Mapei parties like it's 1998.

Mapei parties like it's 1998.

Velominati Super Prestige: Gent Wevelgem 2015

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Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!

This is it! We are really into the thick of it now! E3 Harelbeke is today, and on Sunday we have the Kemmelberg in Gent Wevelgem – the first real serious cobbled race of the year. For Keeper’s Tour in 2012 we stayed just outside Kemmel, and for KT2013 Bretto and I went off for a jetlag-neutralizing spin together into the same area and rode the climb from both sides. When I arrive in Belgium on Thursday, the first thing we’ll do is head over there again; the area feels a bit like home at this point.

All of Europe bears the marks of World War I, but this bit of Belgium is even more heavily scarred; when this many people die in one place, it lingers in the air like a thick mist. This hill in particular was the site of several battles; the Germans took it in April 1918 and it was reclaimed by the allied forces in September. Monuments, graveyards, barracks litter the landscape.

Although its short, the Kemmelberg is a brute of a climb with a steep ramp at the top; the cobbles are rough and very badly laid at the base; the best route has you swinging wide to the outside if you’re to maintain your speed. If you are unlucky enough to be forced into the inside, you will come to a standstill and find yourself chasing from the onset.

And speaking of chasing, its time to get some points on the board with the VSP so you have a chance of claiming one of our prizes. Get your picks in by the time the clock goes to zero. And for the love of Merckx, don’t wait until the last minute before flooding my inbox with complaints about the site going down. Your procrastination is not my emergency, boys and girls. But if you do happen to have some trouble (and it’s not the last minute, or the middle of the night) then feel free to let us know; we’re happy to help you out so long as the event hasn’t closed yet. So, prognosticate on the start list and enter your sure-to-be dud picks.

We are still finalizing the prize list for the overall VSP, but second place has been confirmed as being a set of CR Wheelworks/Velominati wheels. CR Wheelworks is Café Roubaix’s wheel product line, and you’ll have the choice of rim size and hub. The Velominati edition comes with orange Chris King hubs, but if that’s too bling for you, I’m sure the configuration can be changed for the winner.

First prize will be something even more amazeballs and third place will be a full Velominati kit complete with V-Cap. My wheels just arrived, and I can’t wait to ride them.

And, we’ll wrap it up with some 2013 Gent action:


