Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Olympic Road Race 2012

Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Olympic Road Race 2012

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You can all wave “goodbye” to your Post GT Depression Syndrome, because the Men’s Olympic Road Race is only three days yonder. I don’t typically give two shits about this particular event; while contested by national teams, unlike the Worlds it appears as just another one-day race on a calendar filled with events that carry much more historical and nostalgic significance. What’s worse, it seems the brilliance has faded from the flame of Olympic Spirit – after all, what is an international sports rivalry without the associated political Boggie Dance of Political Superiority? Merckx, I miss the Cold War.

But this time is different. Contested in London over a route that may or may not favor the squat little speed demon Mark Cavendish, the Cycling world has been abuzz about whether his presence on Team Sky alongside Pippi Longstockings implies his impending doom or his certain success – because everyone knows those are the only two possibilities. Be that as it may, the route boasts to be lumpy enough for breakaways or small field sprints, which makes this particular Velominatus, for once, really excited to see what happens. Oh, and as a special request to the riders, if we could keep everyone off the juice this time round, that would be peaches and creame.

With that, check the start list and pretend like that is going to help you make your predictions. Then look at the route and do the same before making a wild guess and hoping you come up good. One-Day VSP rules apply; get your picks in by the time the countdown timer goes to zero and pray for daylight.

Good luck.

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. @pakrat

    Just to clarify, I’m not calling you out on these points @eightzero.  Just that I thought the race was great regardless of the winner.

    Not to worry. Opinion is all good. VLVV.

  2. @pakrat His “whinging” is entirely correct though! Those countries sitting back waiting for GB to implode didn’t win the race either. I would have thought a bit of effort from a few nations would have been warranted to put them in with a shot too. Although I do see it from that point of view too I can completely understand Cav wishing things had been different, so I don’t see it as whinging just as him wearing his heart on his sleeve like he always does. Pretty hard to be too magnanimous at the end of a race in which your dreams and the hopes of a nation have been crushed, and the emotions are so raw.

  3. @meursault

    @Daccordi Rider

    The poms are hilarious. They call themselves a dream team, tell everyone they are going to ride on the front and Cav will win and then when the plan fails Cav whinges that no one else would help him! Dickhead.

    They still fail to realize after all these years that as long as the Poms don’t win  (and the yanks generally) the rest of the world is pretty happy with the result. I guarantee more Aussies were barracking for Vino than the Douche.

    Any race Vino has been in has been a better race for his presence. He did his time for wrongdoings.

    I’m not sure your enjoyment of another nations failure is that healthy. It may be time to move on.

    Nah, if we don’t barrack based on petty jealousy, ill informed opinion, spite and personal preference all it would be is a group of people sitting around saying “jolly good show chaps, best man won, better luck next time”. Boring.

  4. Where did my Yellow jersey go?

  5. @Oli  But why single out the Aussies? Of course they didn’t chase, with Stuey up the road.  Or, for that matter, any other teams who already had credible people up the road (and no chance of beating Cav in a bunch gallop)? There is a huge difference between Cav’s way of whingeing and Millar’s way of expressing entirely understandable disappointment. And let’s not forget that GB had a team of six, thanks to Bermie. That’s hardly cricket, is it?

  6. Couple of quotes from Stuey, telling it how it is as usual.

    “O’Grady called his day in London “one of the rides of my life” according to The Age. At 38-years-old this would be his final Olympics and he wanted to go out with a bang.

    “That was one of the rides of my life. Today was going to be my last Olympic appearance and I wanted to go all in, the people of London out there today, that was the most incredible [experience] I have ever had in my life …without my wife,” he said.

    From the moment the breakaway left the uninterested peloton, O’Grady was seen talking with his companions, using his vast experience to ensure the pace was controlled and that everyone remained motivated for the task that lay ahead.

    “I was telling the guys last night, ‘without radios, most of those blokes are just sheep. They haven’t got a director telling them what to do.’ They are at the Olympics. I was using a bit of experience and keeping them motivated,” he said.”

