
    Just testing the legs I reckon.

  15. And my apologies to Farrar, who pulled out a very nice finish,

  16. @cantona
    Yeah, saw that he was third at first but then isted as fourth on the offical results. Must have changed on the photo finish.

  17. @Nate
    Most likely you’re right. Seems like he is about 6 weeks from peaking! :)

  18. Ok it’s official after this week end it’s started for me the frenzy bonanza waiting
    for the Milano Sanremo.

  19. Marcus:

    Oli Brooke-White:
    Frank, I’m starting to realise that your weird prejudices against various riders automatically makes me like them even more.
    And Marcus, the bow and arrow salute was creative genius – who wants boring same-same arms in the air every time?

    Spose u liked Cav’s phone home salute too?

    No, I didn’t actually like that one. But I do like that he sprinted so damn fast he had the time to lay down a planned salute. I didn’t like Sastre’s baby pacifier salute either, but good on him for paying tribute to his child. So to sum up, I don’t like all salutes but I like that the riders are using their imagination, and have the ability to create the time to throw them down. I also did like Flecha’s gesture because of it’s clever relevance to his name…

  20. So when are we going to see someone throw the sacred sign of Merckx as we cross the finish line? One can only hope.

  21. we/they. Damn it.

  22. @frank
    Frank: Why the hating on Flecha? Seems like a pretty decent hardman to me, esp being Spanish et al. Haven’t heard anything that bad about him but I might not have heard all the dirt.

    Also think that his salute is pretty apropos with his name and all.

  23. @Oli Brooke-White

    Frank, I’m starting to realise that your weird prejudices against various riders automatically makes me like them even more.

    Fine with me, but you realize that makes you just as idiotic as me, right?

    Who wants boring same-same arms in the air every time

    The two-arm salute is the classic homage to everything cool about this sport. The “creative” salutes make a mockery of the sport and the riders. Marko’s view here.

    I also did like Flecha’s gesture because of it’s clever relevance to his name…

    Remember it’s not clever when you’re a Spaniard and the word is the actual word in your language. It’s no more clever than a British bloke who’s last name is “Biscuits and Tea” going across the line pretending to have a tea party with himself.

    Fact is, that “genius” arrow salute was the precise one that made me hate him. We were at the finish that day and even in all the excitement that comes with being in a place like that, I was like, “Really? That dude right there is a douche.”

  24. Well I just think that’s sad…

  25. @mcsqueak

    So when are we going to see someone throw the sacred sign of Merckx as we cross the finish line? One can only hope.

    Ha! despite what I just said, that would be THE.COOLEST.SALUTE.EVER.

  26. @Buck Rogers
    Sure, he’s a hardman, but that’s not the only reason to like someone. I admit, I’m probably exaggerating my dislike for him, but I hate his salute, don’t like how he looks on a bike generally, and his idiotic move in P-R a few years back when he took out half the group of favorites in one corner put the last nail in coffin.

  27. Remember it’s not clever when you’re a Spaniard and the word is the actual word in your language. It’s no more clever than a British bloke who’s last name is “Biscuits and Tea” going across the line pretending to have a tea party with himself.

    What a racialist! If an English rider called Arrow crossed the line doing that I would think it equally cool, so your analogy fails IMNSHO.

  28. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Ok it’s official after this week end it’s started for me the frenzy bonanza waiting for the Milano Sanremo.

    A-Merckx, brother. And with that the true season starts; these races are great fun, but until they roll out along the coast, for me the season hasn’t really started.

    Who’s going to win that one, anyway? I’m leaning towards an upset; a break gets clear on the Poggio and stays away, Bettini-style.

    As a matter of fact, I’m working on building the software right now that will power the VSP this year. Trying to automate it more so there will be less errors and less labor-intense.

  29. @Oli Brooke-White
    Cool it, mister. We’re all just having a bit of fun here, no need to start getting personal and heaving insults.

  30. frank :
    @Buck RogersSure, he’s a hardman, but that’s not the only reason to like someone. I admit, I’m probably exaggerating my dislike for him, but I hate his salute, don’t like how he looks on a bike generally, and his idiotic move in P-R a few years back when he took out half the group of favorites in one corner put the last nail in coffin.

    I thought that Tomeke had paid him to go down in the corner like that! :) Actually, I have no dislike for the guy, he’s a tough competitor and a fair one, as far as I can see.
    Did you have an accident with a bow and arrow when you were young or something? Seems a bit of a deep loathing without much reason here.

  31. @Ron

    Sitting in Prague, drinking some Czech beer and watching KBK…I feel as if I’ve shed my domestic pro status and upgraded to Continental PRO!
    Either way, just feels a bit cooler to be in Czech Republic and watching a race in Belgium. Somehow feel a bit closer to the action. Now I need to get to a race in person while I’m here.

    Very cool, Ron!

  32. frank:
    @Oli Brooke-White
    Cool it, mister. We’re all just having a bit of fun here, no need to start getting personal and heaving insults.

    Ah sorry, I was just having a bit of fun too – if I was serious I would have used the word racist. Damned interweb lack of expression.

  33. @Buck Rogers

    I thought that Tomeke had paid him to go down in the corner like that! :) Actually, I have no dislike for the guy, he’s a tough competitor and a fair one, as far as I can see.

    Ha! Yeah, and of course Boonen blasted off the front, so under other circumstances you could charge him with attacking during a crash, but that would violate my principle of blindly loving Boonen no mater what he does.

    Seriously, though, even though Tomeke benefited, I would have preferred to see the the whole group hit that sector ensemble and see what happened. Though I love how hard Boonen when off the front that Hushovd couldn’t keep it up in the corner. Here’s hoping for a more exciting P-R this year than last. And fewer motors.

