Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de Suisse

Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de Suisse

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The Tour de Suisse is the last warm-up race prior to the Tour, and the last chance to test your form. As far as Tour rivalries go, we typically see one rival choose the Dauphiné and one la Suisse; it’s unpleasant to ruffle your feathers too much with a pre-Tour head-to-head, you see.

While the Dauphiné has the benefit of previewing some of the Tour’s stages in a race situation, the Tour de Suisse has the benefit of including the only thing more sinister than cobbled bergs: a cobbled mountain pass. This road also holds the distinction of being the only one where I feel more sympathy for the road layers than I do the riders.

Aside from rivals and masochism, the key factors determining which race to ride have to do with the timing of the peak: this race features a full week later in the calendar than does the Dauphiné, and based on the Tour’s parcours and rhythm of the rider’s season, this race may have better timing. But in any case, as with the Critérium, the effort is a dangerous gamble: ride too hard and you could fire off the Guns enter the Tour with little more than starter pistols. Balance, balance.

So, as the Dauphiné winds down, it’s time to start thinking about Suisse, our last VSP before le Tour. Get your picks in by 5am Pacific on Saturday morning. Same drill as usual: Being a week-long stage race, the points on offer are 7 for first, 5 for second, 4 for third, 3 for fourth, 2 for fifth, with the usual allotment of bonus points for getting the rider right but the place wrong.  Also, there are no rest days, so no rest day swaps, but we will have our usual approach for riders who drop out. Piti Principle applies as always. Also review the guide, being careful to note that the rules have changed a bit this year, and we may not have completely updated the guide yet, so if there’s a question, ask.

May Merckx be with you all.

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. Andy in green on Sunday? not bad considering. good one on De Gendt.

  2. The Spanish commentators are going on about how Cunego should be getting an extra second for the gap he put on Levi at the end.

  3. I like my Tunisian-made LOOK. I do not like SRAM Force. I do like Campagnolo Centaur 2009/2007 gruppos. I do like 1991 Campa Record. I do like 2005 Shimano 105.

    I don’t care where things are from; I do care that when I have the $ for some sweet as gear and get it and it works well for me. That’s awesomeness.

    *I do also care about my enviro-footprint with my cycling habit. I don’t own a car and consume petrol, which is a plus, but I do get stuff shipped from the UK all the time and I know bicycle manufacturing isn’t so nice on Mother Earth. I like to think I’m doing okay, but still, I could get better for sure.

  4. And great racing today.

    I think I would like to name my son, if I have one, Laurens ten Dam. Boss hair, cool name.

  5. @minion
    At my local coffee shop the other day, and was having this conversation with the proprietor who used to build bikes, was a national team mechanic, and connected with Cervelo for some time. His strong preference was Shimano (across the spectrum) as the best value and quality at the going prices.

    SRAM’s great on mountain bikes, but they’re still behind the curve on the road stuff. The stuff is good, but there’s a reason it’s cheaper, too.

  6. @Steampunk
    On some level, I definitely agree. Especially mid-range Shimano is bomber stuff. I have 8-speed 105 that I bought 20 years ago that has seen nothing but new cables, chains and cassettes and it still works perfectly.

    I’d also like to remind everyone that SRAM is not cheap – at least not SRAM Red. Before Campa went 11spd and Shimano went to their latest, SRAM was the most expensive group by several hundred bux.

    In the end, I prefer Campa not only because I love the looks, but it’s the most quiet – at least the 10spd is (I’m not upgrading to 11spd – more isn’t always better, and I hear it’s much noisier…and I just don’t like the looks of the new levers.)

    The Principle of Silence is more than just pleasant and peaceful, it also means you have an efficient machine. Every bit of noise – especially drivetrain noise – is lost energy because it takes energy to create the noise, and that’s energy not going into making your bike move forward.

    This becomes particularly acute when I’m pedaling squares up a big hill and my drivetrain is tic-tic-tic-ing. Obviously it’s the lost energy in the noise, and not my form that’s the issue there.

  7. A change in the overall as Bulky Mollema dropped down to fifth. G’Phant takes the lead. What will the ITT bring tomorrow? Certainly not a Grimpelder on the top step.