    The Australian team’s unwillingness to chase O’Grady flared up at the finish with Mark Cavendish questioning their approach. O’Grady added that race radios and smaller teams of five had set the tone for the majority of the race action but gently reminded the listening press that no team were going to gift Cavendish with an easier ride.

    “It’s like one day cricket and test cricket, it’s two completely different games. You’ve got the Great Britain team saying they’ve pre-written the history books before this race, so of course who wants to come to the finish with Cav? Everyone has the occasion to get a result for themselves in the Olympics, which a lot of the smaller countries, and domestique guys don’t get very often, so it was the rest of the world versus Cav and Great Britain. They can calculate and do statistics, and whatever, but at the end of the day it’s a bike race. You get the right combination of guys out in front and it doesn’t matter who you’ve got behind, it’s going to be very hard to bring back but that’s the gamble they took. That’s bike racing, that’s why we love it.”

     

  7. @G’phant Fair point about singling out the Aussies (although with all due respect O’Grady was never going to win and the Aussies knew that), but perhaps that’s because the Germans helped a little bit and he saw it as a race between himself, Greipel and Goss. My real point is that everyone jumps on whatever Cavendish says in the aftermath of a race. Of course sometimes he says the wrong thing in the disappointment, but that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly a bad person. If I had the form he had and the intense pressure of an entire Nation (and most of the rest of the world!) expecting a win I’m not sure I would comport myself perfectly after failing.

  8. @Oli

    @G’phant with all due respect O’Grady was never going to win and the Aussies knew that

    Agreed. A rider that old and clearly close to retirement had no chance of winning this race.

  9. Firstly, I’ve been in Hobart away from the internet for a few days, so first thing I can say is,

    Thanks English taxpayer for the biggest laugh ever at the opening ceremony.

    Boo hiss to Veino. Look left to check on the bunch then swing 10 metres across the road? I hope Veino keeps his promise for whatever he told Uran he could have.

    Cav’s only chance was to bridge the gap and write his name in the record books. His fault he didn’t do that, not the Aussies. If Jack Bauer can get into the bunch, then WTF?

  10. @Blah Haha! Touche!

  11. Vinokourov’s letter in full:

    “While reading the press comments regarding my last victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege I was deeply saddened. I don’t understand this persecution against me.

    I can’t do anything against the doubts hanging over me since the 2007 case, but I reject all the accusations brought against me today, without any evidence. Since my return in August, I have always been honest with the press, I responded to all requests for interviews, I have hidden nothing.

    Ironically, my victory in Liège seems to revive old jealousies for which I am not responsible. The media comments contrast with the hundreds of congratulatory messages from fans that I keep getting on my website and my Facebook page. I don’t understand this discrepancy.

    As if I had to be forbidden of success on my bike to leave everyone with a clear conscience. In which sport are we allowed to be at the start of a competition without the right to win?

    I love cycling, it gave me everything and I want to give it good things in return. I paid two years on suspension for the dark years of my career. If I repeated that I didn’t want to talk about it, it’s only for the sake of my sport. I don’t think cycling needs to reconsider all these dirty stories to move forward. This is my personal vision of this problem, everybody is not obliged to share it. Obviously my attitude that I consider the most correct and most respectful way possible is one more time misinterpreted. I’m sorry.

    Again, I have nothing to hide. Since my come back I have been the subject of more than 30 doping tests, all negatives, including 21 in the context of the Adams [the whereabouts system]. This allows me to validate my biological passport and therefore to race. In Tenerife, where I had my recent training before the Tour of Trentino that arose the indignation of some journalists, I was subject to two unannounced blood and urine tests in two weeks. I can’t do more than what the sport regulations ask me, to prove my honesty.

    Today, I only wish to be respected as I respect everyone, my colleagues in the peloton as well as the journalists. I don’t want to be the only and too easy target for all the ills of cycling.”

    Alexandre Vinokourov

    Read more: http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/3938/Alexandre-Vinokourov-An-open-letter-to-the-cycling-community.aspx#ixzz2260wxJi5

  12. At least Vino has retired and we won’t have to put up with four years of gold bling hanging off his bike and kit for a one day race!

