Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Ronde van Vlaanderen 2016

Everybody knows there are two kinds of cobbles. Big cobbles, little cobbles, grippy cobbles, and slippy cobbles. And when it comes to mastering the stones, no one is better than the undisputed King of the Cobbles, Kenny Van Vlaminck. And speaking of cobble legends, there is a great piece on our friend Johan Museeuw over on Rouleur today.

According to the weather reports, there is going to be wind and rain on Sunday. And if you watched the live coverage of Gent Wevelgem last week, the storm that blew in after the race was wicked intense. And, since I’ve decided not to visit Belgium this year, you can be pretty sure that the weather will finally be rubbish. You’re welcome.

We rode the RVV route (the classic route, not the crap new one) in the wind, rain, and hail a few years back, and it was striking how slippy the cobbles on the Paterberg and Koppenberg are in the wet. These climbs are borderline doable in the dry, and if you need to get out of the saddle for some extra juice, it is going to take some good bike handling to keep from spinning out.

And don’t forget we’ve got wicked prizes on offer; Don Walker is giving a free custom steel frame to the winner of the VSP overall, and Café Roubaix is awarding a set of their CR Wheelworks Arenberg wheelsets to the runner-up. Third place gets a free V-Kit. Boom. So get prognosticating and get your picks in before the clock goes to zero. Good luck!


[vsp_results id=”40388″/]

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306 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Ronde van Vlaanderen 2016”

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. Fabian Cancellara
    2. Sep Vanmarcke
    3. Peter Sagan
    4. Michal Kwiatkowski
    5. Ian Stannard
  2. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Call up the Pavé boys instead. The sportives are 75k people trying to walk up the bergs.

    Good to know. Do the Pave’ boys do the whole route, every k? I rode the FULL 250+ km cyclo for Paris Roubaix and it was not too crowded and AMAZING! But with RVV having the hills, I can see how it would get backed up.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. Sparty
    3. Stybar
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Tommeke

    Didn’t you do the summertime one? The ones the day before the races, those are shit shows, from what I understand. Gagillions of people.

    The Pavé boys will do whatever the fuck you want them to, they have no pride whatsoever. Actually, not true, loads of pride and they will push back because they know the routes and want to give you the best experience for the money/time. But they will do the whole route if you want them too.

    We normally do a hybrid route for RVV where we hit all the high points over about 160km (and fuck the new route, we hit the Kapelmuur, naturellement.) Don’t forget the first 100km of both Roubaix and Flanders is flat. But you know that if you did Roubaix. Also, the routes always change, so there isn’t really a “every km” route that exists.

    And Alex will add to the charm by making sure you miss a turn or two and will have to improvise. If we do a Keepers Tour next year, this would be a prime time for you to come over.

  3. VSP PICKS:

    1. VAN AVERMAET, Greg
    2. CANCELLARA, Fabian
    3. SAGAN, Peter
    4. KWIATKOWSKI, Michal
    5. DEMARE, Arnaud
  4. VSP PICKS:

    1. Fabian Cancellara
    2. Greg van Avermaet
    3. Peter Sagan
    4. Tiesj Benoot
    5. Jasper Stuyven
  5. VSP PICKS:

    1. SAGAN Peter
    2. CANCELLARA Fabian
    3. van AVERMAET Greg
    4. KWIATKOWSKI Michal
    5. BOOM Lars
  6. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Call up the Pavé boys instead. The sportives are 75k people trying to walk up the bergs.

    Good to know. Do the Pave’ boys do the whole route, every k? I rode the FULL 250+ km cyclo for Paris Roubaix and it was not too crowded and AMAZING! But with RVV having the hills, I can see how it would get backed up.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. Sparty
    3. Stybar
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Tommeke

    Didn’t you do the summertime one? The ones the day before the races, those are shit shows, from what I understand. Gagillions of people.