Final Race Results
1. PAOLINI Luca
2. TERPSTRA Niki
3. THOMAS Geraint
4. VANDENBERGH Stijn
5. DEBUSSCHERE Jens
Final VSP Results
1. ChrisO (5 points)
2. unversio (4 points)
3. Spencer (4 points)
4. craigo (4 points)
5. Chris John (4 points)
6. PeakInTwoYears (4 points)
7. Chris (4 points)
8. Harminator (3 points)
9. Chris (1 points)
10. razmaspaz (1 points)
11. il muro di manayunk (1 points)
12. CanuckChuck (1 points)
13. Two Ball Billy (1 points)
14. JCM (1 points)
15. hhbiker (1 points)
16. gilly (1 points)
17. Fred (1 points)
18. eljoeo (1 points)
19. AmaZuluDude (1 points)
20. Tom Carter (1 points)
21. Clingon (1 points)
22. Haldy (1 points)
23. Quasar (1 points)
24. girl (1 points)
25. TheDon (1 points)
26. MichaelS (1 points)
27. Roobar (1 points)
28. Minnesota Expat (1 points)
29. Chica (1 points)
30. Rom (1 points)
31. ten B (1 points)
32. Gervais (1 points)
33. dancollins (1 points)
34. strathlubnaig (1 points)
35. kixsand (1 points)
36. Jay (1 points)
37. Barracuda (1 points)
38. Geordi (1 points)
39. Bill Chris (1 points)
40. drnicknick (1 points)
41. justinevan88 (0 points)
42. Teocalli (0 points)
43. DCR (0 points)
44. KW (0 points)
45. frank (0 points)
46. taon24 (0 points)
47. SamV (0 points)
48. plynie (0 points)
49. freddy (0 points)
50. the Engine (0 points)
51. JonnyG (0 points)
52. Duende (0 points)
53. Lukas (0 points)
54. GogglesPizano (0 points)
55. ped (0 points)
56. fenlander (0 points)
57. brett (0 points)
58. simonsaunders (0 points)
59. Ccos (0 points)
60. rfreese888 (0 points)
61. Ted G (0 points)
62. dyalander (0 points)
63. wiscot (0 points)
64. ericw (0 points)
65. Father of Four (0 points)
66. Al__S (0 points)
67. Dan_R (0 points)
68. Phillip Mercer (0 points)
69. Hein (0 points)
70. JohnB (0 points)
71. sthilzy (0 points)
72. BatDan (0 points)
73. Fausto (0 points)
74. foggypeake (0 points)
75. R00tdown (0 points)
76. wilburrox (0 points)
77. Kris Fernhout (0 points)
78. mpalazzi92 (0 points)
79. Erik (0 points)
80. Stephen (0 points)
81. scaler911 (0 points)
82. Giotto (0 points)
83. oneninefiveninesix (0 points)
84. Tobin (0 points)
85. copaking (0 points)
86. tony macaroni (0 points)
87. The Grande Fondue (0 points)
88. Mikael Liddy (0 points)
89. brendan kane (0 points)
90. Julez (0 points)
91. seemunkee (0 points)
92. eenies (0 points)
93. Tiglio (0 points)
94. Yagerbomb (0 points)
95. dpalazzo (0 points)
96. ojhart (0 points)
97. Geraint (0 points)
98. CyclingPT (0 points)
99. ramenvelo (0 points)
100. el gato (0 points)
101. Steampunk (0 points)
102. zeitzmar (0 points)
103. gmk69 (0 points)
104. LeoTea (0 points)
105. Nate (0 points)
106. Grimpeur (0 points)
107. Heihachi (0 points)
108. piwakawaka (0 points)
109. BaltoSteve (0 points)
110. David (0 points)
111. David (0 points)
112. Ron (0 points)
113. il ciclista medio (0 points)
114. xyxax (0 points)
115. Tom Mc (0 points)
116. masnaran (0 points)
117. Vernwitha_V (0 points)
118. Dave R (0 points)
119. mylezz (0 points)
120. LA Dave (0 points)
121. RedRanger (0 points)
122. Gianni (0 points)
123. Michael Heusdens (0 points)
124. ziggy (0 points)
125. Koensie (0 points)
126. osbk67 (0 points)
127. Chrille (0 points)

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. Paolini takes it. I doubt anyone would resent him that win.

    Apparently it was a bit windy. Here’s Thomas getting blown off his bike:

  2. Result (I think):

    1. Paolini

    2. Terpstra

    3. Thomas

    4. Vandenbergh

    5. Debusschere

    6. Vanmarcke

    7. Roelandts

    8. Oss

    Cracking race under Rule #9, surprised that the main group gave up the chase so early.

    Nul points in VSP for me, ah well

  3. Luca… what a beast!

  4. @The Grande Fondue

    Fuck me! And he still came third – good on him!

    Serious Rule #9 Riding out there. He was my only point in the top VSP. Bravo to Luca Paolini…love that guy!

  5. Fuck, that was an awesome race. Brilliantly smart riding from the old fox.

    Can only hope you boys get some of that weather over the coming weeks, it’ll be fun to watch from the comfort of the couch!

  6. A big fat duck but what a race! Only the hard men (and women) survived. I feel such a wimp for leaving the bike in the shed during yesterday afternoons gales.

  7. The last Italian winner, the most stylish nation on earth….

  8. @ped

    Normally I’d agree, but did you see Paolini? His leg warmers were over his shorts and held up by safety pins FFS! Doesn’t he read this site? Did he miss last week’s article on The Tightness of Being? Safety pins? I ask you . . . you can be damn sure Cipo didn’t use no stinking safety pins.

    And the fluorescent yellow shoe covers? Why not red ones?

    Spartacus and Tommeke may be out of the classics, but let’s look at Terpstra and Thomas instead. Going well to put it mildly. Lots to look forward to that’s for sure.