    Final Race Results
    1. LEIPHEIMER Levi
    2. CUNEGO Damiano
    3. KRUIJSWIJK Steven
    4. FUGLSANG Jakob
    5. MOLLEMA Bauke

    Final VSP Results
    1. Marcus (8 points)
    2. sgt (7 points)
    3. Steampunk (3 points)
    4. xyxax (3 points)
    5. Marko (3 points)
    6. ChrisO (3 points)
    7. Sam (2 points)
    8. CanuckChuck (2 points)
    9. anotherdownunder (2 points)
    10. Ankush (1 points)
    11. heath (1 points)
    12. Rose City Rolleur (1 points)
    13. ZachOlson (1 points)
    14. ramenvelo (1 points)
    15. drsoul (1 points)
    16. Netraam (1 points)
    17. Velomihottie (1 points)
    18. CJ (1 points)
    19. seemunkee (1 points)
    20. jnunberg (1 points)
    21. Ron (1 points)
    22. minion (1 points)
    23. Nate (1 points)
    24. G'phant (1 points)
    25. frank (1 points)
    26. LA Dave (1 points)
    27. lepidopterist (1 points)
    28. Dr C (0 points)
    29. Buck Rogers (0 points)
    30. Nathan Edwards (0 points)
    31. Mikeweb (0 points)
    32. mcsqueak (0 points)
    33. Erik (0 points)
    34. RedRanger (0 points)
    35. Durishin (0 points)
    36. Joshua (0 points)
    37. Oli (0 points)
    38. Sprider (0 points)
    39. pakrat (0 points)
    40. Jeff in PetroMetro (0 points)
    41. Oldschooly (0 points)
    42. Harminator (0 points)
    43. Gianni (0 points)
    44. il ciclista medio (0 points)
    45. Pedale.Forchetta (0 points)

    46. snoov (0 points)

  8. Wow, tied for high points. Sadly though, Frank is surely right about Schleck and the ITT, I see Levi Leipfrogging him into at least third and maybe second… and my lucky seven turning back into a 2….

  9. @frank
    Check the stats. Mollema is in there twice. Stevo is the one who is second.

  10. @LA Dave
    Under the circumstances, I’m looking pretty good. I’ve got Schleck for fourth and Mollema for fifth. If Fuglsang is light’s out and jumps to second, I could be in the money. And if Klöden wins by, like, 40 minutes, that would be magic. It does mean I need Kruijswijk and/or Eggtimer to have an off-day…

  11. @Netraam

    @frank
    Check the stats. Mollema is in there twice. Stevo is the one who is second.

    Right you are. Corrected. That’s the second time that’s happened where I could swear the results show something different than I put in there. Don’t know if it’s user error or a bug, but either way it points at me. Bugger.

  12. Balky Mulema is pissed that Leopard Trek hit the gas when he flatted with 15 km to go in today’s stage. (Link for Frank)

  13. @Steampunk

    I can easily see things working out in your favor… well except for the Kloden part. Wish it would happen though, I had him winning as well, I could use the points!

  14. @xyxax
    I can understand he is pissed, but he’s mistaking Leopard Trek and Saxo Bank because of the Schlecks. And a whole different thing is at stake here.

  15. frank:

    In the end, I prefer Campa not only because I love the looks, but it’s the most quiet – at least the 10spd is (I’m not upgrading to 11spd – more isn’t always better, and I hear it’s much noisier…and I just don’t like the looks of the new levers.)

    This is true.

    I was back in London a couple of weeks ago and went for a ride on the bike I leave there, with 10sp Veloce, and the second thing I noticed was how much quieter it was than my 11sp SR.

    The first thing I noticed was that however bling and fast and beautiful my Ridley is, getting onto a custom-built steel bike is like putting on pyjamas that have been warmed on the radiator.

  16. Frank, are you talking about the 2009-forward levers, the kind of swept back ones? I agree that they don’t look as nice as others, but I do have to say that they are a functional bonus for dudes with smaller hands, like me. I find them easier to reach than my other Campagnolo levers.

    And yeah, Shimano 105 stuff lives on. I used it on my second-hand Cannondale for around seven years, tons of kms, recabled it once I think, and zero issues.

    ChrisO – I hear ya on the feel of well-done, well-fitting steel. In February and March I was traveling for eight weeks, no cycling. When I got back I saw my carbon LOOK and my steel Casati hanging on the wall. Grabbed the Casati and the entire ride I just kept on smiling because the bike rode and handled so nicely.

  17. Andy Schleck’s time trial is HORRIBLE. Is he trying to hide something before he starts the tour?

  18. Van Garderen had a mechanical problem. Too bad.

  19. Great ride by Levi… and quite a tank by Cunego….

  20. Nice time trial by Levi Leipheimer.

  21. Great ride for Fuglsang as well…nearly got a podium.

  22. Tough day for Cunego, but the win couldn’t have gone to a nicer guy. Congrats to Levi!
    My powers of prediction couldn’t have been poorer for this race.

