Velominati Super Prestige: La Fléche Wallonne

Velominati Super Prestige: La Fléche Wallonne

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La Fléche would perhaps be my least favorite classic, were it not for Gent-Wevelgem’s ill-timed bike-throw in their race for last place. It isn’t anything to do with the quality of these races themselves, but more to do with the company they travel in. Gent used to be sandwiched between de Ronde and Roubaix, just as La Fléche is between Amstel and Liege; it just happens that these are some of the greatest races in the world, and the bridesmaid never looks as good as the bride.

It’s a shame, too, because the Mur de Huy is an absolute brute and ranks as one of the most fearsome and recognizable climbs in the world. Almost a kilometer and a half in length with pitches of 20% and 25%, the climb is hit several times on the finishing circuit. Diabolically, the finish is placed at the top of the hill.

The finish favors a powerful climber who can time an uphill sprint to perfection.  Think Nicole Cooke or Danilo Di Luca.   Cuddles misfired on this finish several times before getting it right last year and giving the “Thumbs Up” sign. You could almost a weakening Clentador thinking as he was getting passed, “I’m not climbing well enough for my weight yet.  Need to get me some Spanish Beef.” Experience always counts, but it’s critical here.

So on with the 2011 Velominati Super Prestige and the La Fléche Wallonne. As usual, the winner of this VSP edition will earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker and all reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free personalized Velominati Shop Apron. If you are inclined to enter, simply post your predictions for the top five placings in the designated area above the posts section, bearing in mind that entry/modification of picks closes at 5am Pacific time on the day of the race. Check the Super-Prestige main page for rules and scoring information.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-O2_KwWMUg[/youtube]

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. @Marko

    Marko :
    @Bianchi DentiThat is an interesting point, she is one of those riders who very well could transcend the Rules.

    Exactly. If Gilbert rides with his visor/peak turned up, he’s redefine the rules. If I do the same, I’m just a dick trying to look like Gilbert.
    I tried an ironic Robbie McEwen “pointing to my chest multiple times with both index fingers” salute at the end of Welli-Roubaix. The fact that I was dead last AND still had another lap of the velodrome to do meant it was just embarrasing for all.

  2. Wait…are you guys trying to tell me you don’t come to this site to beat off? Then what do you want with pictures of sweaty, European men with their tight little shorts and smooth, muscular legs?

  3. @ZachOlson
    At least someone gets what “Anatomy of a Photo” is all about.

  4. @Marko, back to your earlier comment on snow in MN, we got about a foot in Bemidji last weekend and now the sky is shitting on us once again. If my bike wasn’t disassembled awaiting crucial parts I’d be fucking pissed.

  5. @ZachOlson
    And to think last year at this time I probably had 750k behind me. This year I’ve got less than half that, way less. It’s been a shitty spring for riding in these parts.

  6. @Marko
    It could be worse. After a nasty ankle sprain in March, I still wasn’t back on the bike by this time last year.

  7. @Marcus
    Porn??? Did someone say Porn? Where????

  8. @Marko

    Damn dude, my rear light bracket has logged more kms than you this year.

  9. @mcsqueak
    Tell me about it dude. Between baby-having, being overloaded at work, and shitty-ass weather, I’ve been getting hosed on riding. Good to hear you’re logging the km’s. You must live in a weather-friendly clime?

  10. @frank
    Perhaps if it becomes a porn site that will be no bad thing.
    Girlfriend after seeing me hastily put down laptop, “What are looking at?”
    Me “Porn”
    Girlfriend “You were not ! You were looking at bikes again, admit it”
    Me, somewhat shamefaced “Yes but only a bit..”
    On the other hand what can you say against a girl who suggests putting hooks inside the house to hang your new bike on.

  11. @Marko I’ve got about 200k on the road bike, and maybe 300k on my commuter, but I spent all winter on my mag trainer. Last week when it was 70 and sunny for a day I went out and ended up riding with this triathlete on his aero bike who I met out there. I kicked butt, climbing the little hills in my 53×17 and rolling 40+k/h into the wind. I rode that guy until his tongue was hanging. All I have to say is, mag trainers make you STRONG if you can stand to sit on them and do some hard intervals.

    But…I have a horrible sin to confess…I’ve been running since December and have about 400 miles on my sneakers. My endurance base is well-built because of it. I feel a little dirty every time I slide my bike between my legs, though.

