Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2016

A lot has happened in the last ten years of le Tour, and a lot of it stemmed from the race that took place in 2006. At the time it seemed like yet another “Tour of Redemption” as the organisers liked to claim every few years after something had happened to tarnish the race’s image, yet again. In 06, we were coming off the back of a seven year reign of very little in the way of competition, with most of those races decided in the Prologue and followed by a three week procession. 06 was anticipated as the start of a new era, we just didn’t know at the time how significant it would become many years further down the track.

The pre-Tour build-up had fans frothing with anticipation of an Ullrich vs Basso battle, but that was scuppered at the 11th hour by Operacion Puerto, just what incoming Director Christian Prudhomme didn’t need. Also ditched were Fransisco Mancebo, a young Alberto Contador (yet to be considered a GC contender), and one Alexandre Vinokourov (while not one of the Puerto accused, still unable to start as most of his Astana teammates were pulled, leaving him without a sufficient team). With the two favourites out, the race was anyone’s for the taking. Of course, there was more drama to come.

A crazy break was let go and produced a surprise leader in Oscar Pereiro, who then conceded the yellow to Floyd Landis, who then blew to bits and handed it back to Pereiro, before making the biggest comeback since Lazarus the next day and riding away from the race in a solo effort that still ranks as one of the best ever, no matter how juiced he was. I remember watching the stage live and talking to a mate on the phone, and his incredulity at what we were witnessing. As Landis drank with the fervour of an alcoholic and manically poured water over his head during his escapade, my friend (an ex-road racer at a high level himself) professed that Landis was “cooking” from some sort of drug cocktail and was doing his best to dilute whatever concoction he’d taken, and not blow a positive or do a Tommy Simpson on live tv. How prophetic his words proved.

Of course, that was just the beginning, and the resulting fallout became one of the biggest sporting stories of all time. Landis just about brought down the entire sport with his revelations, and no Tour since has been without some form of scuttlebutt, yet not on that scale. The last few years, while tame by comparison to those preceding them, have been pretty well dominated by each winner and not offering too much in the way of exciting competition; although last year’s end result was closer on paper than the actual race was… which once again leaves us in the same state of anticipation that grips us every year in the month leading up to the start, and then promptly lets us down about two weeks after that, and wondering when the Vuelta starts.

This Tour has all the hallmarks of potentially being a great one, with three guys who have to be considered genuine contenders, yet just one who is most likely to win. We really do need a positive test to liven this one up, or someone to juice themselves so comprehensively that the motor in their seat-tube can’t handle the power from their legs and melts the carbon around the bottom bracket and drops onto the road at the summit of Mont Ventoux. Maybe try and blame it on a chimera twin that drank too many whiskeys the night before and left their bike in the team truck with a bag of someone else’s piss strapped to it. That would bring the crowds back. But seriously, if each of the contenders is on form, we could have one of the best races of the last ten years with some real proper drama played out on the roads, not in the labs or courts and not two, three or seven years from now.

We’re giving you plenty of time to ponder the possibilities, and maybe come up with your own hare-brained scenarios as to what may unfold, or what will most likely bring you those precious VSP points and the honour of wearing the Maillot Jaune for the next year. Will you be daring and go out on a limb that doesn’t resemble that of an anorexic spider? Will you take short odds on a short-ass? Will you stake your claims on claims of a steak? Or will you tear yourself apart with internal conflict like a couple of bitchy Italians?

Whatever you do, there is absolutely no excuse to Delgado this one, we’re giving you plenty of time and it’s not like you can claim you didn’t realise that the race was this week… and don’t whinge if this Start List changes before the racing gets underway, it is provisional after all. Good luck and may the best, or second best, man win.

[vsp_results id=”49193″/]

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585 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2016”

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Chris Froome
    3. Alberto Contador
    4. Fabio Aru
    5. Alejandro Valverde
  2. Would love to see Quintana win this year.

     

     

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Quintana
    2. Froome
    3. Porte
    4. Aru
    5. Contador
  3. BTW, anyone see the irony of Franks’ posting the Landis pic considering Floyd opening a pot shop in Leadville, CO?  The man needs to make a livin’ right? And likely Floyd knows his product. 

    Floyd Landis where are they now

  4. Trying the boring route

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Chris Froome
    2. Nairo Quintana
    3. Alberto Contador
    4. Bauke Mollema
    5. Thibault Pinot
  5. Being mid table

    means you have to be hope for the unusual result, so the below is a tactical vote following the Froome/Nairo crash…should be an interesting race.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Alberto Contador
    2. Romain Bardet
    3. Richie Porte
    4. Daniel Martin
    5. Fabio Aru
  6. VSP PICKS:

    1. Thibaut PINOT
    2. Romain BARDET
    3. Warren BARGUIL
    4. Pierre ROLLAND
    5. Julian ALAPHILIPPE
  7. VSP PICKS:

    1. FROOME, Chris
    2. QUINTANA, Nairo
    3. CONTADOR, Alberto
    4. ARU, Fabio
    5. VAN GARDEREN, Tejay
  8. On paper, it’s hard to go against Froome dog and fortress Sky … but that’s what I’m doing.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Alberto Contador
    3. Chris Froome
    4. Romain Bardet
    5. Fabio Aru
  9. In a happy coincidence, I’m reading Max Leonard’s “Lanterne Rouge” at the moment. A bit unfocused at times, but ultimately sound.

