Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia 2015

This is the most exciting thing that’s happened in Cycling since April. Yes, that’s a full two weeks with nothing exciting happening and its been killing me. I know its been killing you, too.

I love the Giro, the master alchemist of bad weather and big mountains that keeps the racing exciting from the first day through the last. You can generally count on enough climbing in the first week to see the leadership bounce around like one of those singing ping pong balls on Sesame Street. The race has its fair share of provenance as well, with many a legendary battle fought between legendary riders.

This year’s race is also remarkable for the fact that a GC rider is not only racing both the Giro and the Tour, but for Contador’s publicly stated objective of doing the Giro-Tour double, a feat not matched since Pantani crushed it back in 1998. That is an awesome goal, I just wish it was a goal set forth by a rider I could get enthusiastic about. A quick scan of the start list has me wondering who is made of the same stuff Bertie, and I’m coming up short. Uran Uran and Pozzovivo are the standouts; and I have serious doubts about Porte being able to come up with the goods, not to mention my boy Ryder who, despite having actually won the Giro, does not inspire confidence in his ability to repeat the feat. It is looking like energy bars may be Contador’s biggest rival for the title, like in last year’s Tour.

Now that I’ve given you three paragraphs of useless drivel that you’ve probably already skipped over, I feel comfortable getting down to Road Tacks. This is the Giro, people, lots of points at stake. And those points are going towards amazing prizes including a Jaeger frame and a Café Roubaix wheelset. There is plenty of time for you to Delgado the thing, too, so my advice is that you avoid doing that. Give yourself enough time to enter your picks so if something has gone amuck, you have time to hit “reload” or come back V minutes later to try again before the event closes. Remember, your procrastination in this matter will not result in the only Keeper with database skills diving into the backend to enter your picks for you. (And if you do encounter a problem, please be so kind as to take a screenshot and upload it as the descriptor “it didn’t work” doesn’t help us debug the problem.)

The scoring for the Grand Tours is a tad more involved than the one-day races, so look them over before making your prognostications. (One of the best things about the VSP is that I usually get to use the word “prognostication”, an opportunity one should always relish.)

So get your picks in before the countdown clock goes to zero, hit the go button, and good luck.

[vsp_results id=”32941″/]

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545 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia 2015”

  1. @Erik

    If that was karma for the Schleckanical, I wonder what today was.  This blood feud could go on for generations.

    And thanks for the Landa info.  Much appreciated.

    Glad to help regarding Landa.  As for the blood feud, I think it speaks more to Contador’s character rather than an all-out war between teams.  Contador was clearly telling his team to drill it, and even surged forward himself to get the pace up before breaking away later.  Yet when he was asked about it after the race, he claimed the same defense he used on Schleck: he and his team were already attacking at the time of the accident.  That’s certainly not how it looked in either case, but that’s his story.  Contador’s actions today serve to remind us what a wanker he is.  Personally, I think he’s just an opportunist and will take any advantage he can.  But you’ve got a point: Oleg’s running the show now, and it’s possible he might’ve told the team to take advantage if the opportunity arose.  I guess we’ll see in future races if Tinkoff-Saxo continue to hold a grudge against Astana and Katusha.

    I really don’t like cheering for Contador, but damn I need the points for the VSP.

  2. Much as I was hoping for Chava to win, I have to admit that was a fantastic ride out of Gilbert today.  Loved the cheeky looks to the camera about 4k out and the obvious delight at taking another stage.

  3. Question for British folks – have you noticed that the BBC are not reporting the Giro AT ALL. I can understand there not being the usual excitable headlines about Wiggins, Froome or Geraint but surely there is still interested even without a British entry?

    I’m not sure they even update the standings after each stage. Rubbish.

  4. @RobSandy

    Yup situation normal.  I have to watch it on Eurosport.  The only GT that Brit TV seems to know about is the TdF – even then that is not on the Beeb and we only get daily highlights in the evening on Channel 5 (I think it is).  So again back to Eurosport.

  5. @Teocalli

    It’s annoying. ITV4 usually has highlights of all the GT’s, but they’ve not bothered this year.

    I find it more disturbing that the BBC isn’t even putting stage write-ups on the website.

    Channel 5 has the cricket highlights. I remember last summer I was trying to wangle it with the VMW to watch the cricket highlights from 7 to 8, then the Vuelta from 8-9, and the Tour of Britain (which I think was at the same time) from 9 to 10. Didn’t go down all that well.

  6. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    It’s annoying. ITV4 usually has highlights of all the GT’s, but they’ve not bothered this year.

    I find it more disturbing that the BBC isn’t even putting stage write-ups on the website.

