Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

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The 2012 Velominati Super Prestige kicks off in proper form this season with the debut of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as part of the series. I’m tempted to stubbornly refer to this race as Het Volk, but I’ll toe the line and refer to the race by its bewildering new(ish) name.

This is a tricky race to predict because the big races in April are a funny distance away; they are close enough that riders wanting to do well there should be in good enough form to be competitive now, but far enough off that a win here could indicate a rider hitting their peak too soon.

In fact, the latter seems to be the case: riders who show brilliance here rarely shine in April when the Monuments of Vlaanderen and Roubaix are contested. De Vlaeminck, Museeuw, Van Petegem, Vandenbroucke – all champions of the Cobbled Classics and all men who never succeeded to win Het Volk/Het Nieuwsblad in the same year as either of the big cobbled classics; in fact, a cursory study of past results lists reveals only Merckx and Ballerini as being able to pull this particular double.

This timing makes Het Nieuwsblad a particularly difficult race to predict; in addition to the wily nature of any cobbled classic, the big names may not quite have the eye of the tiger while riders with an outside chance at victory in April may be focusing their early season on glory in this minor classic which covers many of the sacred roads as de Ronde.

With that we kick off the first event of the 2012 VSP; up for grabs is the personalized Velominati Shop Apron to the contestent who wins the season-long competition. Check the Main VSP page for scoring guidelines and rules. As a sidebar, we’ve also made lots of changes to the VSP engine; despite my usual nonchalant approach to production-testing, I’ve actually done my best to test the system this time around. There are, however, too many scenarios to be sure I covered them all, so I strongly encourage you to enter your picks early, knowing that you can make changes all the way up until the VSP closes. If you notice something behaving strangely, please let us know and we’ll have time to resolve the issue or let you know precisely why you’re crazy.

Picks close at 5am Pacific time on Saturday, and since last year’s VSP taught us that our readership sucks at time zone calculations (I’m looking at you, Bretto), we’ve introduced a countdown clock which should make even the most bone-headed of contestants aware of how much time they’ve got left to enter their losing picks (now I’m looking at you, Ron).

Good luck, and stand by for the VVomen’s Het Nieuwsblad VSP, scheduled to go live tomorrow.

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. That said if anyone knows a good website with some basic Dutch or Flemish along with some important cycling terms that would be awesome.

  2. Awesome season opener,no doubt.If anyone missed it here’s the last 35km from Sporza

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xp1tqk_ohn-12_sport

  3. KBK: Bak has given up, Van Avermaet in the early breakaway.

  4. From CyclingNews and a definite qualifier for BRR: With 35km to go Vanmarcke put the hammer down himself on the Molenberg. “During training I managed to complete it on the big ring so I wanted to arrive there in first position and do it again,” he said. “There were some gaps but not enough. That’s why I tried again on the cobbles of the Paddestraat.”

  5. Eros Capecchi won the GP Lugano, KBK is rapidly becoming a bunch sprint with Cavendish and Greipel.

  6. @Netraam

    Yep…break is pretty much caught, and Lotto & Sky are featuring prominently at the front of the peloton. Shaping up to be a Greipel/Cav showdown.

  7. Rabobank also in position; will be interesting to see what Renshaw can do.

  8. @Nosyt

    Rabobank also in position; will be interesting to see what Renshaw can do.

    Yeah, Cav/Greipel/Renshaw sprint: Should be pretty awesome.

  9. Think Gilbert will jump?

  10. Cav takes it with ease. Not much drama.

  11. Cav wins, Hutarovich second.

  12. @Buck Rogers

    @Nosyt

    Rabobank also in position; will be interesting to see what Renshaw can do.

    Yeah, Cav/Greipel/Renshaw sprint: Should be pretty awesome.

    Wow…Cav dropped Greipel like a bad habit. Who was the Vacansoleil guy who at least made it interesting?

  13. Cavendish was pointing at the rainbow as he crossed the line.

  14. @Nosyt
    you mean the Vacansoleil guy who was third? Kenny Vanhummel

  15. You gotta love cycling reporters…
    Reporter – ” Cav great win today. Are you going to loe some weight for Milan San Remo”
    Nice…

  16. The peloton, but mostly Sky, just let that “break” have enough rope to hang themselves. I love race radio bans!

  17. @JC Belgium

    Sorry meant hitarovich…poor quality feed online made it hard to distinguish the jersey.

  18. @Tobin

    You gotta love cycling reporters…Reporter – ” Cav great win today. Are you going to loe some weight for Milan San Remo”Nice…

    Too funny. And they wonder why cyclists are not always gracious about interviews. Especially just after they’ve killed themselves for the last 6 hours and have not even caught their breath!