  23. This was a pretty unpredictable tour.

  24. My goodness, my Guinness. Those little climbers just can’t TT for shit. (Which is normal, by the way – what’s abnormal *cough* *dopers!* *cough* is riders who win on the moutaintops and then beat Faboo in the TTs.)

    Good ride on the Eggtimer, though! Poor Cunego, losing TWO MINUTES in 32 Km. Did his mechanic forget to mount the big ring on his rig?

    Marcus takes the VSP honors. Nice work, mate!

    Final Race Results
    1. LEIPHEIMER Levi
    2. CUNEGO Damiano
    3. KRUIJSWIJK Steven
    4. FUGLSANG Jakob
    5. MOLLEMA Bauke

    Final VSP Results
    1. Marcus (8 points)
    2. sgt (7 points)
    3. Steampunk (3 points)
    4. xyxax (3 points)
    5. Marko (3 points)
    6. ChrisO (3 points)
    7. Sam (2 points)
    8. CanuckChuck (2 points)
    9. anotherdownunder (2 points)
    10. Ankush (1 points)
    11. heath (1 points)
    12. Rose City Rolleur (1 points)
    13. ZachOlson (1 points)
    14. ramenvelo (1 points)
    15. drsoul (1 points)
    16. Netraam (1 points)
    17. Velomihottie (1 points)
    18. CJ (1 points)
    19. seemunkee (1 points)
    20. jnunberg (1 points)
    21. Ron (1 points)
    22. minion (1 points)
    23. Nate (1 points)
    24. G'phant (1 points)
    25. frank (1 points)
    26. LA Dave (1 points)
    27. lepidopterist (1 points)
    28. Dr C (0 points)
    29. Buck Rogers (0 points)
    30. Nathan Edwards (0 points)
    31. Mikeweb (0 points)
    32. mcsqueak (0 points)
    33. Erik (0 points)
    34. RedRanger (0 points)
    35. Durishin (0 points)
    36. Joshua (0 points)
    37. Oli (0 points)
    38. Sprider (0 points)
    39. pakrat (0 points)
    40. Jeff in PetroMetro (0 points)
    41. Oldschooly (0 points)
    42. Harminator (0 points)
    43. Gianni (0 points)
    44. il ciclista medio (0 points)
    45. Pedale.Forchetta (0 points)

    46. snoov (0 points)

  25. @frank
    I think his problem was that he tried a ring too big for his little legs

  26. @Steampunk, xyxax, and ChrisO

    The third spot on the podium is getting a bit stuffy.

  27. Schleckulation:

    Predicting if a rider’s less-than-stellar pre-TdF form foretells disaster or represents a ploy to fool rivals.

  28. That’s a damn shame for Cunego. He put in a great race.

  29. @xyxax
    +1 – and added.

  30. @Marko

    Don’t worry, I suspect joint third place in the TDS is the high point of my fantasy palmares.

  31. “What can I say? It’s a time trial, I gave it 100 percent as I usually do and I won,” said Cancellara.

    I don’t like the man for some reason, I just can’t put my finger on it…

  32. @xyxax

    Balky Mulema is pissed that Leopard Trek hit the gas when he flatted with 15 km to go in today’s stage. (Link for Frank)

    Brilliant! Attack when someone has a puncture, relegate him to 9th place to put Frankie Schleck on the podium. Did they forget about a time trial the next day? FS had zero chance of staying on the podium with Levi there. Even I didn’t see FS dropping to 7th and Mollema still beat him. Ouch. Leopard didn’t make any friends with that move.

  33. Before the Tour de Suisse, Cunego was not even considered for the podium,
    instead he proved otherwise.
    Of course there is something a bit bitter to swallow now but I think,
    he should be happy for his overall performance, I am.

  34. @xyxax
    I schleckulate that those two better spend less time bouncing around on their twin beds in their bedroom and more time not sucking at time trialing or they won’t win many more stage races. Rather, Frank won’t as Andy hasn’t won any.

  35. @Pedale.Forchetta
    Cunego is a real gentleman and he should still be proud of his racing. I hope he wasn’t climbing “too” well. He has been such an uneven rider these last few years. I kept discounting him in my VSP picks but I was very impressed with him in this tour.

  36. @Gianni
    Me too, me too…

  37. @Pedale.Forchetta, @Gianni
    I’ve always liked him, except for when he wore that rub-on tattoo that said, “I’m Doping Free”. I mean, if you’re making a statement like that, isn’t it ironic that it’s temporary?

