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. @Calmante

    People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.
    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

    At least you aren’t ranting about embrocation again… which, by the way, I really like! Mark my words, I will surpass you in the standings soon- I am peaking, in terms of picking winners, in two months.

  2. @Anjin-san
    La Machine brought Boonen in position before Taaienberg, finished 21st in the second group.

  3. YES! One point ahead of Calmante.

  4. @mcsqueak

    YES! One point ahead of Calmante.

    Ha! I am now the standard of excellence on this site! I knew it would happen, eventually…@Anjin-san

    @Calmante

    People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.
    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

    At least you aren’t ranting about embrocation again… which, by the way, I really like! Mark my words, I will surpass you in the standings soon- I am peaking, in terms of picking winners, in two months.

    I may have peaked early. I need to taper for the classics.

  5. @JC Belgium

    @Anjin-san
    La Machine brought Boonen in position before Taaienberg, finished 21st in the second group.

    Damn him and his team responsibilities… I thought they might give him the green light to go for it if Boonen wasn’t in peak form. Thanks for the info.

  6. @Calmante

    @mcsqueak

    YES! One point ahead of Calmante.

    Ha! I am now the standard of excellence on this site! I knew it would happen, eventually…@Anjin-san

    @Calmante

    People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.
    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

    Yep, You’re the standard alright.

    LIke I was saying earlier this week. Y’all can save a lot of heartache, and just mail me the Apron on Monday.

  7. @BrianG

    For those of us that picked Thor, don’t worry, he’s Peaking in Two Months.

    Well that’s gonna do him a load of good…

  8. On a reflection SVM is a deserved winner and was the strongest out there. He was first to react with Boonen On the Taaienberg and then put in huge digs on the mole berg and the Paddestraat, that last had Boonen digging very deep, he almost cracked him there. You could see half a length open and then Tomeke just held on and Flecha was eating his stem. He even had time to look back as he crossed the line, just to make sure he had vanquished Boonen.

  9. “Damn auto-correct” must be one of the most typed phrases in the mobile device world. Apple should add it as a notify (see I tried to type hotkey and got “notify”).

  10. @Tobin

    Boom!
    http://www.sporza.be/permalink/1.1230056

    Poor bastard seems to like going into the pavè on his face. OUCH!

  11. At least I’m in good company on the standings.

  12. @scaler911

    @Tobin

    Boom!http://www.sporza.be/permalink/1.1230056

    Poor bastard seems to like going into the pavè on his face. OUCH!

    +1 Oh man, his face must be killing him right about now. Does anyone know if he finished? (I’m too lazy to look up the results).

  13. @Buck Rogers
    Let me google that for you: yes. 107th @ 7:45.

  14. @Buck Rogers
    He placed 107 – 7:45 back…I am not sure what is more amazing, the fact that he finished, or the Millarcopteresque launch of his bike that followed his face plant.

  15. @Buck Rogers
    1. Boonen is one strong dude.

    2. I don’t like watching highlights of crashes. I understand that they often animate a race, but it’s a bit like highlight reels including fighting in hockey: I could just as soon do without them. Show me the race, show me the guts and glory that went into making the final selection, show me the suffering. But do I really need to see riders hitting the deck?

  16. @Steampunk
    Maybe more to your liking?

    http://www.sporza.be/permalink/1.1230119

  17. @Tobin
    Much more to my liking. Thank you. Beautiful moment. I remember that point in my pro racing fandom, when I discovered I knew what and when to watch for the decisive move. Rather than “what just happened?” I’d graduated to “here it comes.” As it happens, I was actually across the room playing ball with the littlest Steampunk this morning when Vanmarcke made the move, but nevertheless…

  18. @Steampunk

    @Tobin
    Much more to my liking. Thank you. Beautiful moment. I remember that point in my pro racing fandom, when I discovered I knew what and when to watch for the decisive move. Rather than “what just happened?” I’d graduated to “here it comes.” As it happens, I was actually across the room playing ball with the littlest Steampunk this morning when Vanmarcke made the move, but nevertheless…

    Vanmarcke (VM, which is RAD btw), just unleashed it on the cobbles there. Really beautiful move. I watched it on Cycling.tv which I’ve just gotten into. Good coverage, but only one guy doing common tatering. Wish I spoke Dutch, Flemish and Itialian.

  19. @Steampunk

    @Buck RogersLet me google that for you: yes. 107th @ 7:45.

    Double hardcore! Man, not sure I would have climbed back on after that crash that late in the race. Would love to think that I would have, but I cannot swear to the fact that I would have.

  20. @Tobin

    @SteampunkMaybe more to your liking?
    http://www.sporza.be/permalink/1.1230119

    Awesome!!! I saw the race form 16 k to the finish and missed THE move. VM definitely deserved the win and Tomeke was gracious as well. What a beautiful sport when it happens like that.

  21. @Steampunk

    @Tobin
    Much more to my liking. Thank you. Beautiful moment. I remember that point in my pro racing fandom, when I discovered I knew what and when to watch for the decisive move. Rather than “what just happened?” I’d graduated to “here it comes.” As it happens, I was actually across the room playing ball with the littlest Steampunk this morning when Vanmarcke made the move, but nevertheless…

    I thought you were supposed to be out riding your bike, stopping for some hot bitter stuff, then building your bike?

  22. @JC Belgium

    @Ron
    too bad you don’t speak Dutch/Flemish…
    Boonen started a rush on Taaienberg (that hill of cobbles has indeed a special name), where Boom fell while he tried to do the same. (The road there narrows a bit down, he went off, tried to get on road again, but the mud decided differently)Vanmarcke was the only one who could manage to follow immediatly. a bit later, Flecha, Hayman, Vanmarcke, Breschel, Hushovd and Devenyns closed the gap. then Hushovd and Breschel got dropped in the Paddestraat (in my opinion, one of the thoughest cobbles in Flanders if you do it in this direction). from that point on, Vanmarcke was the stronger rider (compared to Flecha, Boonen and the rest of course). Boonen was very good, but he was like wrenching and shuffling on his saddle, stretching his legs and so – normally he doesn’t. Vanmarcke tried again on Lange Munte, but failed. the last 17k you saw on internet…

    Thanks for this, JC! I was able to watch the final 35km via steephill and realized that one big move happened at the 20km mark, which I just missed when I came in at the 17km mark.

    And thanks for the names of those climbs!

  23. The despite the language barrier the sporza feed was quite nice, had a little tracker on the bottom that showed who was in what group, splits, and where they were on the course. I just know too little of any of these languages, and I can only speak and write, I can’t listen, if you know what I mean. Sadly the listening is the most useful in this case. Luckily Eurosport also covers races and I know enough UK speak that I make it out alive.

  24. And I can only speak and write French, a tad of Italian, and a very minute amount of German.

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

  26. 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

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

  28. 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.”

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

  30. @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.

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

  32. @Nosyt

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

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

  33. Think Gilbert will jump?

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

  35. Cav wins, Hutarovich second.

  36. @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?

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

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

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

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

  41. @JC Belgium

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

  42. @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!

  43. @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.

  44. @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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. @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…

  48. @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.

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

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