    But you’re out in Ely right? Maybe late may or early June after school’s out and we’re less busy (you are a teacher, right?) we should meet up and ride around your neck of the woods.

  12. @ frank, add a point for me for Purito, as in Juaquim “Purito” Rodriguez. Thank you.

  13. @Marko

    That’s right, there was that baby too… they’ll eat up your time (in a good way), that’s for sure. I can’t keep track of everyone who is having babies around these parts.

    I live in good ‘ol Portland, so the climate is not too bad if you can stand the rain. It’s rarely ever too cold to ride, and honestly there have been plenty of cold but not rainy day’s this winter. It’s the start of my second spring on my bike now, and I’m logging speeds and climb numbers that it took me until last June to reach, so I feel pretty good right now coming out of winter.

  14. frank:
    Marianne Vos spanked the field today as well; dominated. Chick is BAD.ASS.

    Amazing ride by Vos for her 4th Fleche title! Good stuff! And absolutely fantastic ride by Gilbert, who I stupidly thought would be hiding his cards a bit for Sunday…I can’t believe I dropped from my high position of 61st in the standings to 66th!

  15. Days even, no apostrophe. I swear, if someone were to read only what I post on here, they’d think English was my third language.

  16. mcsqueak:It’s the start of my second spring on my bike now, and I’m logging speeds and climb numbers that it took me until last June to reach, so I feel pretty good right now coming out of winter.

    Good for you! I’m feeling much the same way. Much stronger and much better sensations, especially going uphill.

  17. So the question is how will anyone beat PhilGil at LBL? They now know fo’ sure that they can’t do it by waiting for a sprint half way up the final climb. So someone’s gonna have to go early. Real early. In a break. And then guts it out, hardman style, to the end. Does anyone else hear that low, savage Kazakhstani growl growing louder … ?

  18. @G’phant
    Can a person have that much luck? I’m just glad we have a few days to think about this. Again I have never seen LBL so I’m gonna have to do my home work.

  19. @G’phant

    I think I’m going to have to go with him as my number one pick, the guy is on fire right now. Of course, that means he won’t be in the top 5 after I pick him.

    @Steampunk

    Thanks mate! I didn’t hit the rollers nearly as often as I thought I was going to this winter, and I’m certainly still trying to make up my stamina and endurance (especially on hill climbs), but I feel pretty good. Rides no longer feel like slogs like they did two months ago, and they are ending because I’m run out of time rather than energy. The bike just moves and the legs just go.

  20. @G’phant
    Of course, we were saying the same kinds of things about Spartacus a few weeks ago. Is it time to put Jens in a top five?

    @mcsqueak
    Yeah. I had a pretty lousy winter for training, and the first few rides really hurt, but I’ve been feeling a lot better of late. Yesterday’s ride was one of those rolling hills rides, and I basically lived in about 53×17 and just hopped out of the saddle to get over every hill””some of them pretty long/steep. Felt good to have the confidence to just power on up. Of course, I’m not carrying a rear light bracket up with me, so maybe my experience isn’t as impressive.

  21. Steampunk:
    Of course, I’m not carrying a rear light bracket up with me, so maybe my experience isn’t as impressive.

    It’s like a boat anchor.

  22. mcsqueak :

    Steampunk:Of course, I’m not carrying a rear light bracket up with me, so maybe my experience isn’t as impressive.

    It’s like a boat anchor.

    I feel the same way about my arse, but it’s not detachable.

  23. PhilGil, the new Rebellin.

  24. It’s like a boat anchor.
    I feel the same way about my arse, but it’s not detachable.

    Buck Rogers :
    @Marcus Porn??? Did someone say Porn? Where????

    mcsqueak :
    @Marko
    Damn dude, my rear light bracket has logged more kms than you this year.

    It’s funny how the mere mention of adult content colours the way you read things. Also selective quoting is the friend of Journalists everywhere.

  25. @BrettOK

    BrettOK :
    PhilGil, the new Rebellin.

    Are you implying what I think you’re implying? And are you at work this afternoon?

  26. @Bianchi Denti
    Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.

    (Not at work)

  27. BrettOK :
    PhilGil, the new Rebellin.

    Oh GOD, let’s hope not!

  28. Lepidopterist :
    @frankPerhaps if it becomes a porn site that will be no bad thing.Girlfriend after seeing me hastily put down laptop, “What are looking at?”Me “Porn”Girlfriend “You were not ! You were looking at bikes again, admit it”Me, somewhat shamefaced “Yes but only a bit..”

