Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a España 2016

The Vuelta is my least favorite Grand Tour. I say this every year, I know. And every year, circumstances make it look an awful lot like I could be wrong about that. Circumstances like, for instance, the fact that the GC almost always comes down to a nail-biting final few days, or someone comes from far down the classification to upset the standings on a transition stage, like Contador did a few years back.

Still, there is no denying that it has the least prestige of the three Grand Tours; any rider who has won the Tour de France would have no trouble finding a contract for years to come, and the same goes for the Giro to a lesser extent. Yet, I can think of two Vuelta winners – if not three – in the last decade who were without a contract the following year or were forced to resign themselves to racing on a lower-ranked team.

I blame my dislike for the Vuelta on Spain’s geography; those rains in Spain that fall mainly in the plains are also the plains in Spain that host stages on roads so flat and straight that you get the idea half the peloton would be happy to wrap a bungee cord around their handlebars and take a nap. Yet, some of the most brutal climbs are found along its parcours and those brutal climbs make for some wildly fantastic racing.

So I’m not saying I’m changing my mind about the Vuelta, but it can’t be worse than the Tour was this year.

Anyway, don’t mind this grumpy old man; prognosticate on the start list, get your picks in, sit back, and enjoy the racing. Good luck!

[vsp_results id=”73002″/]

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217 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a España 2016”

  1. @Rick

    I agree on Bob being less of a goofball, he is doing an excellent job of analysis. Although I am watching on a delay, and therefore am not sure if the commentary is live or filled in later, Bob gives insightful comments about what is about to happen. I enjoy his insights and comments on tactics.

    No doubt the worst cycling commentator I have heard is Todd Gogulski. He has no clue on tactics nor race situation. Thankfully he is calling fewer races these days.

    Get Bob away from that TdF crew and he seems to thrive. I especially appreciate his disagreements with Sherwen on situation and tactics. They’re not shy about disagreeing, but both make good points, based on experience, and seem to have a good rapport.

    Gogulski “GoGo” (God I hate cute nicknames. Are those nicknames an American thing?) and Schlanger have the worst chemistry. Schlanger is an idiot. While Gogulski seems to know what he’s talking about, I can hardly bear to look at him, his combover and 1970’s glasses.

  2. @Minnesota Expat

    @Rick

    I agree on Bob being less of a goofball, he is doing an excellent job of analysis. Although I am watching on a delay, and therefore am not sure if the commentary is live or filled in later, Bob gives insightful comments about what is about to happen. I enjoy his insights and comments on tactics.

    No doubt the worst cycling commentator I have heard is Todd Gogulski. He has no clue on tactics nor race situation. Thankfully he is calling fewer races these days.

    Get Bob away from that TdF crew and he seems to thrive. I especially appreciate his disagreements with Sherwen on situation and tactics. They’re not shy about disagreeing, but both make good points, based on experience, and seem to have a good rapport.

    Gogulski “GoGo” (God I hate cute nicknames. Are those nicknames an American thing?) and Schlanger have the worst chemistry. Schlanger is an idiot. While Gogulski seems to know what he’s talking about, I can hardly bear to look at him, his combover and 1970’s glasses.

    I have really enjoyed Paul and Bob calling the Vuelta. It is interesting to hear them disagree as it gives a different point of view. Paul is very good when he isn’t constantly mopping up for Phil. I even enjoyed Paul’s Olympic calls with Christian Vande Velde who knows his stuff.

    Schlanger is a bit dry but he gets no help from Gogulski. While Bob Roll will state categorically that a breakaway will or will not stay away, Gogulski will waffle which adds nothing. For a pretty good pro racer, tactics and situations are totally lost on him. I often find myself yelling at the telly when Todd has no clue why something is happening.

    I am willing to give Schlanger a pass to some degree because he calls a number of sports. Therefore, he is not a cycling expert. I have heard him call a race or races with someone other than Gogulski and it raises Steve’s game considerably.

    Yes, it does seem that we Yanks like to give nicknames for everyone……I am not fond of the practice myself.

  3. @Rick

    I am willing to give Schlanger a pass to some degree because he calls a number of sports. Therefore, he is not a cycling expert. I have heard him call a race or races with someone other than Gogulski and it raises Steve’s game considerably.

    Yeah, calling Schlanger an “idiot” is a bit harsh. I get that he calls several sports and is not a retired pro, but he doesn’t get any help from Gogulski.

