This is an exciting time of year. The Giro is in the books, the Tour is firmly in everyone’s sights, and those of us with the vaguest idea of how the big race will unfold are prognosticating the loudest as we use races that are proven to reveal fuck-all about what will happen at the Tour to predict what will happen at the Tour.
With the DauphinÃ© underway we look to the start of the Tour de Suisse to peer deeper into the murk to see who is riding well. As far as I’m concerned, I might as well lay out all the rider’s names in a random pattern and blow snot-rockets at the floor to make my picks this year because I honestly haven’t the foggiest idea who will take it; the biggest race of the year is spinning up to be the biggest enigma of the year.
All this babbling serves to demonstrate another important point, and the reason why the DauphinÃ© wasn’t in the VSP: these stage races are little more than preparation races for the big names, and a chance for the smaller one’s to take center stage. So why did the Tour de Suisse get a VSP while the DauphinÃ© didn’t? For starters, the latter feels less like a dress rehearsal for the Tour, but mostly its because there is a mountain pass that has cobbles all the way up it in Switzerland (though I’m not sure if they’re riding it this year). How cool is that? I can get on board with any country who values labor costs little enough to pave an entire mountain road one cobble at a time. Yes, we’re that scientific here in the Velominati Boardroom.
When this race is over, we’ll have even less of a clue as to who will win in July (well, everyone except @Marcus, who needs neither evidence nor results in order to be sure Cuddles will win) and we’ll be able to distract ourselves with the various National Championships which will take place in the week leading up the Tour’s start and guessing wether Bruyneel has the nerve to cut either or both Schlecks from his Tour team.
So, dust off your monkey’s bones and 12-sided die, time to make your predictions for the 2012 Tour de Suisse. Check the Tour de Suisse site for the latest route and roster info and remember that since this is a stage race, (not a Grand Tour), points on offer are 10 for first place, 8 for second, 7 for third, 5 for fourth, and 3 for fifth – all based on the final General Classification; plus two bonus points per rider in the top five regardless of the rider’s placing. Get your picks in by the time the countdown clock goes to zero, and pray for an intervention. Make sure you check the mappings of your picks before the race ends so you get the points you deserve, and use the dispute mechanism to alert us of any issues. Note that the dispute mechanism is the official means by which to raise concerns about your picks; questions about your mappings or disputes raised in the posts will be largely ignored.