Velominati Super Prestige: la Vuelta a Espana

Velominati Super Prestige: la Vuelta a Espana

by / / 246 posts

The inaugural Velominati Super Prestige continues with its the final Grand Tour of the season, la Vuelta a España, on Saturday, August 28. This will be the final opportunity for contestants to rake in a load of points; and with the list of injuries, and non-starts together with riders using the race as preparation for the World Championships in October, it will make it all the more challenging to pull together some good picks.

This particular Grand Tour is simultaneously the most boring and most exciting; various sections of Spain features desert with dead-straight roads where little is to be seen aside from a colorful peloton gliding along a road for 6 hours.  On the other hand, the mountains are steep and brutal, and the weather this time of year can be atrocious, so the mountain stages tend to showcase fireworks like we don’t see elsewhere during the season.

Having run the VSP Giro and Tour editions where we tested the ruleset for picks, and I think by this time we’ve managed to set up a scoring system that seems fair and helps to close down the competition to afford newcomers the ability to catch up with some good picks. There is a full overview of the rules and standing at the VSP Schedule, Rules, & Results page, but here is the ten-second overview:

Every contestant is to choose their top five General Classification picks of the race.  The final podium of la Vuelta is worth 15 points to the winner, 10 points for second, 5 points for third, 3 points for fourth, and 2 point for fifth. Given the effect crashes can have on a tour, there are guidelines around making changes to your lineup during the race: you’re allowed to change your lineup if any rider in your pick list drops out for any reason without any penalty; rest days will allow contestants to make changes to their lineup, however those changes will come at a point penalty.  (Visit the VSP Schedule, Rules, & Results page for a complete breakdown of these points.)

Every day, the leader in the points standings will have the honor of wearing the Golden Jersey when posting on the site; the overall winner will wear the Golden Jersey for the remainder of the season and will also earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker.  All reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free Velominati Artisan’s Shroud.  As always, if you are inclined to enter, simply post your predictions for the top five placings.

Continuing with our jersey picks from the Tour de France edition is the competition of naming the winner of the points and climber’s jersey winners.  There will be no points awarded towards these two jerseys, but the leader of the competition will have the honor of commenting with associated jersey badge throughout the competition and the winner will earn the right to comment with that badge until next year’s race.  The contestant who picks both the final points and climbers jersey winners correctly will win a Velominati Logo bumper sticker.   Tie-breakers will go to the first contestant who posts their entire lineup (all 5 GC picks plus points and climbers  jersey winners).  Given that this sub-competition has no points, pick substitutions will only be granted under the DNF regulations of the VSP; no rest-day substitutions are allowed.

Sub-competitions will be conducted while the Vuelta is underway for specific stages.  These stages will be chosen a few days prior to the stage being held and will be selected based on the current race conditions with the aim of choosing the most decisive and exciting stages of the race, so check back often to make sure you don’t miss out.  Sub-competitions will be held in separate editions.

Good luck!

Rules and results are posted Velominati Super Prestige page.

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. If Menchov can make up an hour on the ITT, I could have all five of my picks in the top five. Just sayin’…

  2. Also, that could also have been some of the best and most explosive riding I’ve ever seen from a Schleck today.

  3. @Steampunk

    Also, that could also have been some of the best and most explosive riding I’ve ever seen from a Schleck today.

    That was rad. You know what the worst of it was? I had a conference call from 7am to 8am which let out about 10 minutes early. I rushed upstairs, turned on the tele and watched for a few minutes. Then got on the next call at 8 and got off around 8:45. I MISSED ALL OF IT. Stupid job.

    @Brett
    Actually, I was thinking of Oscar Sevilla, but Rujano is better! *And I just put him in the queue for e-riders of the 00’s.*

    @Hawkeye

    I wonder if they ever did wind tunnel testing to see if the enormity of Rujano’s ears when compared to the tininess of his body gave him a net gain or loss over the average pro in the peloton?

    Back in 2003, on April Fools day, CyclingNews.com posted an article that the UCI was suspending Pantani for getting cosmetic surgery to have his ears tacked back and that equated to altering your body for performance enhancement. I swallowed the story hook, line, and sinker. I was incensed that the UCI would do that to him after all he’d been through.