    The Pavé boys will do whatever the fuck you want them to, they have no pride whatsoever. Actually, not true, loads of pride and they will push back because they know the routes and want to give you the best experience for the money/time. But they will do the whole route if you want them too.

    We normally do a hybrid route for RVV where we hit all the high points over about 160km (and fuck the new route, we hit the Kapelmuur, naturellement.) Don’t forget the first 100km of both Roubaix and Flanders is flat. But you know that if you did Roubaix. Also, the routes always change, so there isn’t really a “every km” route that exists.

    And Alex will add to the charm by making sure you miss a turn or two and will have to improvise. If we do a Keepers Tour next year, this would be a prime time for you to come over.

    Right!  Good point.  I did the Roubaix Cycle Club one in June 2012.  This was before they started the whole “Day Before” ones.  Definitely would be great to get involved next year, either on a Keepers Tour or, if no Keepers Tour is running, then with the Pave’ Boys!  Hell, where I’ll be in Germany is less than 25 miles from France and less than 2 hours from Belgium!  Just a Bunny hop, Pave’ skip and a road curb jump from the racing!

  7. It’s going to be a great race.  Can’t freakin wait.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara
    2. Sagan
    3. van Avermaet
    4. Stybar
    5. Kwiatowski
  8. Hmmm. So many similar selections. I love Tommeke, but he’s still Swoonen last I checked. Hmmmm. Must ponder my grossly unorthodox picks further, but not enough to Delgado for the third time this spring. Hmmmmmmmmmmm……..

  9. Cancellara goes out with a bang, Sagan in all the right moves but lacks sprint legs, as for the others

    … I’m gonna stop pretending like what I say here has anything to do with how it will pan out. And that’s the beauty of it.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara, Fabian
    2. Sagan, Peter
    3. Van Avermaet, Greg
    4. Benoot, Tiesj
    5. Kwiatkowski, Michal
  10. VSP PICKS:

    1. CANCELLARA Fabian
    2. SAGAN Peter
    3. VANMARCKE Sep
    4. VAN AVERMAET Greg
    5. Michal Kwiatkowski
  11. No foul weather this weekend in Flanders, it’ll be sunny and dry, almost 20°C…

    Also, DON’T ride the official RVV cyclosportive, it sucks massively. You’ll be on foot on about every climb, it’s just frustrating. Come to Flanders in February, if you really want to be left alone with the cobbles, the wind and the rain. Empty roads of suffering all the way.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. Spartacus
    3. Vanmarcke
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Rowe
  12. Updating my picks as “Work Shy” Vanmarcke wasnt accepted.

    Also, after watching King Kenny talking of the grippy cobbles, the slippy cobbles, the big cobbles and the small cobbles I went right out and bought a full Top Bonk Schleppers kit.

    Bloody genius, Matt Stephens is.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Well’ard Stannard
    2. Pinchy Sagan
    3. Spartacus
    4. Sep Vanmarcke
    5. Pistoff the Viking
  13. VSP PICKS:

    1. Peter Sagan
    2. Michal Kwiatkowski
    3. Fabian Cancellara
    4. Tiesj Benoot
    5. Greg Van Avermaet

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Fabian Cancellara
    2. Peter Sagan
    3. Michal Kwiatkovski
    4. Greg Van Avermaet
    5. Sep Vanmarcke
  14. I want to find a way to fit Demare in, but who to leave out?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. Cancellara
    3. van Avermaet
    4. KWIATKOWSKI
    5. STYBAR
  15. VSP PICKS:

    1. Sep Vanmarcke
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Peter Sagan
    4. Michal Kwiatkowski
    5. Filippo Pozzato
  16. VSP PICKS:

    1. Fabian Cancellara
    2. Peter Sagan
    3. Alexander Kristoff
    4. Tiesj Benoot
    5. Tom Boonen
  17. VSP PICKS:

    1. Michal Kwiatkovski
    2. Peter Sagan
    3. Fabian Cancellara
    4. Greg Van Avermaet
    5. Alexander Kristoff
  18. VSP PICKS:

    1. SAGAN Peter
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Alexander Kristoff
    4. Stannard Ian
    5. Tom Boonen
  19. Styler needs to stop being the bridesmaid at these big races.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Stybar
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Sagan
    4. van Avermaet
    5. Michal Kwiatkovski
  20. should be a good one….

