Velominati Super Prestige: Gent Wevelgem 2015

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!

This is it! We are really into the thick of it now! E3 Harelbeke is today, and on Sunday we have the Kemmelberg in Gent Wevelgem – the first real serious cobbled race of the year. For Keeper’s Tour in 2012 we stayed just outside Kemmel, and for KT2013 Bretto and I went off for a jetlag-neutralizing spin together into the same area and rode the climb from both sides. When I arrive in Belgium on Thursday, the first thing we’ll do is head over there again; the area feels a bit like home at this point.

All of Europe bears the marks of World War I, but this bit of Belgium is even more heavily scarred; when this many people die in one place, it lingers in the air like a thick mist. This hill in particular was the site of several battles; the Germans took it in April 1918 and it was reclaimed by the allied forces in September. Monuments, graveyards, barracks litter the landscape.

Although its short, the Kemmelberg is a brute of a climb with a steep ramp at the top; the cobbles are rough and very badly laid at the base; the best route has you swinging wide to the outside if you’re to maintain your speed. If you are unlucky enough to be forced into the inside, you will come to a standstill and find yourself chasing from the onset.

And speaking of chasing, its time to get some points on the board with the VSP so you have a chance of claiming one of our prizes. Get your picks in by the time the clock goes to zero. And for the love of Merckx, don’t wait until the last minute before flooding my inbox with complaints about the site going down. Your procrastination is not my emergency, boys and girls. But if you do happen to have some trouble (and it’s not the last minute, or the middle of the night) then feel free to let us know; we’re happy to help you out so long as the event hasn’t closed yet. So, prognosticate on the start list and enter your sure-to-be dud picks.

We are still finalizing the prize list for the overall VSP, but second place has been confirmed as being a set of CR Wheelworks/Velominati wheels. CR Wheelworks is Café Roubaix’s wheel product line, and you’ll have the choice of rim size and hub. The Velominati edition comes with orange Chris King hubs, but if that’s too bling for you, I’m sure the configuration can be changed for the winner.

First prize will be something even more amazeballs and third place will be a full Velominati kit complete with V-Cap. My wheels just arrived, and I can’t wait to ride them.

And, we’ll wrap it up with some 2013 Gent action:


[vsp_results id=”32565″/]

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216 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Gent Wevelgem 2015”

  1. @wiscot

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider luckily for Sky, P-R is the kind of race where you need plans A through to C so they can claim he’s a protected rider, while actually riding for the bloke with form in Thomas.

    Indeed, but there’s the rub. Sky don’t have a great record on having any plan past Plan A. Obviously Wiggins has been talking big about P-R and is the ranking member of the squad. However, as you rightly note, he’s done sweet FA this year whereas Thomas is a man on form. Start as co-leaders and let the race sort it out. What if GT goes for it? Wiggins is off the team in a month or so anyway.

    All the bluster about Smuggo is just a Skybot smoke screen, the bunch will be hawking him, and will miss Thomas sneaking away FTW…

    It is going to be awesome to see how this plays out, although my heart is broken that my 2 biggest mancrushes aren’t there. Good luck to Wiggins, he would elevate in my eyes with a solid result there to be the most complete rider of this generation (GC tours, track, one days).

    But there would be nothing like Topsport Vlaanderen or another underdog rider or team snatching one either.

    Drooling on my keyboard already.

  2. @frank

    @Daccordi Rider

    Sir Brad? “Nah, fuck this where’s my Schleckchute” I’m waiting anxiously to see how many tip him for PR based on the zero form displayed this season.

    Also monster ride by Jurgen Rowlandts.

    This, this, and this.

    And the Schleckchute earns you the +1 badge.

    Awesome.

  3. @Beers

    @wiscot

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider luckily for Sky, P-R is the kind of race where you need plans A through to C so they can claim he’s a protected rider, while actually riding for the bloke with form in Thomas.

    Indeed, but there’s the rub. Sky don’t have a great record on having any plan past Plan A. Obviously Wiggins has been talking big about P-R and is the ranking member of the squad. However, as you rightly note, he’s done sweet FA this year whereas Thomas is a man on form. Start as co-leaders and let the race sort it out. What if GT goes for it? Wiggins is off the team in a month or so anyway.

    All the bluster about Smuggo is just a Skybot smoke screen, the bunch will be hawking him, and will miss Thomas sneaking away FTW…

    It is going to be awesome to see how this plays out, although my heart is broken that my 2 biggest mancrushes aren’t there. Good luck to Wiggins, he would elevate in my eyes with a solid result there to be the most complete rider of this generation (GC tours, track, one days).

    But there would be nothing like Topsport Vlaanderen or another underdog rider or team snatching one either.

    Drooling on my keyboard already.

    I don’t think anyone will be fooled into not marking G closely, he is riding brilliantly. Wiggo has talked it up so much I just wonder what is going to happen. Is he pulling the biggest rope a dope in history? One thing is for certain, if it’s wet he is screwed.

  4. @Daccordi Rider

    I don’t think anyone will be fooled into not marking G closely, he is riding brilliantly. Wiggo has talked it up so much I just wonder what is going to happen. Is he pulling the biggest rope a dope in history? One thing is for certain, if it’s wet he is screwed.

    But I think Geraint would be quite pleased if it rained.