  4. @frank
    there are certain benefits to lying on the floor most of the day. Except I was out with the kids when Schleck attacked and got back for the last 3km. Stupid ki…oh

  5. Rest Day changes…

    1. J-Rod in for Roman (I figure Nibali will beat him in the TT so this doesn’t break the Piti Principle)
    2. Tommy Danielson
    3. Car-lose
    4. Roche
    5. Nibali

  6. Rest day changes:
    1. Nibali
    2. F.Grimp
    3. Xavi Toto
    4. Invisible Denis Nico
    5. J Rod

  7. Ok, rest day subs…

    1: J-Rod
    2: Invisible Denis Nibbles
    3: Carlo’s Ashtray… he’ll smoke em at home.
    4: Old Grimp
    5: Rugs Roche

  8. Rest day pick-change

    Flip J-Rod for Frankenclimb…

    1. J-ROD (was #5)
    2. Papa Tiempo Sastre
    3. Nibali
    4. Menchov
    5. Frankenclimb (was #1)

  9. Rest Day changes

    1. J-Rod
    2. Grimpenheimer the Elder
    3. Nibali
    4. Tommy D
    5. Sastre

  10. Standing pat (although I know LL ain’t gonna make it happen, I gotta dance with the gang I brought)
    Been a really interesting race so far, we’ll see if J Rod can out-TT the Grimp (I think no) plus we got big mountains in Stage 20. I kinda like Nibali at this point…

  11. Did you just see that? Garcia rolls down the ramp at the start of the TT and immediately has to change his from wheel. I don’t have sound on my computer – did he flat as he hit the pavement from the ramp?

  12. Well, fudge. I still love you, J-ROD.

  13. “Peter Velitz gets a fist full of scalps today.” Brilliant commentary. F-ing brilliant.

  14. When are they going to start offering time trial clinics in Luxembourg?

  15. @all

    We took a beating in the VSP…holy buckets.

    1 Andy 17 points
    2 Jarvis 14 points
    3 Hawkeye 13 points
    4 Steampunk 5 points
    5 Geof 3 points
    6 KitCarson 3 points
    7 John 3 points
    8 Marcus 2 points
    9 Frank 2 points
    13 Roberto Marques 1 point
    10 Sgt 1 point
    11 Marko 0 points
    12 Minion 0 points
    14 Nathan Edwards 0 points
    15 Brett 0 points
    16 Ben 0 points
    17 Cyclops 0 points

    Thank Merckx I forgot to update my picks. My changes would have had me in the negative, but now I hold onto a whopping 2 points.

    As usual, check my numbers. Next year we’ll have a big, fancy automated system.

    Big surprise for me was that Faboo got the big ol’ how’s your father.

  16. @Marko

    When are they going to start offering time trial clinics in Luxembourg?

    HA! I was just pondering how it’s possible that someone with the power and the head to go uphill like that can suck so completely against the clock. To beat a TT specialist? No. But 55th? And J-Rod? 105th? Seriously. ‘Sup.

  17. @frank
    Methinks I should be on 5, with J-Rod falling to fifth place after the TT. Looking forward to Saturday!

  18. @frank
    It is an interesting conundrum. Does it come down to position on the bike and rider weight? It seems, as I’m no time trialist and quickly getting too fat to climb again, that both require the use of slow twitch muscles (as opposed to sprinting) and being able to sustain high cardio for longer periods. Certainly this is why we’ve seen so many GT champions succeed at both disciplines. However, Jo-Keen is pretty pinner at 120lbs and Frank, albeit a tall drink of water, still only tops the scales at 130. Faboo has close to fitty pounds on Frank (and a much smoother stroke). Maybe if Le Grimps keep drinking beer and eat a few sandwiches they’ll be contenders one day. But then again, Bertie is certainly no hulk. I’m confused.