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Van marcke
    2. Van avermaet
    3. boonen
    4. sagan
    5. cancellara
  21. Boonen’s not got the punch this year (which is a shame – would loved to have seen him v Faboo one last time). Probably why EQS have missed out – they’ve not been able to instigate any moves, they’ve just been responding to other’s attacks.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Spartacus
    2. Sagan
    3. van Avermaet
    4. Kwiatkowski
    5. van Marcke
  22. Okay, honesty time: I really don’t like Petr Sagan. That’s not to say I think “he sucks” or whatever; he’s clearly a phenomenal racer/bike-handler (I mean, no-handed wheelies, you guys), but almost equal to his talent is his outright dickishness. Obviously he’s nothing on Gunderson, and he’s certainly not alone in this—Cav and Wiggo are both equally dickish at time—but Pinchy seems to be a dick even when he’s winning. I don’t know, maybe it’s because English is his second language and something is lost in translation. But then, the pinching. Either way, I respect him as a rider, but I don’t like him.

    That said, he’s clearly going to be up there on Sunday! I’d love to see Spartacus take the win, but I now Pinchy has woken up, I can’t see him losing.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Pinchy
    2. Faboo
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Vanmarcke
    5. Kwiatkowski
  23. Will be surprised if neither Sagan nor Cancellara don’t at least finish on podium.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagz
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Spartacus
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Vanmarcke
  24. Of course Boonen is lacking the punch this year. Guy fractured his skull not that long ago! For anyone competing at high levels, you know how long even a minor injury can set you back. No wonder he’s a bit lacking this year.

  25. After his impressive chase and frustration, I’m thinking Cancellara does it on Sunday. Though I think Sagan might have finally broken through on his 2nd place curse, so who knows which racer pulls it off.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara
    2. Sagan
    3. Greg van Avermaet
    4. Sep van Marcke
    5. Kwiatkowski
  26. Gonna take a hint from you fine folks and trade Boonen for Kwaitkowski.  Still rooting for Boonen deep down.

    @mulebeatsdrums

    Okay, honesty time: I really don’t like Petr Sagan. That’s not to say I think “he sucks” or whatever; he’s clearly a phenomenal racer/bike-handler (I mean, no-handed wheelies, you guys), but almost equal to his talent is his outright dickishness. Obviously he’s nothing on Gunderson, and he’s certainly not alone in this—Cav and Wiggo are both equally dickish at time—but Pinchy seems to be a dick even when he’s winning. I don’t know, maybe it’s because English is his second language and something is lost in translation. But then, the pinching. Either way, I respect him as a rider, but I don’t like him.

    That said, he’s clearly going to be up there on Sunday! I’d love to see Spartacus take the win, but I now Pinchy has woken up, I can’t see him losing.

    I’m curious to ask why you say that?  For sure his english is lacking, but so is my Slovak, and pretty much any other language other than english.  From everything i have read and how the other riders talk of him he’s a pretty outstanding fellow, always stops to sign the autographs for the kids, acknowledges his fans, respects the jersey (other than the whole Rule #33 thing, but that’s behind us now).  The pinching thing was inappropriate for sure, he acted on a silly impulse, can’t say i haven’t done the same at some point when i was a younger man.  And he publicly apologized which took a fair amount of resolve.  I’d really like to know why he’s a dick, maybe you know something i don’t.