    Damn, man, that hits a little too close to home!

  29. Buck Rogers:

    BrettOK :
    PhilGil, the new Rebellin.

    Oh GOD, let’s hope not!

    Gilbert is almost universally regarded as a clean rider, for what that’s worth.

  30. @Oli Brooke-White

    Indeed – http://inrng.com/?p=2729#more-2729

  31. @Oli Brooke-White
    I think @Brett meant to say “eradicating the memory of Rebellin.”

  32. All I meant was doing the triple… you guys are so suspicious!

  33. Zach – yep, I think it is pure awesomeness that Frank and the others do this just for fun. Good on the lot of ya!

    And the VSP is great as well. I reluctantly played along in a NCAA b-ball pool with friends, just for fun. I really didn’t care. But the VSP? I spend time really, really think over these picks, and now I’m having to make three in a week. Time consuming!

    But, it really is pure awesomeness how many of us are brought together to cheer on skinny men in Lycra and talk about bicycles.

  34. BrettOK :
    PhilGil, the new Rebellin.

    For what it is worth, I found Rebellin hard to like what with his sit on, snivelling, Klingon tactics, yes he would win but not in a likeable way. And that was before he went +. And don’t start me on his mate Shumacher.

  35. Buck Rogers:

    ramenvelo :
    @frankNOOOOOOOO! So cruel, I thought I was getting a bumper sticker.

    Don’t feel too bad. Bumper stickers are only given out for the Monuments. :)

    So “As usual, the winner of this VSP edition will earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker and all reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free personalized Velominati Shop Apron.” Is this for the Ardennes Classics? I’m confused.

  36. @Buck Rogers
    Yeah I played but had Gilbert in 4th rather than 1st. Didnt think he would have the legs to get up the last climb in the lead… Bugger! Still got 1 point though.
    Gerrans has let me down again, Cuntador missed his evening steak by the looks of it and Andy was just being a girl! Bah bring on L.B.L, ATTACK!

  37. @ZachOlson
    When is anything in cycling ever cheap? Any we all know we would pay through the nose (like Boonen) to keep following this site

  38. @BrettOK
    Has anyone ever done the quadruple Gilbert is set up for?

  39. @Nate

    I’m sorry, you seem to have mistaken me for someone who knows what they’re talking about.

  40. @BrettOK
    No worries mate. Maybe one of our resident historians will be good enough to enlighten us.

  41. frank, you’ve given me a point for veino, and he didn’t finish top 5!

  42. @andy
    you, sir, are unable to read.
    I take it all back, your system is flawless frank, I am totally am the idiot in this process.

  43. @frank
    I picked him for second… should have picked Veino instead, at least Veino still has class

  44. @Scuba Steve
    Sorry Mate! I wasn’t even trying to be a smartass, just did not see your picks! It’s getting tight at the front of the pack!!!

  45. ramenvelo :

    Buck Rogers:

    ramenvelo :@frankNOOOOOOOO! So cruel, I thought I was getting a bumper sticker.

    Don’t feel too bad. Bumper stickers are only given out for the Monuments. :)

    So “As usual, the winner of this VSP edition will earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker and all reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free personalized Velominati Shop Apron.” Is this for the Ardennes Classics? I’m confused.

    The actual VSP rules state that, “winners of select races (the monuments) will receive a free “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker.” That was what I was referring to.

  46. Ron: But the VSP? I spend time really, really think over these picks, and now I’m having to make three in a week. Time consuming!

    Same with me. My performance at work suffers the day before a race because all I can think about are my picks.

  47. The question: is Gilbert good enough to win L-B-L?
    In 2009 he was 4th on 1 minute 24 seconds, in 2010 he was 4th on 1 minute 4 seconds. This suggests he lacks the real climbing and sprint to win it. But then, he is Gilbert.

  48. @Netraam Ooooorrrr are you just trying to psyche people out and get them away from Gilbert so you can scoop up five tasty VSP points just for yourself? Huh? HUH?

    Gilbert will be my #1 pick going into L-B-L. He’s earned at least that much from me by stomping souls into the pavement.

  49. @ZachOlson

    Gilbert is going to be my #1 pick as well, so you’re in good company.

  50. @ZachOlson
    No. I have never placed Gilbert on #1 yet and I’m not planning to. Yet.

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