    What’s with the USA broadcasts?! No Stage 10 and now there’s nothing scheduled for the next week?! But all Tour of Britain stages are scheduled for broadcast?!

  4. Well I’ll be damned.  I hadn’t realized that I held the Red Jersey at one time.  It won’t last.  It never does.

    I was glad to see Gesink looking strong yesterday.

  5. @Erik

    That’s 2 crackers in a row. Loved yesterday’s finish, with Froome and Quintana so busy eyeing each other they were letting others go. And today’s was the ultimate in opportunism with that break getting away so early. But I think Froome was cooked anyways – he lost more time on the last hill, even though it didn’t look like he’d done much work all stage.

  6. The tactics in the last two stages have been fantastic. Movistar forced Sky to pull yesterday and I have to believe that cost Froome’s squad today (although I didn’t tune in early enough to see how Quintana got away in the break). But the Orica tactic of getting four riders ahead of the peloton was brilliant and allowed Simon Yates to jump up the GC. Sending two in the break, then having one pop out of the bunch before Yates rode away was sheer genius.

  7. Sorry Bert, but you’re out and Nairo’s in.

    VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Quintana
    2. Froome
    3. Valverde
    4. Chavez
    5. van Garderen
  8. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. N. Quintana
    2. M. Lopez
    3. S. Kruijswick
    4. E. Chaves
    5. C. Froome
  9. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Esteban Chavez
    2. Nairo Quintana
    3. Alejandro Valverde
    4. chris froome
    5. Alberto Contador
  10. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. FROOME Christopher
    2. Froome’s Colombian Shadow
    3. Clenbutador
    4. MEINTJES Louis
    5. YATES Simon
  11. I’m five for five but NITRO, so no swaps for me. I’ll be interested to see how Orica plays the final week.

  12. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Contador, Alberto
    2. Valverde, Alejandro
    3. Froome, Chris
    4. Chaves, Esteban
    5. Yates, Simon
  13. Let it ride. No swaps. Once I picked some American named Horner to win the Vuelta. Pretty sure I was the only one to pick him. Did not change my VSP standing a fig. But swaps. Swaps are like the return of late 80s neon. Bad news.

  14. Hate to pull Contador from numero uno but the

    math doesn’t lie.

    VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Quintana
    2. Froome
    3. Valverde
    4. Kruijswijk
    5. Chaves
  15. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Contador
    2. Esteban Chavez
    3. Chris Froome
    4. Miguel Angel Lopez
    5. Simon Yates
  16. Partial NITRO but do not want to waste

    too many points; just swapped Crashwijk for Yates.

    VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Contador
    2. Froome
    3. Quintana
    4. Chaves
    5. Simon Yates
  17. I think I’m gonna start drinking diesel fuel for breakfast with hopes I could ride like big ol’ Mr Stannard. Ya’ll catch his win yesterday? Maybe it’s just me thinking this but sure was so much unlike all the solo breakaways we see televised lately with the attackers furiously pedaling away. There’s Ian mashing a big gear and barely turning it over it would seem (?) Just watching it I’m saying to myself, dang man, get on it… well apparently he was! What a cool dude. Cheers all.

  18. @Randy C

    I think I’m gonna start drinking diesel fuel for breakfast with hopes I could ride like big ol’ Mr Stannard. Ya’ll catch his win yesterday? Maybe it’s just me thinking this but sure was so much unlike all the solo breakaways we see televised lately with the attackers furiously pedaling away. There’s Ian mashing a big gear and barely turning it over it would seem (?) Just watching it I’m saying to myself, dang man, get on it… well apparently he was! What a cool dude. Cheers all.

    A lot of KOM’s for a “Lunch Ride“! And at that pace it’s no wonder he looked completely cooked at the end and in the post race intervals.

    Strong work and somewhat reminiscent of him crushing Ettix with that big gear of his.

  19. I gotta go back and watch that recent stage. GC contenders attacking from the gun? WOW!

  20. @chris

    @Randy C

    I think I’m gonna start drinking diesel fuel for breakfast with hopes I could ride like big ol’ Mr Stannard. Ya’ll catch his win yesterday? Maybe it’s just me thinking this but sure was so much unlike all the solo breakaways we see televised lately with the attackers furiously pedaling away. There’s Ian mashing a big gear and barely turning it over it would seem (?) Just watching it I’m saying to myself, dang man, get on it… well apparently he was! What a cool dude. Cheers all.