  9. @wiscot

    This is true, but I think He rocks the despised aero helmet well, and even those Assos shades and a beard look pretty damn good on him

  10. What a race! Unfortunately, too many hoppy beverages made me forget to get my picks in. The leg warmers made me cringe though.

    Can’t wait for these next two weeks. The best cycling of the year is upon us gentlemen.

  11. @ped

    @wiscot

    This is true, but I think He rocks the despised aero helmet well, and even those Assos shades and a beard look pretty damn good on him

    My issue is with what he looks like from the waist down!

  12. @wiscot

    @ped

    @wiscot

    This is true, but I think He rocks the despised aero helmet well, and even those Assos shades and a beard look pretty damn good on him

    My issue is with what he looks like from the waist down!

    Those safety pins go through his quads!

  13. @ped

    Looking at some of the photos here http://www.nieuwsblad.be/sportwereld/cnt/dmf20150329_01604627 it looks like those leg warmers are actually a second pair, and he’s wearing a red pair under his shorts.

    It must be a Katusha thing. It looks like the guy on Paollini’s right also has the warmers over his shorts, and I think I remember J Rod also disgracing himself in a similar manner a few years back.

  14. Thomas’ crash was entertaining- superb work to unclip mid crash and throw the bike so he didn’t land on it, instead landing on a soft verge and performing a decent roll. Great chase back on, and excellent work to get on the podium. Better crash than those that ended up with bikes (and themselves?) in a ditch- turns out WT level bikes float.

    But nothing compared to Paolini. Style points he loses big style, but when you win a race like that with a late attack like that, all is forgiven.

  15. HOLY FUCKBALLS I CAN’T WAIT TO GET OVER THERE.

    @ChrisO takes his first win in a Semi-Classic VSP event, not bad for a guy with a broken leg!

    Final Race Results
    1. PAOLINI Luca
    2. TERPSTRA Niki
    3. THOMAS Geraint
    4. VANDENBERGH Stijn
    5. DEBUSSCHERE Jens

    Final VSP Results
    1. ChrisO (5 points)
    2. unversio (4 points)
    3. Spencer (4 points)
    4. craigo (4 points)
    5. Chris John (4 points)
    6. PeakInTwoYears (4 points)
    7. Chris (4 points)
    8. Harminator (3 points)
    9. Chris (1 points)
    10. razmaspaz (1 points)
    11. il muro di manayunk (1 points)
    12. CanuckChuck (1 points)
    13. Two Ball Billy (1 points)
    14. JCM (1 points)
    15. hhbiker (1 points)
    16. gilly (1 points)
    17. Fred (1 points)
    18. eljoeo (1 points)
    19. AmaZuluDude (1 points)
    20. Tom Carter (1 points)
    21. Clingon (1 points)
    22. Haldy (1 points)
    23. Quasar (1 points)
    24. girl (1 points)
    25. TheDon (1 points)
    26. MichaelS (1 points)
    27. Roobar (1 points)
    28. Minnesota Expat (1 points)
    29. Chica (1 points)
    30. Rom (1 points)
    31. ten B (1 points)
    32. Gervais (1 points)
    33. dancollins (1 points)
    34. strathlubnaig (1 points)
    35. kixsand (1 points)
    36. Jay (1 points)
    37. Barracuda (1 points)
    38. Geordi (1 points)
    39. Bill Chris (1 points)
    40. drnicknick (1 points)
    41. justinevan88 (0 points)
    42. Teocalli (0 points)
    43. DCR (0 points)
    44. KW (0 points)
    45. frank (0 points)
    46. taon24 (0 points)
    47. SamV (0 points)
    48. plynie (0 points)
    49. freddy (0 points)
    50. the Engine (0 points)
    51. JonnyG (0 points)
    52. Duende (0 points)
    53. Lukas (0 points)
    54. GogglesPizano (0 points)
    55. ped (0 points)
    56. fenlander (0 points)
    57. brett (0 points)
    58. simonsaunders (0 points)
    59. Ccos (0 points)
    60. rfreese888 (0 points)
    61. Ted G (0 points)
    62. dyalander (0 points)
    63. wiscot (0 points)
    64. ericw (0 points)
    65. Father of Four (0 points)
    66. Al__S (0 points)
    67. Dan_R (0 points)
    68. Phillip Mercer (0 points)
    69. Hein (0 points)
    70. JohnB (0 points)
    71. sthilzy (0 points)
    72. BatDan (0 points)
    73. Fausto (0 points)
    74. foggypeake (0 points)
    75. R00tdown (0 points)
    76. wilburrox (0 points)
    77. Kris Fernhout (0 points)
    78. mpalazzi92 (0 points)
    79. Erik (0 points)
    80. Stephen (0 points)
    81. scaler911 (0 points)
    82. Giotto (0 points)
    83. oneninefiveninesix (0 points)
    84. Tobin (0 points)
    85. copaking (0 points)
    86. tony macaroni (0 points)
    87. The Grande Fondue (0 points)
    88. Mikael Liddy (0 points)
    89. brendan kane (0 points)
    90. Julez (0 points)
    91. seemunkee (0 points)
    92. eenies (0 points)
    93. Tiglio (0 points)
    94. Yagerbomb (0 points)
    95. dpalazzo (0 points)
    96. ojhart (0 points)
    97. Geraint (0 points)
    98. CyclingPT (0 points)
    99. ramenvelo (0 points)
    100. el gato (0 points)
    101. Steampunk (0 points)
    102. zeitzmar (0 points)
    103. gmk69 (0 points)
    104. LeoTea (0 points)
    105. Nate (0 points)
    106. Grimpeur (0 points)
    107. Heihachi (0 points)
    108. piwakawaka (0 points)
    109. BaltoSteve (0 points)
    110. David (0 points)
    111. David (0 points)
    112. Ron (0 points)
    113. il ciclista medio (0 points)
    114. xyxax (0 points)
    115. Tom Mc (0 points)
    116. masnaran (0 points)
    117. Vernwitha_V (0 points)
    118. Dave R (0 points)
    119. mylezz (0 points)
    120. LA Dave (0 points)
    121. RedRanger (0 points)
    122. Gianni (0 points)
    123. Michael Heusdens (0 points)
    124. ziggy (0 points)
    125. Koensie (0 points)
    126. osbk67 (0 points)

