Velominati Super Prestige: Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2016

We were descending for a while before I saw Roche’s name painted on the road. It was one of those little bridges over a river that you only seem to find in the Benelux; just a little too ancient and just a little too arched, and just a little too perfectly flawed to be anywhere else.

The trouble was that the sportive was run in the summer after the race had already taken place; Roche had retired the year before, so it seemed really strange that his name would be painted on the road. What we didn’t appreciate was that the previous year’s sportive had used blue arrows to mark the route, and this year’s sportive was using white arrows. After a year in Belgium, blue paint tends to start looking an awful lot like white paint; it was only a matter of time before we took a wrong turn.

Another concerning clue was the fact that we hadn’t seen another rider in much longer than one sees another rider during a sportive event as popular as this one. Neither my dad nor I are dumb people but you didn’t need to be smart to realize there was something horribly amuck with how abandoned the roads were.

We turned around and climbed back up the serpentine route we had gleefully descended into the valley. If memory serves, which I am fairly confident it doesn’t, we added something like 100km to the prescribed route.

The route from Liege to Bastogne is relatively easy, if you consider lots of climbing of short, steep côtes “easy”. On the way back, they pack the climbs in fast and furious, the steeper the better. The Prophet, Eddy Merckx, has his statue at the top of the Stockeu; this is a gratuitous climb if ever there was such a thing. The road wings off the main road to the right and flies up a 21% gradient for just over a kilometer before taking a hard left and swinging right back down to the same point in the road; a loop of suffering added purely for the sake of suffering. When we rode it with Johan Museeuw, he tried to convince us not to ride it, “You don’t need to ride it for me…” When I rode it with my dad, all I remember is woods and suffering.

Liege will be held on Sunday, and I’m done trying to predict the weather in a country where I don’t live except to say I predict there will be weather; either sunny or rainy or stormy, or snowy. As far as winners go, the smart money is on the Valve Cap, which is very disappointing to me and why I’m going with the “dumb” money. Hopefully something exciting will happen instead. So check the start list, and stock up on points for the Don Walker custom frame, Cafe Roubaix wheelset, or V-Kit.

Mercxkspeed.

[vsp_results id=”41898″/]

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223 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2016”

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. VALVERDE Alejandro
    2. ALAPHILIPPE Julian
    3. MARTIN Daniel
    4. SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel
    5. GASPAROTTO Enrico
  2. So keen not to

    Delgado this one and having a chance at posting first, I forgot to add nr 5.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Martin
    4. Alaphilippe
    5. Gerrans
  3. As much as it pains

    me to say, Valverde looks strongest for this.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Michal Kwiatkowski
    3. Julian Alaphilippe
    4. Warren Barguil
    5. Roman Kreuziger
  4. Gilbert is out – not surprising, really.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Froome
    3. Gallopin’ Tony
    4. Dan (not Tony) Martin
    5. Wout Poels
  5. Valverde seems like a fair weather guy to me – not sure he’ll like cold rain so much. Also will be interesting to see what less obvious names pop up as I suspect there’ll be a few riders using this to predict whether they could give the Olympic Road Race a crack.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Valverde
    3. Gerrans
    4. Bardet
    5. Sammie Sachez
  6. If Kubler can, maybe Valverde can ;)

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Martin
    3. Alaphilippe
    4. Gerrans
    5. Nibali
  7. Just in case my Martins get mixed up, I meant Dan Martin the first time!

     

    VSP PICKS:

    1. A Valverde
    2. D Martin
    3. J Alaphilippe
    4. S Gerrans
    5. V Nibali
  8. I’m going to gamble on Valverde NOT winning this one. I think the weather might do us a favour.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Valverde
    3. Gerrans
    4. Alaphilippe
    5. Rodriguez
  9. @Barracuda

    Only one entry box showing. Interportals must be slow down here in Oz

    It’s your browser, try another one. Explorer does not work but Firefox does f.i.