    Also excited to learn that I’ll be riding a race in the mountains on the same day that the peloton will tackle the Col du Tourmalet. The same thing? Hardly. But don’t think I won’t take some inspiration from it.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Chris Froome
    3. Fabio Aru
    4. Alberto Contador
    5. Tejay VanGarderen
  10. VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Alberto Contador
    3. Chris Froome
    4. Romain Bardet
    5. Tejay van Garderen
  11. Great to see some out of the ordinary picks! Going out on a limb myself, so banking on Nibbles to hide and then benefit from Aru trying to win and blowing up the rest of the favourites. Froome crashes and breaks something.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nibbles
    2. Contador
    3. Quintana
    4. Pinot
    5. Porte
  12. Froome seemed on fine form in the Dauphine and will have targeted this race.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Quintana
    3. Contador
    4. Nibali
    5. Dan Martin
  13. @Barracuda

    @brett

    @Bruce Lee

    BTW, anyone see the irony of Franks’ posting the Landis pic

    More proof no-one reads the articles…

    What article

    I thought Wiggins’ comment on the Landis case was interesting.  He was done for Testosterone which did not make sense for a “next day pick me up”.  The potential suggestion being that he popped a bag of blood which was taken when he still had Testosterone in his system while training.  Net potentially something of an own goal.

  14. Excited as I always am for the start of the Tour, this year I’m even more excited because I will be there.

    A week in Chamonix, lots of riding and four days watching the Tour, starting with the stage to Emosson Dam three weeks from today.

    Just have to remember to pace myself on the first couple of days.

  15. VSP PICKS:

    1. Chris Froome
    2. Nairo Quintana
    3. Thibaut Pinot
    4. Alberto Contador
    5. Richie Porte
  16. May as well go with something different….Aru melts under the pressure, Froome crashes out, Quintana gets caught out, and P

    orte blows up on ventoux

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Rolland
    2. Van Garderen
    3. Pinot
    4. Contador
    5. Dan Martin
  17. VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Chris Froome
    3. Alberto Contador
    4. Fabio Aru
    5. Thibaut Pinot
  18. @plynie

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Thibaut PINOT
    2. Romain BARDET
    3. Warren BARGUIL
    4. Pierre ROLLAND
    5. Julian ALAPHILIPPE

    Hmmmm….trying to figure out the theme here……… I hope the host country does well, they have been edging ever closer, perhaps Pinot’s improved TTing will allow him to triumph this year. Alaphilippe has tremendous talent and may well be a future winner.

    Bonne chance aux hotes

     

     

  19. I also watched Landis’ Morzine miracle unfold live. The thing that sticks with me most is how he behaved after he’s crossed the line – pretty much punching journalists out of the way and being far more agitated and aggressive than seemed normal, even after such an amazing effort. To this day it surprises me that Floyd denies having taken testosterone, although the blood bag theory might mean that he genuinely didn’t KNOWINGLY take it.

  20. @Rick

    @plynie

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Thibaut PINOT
    2. Romain BARDET
    3. Warren BARGUIL
    4. Pierre ROLLAND
    5. Julian ALAPHILIPPE

    Hmmmm….trying to figure out the theme here……… I hope the host country does well, they have been edging ever closer, perhaps Pinot’s improved TTing will allow him to triumph this year. Alaphilippe has tremendous talent and may well be a future winner.

    Bonne chance aux hotes

    Hmm, perhaps not a GC top five but I do wonder what odds you’d get on each of them winning a stage this year. Not so sure about Rolland but wouldn’t be surprised by any, or all, of the others bagging une Etape.

  21. So many chances here. Wanted to include Martin and Allaphilipe too! Brain says to pick Froome for podium but hoping for a team sky implosion. Will be watching lot of stages in the flesh for the first time. Should be dreamy.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Chris Froome
    3. Romain Badet
    4. Rixhie Porte
    5. Alberto Contador
  22. VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Alberto Contador
    3. Nairo Quintana
    4. Fabio Aru
    5. Richie Porte
  23. VSP PICKS:

    1. Chris Froome
    2. Nairo Quintana
    3. Alberto Contador
    4. Richie Porte
    5. Thibau Pinot
  24. I always put so much effort into researching these things and still end up with a top 5 that looks — for want of a better word — obvious. So I threw G in for good measure.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. QUINTANA Nairo
    2. FROOME Chris
    3. ARU Fabio
    4. CONTADOR Alberto
    5. THOMAS Geraint
  25. @Bruce Lee

    BTW, anyone see the irony of Franks’ posting the Landis pic considering Floyd opening a pot shop in Leadville, CO? The man needs to make a livin’ right? And likely Floyd knows his product.

    Floyd Landis where are they now

    I gather it’s a business designed to play on his reputation/ notoriety and sense of humour (and rebelliousness). Apparently they will be wholesalers rather than retailers and are working on some new kind of vaping technology. It will be interesting to see how it goes and although it’s not aimed at cyclists it might get some traction there (perhaps more so in the mountain biking world) given Landis’ connection to the sport.

  26. @Steve Trice

    Leadville?  Well if the weed does not make you high then just trying to run around up there will!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Aru
    3. Porte
    4. Quintana
    5. Contador
  27. @Teocalli

    @Steve Trice

    Leadville? Well if the weed does not make you high then just trying to run around up there will!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Aru
    3. Porte
    4. Quintana
    5. Contador

    Ah, the penny has just dropped. Leadville is a big MTB town isn’t it, where Armstrong famously raced the 100 (has he been stripped of that title)? Duh, makes even more sense now.

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