    127. Chrille (0 points)

  16. Well done Mr Paolini. (AKA Gimli?)

    Hell of a day out and given his form in MSR, not a surprising. Was a contender for Super-Domestique of the Year: now what?

    Goes to show that $400 shades and beards are important; how you wear your leggings, apparently less so. Luca would know, being Italian.

  17. Those shades of his belong on senior citizen ladies livin’ in Miami.

  18. Wonder if there’s an inverse correlation between how awesome a race is, and how many VSP points are scored?

    Now that we’re all tending to pick the faves (the prizes on offer are a little too good for long shots), an awesome race with underdogs winning, means everyone scores sweet FA.

  19. @ped

    @wiscot

    @ped

    @wiscot

    This is true, but I think He rocks the despised aero helmet well, and even those Assos shades and a beard look pretty damn good on him

    My issue is with what he looks like from the waist down!

    Those safety pins go through his quads!

    And that is almost precisely what @ChrisO was describing yes?? Cramps? Pin ’em… Only logical then to prevent ’em by shoving pins in my quads before I even hit the line. Perfect.

    @frank FUCKBALLS ?!? That’s the word of the week. I’ll look for good opportunity to put that to use. Cheers

  20. Hey, I’m 41st! At least i was the first person listed in the results as getting 0 points. Great race nonetheless! I will never complain about wind ever again.

  21. @justinevan88

    Hey, I’m 41st! At least i was the first person listed in the results as getting 0 points. Great race nonetheless! I will never complain about wind ever again.

    On a tie, the win goes to the first person to enter their picks, so the early bird gets the worm. Or, in this case, the early bird sucks slightly less.

  22. Ya gotta love when Paolini says, “Halfway through I was asking myself if it was reasonable to continue. But I resisted (the temptation to quit) and I’ve earned the best win of my career.” What a stud. Those nagging doubts that creep in to your mind along with the pain. Maybe was after his second time down and on the third bike?? And to hammer on. Classic, classic stuff. And Sir Bradley??