  19. @Marko
    Bertie is certainly the anomaly here. I presume the big factor is power, since all of the traditionally strong time trialists tend to be bigger men. Technique is also crucial, since cutting down on energy loss and wind resistance are crucial factors (maybe this is where Bertie picks up points). Watching Spartacus, you could almost cut him off at the waist, given how little his upper body moves (this is technique and power). Compare with J-Rod, who was all over the road today. Schleck, too, for that matter. Presumably size can help, too, when dealing with a tailwind. The bigger mass will get more push. Going uphill, you need to factor in a weight-to-power ratio more carefully, and Spartacus’s extra fifty pounds are extra cargo he has to haul up the hill. I’m sure there’s a much better and more articulate explanation, but that’s what I’ve been figuring…

  20. At the risk of downplaying the biomechanics, I gotta think one’s ability to apply The V to oneself, rather than to others plays a big part. AC found himself down at the first time check in the final TdF TT, but was able to V himself back, and Spartacus seems to have some serious internal dynamism, as he showed in the Spring and on the cobbles in July. I personally find myself on the rivet a lot more on group rides as opposed to solo training… for some reason I can’t bring myself to sit in as much as I probably should, but I have to really focus on drilling it when I’m solo. Maybe Les Grimps have the same affliction?

  21. Saturday will be interesting, less than 30 seconds covering 4th through 9th and Nibbles only has 40 seconds on Vaconsoleils new signing. I could come in nicely here, or blow bigger than J-Rod did last week.

    I reckon Nibbles will hold on by seconds, Velits will bomb to fifth behind FGrimp and J-Rod

  22. As for some riders ability to TT and climb and other to fail miserably at TTing, it’s not about the amount of power one or the other has or hasn’t, otherwise the Grimps wouldn’t be able to climb with the best. I think it mainly comes down to technique, climbing is a lot more about power-to-weight, while in the TT you have to be able to convert that power into speed rather than just combating gravity. So smoothness of stroke and body, mental aptitude and a big one, the shape of your body. Simply put, some people fold themselves into an aero shape better than others.

    Take Wiggo for example. Could always TT, lose a bit of the chub and he goes up hills. The Grimps, could always climb, but all the might of Riis tactical nous and Specialized bikes and likely wind tunnel work and practice and the gains are a lot smaller.

  23. @Steampunk

    Methinks I should be on 5, with J-Rod falling to fifth place after the TT.

    Right you are; I missed Mosquera in your list. Updated. Thanks.

  24. @Jarvis, @Steampunk, @Marko
    All good points. It’s a weird one, this. I’m not even expecting them to keep up with Faboo or anything, but the gap is enormous. WTF? Personally, I think it has to do with how much time they work at it. I bet a guy like Faboo takes his TT bike out for kicks and is really used to riding it; I bet the Grimps are just like, “Awww…Dad?!? Do I hafta?” every time Bjarne sternly tells them to climb aboard. The more they practice, the more aero they get, the faster they get…

    Have you gotten out the the extensions on a full TT bike going full tilt? It’s scary as fuck. I can imagine practice would help out.

  25. What’s up with the stubby helmets Garmin’s using? Haven’t noticed them before.

  26. frank :
    Personally, I think it has to do with how much time they work at it. I bet a guy like Faboo takes his TT bike out for kicks and is really used to riding it; I bet the Grimps are just like, “Awww…Dad?!? Do I hafta?” every time Bjarne sternly tells them to climb aboard. The more they practice, the more aero they get, the faster they get…

    You could be right, but I’m having a very hard time believing that even the free-spirited Schlecks (as Riis called them recently””maybe just Andy) would put off that kind of training, especially since they’re mere seconds out of being world beaters.

    Jarvis :As for some riders ability to TT and climb and other to fail miserably at TTing, it’s not about the amount of power one or the other has or hasn’t, otherwise the Grimps wouldn’t be able to climb with the best. I think it mainly comes down to technique, climbing is a lot more about power-to-weight, while in the TT you have to be able to convert that power into speed rather than just combating gravity. So smoothness of stroke and body, mental aptitude and a big one, the shape of your body. Simply put, some people fold themselves into an aero shape better than others.

    You probably nailed it there.

  27. @frank
    Actually, it was the orange chainring that caught my eye before the helmet. Still trying to decide if that’s awesome or hideous. How many riders are rocking the ovoid? I seem to remember Wiggins on one and Sastre and, of course, Julich, but I thought this experiment was pretty much done a decade ago.

