Velominati Super Prestige: Giro Di Lombardia 2015

What a great time of year this is. The changing of the seasons means one of two things; the weather is perfect as temperatures rise and spirits are lifted with the promise of a long summer ahead, or the weather is perfect as the long summer peters out as days shorten, meaning only memories of warmth will soon remain. I’m happy to be in the former camp right now, but in a matter of months the White Ladies will be on the other foot and moods will be exchanged between the hemispheres once again.

For the Pro, the racing season is either finished or winding down. Some will have started looking toward the winter, a time for rest and planning goals to make up for shortcomings or to consolidate on good results. Some will have started way back in the Spring, maybe taken their rest in the middle months when three weeks rather than one day was the raison d’être, and have emerged from a reverse hibernation to finish with something that can only be otherwise achieved in the early season: a Monument.

Lombardia sits in a strange place, both on the calendar and in the sights of a cross-section of wildly different riders with wildly different styles. Look at the list of past winners and you’ll see everyone from stage race specialists, grimpeurs, rouleurs, and even sprinters. The unpredictable Italian weather can play just as big a part as the equally hard to read form of a tired peloton. Which makes picking a winner in the VSP only slightly less difficult than the mix of long, short, brutally steep and punchy climbs and tricky descents that litter the back end of the parcours. Whoever takes this race has to be an all-rounder, even if they specialise in other areas at other times of the season. For the rest, they can take in some of the most spectacular views of any race anywhere in the world, and soak up that unique Italian atmosphere provided by the tifosi.

For those in the running for the grand prize in the VSP, Lombardia is a make or break moment which could mean the difference between the Jaegher frame, the Café Roubaix wheels and the V-kit. It’s tight at the top, and while @Minnesota Expat holds a buffer to @Steampunk, with the points on offer any of the top 6 could still stand atop the podium after next week’s final event.

For the rest of us, there’s a sweet Falling Leaf badge and the prestige of winning a Monument to play for, even if the rest of our season has been more Lanterne Rouge than Maillot Jaune. Check the start list, go Sagan-style and race on instinct and heart. Good luck!

[vsp_results id=”33838″/]

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118 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Giro Di Lombardia 2015”

  1. Making these picks from Tokyo; it could only improve things.  Saw a guy balling it in full Astana kit today.  Must be a sign.

    And the rain looks like it’ll clear up, so Pinot can relax the cremasters.  Still, I have a hard time putting “Pinot” and “Monument winner” together in the same thought bubble.

    How many Astanas left by the time time they reach the bottom of the Civiglio?  4? 5?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nibali
    2. Valverde
    3. Visconti, Giovanni
    4. Majka, Ralph
    5. A Yates
  2. Argh, missing the final VSP. Total jerk move.

    Oh well, it is Sunday morning, the hurricane is providing some nice wet weather here in the mid-Atlantic U.S. and a normally wet race is coming on soon. Not bad, not bad!

    Kinda wild that just one week ago…I was in Richmond seeing these dudes crush it, now they’re in Italy racing away again. Awesome.

  3. @gilly

    I had a moment of weakness last night, and thought about playing it safe—putting Valverde in first and Nibali in second like my closest rivals—in order to preserve my spot. But then the face of Eddy Merckx greeted me as I opened the page, and stuck to my guns. Just as well. Apparently, Nibali lives in the area, so I figured he might know how and where to get a gap. That was some pretty spectacular descending.

  4. Kudos, too, to Dani Moreno. Katusha were in tough without Rodriguez riding, and desperate to pick up some ground on Movistar for the team title. Moreno rode a beast of a race, even if it looked like he was towing Valverde at times…

  5. @Steampunk

    @gilly

    I had a moment of weakness last night, and thought about playing it safe—putting Valverde in first and Nibali in second like my closest rivals—in order to preserve my spot. But then the face of Eddy Merckx greeted me as I opened the page, and stuck to my guns. Just as well. Apparently, Nibali lives in the area, so I figured he might know how and where to get a gap. That was some pretty spectacular descending.

    He definitely rode that descent like a local. Fair play to you sticking to your guns, love the Eddie reference too. I was really pleased for Nibali although I can’t help but smell a rat at how Astana have performed this year. I thought he was a bit hard done by at the Vuelta.

    Best of luck with the Chrono mate.

  6. This was an awesome race. I’ve never seen anyone descend like Nibbles – sitting on the top tube, tucking his hands into the stem, passing the camera moto. It was more impressive than Sagan at the WC.

    Everyone knew he was going to attack on that descent, and no one could go with him. Well deserved.

    Also, 3 Grand Tours and a Monument – pretty decent.

  7. @The Grande Fondue

    This was an awesome race. I’ve never seen anyone descend like Nibbles – sitting on the top tube, tucking his hands into the stem, passing the camera moto. It was more impressive than Sagan at the WC.

    Everyone knew he was going to attack on that descent, and no one could go with him. Well deserved.

    Also, 3 Grand Tours and a Monument – pretty decent.

    His descent was flat out fantastic and a blast to watch. In the super tuck and cornering?!? Snaking by the moto?! Wow.

    Fortunately I generally am racing masters. Cause I suspect that after Sagan and Vincenzo’s descents we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of that kinda stuff on the local level. Last thing I wanna do is crawl down on the top tube and plant my sternum in to my bars and lean into corners. And I’d guess that’ll be the case for us older (wiser?) age group competitors. That stuff is cool to watch but looney tunes if I’ll attempt it.

  8. @Kevin

    The closest I’ve come to winning a VSP!  Congrats @Erik

    Thanks! This is my best VSP. Ronde and Lombardia. 25th on GC.  I totally blew it on le Tour and bet against Froome.

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