  23. Sir Brad? “Nah, fuck this where’s my Schleckchute” I’m waiting anxiously to see how many tip him for PR based on the zero form displayed this season.

    Also monster ride by Jurgen Rowlandts.

  24. @Daccordi Rider luckily for Sky, P-R is the kind of race where you need plans A through to C so they can claim he’s a protected rider, while actually riding for the bloke with form in Thomas.

  25. @Al__S

    Thomas’ crash was entertaining- superb work to unclip mid crash and throw the bike so he didn’t land on it, instead landing on a soft verge and performing a decent roll. Great chase back on, and excellent work to get on the podium. Better crash than those that ended up with bikes (and themselves?) in a ditch- turns out WT level bikes float.

    But nothing compared to Paolini. Style points he loses big style, but when you win a race like that with a late attack like that, all is forgiven.

    I thought it was just an endo, the wheel jammed and over he went. Nonetheless, stud for getting back on for 3rd.

    @wilburrox

    Maybe was after his second time down and on the third bike?? And to hammer on. Classic, classic stuff. And Sir Bradley??

    Did Power Pins Paolini really crash twice and 3 bike changes? Mega!

  26. @Beers

    @Al__S

    Thomas’ crash was entertaining- superb work to unclip mid crash and throw the bike so he didn’t land on it, instead landing on a soft verge and performing a decent roll. Great chase back on, and excellent work to get on the podium. Better crash than those that ended up with bikes (and themselves?) in a ditch- turns out WT level bikes float.

    But nothing compared to Paolini. Style points he loses big style, but when you win a race like that with a late attack like that, all is forgiven.

    I thought it was just an endo, the wheel jammed and over he went. Nonetheless, stud for getting back on for 3rd.

    @wilburrox

    Maybe was after his second time down and on the third bike?? And to hammer on. Classic, classic stuff. And Sir Bradley??

    Did Power Pins Paolini really crash twice and 3 bike changes? Mega!

    Wow, what a race. Let’s hope the bad weather continues. I finally watched it. How about Stijn Vandenburgh (sp?) too? What a big badass. G is tough as nails. Roelandts, very impressive.

    Luca, smart old dog who is also tough as nails.

  27. Best win by an over-35 since Milan San Remo ’92

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mL3jQmkj3uI

  28. Only 39 finishers!

  29. I’ve now now Delgado’d (well, not turned up at all) my first 3 ever VSP events.

    I’m going to do a G and climb out of the ditch and get back on my bike though.

    What a fucking hero.

  30. @Daccordi Rider

    Sir Brad? “Nah, fuck this where’s my Schleckchute” I’m waiting anxiously to see how many tip him for PR based on the zero form displayed this season.

    Also monster ride by Jurgen Rowlandts.

    This, this, and this.

    And the Schleckchute earns you the +1 badge.

  31. Some excellent photos here:

    http://www.nieuwsblad.be/sportwereld/cnt/dmf20150329_01604627

    Looks like EBH broke his clavicle. Durbridge looked bad too but can’t confirm his injuries. Greg vA crashed too, as well as Degenkolb.

  32. Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

  33. @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider luckily for Sky, P-R is the kind of race where you need plans A through to C so they can claim he’s a protected rider, while actually riding for the bloke with form in Thomas.

    Indeed, but there’s the rub. Sky don’t have a great record on having any plan past Plan A. Obviously Wiggins has been talking big about P-R and is the ranking member of the squad. However, as you rightly note, he’s done sweet FA this year whereas Thomas is a man on form. Start as co-leaders and let the race sort it out. What if GT goes for it? Wiggins is off the team in a month or so anyway.

  34. @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    They banned the Dangle?

  35. @osbk67

    @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    They banned the Dangle?

    SOLID GOLD!!!

  36. I don’t think Jack could have saved this one with “The Dangle”…

  37. @wiscot

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider luckily for Sky, P-R is the kind of race where you need plans A through to C so they can claim he’s a protected rider, while actually riding for the bloke with form in Thomas.