  28. From my homeboy Dave Zabriskie’s blog, in reference to his break in Stage 14:

    “One thing I left out about yesterday’s update was that when I blew I hid in a driveway until the field passed. As a result some people never thought I got caught until everything was done. But today Phillipe Gilbert told me he saw me hiding and was cracking up.”

    What other sorts of pranks do people pull in the peloton? Or are they mostly all taking themselves too seriously?

  29. @frank
    the stubby helmets might be something to do with what you see in that picture of Millar. When a rider looks down, the back of the helmet goes up and the full-length aero helmets stick a fair way up into the wind and as such are about as aerodynamic as a brick. The stubby might be an attempt to reduce this problem, perhaps someone worked out that a rider loses more time by sticking a full-faired helmet up into the wind than they do by the loss of aerodynamics provided by the stubby. I imagine it’s very hard keeping your neck in the most aero position for the whole TT and some look down a lot, inc. Millar. Don’t know, but was it all of the Garmin team, or just certain riders?

    @Steampunk
    That was biopace and it was done with by ’92. What people didn’t think to do was use them on TT bikes rather than road bikes. I don’t know what went wrong with bio-pace, but they were horrible, perhaps they weren’t extreme enough. These new ‘rings seem to have taken off though.

  30. @JarvisAll the pictures I saw on the Garmin site were like that (DM, DZ and TD)… so probably all of them

  31. Or this?

    In an almost-poetic way to finish his career, Arrieta dropped out of the Spanish Grand Tour at the foot of the Lagos de Covadonga, the same climb which proved too much for five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain…

  32. Or this?

    Arrieta retires…

    “In an almost-poetic way to finish his career, Arrieta dropped out of the Spanish Grand Tour at the foot of the Lagos de Covadonga, the same climb which proved too much for five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain…”

  33. What an amazing ride by Nibbles!!

  34. yeah, thank god for that…couldn’t have been a worse scenario than Mosquera winning GC, not least for my GC chances. As usual I was miles off with the stage

  35. @Jarvis
    You are certainly making a strong push in this edition, that’s for sure!

    @all
    The overall stays largely the same (including bonus points)

    1 Andy 17 points
    2 Jarvis 13 points
    3 Hawkeye 13 points
    4 KitCarson 5 points
    5 Steampunk 4 points
    6 Roberto Marques 4 points
    7 Geof 3 points
    8 Marcus 2 points
    9 Frank 2 points
    13 Sgt 1 point
    10 John 1 point
    11 Marko 0 points
    12 Minion 0 points
    14 Nathan Edwards 0 points
    15 Ben 0 points
    16 Brett 0 points
    17 Cyclops 0 points

  36. @frank
    yes, you will notice that all my changes have succeeded in doing is costing me four points.

  37. @Jarvis
    That’s all mine did too… though you’ll notice, that of my original picks, 3 of them got top 10, but none in top 5… rubbish…

  38. @Nathan Edwards, @Jarvis
    I forgot to make changes, but would have befallen the same fate as you had I managed it.

  39. T-BONE!!

    That closes out the VSP Vuelta; Andy wins, with Bem taking green and Marcus takes the dotty jumper.

    1 Andy 17 points
    2 Jarvis 13 points
    3 Hawkeye 13 points
    4 KitCarson 5 points
    5 Steampunk 4 points
    6 Roberto Marques 4 points
    7 Geof 3 points
    8 Marcus 2 points
    9 Frank 2 points
    13 Sgt 1 point
    10 John 1 point
    11 Marko 0 points
    12 Minion 0 points
    14 Nathan Edwards 0 points
    15 Ben 0 points
    16 Brett 0 points
    17 Cyclops 0 points

  40. @Collin
    I remember Cipo and another Italian rode off the front in the Giro, kept going until they were out of sight and then turned around and rode back toward the peloton, just to create mayhem and to amuse.

    And Kelly used to drag an empty coke can on the tarmac as it sounds like a bike crash, just to mess with the field.

  41. @all
    Well, the VSP Standings are officially updated. The competition is slanting strongly towards Andy, who has opened up an 11 point gap over Geoff. John and Steampunk are in the running, and Hawkeye is quickly moving up the standings as well.