    Great riding from him, though, and as I’m no fan of Levi, I was sad to see him lose his spot. That said, the Eggtimer was set to hard-boiled today, that’s for sure. Good on ‘im.

  38. ramenvelo:
    “What can I say? It’s a time trial, I gave it 100 percent as I usually do and I won,” said Cancellara.
    I don’t like the man for some reason, I just can’t put my finger on it…

    He’s the most Italian Swiss guy ever. I mean, he’s brash and confident. He’s so very alpha-male. In person (we were hanging around the cars at finishes of the Tour of Qatar) it’s very funny to watch.
    The flipside is that he comes across as an arrogant prick quite often. But that’s just because he acts like an arrogant prick. Quite often.
    Still smarting from an episode in a tour a few years back in which Cadel drove a break for five or so kay up a hill, noone else taking any turns. So he does all of the work establishing a lead, and a bunch of guys bridge, Cancellara among them, and he demands Cadel goes back to the peleton. Stopped others working, which they were by that time. And this was at a time when everyone hit Cadel for never attacking. Showed what happens when he does, and showed a side of Cancellara that’s a bit ugly.

  39. @Blah
    At least Fabs has the goods to be an arrogant prick. When his career is done he will be up there with the real Hardmen.

    In person (we were hanging around the cars at finishes of the Tour of Qatar) it’s very funny to watch.

    Tell us more! Who hangs around in Qatar?

  40. @Marko
    Hinault could sort this out for us.

  41. @Gianni

    I schleckulate that those two better spend less time bouncing around on their twin beds in their bedroom …

    I am enjoying this mental image.

  42. @xyxax
    I have to give credit to the little seen Rob for that joke, he made it a long time ago it it always struck me as being a little too close to the truth.

  43. @Gianni

    @xyxax

    Pillow fights that end in undies-over-the-head wedgies when Jens shows up from the adjoining room are hard to recover from.

  44. @Blah

    Agreed, that incident was the beginning of the ugly side of Fabio for me.

  45. I imagine that my incredibly poor showing here at the Tour de Suisse VSP is karmic pennance for running (yes, ugh, running) a mountain ultra marathon yesterday. Now not only am I in great pain, I also did not score a single bloody point in the tds vsp. Amazing how life works! Time to get out there and ride my running pain away!

  46. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Before the Tour de Suisse, Cunego was not even considered for the podium,instead he proved otherwise.Of course there is something a bit bitter to swallow now but I think,he should be happy for his overall performance, I am.

    @Blah

    ramenvelo:”What can I say? It’s a time trial, I gave it 100 percent as I usually do and I won,” said Cancellara.I don’t like the man for some reason, I just can’t put my finger on it…

    Still smarting from an episode in a tour a few years back in which Cadel drove a break for five or so kay up a hill, noone else taking any turns. So he does all of the work establishing a lead, and a bunch of guys bridge, Cancellara among them, and he demands Cadel goes back to the peleton. Stopped others working, which they were by that time. And this was at a time when everyone hit Cadel for never attacking. Showed what happens when he does, and showed a side of Cancellara that’s a bit ugly.

    Cadel’s attack that day probably ranked in the Top 10 Most Pointless and Doomed Attacks in Tour History. The escape was never going to get away with Cuddles involved. But Faboo still had no right to tell him to leave…

    @frank
    Speaking of Il Piccolo Principe, given his subsequent career, Canthego’s year that he won the Giro (and Lomabardy and a few others as I recall?) against a bunch of very suspect riders does raise the potential that the temporary tattoo was temporary for a reason. On the COTHO Presumed Guilt Principle (dominating against confirmed dopers), Cunego would almost have to have been on the juice? His subsequent lack of performances in 3 week races supports this flimsy hypothesis further.

    But I am glad I included him in my picks. And Cuddles always seems to ride well against him.

  47. Poor Cunego – after that amazing bridge and descent to Grindelwald – nice to see the MJ being aggressive instead of conservative – he deserved better

    Makes me think Wiggo might just do something in the TdF if he’s not too stuffed by the time he needs to TT

    Glad that tour VSP is over, next time I’ll not go for a points accumulation by stage policy – doh!

    Bring on Letour

  48. Not sure if you all saw this, but some good news re; Soler. Hope this is followed by more.

  49. Good news indeed – mind you, it’s been a long time coming – being out of it for that length of time doesn’t augur well for a future return to racing – thoughts with him, suspect it will be a slow recovery, but fingers crossed for a full one in time

  50. More good news for Juan Mauricio Soler. Whether he ever turns a pedal in anger again doesn’t really matter at this point.

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