    Indeed, but there’s the rub. Sky don’t have a great record on having any plan past Plan A. Obviously Wiggins has been talking big about P-R and is the ranking member of the squad. However, as you rightly note, he’s done sweet FA this year whereas Thomas is a man on form. Start as co-leaders and let the race sort it out. What if GT goes for it? Wiggins is off the team in a month or so anyway.

    All the bluster about Smuggo is just a Skybot smoke screen, the bunch will be hawking him, and will miss Thomas sneaking away FTW…

    It is going to be awesome to see how this plays out, although my heart is broken that my 2 biggest mancrushes aren’t there. Good luck to Wiggins, he would elevate in my eyes with a solid result there to be the most complete rider of this generation (GC tours, track, one days).

    But there would be nothing like Topsport Vlaanderen or another underdog rider or team snatching one either.

    Drooling on my keyboard already.

  38. @frank

    @Daccordi Rider

    Sir Brad? “Nah, fuck this where’s my Schleckchute” I’m waiting anxiously to see how many tip him for PR based on the zero form displayed this season.

    Also monster ride by Jurgen Rowlandts.

    This, this, and this.

    And the Schleckchute earns you the +1 badge.

    Awesome.

  39. @Beers

    @wiscot

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider luckily for Sky, P-R is the kind of race where you need plans A through to C so they can claim he’s a protected rider, while actually riding for the bloke with form in Thomas.

    Indeed, but there’s the rub. Sky don’t have a great record on having any plan past Plan A. Obviously Wiggins has been talking big about P-R and is the ranking member of the squad. However, as you rightly note, he’s done sweet FA this year whereas Thomas is a man on form. Start as co-leaders and let the race sort it out. What if GT goes for it? Wiggins is off the team in a month or so anyway.

    All the bluster about Smuggo is just a Skybot smoke screen, the bunch will be hawking him, and will miss Thomas sneaking away FTW…

    It is going to be awesome to see how this plays out, although my heart is broken that my 2 biggest mancrushes aren’t there. Good luck to Wiggins, he would elevate in my eyes with a solid result there to be the most complete rider of this generation (GC tours, track, one days).

    But there would be nothing like Topsport Vlaanderen or another underdog rider or team snatching one either.

    Drooling on my keyboard already.

    I don’t think anyone will be fooled into not marking G closely, he is riding brilliantly. Wiggo has talked it up so much I just wonder what is going to happen. Is he pulling the biggest rope a dope in history? One thing is for certain, if it’s wet he is screwed.

  40. @Daccordi Rider

    if it’s wet he is screwed.

    +1! Soooo looking forward to it.

  41. @Daccordi Rider

    I don’t think anyone will be fooled into not marking G closely, he is riding brilliantly. Wiggo has talked it up so much I just wonder what is going to happen. Is he pulling the biggest rope a dope in history? One thing is for certain, if it’s wet he is screwed.

    But I think Geraint would be quite pleased if it rained.

  42. Aghhh! The strategies! What if Wiggo goes in an early break? GT can’t chase his teammate. What if they’re together and Wiggo punctures? Does GT give him a wheel? GT will be marked big time which might let Wiggo go – especially if it’s sloppy. Do the rest chase down Wiggo and drag GT up there? Will all the faves watch each other and let a guy from one of the wee teams or a domestique grab the glory? Just. Can’t. Wait.

  43. Reckon the ideal situation for any sky rider is to end up in a late break with two or more EQS riders. One EQS rider is a danger, but three is pure comedy

  44. @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    Standard Stop, Drop, and Roll — executed perfectly.

  45. @wiscot

    I need to research my research for this one.

  46. Kristoff just took a decent win in De Panne stage 1. Read the race well, got into the right escape

  47. @frank

    @osbk67

    @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    They banned the Dangle?

    SOLID GOLD!!!

    Indeed that is… I’m sitting in an airport terminal waiting on delayed flight and I’m cracking up. The Dangle… What a hoot. Spring Classics are for BADASSES that’s for certain. Love ’em.

  48. Hmmmmm…..interesting….161 riders don’t finish and everyone says negative things about just one, Wiggo. He has much bigger fish to fry, wouldn’t write him off just yet – another top 10 at P-R, the World hour record and a medal in Rio probably await, not a bad end to a career?