  19. @Ron

    Very happy for Sep! Nice win, lad. And yep, Boonen showed some incredible class. That was just awesome – Boonen did his best, couldn’t pull it off, and congratulated the better man on the day. I think I might pay attention to more sports if they had such class. (nah…I probably wouldn’t!)
    So who was cramping today? Boonen or Sep? And I was only able to catch the last 17 km, sorry out riding my own bike. When did the definitive break go? I’m sure that hill of cobbles has a special name.
    And who the heck crashed trying to get the inside lane on Boonen?
    I also watched the post-race coverage on Sporza. Wow, if I could head to the local pub and watch that I’d be in heaven. (don’t have a t.v.) Highlights, analysis, actual talking from the PROS, not just lame cliches. I need to move!
    This VSP is off to a solid start!

    Yup, one of the reasons I like Tommeke is his class. Beaten by a newcomer in a race he admitted he wants on his palmares, he did more than just give SvM a pat on the back as they crossed the line. As Sporza showed in a clip, he was effusive in his comments and actions in the winner’s tent afterwards.

    By the way, I don’t speak Dutch or Flemish, but Sporza shows a lot of good short clips on their site and their commentators are awesome.

  20. @Buck Rogers

    @Tobin

    You gotta love cycling reporters…Reporter – ” Cav great win today. Are you going to loe some weight for Milan San Remo”Nice…

    Too funny. And they wonder why cyclists are not always gracious about interviews. Especially just after they’ve killed themselves for the last 6 hours and have not even caught their breath!

    I heard that! I thought I was hearing things, then I realized I wasn’t. I HOPE they had discussed this off camera at an earlier point. But yeah…you just rode 6 hours, tell me why you are so fat? Jeez! And they say super models have impossible body standards to live up to. What about cyclists? The fastest guy in the world, maybe, maybe 1-2 kilos over his absolute lowest weight, has eaten nothing but gel & cardboard bars for six hours and he gets called fat!

    I’m actually a big fan of any cyclist, PRO or non, who can ride well & isn’t skin & bones. Most of us have bellies, which most pros don’t, but I love seeing a guy who maybe isn’t weight crazy still be strong as.

    Nothing worse than talking about weight & dieting with dudes, especially dudes in Lycra.

  21. wiscot – I love watching Sporza and I’m an English speaker. Boonen was pure class.

    That’s the type of thing that really fuels my passion for cycling these days. And stuff like the Cincinnati-Xavier basketball brawl, fueled by trash talking on sports radio and twatter jabs, makes me turn away from mainstream U.S. sports more and more.

  22. I’m happy with my middle of the pack showing on the men’s race, but the shutout on the women’s race hurts after my intensive fifteen minute research effort.

  23. @Ron
    Apparently Cav spent the first three hours barfing before he felt a bit better and got dragged to the front by his team mates – I bet the post finish kisses hugs didn’t smell the best…

  24. @Ron

    wiscot – I love watching Sporza and I’m an English speaker. Boonen was pure class.
    That’s the type of thing that really fuels my passion for cycling these days. And stuff like the Cincinnati-Xavier basketball brawl, fueled by trash talking on sports radio and twatter jabs, makes me turn away from mainstream U.S. sports more and more.

    @Dr C

    @Ron
    Apparently Cav spent the first three hours barfing before he felt a bit better and got dragged to the front by his team mates – I bet the post finish kisses hugs didn’t smell the best…

    Yup, I know Cav still has a lot of haters out there but let’s face it, he’s showing the rainbow jersey due deference and seeks to honor it. How many of us would go out and race while barfing? He could easily have climbed off. Instead he stayed in, got the support of his teammates and won. That’s gotta go down well with his team as a guy who gives – and expects – 100%. I think Graham Watson’s site has an early race pic of Cav and he looks awful . . .

    Being from the UK, I know Cav’s accent instantly marks him as “working class” and that he speaks his mind and is a personality is setting him up for the media to turn on him at the first signs of weakness. Just watch until he “only” gets a stage or two in the Tour and see the knives come out. Darling of the press one minute, loser the next. The media in Britain can be vicious (see phone hacking/Murdoch/the Sun/News of the World for details). The pressure for him to perform well at the Olympics is immense. With his (and cyclings) newly found high profile, he is expected to win.

    And finally, to see quality sportsmanship is a delight. See Boxing’s recent woes in Germany with David Haye and Dereck Chisora. Pathetic.

  25. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2012 Great edited coverage of the last 58km, starting with the move that sealed BOOM’s fate.

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