    A lot of KOM’s for a “Lunch Ride“! And at that pace it’s no wonder he looked completely cooked at the end and in the post race intervals.

    Strong work and somewhat reminiscent of him crushing Ettix with that big gear of his.

    Glad someone else mentioned this – I fucking love Stannard. He makes me feel a lot better about myself. He doesn’t ride a bike with elegance or grace or souplesse – he rides a bike like he’s trying to break it.

    Great win, great bloke.

  21. @RobSandy

    @chris

    @Randy C

    I think I’m gonna start drinking diesel fuel for breakfast with hopes I could ride like big ol’ Mr Stannard. Ya’ll catch his win yesterday? Maybe it’s just me thinking this but sure was so much unlike all the solo breakaways we see televised lately with the attackers furiously pedaling away. There’s Ian mashing a big gear and barely turning it over it would seem (?) Just watching it I’m saying to myself, dang man, get on it… well apparently he was! What a cool dude. Cheers all.

    A lot of KOM’s for a “Lunch Ride“! And at that pace it’s no wonder he looked completely cooked at the end and in the post race intervals.

    Strong work and somewhat reminiscent of him crushing Ettix with that big gear of his.

    He makes me feel a lot better about myself. He doesn’t ride a bike with elegance or grace or souplesse – he rides a bike like he’s trying to break it.

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but comfort myself with the knowledge that Stannard can stomp his way to victory.

    I do need to spend a lot of time on my rollers this winter, though. That’s the key to a more magnificent stroke for me.

  22. @chris

     

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but ……

    That could be wilfully misconstrued………

  23. @chris

     

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but comfort myself with the knowledge that Stannard can stomp his way to victory.

    I do need to spend a lot of time on my rollers this winter, though. That’s the key to a more magnificent stroke for me.

    I plan to ride fixed on the track once a week, that should help. Mind you, elegance can get you so far but there’s no substitute for POWER. I wish I had a fraction of the leg power big Yogi must have.

    I’ve worked out a description of how Stannard rides – like he’s trying to crush his bike into a very small cube with his legs and his arms.

  24. @Teocalli

    @chris

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but ……

    That could be wilfully misconstrued………

    From what I’ve heard plenty of ladies experienced Anquetil’s stroke…

  25. @chris

    @Teocalli, @RobSandy, Must you find innuendo everywhere?

    One of the requirements of my work is that the reports I write contain no ambiguity whatsoever.

    I thought it was one of the unwritten site rules to misconstrue comments at every opportunity?

  26. @RobSandy

    @chris

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but comfort myself with the knowledge that Stannard can stomp his way to victory.

    I do need to spend a lot of time on my rollers this winter, though. That’s the key to a more magnificent stroke for me.

    I plan to ride fixed on the track once a week, that should help. Mind you, elegance can get you so far but there’s no substitute for POWER. I wish I had a fraction of the leg power big Yogi must have.

    Rollers for souplesse, turbo for power.

    Stannard averaged 326 watts the other day.  I’d be luck to produce that sort of power for more than a couple of minutes.

  27. @Rick

    Van Garderen abandons after a rest day, who would have guessed that?

    Not a great season for him. Wonder whether he’ll continue to pursue GT ambitions or steer his career in another direction? In my eyes he’s not even an outside bet for a podium position in a three week stage race, especially given the rise of the Yates boys which has pushed him further back in the pecking order.

  28. @Steve Trice

    @Rick

    Van Garderen abandons after a rest day, who would have guessed that?

    Not a great season for him. Wonder whether he’ll continue to pursue GT ambitions or steer his career in another direction? In my eyes he’s not even an outside bet for a podium position in a three week stage race, especially given the rise of the Yates boys which has pushed him further back in the pecking order.

    Agreed, he seems to have problems after rest days for some reason. I figured the signing of Richie Port signaled that BMC management was losing faith in Tejay. Hate to see this happen to him.

  29. @RobSandy

    That’s ridiculous and, quite frankly, just not fair. That’s near enough flat and cobbled. The fastest I’ve recorded is 65.5 kph coming off the Hautacam (it’s far from smooth and the straights aren’t that long) but it’s steep.

    I think I need to get a Stannard hair cut.