  49. @Geraint

    @gilly

    @Gianni

    @wiscot

    @frank

    @wiscot

    Ok, haven’t made my picks yet, but WTF’s going on? No Tommeke, and now no Spartacus for the big races? Crazy! That being said, fine, fine win by Geraint today in the E3. Now Sky have a problem: Geraint is obviously on the form of his life – we saw that last week. Wiggo’s form? Not sure, but Sky and he have made a big hoopla over how P-R is Wiggo’s main goal for the year. So do Geraint and Wiggo start as equals or will the Welshman be subservient to his English master? Will Geraint havce to sacrifice himself or will he be allowed to have a go? My thoughts are, if it’s dry, go with Sir Tattoo; if it’s muddy, go with Wales.

    I am not too broken up about Fabs/Boonen. I would want them both in form or neither because honestly I think the 4x crown should be a pretty rare thing and I’m afraid of Fabs getting a “free” ride to it, which would have two riders of the same generation sharing that record with the Gypsie.

    I’m pretty sure its going to be muddy, so that also opens it wide up. Gerraint rode very well in the wet last year at the Tour; he might be my #1. I can’t say I disagree on your strategy for the brits, though if I was DS I’d have them both start as leaders; too much can happen at Roubaix.

    Agreed. Co-leaders and let the chips, crashes and punctures fall where they may. I just hope we don’t see Geraint being stymied if he’s feeling good and having to wait on Wiggins.

    Fuck Wiggins. There, it’s out there. I’d make Twiggo ride for G, by golly. I can’t even remember if Twig was in Paris-Nice or Terreno-Adriatico because I never saw him do anything. Did he finish whatever he was racing in? Has he earned his spot at P-R besides his monster engine? We will see if he races Gent on Sunday and how his form is but I don’t think he deserves the leadership role at P-R, because I’m a cranky old guy.

    Have to agree. G was clearly strong at PR last year and the photo of him and Wiggins with their backs to each other after the race spoke volumes in body language terms. G buried himself that day but Wiggins either didn’t have the legs to go with Terpstra or made a bad call in not doing so. Brailsford has to make the right decision and I can’t believe that G will go into PR as anything other than team leader. If that’s not the case, I think Brailsford is in danger of losing the real quality guys that he has in G and Peter Kennaugh who have more than earned their spurs. But i think we need to remember what an astute guy DB is; how we all laughed when he said that Sky would win the TDF. They have had a really strong start to the Classics season and based on G’s attack yesterday, Sagan doesn’t appear to have cast off his last 10 K demons. It’s going to be a cracking couple of weeks!

    I think Sky/DB have learned their lessons from a hopeless classics campaign in ’13 and an only marginally better one in ’14. They set out trying to control the races for a nominated leader like they had done successfully in the TdF in ’12 and ’13, and found that it just didn’t work. Geraint could have won P-R last year but he’s a team player and Wiggo was the nominated leader. The irony is that P-R is the last race you can try to control given all the elements of risk, but they’d got to within 10k of the line together and still managed to throw it away. This year I think (hope) the team tactics are much more about staying out of trouble and let the rider(s) who feel good on the day do their own thing and go for it. We saw that at MSR, when it didn’t quite come off, and again at E3, when it absolutely did.

    All that said, going into P-R saying they’re riding for Wiggo might just draw attention away from other options. The other teams might mark Wiggo out of the race like they did with Faboo last year.

    @Geraint

    Good point well made Geraint. I find myself really torn this year. Much as I’d love to see a Sky Riding Brit win a monument, I think Tom Boonen bagging a fourth PR would be the most incredible achievement. Either way, there’s some terrific racing going on at the mo and the conditions really contributed to GV last Sunday, let’s hope the weather continues.

  50. @wilburrox

    @frank

    @osbk67

    @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    They banned the Dangle?

    SOLID GOLD!!!

    Indeed that is… I’m sitting in an airport terminal waiting on delayed flight and I’m cracking up. The Dangle… What a hoot. Spring Classics are for BADASSES that’s for certain. Love ‘em.

    Also nice to see a pro with an appropriately sized bike computer.

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