  5. Aghhh! The strategies! What if Wiggo goes in an early break? GT can’t chase his teammate. What if they’re together and Wiggo punctures? Does GT give him a wheel? GT will be marked big time which might let Wiggo go – especially if it’s sloppy. Do the rest chase down Wiggo and drag GT up there?  Will all the faves watch each other and let a guy from one of the wee teams or a domestique grab the glory? Just. Can’t. Wait.

  6. Reckon the ideal situation for any sky rider is to end up in a late break with two or more EQS riders. One EQS rider is a danger, but three is pure comedy

  7. @frank

    @osbk67

    @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    They banned the Dangle?

    SOLID GOLD!!!

    Indeed that is… I’m sitting in an airport terminal waiting on delayed flight and I’m cracking up. The Dangle… What a hoot. Spring Classics are for BADASSES that’s for certain. Love ’em.

  8. Hmmmmm…..interesting….161 riders don’t finish and everyone says negative things about just one, Wiggo. He has much bigger fish to fry, wouldn’t write him off just yet – another top 10 at P-R, the World hour record and a medal in Rio probably await, not a bad end to a career?

  9. @Geraint

    @gilly

    @Gianni

    @wiscot

    @frank

    @wiscot

    Ok, haven’t made my picks yet, but WTF’s going on? No Tommeke, and now no Spartacus for the big races? Crazy! That being said, fine, fine win by Geraint today in the E3. Now Sky have a problem: Geraint is obviously on the form of his life – we saw that last week. Wiggo’s form? Not sure, but Sky and he have made a big hoopla over how P-R is Wiggo’s main goal for the year. So do Geraint and Wiggo start as equals or will the Welshman be subservient to his English master? Will Geraint havce to sacrifice himself or will he be allowed to have a go? My thoughts are, if it’s dry, go with Sir Tattoo; if it’s muddy, go with Wales.

    I am not too broken up about Fabs/Boonen. I would want them both in form or neither because honestly I think the 4x crown should be a pretty rare thing and I’m afraid of Fabs getting a “free” ride to it, which would have two riders of the same generation sharing that record with the Gypsie.

    I’m pretty sure its going to be muddy, so that also opens it wide up. Gerraint rode very well in the wet last year at the Tour; he might be my #1. I can’t say I disagree on your strategy for the brits, though if I was DS I’d have them both start as leaders; too much can happen at Roubaix.

    Agreed. Co-leaders and let the chips, crashes and punctures fall where they may. I just hope we don’t see Geraint being stymied if he’s feeling good and having to wait on Wiggins.

    Fuck Wiggins. There, it’s out there. I’d make Twiggo ride for G, by golly. I can’t even remember if Twig was in Paris-Nice or Terreno-Adriatico because I never saw him do anything. Did he finish whatever he was racing in? Has he earned his spot at P-R besides his monster engine? We will see if he races Gent on Sunday and how his form is but I don’t think he deserves the leadership role at P-R, because I’m a cranky old guy.

    Have to agree. G was clearly strong at PR last year and the photo of him and Wiggins with their backs to each other after the race spoke volumes in body language terms. G buried himself that day but Wiggins either didn’t have the legs to go with Terpstra or made a bad call in not doing so. Brailsford has to make the right decision and I can’t believe  that G will go into PR as anything other than team leader. If that’s not the case, I think Brailsford is in danger of losing the real quality guys that he has in G and Peter Kennaugh who have more than earned their spurs. But i think we need to remember what an astute guy DB is; how we all laughed when he said that Sky would win the TDF. They have had a really strong start to the Classics season and based on G’s attack yesterday, Sagan doesn’t appear to have cast off his last 10 K demons. It’s going to be a cracking couple of weeks!

    I think Sky/DB have learned their lessons from a hopeless classics campaign in ’13 and an only marginally better one in ’14. They set out trying to control the races for a nominated leader like they had done successfully in the TdF in ’12 and ’13, and found that it just didn’t work. Geraint could have won P-R last year but he’s a team player and Wiggo was the nominated leader. The irony is that P-R is the last race you can try to control given all the elements of risk, but they’d got to within 10k of the line together and still managed to throw it away. This year I think (hope) the team tactics are much more about staying out of trouble and let the rider(s) who feel good on the day do their own thing and go for it. We saw that at MSR, when it didn’t quite come off, and again at E3, when it absolutely did.

    All that said, going into P-R saying they’re riding for Wiggo might just draw attention away from other options. The other teams might mark Wiggo out of the race like they did with Faboo last year.

    @Geraint

    Good point well made Geraint. I find myself really torn this year. Much as I’d love to see a Sky Riding Brit win a monument, I think Tom Boonen bagging a fourth PR  would be the most incredible achievement. Either way, there’s some terrific racing going on at the mo and the conditions really contributed to GV last Sunday, let’s hope the weather continues.

  10. @wilburrox

    @frank

    @osbk67

    @ped

    Embedded image permalinkI thought the UCI had banned this position

    They banned the Dangle?

    SOLID GOLD!!!

    Indeed that is… I’m sitting in an airport terminal waiting on delayed flight and I’m cracking up. The Dangle… What a hoot. Spring Classics are for BADASSES that’s for certain. Love ‘em.

    Also nice to see a pro with an appropriately sized bike computer.

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