    Did you have an accident with a bow and arrow when you were young or something? Seems a bit of a deep loathing without much reason here.

    Good one. Just seems so overly contrived. In fact, I stopped like Bartoli when I saw him do his gladiator “slaying” salute…those contrived salutes just put them in the wrong category for me.

    Imagine this: Flecha breaks away in P-R and slays the cobbles hardman style to arrive in the velodrome alone. The shadows of all the legendary races whispering in the crowd’s roar, he rolls up towards the line and starts playing charades. You be the judge.

  34. @Oli Brooke-White
    Ha! I was wondering about that. No worries, mate! Now please excuse me while I go work on my “Windmill” salute. I need at least two arms for it, but am trying to figure out how to work one of my legs into it as well.

  35. @frank

    Time to start a whisper campaign. Six degrees of separation and all that. Someone here must know someone who knows someone who knows a rider that has a statistically significant chance of winning at least one stage this year. All we need is one photograph of it…

  36. @Oli Brooke-White

    What we need are Velominati emoticons!

    (kidding, please holster your co2 chucks…)

  37. @frank
    “It’s no more clever than a British bloke who’s last name is “Biscuits and Tea” going across the line pretending to have a tea party with himself.”
    Actually, that would be kinda funny. Got me thnking about salutes I’d like to see (or, at least, be amused to see):

    Tommeke – doing a line
    Clenbutador – eating a steak. (Actually, nix that – I don;t want to see any salutes from him.)
    Schlecklet – pumping iron
    Banged n Felled – nothing; just keep holding those bars and stay upright until someone grabs you, Christian
    Cadelephant – anything, as long as he SMILES

  38. @frank

    @Oli Brooke-White
    Museeuw’s leg in the air salute – now that was cool

  39. @G’phant
    Outstanding! Great stuff!

    Frank: Yeah, I also think Tomeke is the second coming of Merckx!!! But love the idea of him doing an imaginary snort as he rolls across the “line”. Too funny!

  40. Marcus:
    @frank
    @Oli Brooke-White
    Museeuw’s leg in the air salute – now that was cool

    Now that one I hated! :D

  41. @Buck Rogers
    Or shag an imaginary teenager. I’d like to see him do that one.

    As for Flecha, I have no issues with him other than his salute. He seems to factor in to the spring classics of late (crashes aside, Frank) on a pretty consistent basis which I find laudable and yesterday’s ride was pretty badass. I imagine him looking around at the others in the front of the bunch “eh, we gonna go or what, that Levegwhoeverthefuck is riding up the road.” Everyone else. “nah, it’s only 30 some seconds we’ve got time”. Flecha: “fuck you wankers then, he’s got a tailwind, I’ll catch him myself.” Especially given he was the defending winner, you should ride like that in a race you won the previous year.

    Now would someone post up an article on who this Langeveld fellow is? I know he’s a Dutchman, yet I haven’t heard peep out of Frank about this yet. I know three things 1)He won Het Volk with a fantastic Rule V ride, 2) He’s Dutch, and 3) He ride for Robabank. Oh, and 4) That’s the last he’ll factor in this spring.

  42. @Marko
    Is he one for the young lasses? Had not heard that but I suppose it would not surprise me (but he is STILL a cycling Merckx in my mind!)

  43. @Marko
    Forget about the Dutch – they aint that much.

    It’s the Aussies that deserve the attention – a win and a podium – ever since you asked that question Marko…

    @Buck Rogers
    Tommeke loves the young ones – dunno whether he still has her, but a few years back he was tracking square with the 17yo daughter of a very rich Belgie industrialist. 17 and rich. What’s not to like about that?

  44. @Marcus
    The man’s moving up in my book! :)

  45. @frank
    It would be hilarious to see a race come down to a sprint between Flecha and Leif Hoste. Somehow they would probably both find a way to lose.

  46. frank :
    @Pedale.Forchetta

    Ok it’s official after this week end it’s started for me the frenzy bonanza waiting for the Milano Sanremo.

    A-Merckx, brother. And with that the true season starts; these races are great fun, but until they roll out along the coast, for me the season hasn’t really started.
    Who’s going to win that one, anyway? I’m leaning towards an upset; a break gets clear on the Poggio and stays away, Bettini-style.

    Gilbert will pull that off, one of these years, and it will be a thing of beauty if it even approaches this one.

  47. You guys have got to calm down. Dating 17 year olds with money to buy your drug of choice is a great move. Lay off Boonen, seems like he has it down to me.

    I second (or third? fourth?) how bad Flecha looks on a bike. Both days I thought to myself while watching, “That guy just doesn’t look so good on a bike.” I wish it were just the black shoes and invisible socks, but I think it goes beyond this. Just looks like he’s fighting it all the time, never smooth.

    Yeah, I’m intrigued by the neon green gloves of Stijn as well.

    The Cervelo-Garmin & Sky kits are already starting to bother me. They are too damn close. I like black as well, but Sky has too much for me.

    Good weekend of racing. Spring is in the air, at least in the mind of a Velominatus.

  48. RE: Boonen – I meant constantly bringing up his wee problem with snorting white powders. Dating 17 year olds with money shows his true class.

  49. And happy March to all the Followers!

  50. @sgt
    Strade Bianchi anyone?!?!? Just throwing out my picks for Saturday’s race in case I cannot get on the computer tomorrow! Of course, this is not for any points or anything, just bragging rights.

    1. Cancellara
    2. Gilbert
    3. Flecha
    4. Boom
    5. Ballan

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