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. WELLENS Tim
    2. CUMMINGS Stephen
    3. MARTIN Dan
    4. VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro
    5. GESINK Robert
  2. Picking Rue Naniot to open things up and make the result much more random than recent years. Valverde closely marked and unwilling to chase multiple attacks from there. Better still it’s quite damp and he’s out of it. Or something.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Rui Costa
    2. Wellens
    3. Alaphillipe
    4. Gasparotto
    5. Bardet
  3. VSP PICKS:

    1. Diego Rosa
    2. Julian Alaphilippe
    3. Alejandro Valverde
    4. Jakob Fuglsang
    5. Enrico Gasparotto
  4. A win for the vintage motocrossers.

    Danni M finds himself again at the business end, but with a tired leader who can’t finish off this time, blowing it for his loyal yet stronger helper who bangs his bars with disappointment at what could’ve been.

    No-one sees Wallays.

    Rain? Wind? Any Porte in a storm?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Roger da Costa
    2. Moreno
    3. Piti
    4. Wez Wallays
    5. Porte
  5. @Steampunk

    yeah, only way either of us is getting a frame is if BFM buys us one, or two cuz I’m not sharing.

    In the end, I just don’t have enough faith in Gerrans,

    or in my faith, for that matter.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde, Al
    2. Martin, DAN FUCKING
    3. Laphillipe, Jules
    4. Costa, Rui
    5. Gasparatto, Rico
  6. VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Julian Alaphilippe
    3. Michal Kwiatkowski
    4. Simon Gerrans
    5. Roman Kreuziger
  7. Damned weekend working, I’m late to the party on this one. Let’s see what my VSP-Spy™ links can come up with.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Alaphilippe
    3. Dan Martin
    4. Poels
    5. Gerrans
  8. Premature prognostication earlier…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Rodriguez
    4. Valverde
    5. Kreuzinger
  9. VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Daniel Martin
    3. Julian Alaphilippe
    4. Simon Gerrans
    5. Michal Kwiatkowski
  10. Alright. Enough second guessing. And I’m not getting up at 2:00am to check the news for failed drug tests or anomalies in an Astana rider’s biological passport.

    Etixx’s one-two threat should check Valverde with Martin for the win. Martin has the age, experience and we know he’s good in the rain. 50%-60% chance of rain, so we’re putting in Costa for fourth and Nibali for a fifth.

    Hard to ignore SKY and I’m probably making a mistake leaving out Wellens and Lotto-Soudal, but we’re picking the top five, not top ten. Should consider

    Krueziger, but don’t think Saxo-Tinkoff can compete with the Etixx, Movistar, Lotto and Astana. So there we go.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Alejandro Valverde
    3. Julian Alaphilippe
    4. Rui Costa
    5. Vincenzo Nibali
  11. VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Dan Martin
    3. Julian Alaphilippe
    4. Romain Bardet
    5. Rui Costa
  12. Nearly forgot to get these in.  Here’s hoping for another point in the VSP.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Rui Costa
    2. Nibali
    3. Alaphillipe
    4. Porte
    5. Woods
  13. I’m thinking age and treachery make for a geriatric’s finale.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. D. F. Martin
    2. Valverde
    3. Gaspa
    4. Fuglsang
    5. Rui Costa
  14. *shakes magic V-ball*

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Dan Martin
    3.  Rui Alberto Faria da Costa
    4. Julian Alaphilippe
    5. Enrico Gasparotto
  15. VSP PICKS:

    1. MARTIN Daniel
    2. NIBALI Vincenzo
    3. ALAPHILIPPE Julian
    4. KWIATKOWSKI Michal
    5. VALVERDE Alejandro
  16. This should be good.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Valverde
    3. Wellens
    4. Alaphilippe
    5. Poels
  17. Damn phone tried to pick Dan Vettori for some reason

    VSP PICKS:

    1. dan martin
    2. gerro
    3. nibbles
    4. rui costa
    5. valverde
  18. VSP PICKS:

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Julian Alaphillipe
    3. Vincenzo Nibali
    4. Simon Gerrans
    5. Dan Martin

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