After a winter of long training rides that offered more in the way of numb extremities than it did in acute enjoyment, I have to say that the warming of the air and brightening of the skies have served to remind me that while I love riding in bad weather, I certainly don’t have anything against riding when its nice out.
But dont think for a minute that this quells my desire to watch the Pros battle the elements as well as each other and, quite frankly, after a Spring Classics campaign that gave us only fleeting tastes of Rule #9 Glory, I welcome the arrival of the 2012 Giro d’Italia which holds the distinction of being held in the worst weather and over the worst roads. Come July, I’ll get just as wound up as anyone about the biggest racing spectacle of the year, but in my heart, the Giro d’Italia is the best Grand Tour of the three.
All that said, I’m a little disappointed to see that the Giro starts in Denmark. Not that I have anything against Denmark – lovely place – it’s just that this choice takes us away from the classical Giro opening week involving a mountaintop finish or two and gives us a Tour de France-style opening week of flat stages and crosswinds. We’ll have to wait almost two weeks before we start seeing the riders cross the highest passes and hitting the uphill finishes, though the final week does appear to set us up for considerable fireworks as the second-last stage will see the riders cross the Mortirolo and finish atop the Stelvio.
What does this mean for the VSP? Quite a bit, actually. Bearing in mind the changes we’ve made to the Rest-Day picks from the years past, it means that as the race settles out, those who have made changes to their lineup on the first rest day will not have the opportunity to do so again on the second rest day. And, those who wait for the second day will see steep penalties tallying up against their totals. But on the line is a Symbol Pack, the chance to post for the rest of year with the Maglia Rosa VSP Badge and, of course, the grand prize of the personalized Shop Apron. Check the start list and with any divine beings that you might be able to influence, and then get your picks in by the time the countdown timer goes to zero at 5am Pacific on the 5th May.
For reference, please review the new Grand Tour scoring and penalty guidelines. Also note that since these new rules required new coding and this represents the first Grand Tour, there is always the chance that there are defects in the code. Watch your picks and your points as we move through the event and alert us of any anomalies. If your points seem wrong, use the dispute function to alert us of the matter; complaints in the posts feed to this effect will be ignored. Finally, don’t leave anything to the last minute so we have time to fix any problems before its too late. Good luck.
Readers who wish to enter shall enter their predictions for the top five placings on General Classification of each Grand Tour by 5am on the day of the first stage or prologue.
Points will be scored as follows: 20 points for first place, 15 for second, 10 for third, 7 for fourth, and 5 for fifth; plus 3 points per rider in the top five regardless of the rider’s placing, but riders are not scored twice.
Changing of the Picks*
Contestants are allowed to make line up changes on one of the rest days of the Grand Tours but not both. These changes will come with a point penalty. You will be allotted one (1) rest day to make swaps in grand tours. You pick either the first or second rest day. The penalties for swapping will be lower for the first rest day than the second. This will allow you to swap out a rider(s) who gets caught in some first week nervousness with a 5 point penalty for each swap. Or make some go for broke/doomed to fail break-away swap on the second rest day for a 10 point penalty per swap. You make one swap or five on either rest day for the corresponding 5 or 10 point penalty per swap.
Additionally, if one of your riders crashes out, DNF’s, or DNS’s, you may swap them out on a rest day with corresponding penalties if you haven’t already used up your one rest day swap. The only exception to this is riders who are booted from a race for a positive test; if your rider is on the juice and gets chucked off the race, you get a free swap of that rider within 24 hours of the disqualification.