     

    VSP PICKS:

    1. sagan
    2. GVA
    3. cancellara
    4. kristoff
    5. Kwiatkowski
  27. After my last dismal performance, need to sta

    ck up some points here

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Fabian Cancellara
    2. Michal Kwiatowski
    3. Greg Van Avermaert
    4. Peter Sagan
    5. Luke Rowe
  28. VSP PICKS:

    1. CANCELLARA, Fabian
    2. SAGAN, Peter
    3. VAN AVERMAET, Greg
    4. KAWASAKI, Michal
    5. VANMARCKE, Sep
  29. VSP PICKS:

    1. CANCELLARA, Fabian
    2. SAGAN, Peter
    3. VAN AVERMAET, Greg
    4. KWIATKOWSKI, Michal
    5. VANMARCKE, Sep
  30. @hudson

    @mulebeatsdrums

    Okay, honesty time: I really don’t like Petr Sagan. That’s not to say I think “he sucks” or whatever; he’s clearly a phenomenal racer/bike-handler (I mean, no-handed wheelies, you guys), but almost equal to his talent is his outright dickishness. Obviously he’s nothing on Gunderson, and he’s certainly not alone in this—Cav and Wiggo are both equally dickish at time—but Pinchy seems to be a dick even when he’s winning. I don’t know, maybe it’s because English is his second language and something is lost in translation. But then, the pinching. Either way, I respect him as a rider, but I don’t like him.

    That said, he’s clearly going to be up there on Sunday! I’d love to see Spartacus take the win, but I now Pinchy has woken up, I can’t see him losing.

    I’m curious to ask why you say that? For sure his english is lacking, but so is my Slovak, and pretty much any other language other than english. From everything i have read and how the other riders talk of him he’s a pretty outstanding fellow, always stops to sign the autographs for the kids, acknowledges his fans, respects the jersey (other than the whole Rule #33 thing, but that’s behind us now). The pinching thing was inappropriate for sure, he acted on a silly impulse, can’t say i haven’t done the same at some point when i was a younger man. And he publicly apologized which took a fair amount of resolve. I’d really like to know why he’s a dick, maybe you know something i don’t.

    Well, I’ll start by clarifying my Quality of English comment (I worded very poorly)—please don’t think I’m saying “herp derp he should learn English because it’s the best language”! I meant it in the sense that if I interviewed in, say, German, I might try to say something witty or light-heartedly sarcastic, but it might come across as arrogant or rude or whatever. And it’s not something that second-language speakers suffer from; I know that British and American brands of humour go down like a lead balloon when they try to cross the Atlantic. An example of this is some of Wiggo’s statements that many read as being rude and short-tempered, but I read as just being dry British humour. Not all, obviously; he’s had his fair share of genuine grumps. In short, it might be that Petr’s trying to be funny, but to my ears it comes across as being arrogant.

    On top of that, I don’t actively seek out interviews (with any riders, generally), so the few I have seen with Sagan have been directly post-race when he probably just wants a shower and a meal. That said, he seems to always be grumpy, whereas I’ve seen similarly-timed interviews with the likes of Tony Martin and Lizzie Armitstead and they’ve seemed really happy just to be there, regardless of the outcome of the race. I don’t know, maybe he’s just very stoic.

    A couple of other things I’ve noted:
    1) Throwing his bike away in disgust after something doesn’t go his way. Obviously he’s not the only pro who does this, but it really pisses me off. In no industry other than professional sport (maybe popular music) is this considered a reasonable, rational, acceptable thing to do. I’m pretty sure I’d get fired if I threw a computer across the room if I was frustrated about something.
    2) The green hair and beard at the 2013 Tour. No other justification needed.

    As for the Rule #33 thing, I believe he fits into the caveat clause of “dishing out enough hurt” for it to be allowed. And good on him for talking to fans etc. At the end of the day, Cycling is all about enjoying the experience (spectating included), and anyone who puts anything else above that is daft. I also didn’t know he’d apologised for the pinching incident (it was before I came to the sport).

    Perhaps I’ve completely misjudged him. I will reassess.

    Also, apologies for the friggin’ essay!

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