  13. @meursault

    It’s something only Aussies understand …

  14. So I’ve lurked for a while here, and I thought this would be a good place to first post as this is really the first road race I’ve been able to watch start to finish.

    I have a question about GB’s tactics here. If they had 5 guys, why near the end of this race did they not go with the second breakaway group? They were all up at the front, and knew there was a dozen or so racers up ahead. With the last lap of Box Hill coming and another 40k(?) or so to go, why would they need another team to go with them if they all said “Ok lads, this is it!” and took off with the second chase?

  15. @Oli

    @Blah Haha! Touche!

    Was hoping you’d like it. So very much wanted to Stuey to win or get a medal. Oh well, he’s done that and been there, if not on the road (don’t think he’d trade his cobble for it, either). Easily my favourite rider since I started watching road cycling back in the nineties.

  16. One over-arching comment -Monday morning quarterbacking on race tactics is an argument without answer.Which is why it is good fun.

    Secondly – this talk of Stuey never being a chance is crazy. He was there and he has the smarts and a pretty decent all rouNd set of legs. He was as good a chance as many others. And this brings me to my real point – imagine if the Aussies had joined the chase, Cav had wonand Goss finished out of the medals. You would have had people like me ripping into the Aussies about chasing down our greatest ever rider etc etc.

  17. Yes, yes. All you Aussies can put down your righteous umbrage. Of course Stuey could have won, and I was wrong to say he couldn’t. Hopefully my ill-considered comments don’t detract from my actual point, which is that Cavendish isn’t a wanker cunt just because he spouted off again.

  18. @Oli jack bauer could have won too. Richard Hadlee is a wanker cunt

  19. Two words: Shane Warne.

  20. @Teh Moos3

    Well, I was on Box Hill and from memory when the second group went clear they only had a 20 second lead for a couple of laps, with the front group’s lead dropping from 5:25 to around 1:40 by about the final climb (when I think the two leading groups had merged).  So perhaps GB thought that time difference wasn’t significant and they would be able to chase it down, along with the other teams that had an interest in a bunch sprint.  Another factor is they had been leading the chase for most of the laps of Box Hill so may have been measuring their efforts in order to stick with their plan.  Perhaps they didn’t realise how strong the leading group was both in terms of the quality of the riders in it and the number of teams.

    In terms of why teams should help each other, it’s useful to consider the strategy’s available for the race:

    1) (For teams with good sprinters) Engineer a bunch sprint on the Mall and let the sprinters battle it out.  Teams here included GB, Australia, Germany, USA (?)

    2) (For teams without good sprinters but perhaps better allrounders) Attack, form breakaways, put the teams following strategy 1) under pressure by making them chase.  Teams here included Belgium, Netherlands, Italy amongst others

    The point about other teams helping with the chase is not because GB expected them to handover the win but to further their own chances of winning.  So teams following strategy 1) should, in theory, have been working together to get themselves in the best place to win and, in doing so, would have eliminated the teams following strategy 2).  As it was, the teams following strategy 2) prevailed because those following 1) couldn’t get it together.  Also, some teams seemed to be hedging on both strategies but not really fulfilling either.  Yes, O’Grady was in the break and therefore in with a chance of a win but that left Goss and Gerrans (two awesome sprinters) back in the bunch with no apparent plan to bring them into play.  That said, perhaps the Aussies were more tactically astute if they changed their approach to match the way the race developed.

  21. @Jonny

    That makes sense for the most part, but the thing is, by the time that second break took off and had that 20 second lead, GB should have been well aware at that point that the Aussies, Germans and Belgians et. al. weren’t going to give them a shred of <3 and made their own plans at that point. Assuming they could talk to each other in the 5+ hours they had been pulling the whole peloton.

    Or were they not aware that there were something like 30 riders in the newly merged lead group? Does it then follow that Vino and Uran won because the sprinter's teams couldn't play nice and get their shit together?