    1 Andy 56 points
    2 Geoff 45 points
    3 John 44 points
    4 Steampunk: 42 points
    5 Frank 39 points
    6 Hawkeye 39 points
    7 Rob 38 points
    8 Joe 35 points
    9 Jarvis 35 points
    10 Marcus: 35 point
    11 Brett 33 point
    12 Robert Marques: 30 point
    13 Scott 26 points
    14 Roadslave 25 points
    15 Marko 24 points
    16 Ben 19 points
    17 Pont 15 points
    18 Souleur: 10 points
    19 Crossy: 10 points
    20 Nathan Edwards: 7 points
    21 KitCarson 6 points
    22 Daniel 5 points
    23 David: 2 points
    24 Dan O 2 points
    25 Joshua 2 points
    26 David 1 points
    27 Sgt 1 points
    29 James 0 points
    30 Jim 0 points
    31 Ben: 0 points
    32 Dale: 0 points
    33 Cyclops 0 points
    34 Houdini 0 points

  42. Just the Worlds and Lombardy left?

  43. @Steampunk
    Also Paris-Tours;

    Wold Road Race Championships, October 3

    Paris-Tours, October 10

    Giro di Lombardia, October 16

    Anything can still happen; a perfect score is worth 15 points in a one-day!

  44. @frank
    Is there another John out there I don’t know about? Sheeeit, I better start paying attention. The Worlds, there is a rough one. I’m not betting on Cav.

    If Fabooo signs with the Dark Side(Team Sky) I’ll be weepin’. He must go Swiss and do the BMC thang. I’ve taken some comfort that Sky has not dominated the season as I had feared. It goes to show, it still is not easy to win any race no matter how big your budget is. Maybe Garmin will finally win a classic with Thor.

  45. The rest day changes are killing me! 3 in the top 5 for La Vuelta, and no points!

  46. @john
    Looks like the Schlecks are ruthlessly recruiting their entire support squad over from Saxo:
    http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/09/news/report-cancellara-to-join-schleck-brothers_141834

    Garmin with Thor…now that’s a combination that’s hard not to like. Unless you don’t like Garmin and/or you don’t like Thor, but I like ‘em both and Brett says I’m allowed to like whoever I want.

  47. @Steampunk

    Back to racing (this is a thread about racing, right?). I’m sorry we see Mosquera only once a year.

    Wish granted.

  48. @frank
    I’m not altogether a Garmin fan (and I’ve really gone cold on Corn fed), but I became a big Hesjedal fan this summer and it’s hard not to like these guys for the Spring Classics. Thor, Ryder, Haus? These guys could be fierce. They still need a GC rider, though, because I can’t see O Hesjedal doing better than he did this summer in the TdF, and Banged and Felled just doesn’t have it, in my opinion.

    Re. Mosquera: is this really a move up? At 35 and riding alongside Ricco? Maybe he does the Vuelta again, but he seems to be more of a GT rider, and how many invites are Vacansoleil really going to get? They couldn’t even get a Tour invite even with one of the more promising French riders in their stable. He had a terrific Vuelta, and he made a number of those stages much more interesting, but methinks he’s on the tapering side of his career and cashing in with a good contract. Good on him, but I think we’ve seen his best. Am I the only one who put him in the top five in the VSP? I’m not sure I will for next year.

  49. The more promising French riders are now leaving Vaconsoleil. Ricco has a few problems, not least that ertswhile team leader Bjorn Leukemanns seems to hate his guts and his pointless* presence on the team. Not sure how Mozzies presence is going to be received, but at least he has a point*

    *Mozzie in fact has a lot more UCI points than RIcco who has none, therefore being no benefit to Vaconsoleil other than for notoriety purposes

  50. Well my tactics in expecting Mosquera to be DQ’ed have borne fruit. Frank we need a re-count…

Leave a Reply

VSP Picks
Picks entry/modification closes in approximately .
1.

Pick not yet mapped

2.

Pick not yet mapped

3.

Pick not yet mapped

4.

Pick not yet mapped

5.

Pick not yet mapped

Note: Your picks will be added to your post for everyone to see. Do not add them to the box below.