    Channel 5 has the cricket highlights. I remember last summer I was trying to wangle it with the VMW to watch the cricket highlights from 7 to 8, then the Vuelta from 8-9, and the Tour of Britain (which I think was at the same time) from 9 to 10. Didn’t go down all that well.

    Ah yes you are correct ITV4.  I just pay a sub to Eurosport and watch it on my pc via EurosportPlayer.  So when I am working from home I just pop it out onto a second screen.

  7. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    It’s annoying. ITV4 usually has highlights of all the GT’s, but they’ve not bothered this year.

    I find it more disturbing that the BBC isn’t even putting stage write-ups on the website.

    Channel 5 has the cricket highlights. I remember last summer I was trying to wangle it with the VMW to watch the cricket highlights from 7 to 8, then the Vuelta from 8-9, and the Tour of Britain (which I think was at the same time) from 9 to 10. Didn’t go down all that well.

    Ah yes you are correct ITV4.  I just pay a sub to Eurosport and watch it on my pc via EurosportPlayer.  So when I am “working from home” I just pop it out onto a second screen.

    Fixed your post.

    Just hoping for a dry day in Leeds today.

  8. @RobSandy

    Ha Ha!  Thanks.  Northampton today for me and a long night last night on site so knackered this morning.  Raining here – so looking forward to trying to stay awake on the drive back south later while stuck in all the Friday traffic.

  9. @Teocalli

    I’m ‘working from home’ today for completely shitty reasons I wont go into.

    However, it does give me the opportunity to knock off early this afternoon and go for a ride. I’m slightly disappointed to see it seems to be drying up here, was gearing up for a bit of Rule #9 action around the Valleys.

  10. Fellas, go to steephill.tv for all your Giro needs. And everything else pro cycling for that matter. Live coverage, pics, interviews. You might have to watch in English, Italian, Dutch or something, but you’ll see it. Ye cannae whack it!

  11. looks like Ass-tana want Aru in second. That puts my Landa in for Porte in 3rd place in better stead!!

    Ryder is such a horse of a man!!

  12. I’m thinking Bertie put the smack down yesterday as payback to the other Rooskie teams for dropping him the other day, and to take the whole shooting match by the throat.

    Today he stayed in touch to hold his lead, maybe a wee bit tuckered from yesterday? and tomorrow on Cima Coppi he takes a stage before coronation in Milan.

  13. Aru is a funny one. Makes crazy pain faces, crying faces, and even his celebration looks a bit odd. It’s like a praying mantis doing violent break dancing moves.

  14. @Ron

    Aru is a funny one. Makes crazy pain faces, crying faces, and even his celebration looks a bit odd. It’s like a praying mantis doing violent break dancing moves.

    True, but Aru’s still way more stylish than Froome-dog. The pressure on the Aru must be crazy – young, Sicilian, the best Italian prospect since Nibbles. Good to see him giving it a shot. Another amazing ride from Hesjedal. He deserves a stage win – hopefully tomorrow if he can recover.

  15. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    It’s annoying. ITV4 usually has highlights of all the GT’s, but they’ve not bothered this year.

    I find it more disturbing that the BBC isn’t even putting stage write-ups on the website.

    Channel 5 has the cricket highlights. I remember last summer I was trying to wangle it with the VMW to watch the cricket highlights from 7 to 8, then the Vuelta from 8-9, and the Tour of Britain (which I think was at the same time) from 9 to 10. Didn’t go down all that well.

    The last couple of years ITV4 have done the Tour and the Vuelta but not the Giro, which I find an interesting choice. Regardless, I’m ‘one of those guys’ who doesn’t own a TV—I have bikes *plural* though!— so I watch the ‘last X km’ videos on Steephill.

  16. @Ron

    Aru is a funny one. Makes crazy pain faces, crying faces, and even his celebration looks a bit odd. It’s like a praying mantis doing violent break dancing moves.

    Ha!  Awesome mental image!  While watching him today, I was thinking how he’s one of the few to challenge Voeckler in the crazy pain face department.  Can you imagine the two of them in a break together?  Epic suffering.

  17. @Chica

    @Ron

    Aru is a funny one. Makes crazy pain faces, crying faces, and even his celebration looks a bit odd. It’s like a praying mantis doing violent break dancing moves.

    Ha!  Awesome mental image!  While watching him today, I was thinking how he’s one of the few to challenge Voeckler in the crazy pain face department.  Can you imagine the two of them in a break together?  Epic suffering.

    Totally. How much am I loving Aru, though? Fucking EPIC love. Five Face on the Mortirollo stage and then that second attack today when he dropped Ryder was full-on 90’s-Era Awesome. How hard can you go? Oh, right? Because I can go “You Go Hard, Plus One”!