  22. @Teh Moos3

    I think there’s an interview with David Millar (might be the one in CyclingNews) where he says Cav had the legs for attempting to bridge but they decided to stick with their plan – hopefully I’ve not just made that up.  If that’s the case they simply missed the decisive move as, like you say, they should have figured out they were on their own.

    In terms of awareness, they are Pros so should spot these things. When the leading groups joined up they had sufficient numbers and quality to make things happen for themselves but the fact that only GB were chasing helped.  Just look at what happened in the women’s race for a good example of what happens when the chasers can’t get organised and the lead group has quality riders.

  23. @Jonny

    Having just re-read the Millar interview, he says they were pacing to Cav and therefore didn’t feel they could bridge to the break.  I’m sure I read or saw something where somebody said they thought about it.

  24. @Teh Moos3

    Or were they not aware that there were something like 30 riders in the newly merged lead group? Does it then follow that Vino and Uran won because the sprinter’s teams couldn’t play nice and get their shit together?

    Yes and no – the difference was that GB and Germany were basically the only ‘sprinter’s teams’ . Most others had either breakaway-oriented teams (Belgium, Italy, US) or mixed teams (Australia, Spain).

    It’s typical for one or two riders to be assigned the task of getting in the breakaways – in the Aussie case that would have been Gerrans and O’Grady, and maybe on a good day, Cadel. O’Grady just happened to be in the break that stuck. If they had been caught then Gerrans would have been the one to go with a move like Vinokourov’s, a few kms from the finish. And if all that failed then Goss was there to try for the sprint.

    The flaw in the GB plan was that nearly everyone else had worked out it wasn’t a sprinter’s course. It was much more like a one-day classic and the others planned accordingly. However they clearly hadn’t assigned anyone to get in the breaks so they were all together in the bunch, along with the Germans – Greipel being probably the only person with any chance of beating Cav in a one-on-one.

    What would have been clever for GB might have been to make everyone think they were all for Cav and then put someone in the breakaway. But for that they should probably have selected Geraint Thomas instead of Ian Stannard.

    Personally I think Cav’s outburst is more symptomatic of his dawning realisation that he made a Terrible Mistake joining Sky this year. He’s given a lot and got nothing out of it, and that was probably what was exploding in his head after the race.

  25. @Jonny You may well be thinking of this:

    “We did what we’d planned. Cav had the legs to go with the attacks on the last climb but trusted our ability to bring it home. Gutted.”

  26. At least we can generally debate tactics rather than who actually won or lost… unlike the men’s gymnastics.

    That’s what happens when you award gold medals for exercise, not competitive sport.

  27. @Chris

    That’s it, cheers!

  28. Guns?  Did someone say guns?  http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/this-is-freakish—german-cyclist-shows-off-his-freakishly-large-thighs-in-bizarre-twitter-picture/question-2839633/

    (Wasn’t sure where to post this, but as it is (kinda) Olympics-related here seemed no less appropriate than anywhere else…)

  29. @G’phant

    Guns?  Did someone say guns?  http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/this-is-freakish“”german-cyclist-shows-off-his-freakishly-large-thighs-in-bizarre-twitter-picture/question-2839633/

    (Wasn’t sure where to post this, but as it is (kinda) Olympics-related here seemed no less appropriate than anywhere else…)

    How freaky can one’s guns get?

    http://edge.ebaumsworld.com/mediaFiles/picture/423855/472180.gif

     

  30. @ChrisO

    At least we can generally debate tactics rather than who actually won or lost… unlike the men’s gymnastics.

    That’s what happens when you award gold medals for exercise, not competitive sport.

    I’d argue that it is technique vs exercise for the men’s gymnastics events.  How many times have we ‘discussed’ here about a riders form vs his capability to win?  I have to say, however, those gymnastics boys/girls have some serious strength in their chosen activity.

  31. @ChrisO

    @Teh Moos3

    What would have been clever for GB might have been to make everyone think they were all for Cav and then put someone in the breakaway.

    That someone may as well have bean this guy….