     

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Martin
    4. Alaphilippe
    5. Gerrans
  10. I predict rain for Luik-Bastenaken-Luik (as we call it here) and will be right just to annoy Frank…

    I also prdict that my picks are totally wrong as they are based on mere wishful thinking.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Wellens
    2. Dan Martin
    3. Valverde
    4. Mollema
    5. Slagter
  11. VSP PICKS:

    1. MARTIN Daniel
    2. VALVERDE Alejandro
    3. ALAPHILIPPE Julian
    4. GERRANS Simon
    5. GASPAROTTO Enrico
  12. Dare I leave MalMan out – sure the weather is going to influence this weekend.  Trouble is after midweek I now have expectation from my picks.  This will put me back to normal I’m sure.

  13. I am expecting EQS to run a tactically perfect race which delivers Valverde the victory.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Alaphilippe
    3. Martin
    4. Poels
    5. Gerrans
  14. VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Joaquin Rodriguez
    3. Domenico Pozzovivo
    4. Thomas De Gendt
    5. Julian Alaphilippe
  15. With his KOM on the Huy, gotta give Woods a shot at being in the top 5. And that’s DAN FUCKING MARTIN, not any other fucking Martin who might be in the race!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. DAN MARTIN
    3. Alaphilippe
    4. Sammy Sanchez
    5. Michael Woods
  16. Throwing the SHALB in there just because I want to see what the Sky train is capable of on this course…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. valverde
    2. dan martin
    3. Betancur
    4. Alaphilippe
    5. Froomie
  17. I’d be more comfortable picking 4-8 rather than 1-5 at this race. No idea who should win. But I see I’m picking the same podium as Buck, so that can’t be bad, right? Great minds. Or misery loves company. Or something.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. D. Martin
    2. A. Valverde
    3. J. Alaphilippe
    4. T. Gallopin
    5. R. Bardet
  18. @bobthecat

    VSP PICKS:

    1. alaphilippe
    2. vaverde
    3. gerrans
    4. martin
    5. gasparotto

    Make sure you fix “martin” to Dan Fucking Martin if that’s who you’re picking.

  19. @Owen

    Throwing the SHALB in there just because I want to see what the Sky train is capable of on this course…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. valverde
    2. dan martin
    3. Betancur
    4. Alaphilippe
    5. Froomie

    I seriously contemplated Froome as a top 5, but its known how bad he hates the cold and he’s already complaining on social media…i don’t think his hearts in it.

  20. @Steampunk

    I’d be more comfortable picking 4-8 rather than 1-5 at this race. No idea who should win. But I see I’m picking the same podium as Buck, so that can’t be bad, right? Great minds. Or misery loves company. Or something.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. D. Martin
    2. A. Valverde
    3. J. Alaphilippe
    4. T. Gallopin
    5. R. Bardet

    Oh great, now I can be the scapegoat if Danny Boy crashes again, eh?!?

    Nah, I think Danny will have dialed in that last 1% of difference and be able to carry it through to the end.  But we’ll know soon enough!

    Besides, isn’t he weather supposed to go bad?  Valverde’s not one for bad weather compared to an Irishman!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Malmerde
    3. Alaphillipe
    4. Ulissi
    5. Rui Costa
  21. Here’s hoping my picks get recorded THIS time!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Martin, D
    3. Alaphilippe
    4. Kwiatkowski
    5. Costa
  22. @hudson

    Guy could ride my legs off, but he needs a big dose of Rule #5. It’s cold, harden up. Not all of us can spend the off season tooling around Malorca (or wherever). Maybe it should be a UCI rule that anyone who wants to be a GC in the Tour/Giro has to race at least one snowy race in the spring without bitching about it.

  23. Valverde already said he wasn’t thrilled with the weather forecast–my bet is that the weather takes him out of it.  If Martin can stay on his bike it looks good!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Samuel Sanchez
    3. Alaphillipe
    4. Rui Costa
    5. Valverde
  24. Unless Valverde has changed his tune regarding bad weather, I feel like Dan Martin should take this with the help of his team. We’ll see, and I’ll probably continue languishing in the middle of the pack, because what the hell do I know.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Fucking Martin
    2. Alejandro Valverde
    3. Julian Alaphilippe
    4. Simon Gerrans
    5. Enrico Gasparotto
  25. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde Alejandro
    2. Alaphilippe Julian
    3. Martin Daniel
    4. Kwiatkowski Michal
    5. Gerrans Simon

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