  30. @chris

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but comfort myself with the knowledge that Stannard can stomp his way to victory.

    I do need to spend a lot of time on my rollers this winter, though. That’s the key to a more magnificent stroke for me.

    I plan to ride fixed on the track once a week, that should help. Mind you, elegance can get you so far but there’s no substitute for POWER. I wish I had a fraction of the leg power big Yogi must have.

    Rollers for souplesse, turbo for power.

    Stannard averaged 326 watts the other day. I’d be luck to produce that sort of power for more than a couple of minutes.

    I know I shouldn’t even inquire and just let it be a mystery…but how in the hell do the PROs do that when we can train and ride like crazy…and never get close to their level. Years and years of riding and never having to attend uni and have a FT job?

  31. @Ron

    @chris

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    So true. I aspire to the stroke of Maître Jacques but comfort myself with the knowledge that Stannard can stomp his way to victory.

    I do need to spend a lot of time on my rollers this winter, though. That’s the key to a more magnificent stroke for me.

    I plan to ride fixed on the track once a week, that should help. Mind you, elegance can get you so far but there’s no substitute for POWER. I wish I had a fraction of the leg power big Yogi must have.

    Rollers for souplesse, turbo for power.

    Stannard averaged 326 watts the other day. I’d be luck to produce that sort of power for more than a couple of minutes.

    I know I shouldn’t even inquire and just let it be a mystery…but how in the hell do the PROs do that when we can train and ride like crazy…and never get close to their level. Years and years of riding and never having to attend uni and have a FT job?

    David Millar talks of a similar output over four hours in a break in an early season classic.

    Apparently, the answer is 10,000 hours or more and a stack of decent genes. Look on the bright side though, if, like me you’ve never put in anything like the 10,000 hours, you can happily tell yourself that you could have been a contender if you’d taken it seriously from the right age.

  32. Well I’ve changed my mind. Originally I was not a fan of yellow and celeste with the mix of Lotto Jumbo kits and the Bianchi bikes. I was wrong. It works. The kits are cool, with the black shorts yes, and for whatev reason, yellow just works with the Bianchi bikes in my eye. Now, the classic old Bianchi’s with the yellow fade/celeste frames ?? I’m not there yet. But as I was watching Koen Bouwman in the break today I was thinking… you know what, looks good… and from stage 14 with Mr. Gesink:

  33. @Randy C

    Well I’ve changed my mind. Originally I was not a fan of yellow and celeste with the mix of Lotto Jumbo kits and the Bianchi bikes. I was wrong. It works. The kits are cool, with the black shorts yes, and for whatev reason, yellow just works with the Bianchi bikes in my eye. Now, the classic old Bianchi’s with the yellow fade/celeste frames ?? I’m not there yet. But as I was watching Koen Bouwman in the break today I was thinking… you know what, looks good… and from stage 14 with Mr. Gesink:

    Yellow just goes with everything. Best color out there. IMO.

  34. @Randy C

    Well I’ve changed my mind. Originally I was not a fan of yellow and celeste with the mix of Lotto Jumbo kits and the Bianchi bikes. I was wrong. It works. The kits are cool, with the black shorts yes, and for whatev reason, yellow just works with the Bianchi bikes in my eye. Now, the classic old Bianchi’s with the yellow fade/celeste frames ?? I’m not there yet. But as I was watching Koen Bouwman in the break today I was thinking… you know what, looks good… and from stage 14 with Mr. Gesink:

    I really like this guy.

     

  35. Final race results? I’m hoping to snag a Red Badge since I know that my VSP hasn’t a chance of winning. That said, I think there are some people out there who have better picks than me so I’ll settle for podium. But I need to know!

  36. @RobSandy

    @Randy C

    Well I’ve changed my mind. Originally I was not a fan of yellow and celeste with the mix of Lotto Jumbo kits and the Bianchi bikes. I was wrong. It works. The kits are cool, with the black shorts yes, and for whatev reason, yellow just works with the Bianchi bikes in my eye. Now, the classic old Bianchi’s with the yellow fade/celeste frames ?? I’m not there yet. But as I was watching Koen Bouwman in the break today I was thinking… you know what, looks good… and from stage 14 with Mr. Gesink:

    I really like this guy.

    Me too. I didn’t like the Celeste with the kit either, but I’m getting over it. It isn’t like my Bianchi matches any kit that I own. It is just Celeste. As it should be.

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