  18. One of the best GTs in a long time. Especially with 1st being, relatively, sewn up for a while now. Love seeing Contador attack even with a 4+ minute lead. That’s something the skybots wouldn’t even consider.

    Pulling hard for Hesjedal on the last mountain stage. If he wins he has definitely earned it.

  19. Fabowser’s miraculous recovery really screwed my VSP today. Chapeau to him but here’s hoping for another place swap between he and Landa on the Sistriere tomorrow. Either way stage 20 should be fun to watch. I expect another big ride from Ryder to hopefully shoot him up into the top 5, he’s really animated the last week of this Giro and made things exciting in the absence of any real drama about who’s going to win.

  20. Fucking Italians – just when you thought they organised (italians organising ?!?) a fairly normal giro I discovered that stage 20 contains the Cima Coppi . The second half of the climb is 8 km long  , 9 % graded gravel road to almost 2200 m above sea level . Thats why I love this race .

  21. @frank

    @Chica

    @Ron

    Aru is a funny one. Makes crazy pain faces, crying faces, and even his celebration looks a bit odd. It’s like a praying mantis doing violent break dancing moves.

    Ha!  Awesome mental image!  While watching him today, I was thinking how he’s one of the few to challenge Voeckler in the crazy pain face department.  Can you imagine the two of them in a break together?  Epic suffering.

    Totally. How much am I loving Aru, though? Fucking EPIC love. Five Face on the Mortirollo stage and then that second attack today when he dropped Ryder was full-on 90’s-Era Awesome. How hard can you go? Oh, right? Because I can go “You Go Hard, Plus One”!

    And his white jersey only partly makes up for what must be one of the most perfectly ugly, if not ugliest, team kit.

  22. Top race, top racers, Froome will be shitting himself, Contador can do it all on his own if need be, Aru had a frankly unbelievable team and could only manage a distant second, Nibili must be licking his lips at the chance to go on “training camp” with these guy’s before ripping shit up at the Tour, might make it worth watching after all…

  23. @piwakawaka

    Top race, top racers, Froome will be shitting himself, Contador can do it all on his own if need be, Aru had a frankly unbelievable team and could only manage a distant second, Nibili must be licking his lips at the chance to go on “training camp” with these guy’s before ripping shit up at the Tour, might make it worth watching after all…

    This was a great Giro; Astana really are shockingly good – showing all the signs that we’ve historically known to be the signs of team-wide doping. That said, Aru’s attack on Hesjedal on Friday was probably the best moment of the race, in the big dog and just crushing it until one of them breaks.

    Bertie is not as hateful as he used to be, and perhaps the best thing about him this year is that he rode in “almost” team-issue bibs.

  24. Still clinging onto third place. There were a couple of days I had the overall VSP lead when Aru dropped to third & had it stayed that way I would’ve had  a 3 point gap. Wasn’t to be & there’s still a long way to go so just need to stay in contention.

  25. @piwakawaka

    Hmm I’m not so sure. Contador was similarly unbeatable in the 2011 Giro, but then didn’t seem to have it when it mattered in the Tour – possibly due to crashes but I reckon he’d left a lot on the road in Italy.

    As for Astana, yeah.

    I’m looking forward to the Froome v Nibali battle we were sadly denied last year.

  26. @frank

    @piwakawaka

    Top race, top racers, Froome will be shitting himself, Contador can do it all on his own if need be, Aru had a frankly unbelievable team and could only manage a distant second, Nibili must be licking his lips at the chance to go on “training camp” with these guy’s before ripping shit up at the Tour, might make it worth watching after all…

    This was a great Giro; Astana really are shockingly good – showing all the signs that we’ve historically known to be the signs of team-wide doping. That said, Aru’s attack on Hesjedal on Friday was probably the best moment of the race, in the big dog and just crushing it until one of them breaks.

    Bertie is not as hateful as he used to be, and perhaps the best thing about him this year is that he rode in “almost” team-issue bibs.

    As is pretty obvious based on my previous posts, Astana & they’re supercharged racing just ruined it for me.

    Interesting thing about Contador (& to a lesser extent Oleg), I wonder how much having a “greater evil” present in Astana led to people softening their view a little?

  27. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank

    @piwakawaka

    Top race, top racers, Froome will be shitting himself, Contador can do it all on his own if need be, Aru had a frankly unbelievable team and could only manage a distant second, Nibili must be licking his lips at the chance to go on “training camp” with these guy’s before ripping shit up at the Tour, might make it worth watching after all…

    This was a great Giro; Astana really are shockingly good – showing all the signs that we’ve historically known to be the signs of team-wide doping. That said, Aru’s attack on Hesjedal on Friday was probably the best moment of the race, in the big dog and just crushing it until one of them breaks.