  32. @sthilzy

    @G’phant

    Guns?  Did someone say guns?  http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/this-is-freakish“”german-cyclist-shows-off-his-freakishly-large-thighs-in-bizarre-twitter-picture/question-2839633/

    (Wasn’t sure where to post this, but as it is (kinda) Olympics-related here seemed no less appropriate than anywhere else…)

    How freaky can one’s guns get?

    http://edge.ebaumsworld.com/mediaFiles/picture/423855/472180.gif

     

    I’m only guessing here but he probably has erectile dysfunction. Helga, vere are de pills!

  33. @frank

    @San Tonio takes the win in a three-way tie over @GProsser and @Onmybici. Cheers!

    Can I get some Olympic Rings for my avatar, or maybe a gold medal?

  34. @sthilzy “Helga, don’t pull so hard, it just won’t work anymore”

  35. Gustav Larsson, if wearing that helmet makes the difference between gold and silver… it still isn’t worth it.

  36. Wow, Froome has overtaken Sylvain Chavanel at 18km… and Chavanel is the French TT champion.

    Bad day for LL Sanchez… broke chain on the start ramp, then had a puncture.

  37. Now Martin 12 seconds faster than Froome and Wiggins another 11 seconds ahead of Martin at the 18km mark… Faboo to come.

  38. Faboo not looking good now. Will be lucky to podium at this rate.

  39. Brilliant ride by Wiggins.

    Poor Cancellara – he’s clearly in real agony. Chapeau to him for giving it his best shot.

  40. @ChrisO

    Brilliant ride by Wiggins.

    Poor Cancellara – he’s clearly in real agony. Chapeau to him for giving it his best shot.

    Awful to watch Faboo and painful to see Taylor Phinney outside the medals again – but Wiggo just rode like a machine – and same for Martin and Froome. Great riding all around!

  41. Ya gotta feel for MinPhin. 4th in the road race and 4th in the time trial. So close in both events, but no medal.

  42. Beaker was in control from start to finish–looked almost effortless.   What an incredible ride.  Too bad for Spartacus–that RR crash really did him in.

    And FYI, Kristin Armstrong took the Women’s TT Gold.  USA! USA! USA!

  43. Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

  44. @wiscot

    Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

    I don’t think the noble Lords spend a lot of time on Twitter…

    Not in favour of knight/dame-hoods for current sportspeople – I think it should wait until they retire. Certainly didn’t do Sir Chris Hoy any good.

  45. Awesome ride by Wiggo. Can he add the World Champ TT bands to his palmarès for this year?

  46. @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

    I don’t think the noble Lords spend a lot of time on Twitter…

    Not in favour of knight/dame-hoods for current sportspeople – I think it should wait until they retire. Certainly didn’t do Sir Chris Hoy any good.

    Agreed. If an “honor” should be bestowed, waiting until retirement seems appropriate. For politicians, they should be awarded posthumously.

  47. @wiscot

    @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

    I don’t think the noble Lords spend a lot of time on Twitter…

    Not in favour of knight/dame-hoods for current sportspeople – I think it should wait until they retire. Certainly didn’t do Sir Chris Hoy any good.

    Agreed. If an “honor” should be bestowed, waiting until retirement seems appropriate. For politicians, they should be awarded posthumously.

    Politicians should only be allowed to stand for office if they can prove that they cycle 5,000kms a year at least half of which must be on the road. If they want K’s they should turn up for 80% their local club TT’s for at least one year.

  48. Felt sorry for Luis Leon, how gutted would you be snapping the chain on the ramp? Awesome ride by the Wiggo and great to see Va Va get the bronze.

    Just going back to the road race, I don’t think Cav shoulda whinged (pom) out loud. The GB tactics were plainly not up to the task, it wasn’t any other countries fault. Obviously he was disappointed, but would have showed more class to keep it all in.

  49. @ChrisO

    Gustav Larsson, if wearing that helmet makes the difference between gold and silver… it still isn’t worth it.

    I think someone heard the phrase “anatomic design” and took it the wrong way.

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