    Bertie is not as hateful as he used to be, and perhaps the best thing about him this year is that he rode in “almost” team-issue bibs.

    As is pretty obvious based on my previous posts, Astana & they’re supercharged racing just ruined it for me.

    Interesting thing about Contador (& to a lesser extent Oleg), I wonder how much having a “greater evil” present in Astana led to people softening their view a little?

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there @Mikael Liddy, even Dirty Bertie looks acceptable when the majority of Astana are climbing like Pantani weeks after scraping through keeping their licence. It was entertaining viewing, but in the same way that 90s racing was entertaining – it’s impressive but you can’t believe it’s legit at the same time.

  28. @Fausto

    @Mikael Liddy

    @frank

    @piwakawaka

    Interesting thing about Contador (& to a lesser extent Oleg), I wonder how much having a “greater evil” present in Astana led to people softening their view a little?

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there @Mikael Liddy, even Dirty Bertie looks acceptable when the majority of Astana are climbing like Pantani weeks after scraping through keeping their licence. It was entertaining viewing, but in the same way that 90s racing was entertaining – it’s impressive but you can’t believe it’s legit at the same time.

    It was interesting the day Bertie had his mechanical how many riders from other teams bust a gut to pace him back up.

  29. @Geraint

    he would be hard to bet against, he’s the only guy to have won a GT since last years Tour, two in a row is impressive, three in a row and a Giro-Tour double? He’s not lacking motivation. I think it’s possible, but we all know how difficult it is.

    @Mikael Liddy

    Definitely softened my view of him, then a quick look at Wiki and the teams he has been on, even without his positive it sur ‘aint pretty, so yeah, fuck fuckity fuck fucken’ fuckers.

    Love this bloody sport.

  30. @Fausto

    @Mikael Liddy

    @frank

    @piwakawaka

    Top race, top racers, Froome will be shitting himself, Contador can do it all on his own if need be, Aru had a frankly unbelievable team and could only manage a distant second, Nibili must be licking his lips at the chance to go on “training camp” with these guy’s before ripping shit up at the Tour, might make it worth watching after all…

    This was a great Giro; Astana really are shockingly good – showing all the signs that we’ve historically known to be the signs of team-wide doping. That said, Aru’s attack on Hesjedal on Friday was probably the best moment of the race, in the big dog and just crushing it until one of them breaks.

    Bertie is not as hateful as he used to be, and perhaps the best thing about him this year is that he rode in “almost” team-issue bibs.

    As is pretty obvious based on my previous posts, Astana & they’re supercharged racing just ruined it for me.

    Interesting thing about Contador (& to a lesser extent Oleg), I wonder how much having a “greater evil” present in Astana led to people softening their view a little?

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there @Mikael Liddy, even Dirty Bertie looks acceptable when the majority of Astana are climbing like Pantani weeks after scraping through keeping their licence. It was entertaining viewing, but in the same way that 90s racing was entertaining – it’s impressive but you can’t believe it’s legit at the same time.

    Does it make Contador’s victory more impressive since the guys he was racing are potentially loaded with go-juice, or does it make us suspect him more?

  31. FWIW I thought it was a great race. The following comments are based on the (perhaps naive) belief that Astana were racing clean. Merckx know I hope so – Aru is a very exciting talent and I like the way he races.

    Loved the inclusion off the unpaved Finistre climb. The Tour needs some of that. Plus a really long TT like 60-80kms long. Fuck the climbers, they have it in their favor too much..

    Bertie showed what a mature champion he is – never panicked. We’ll see how much the Giro has taken out of him come July.

    Aru’s two stage wins were awesome – in the Nibali mold. If Froome wants to win again at the Tour, he’s going to have to race with his head and gut not looking at his friggin computer. The TT allocation at the Tour this year is pathetic so there’s bugger all opportunity to really score/pull back time there.

    JV will be crazy if he doesn’t send Hesjedal to the Tour. The big man was loving his racing at the Giro and could have podiumed except for his bad first week. It was great to see the Italians give him a lot of love on Saturday – they know a great gutsy rider when they see one and he gave it a helluva go on Friday and Saturday. Given Dan Martin’s tendency to fall off, I’d make DM and RH co-leaders. Let the race sort it out.

    Porte will never win a grand tour.

    Froome and Brailsford should be crapping themselves. If Astana take a fresh Nibali to the tour and an equally strong squad, throw in Bertie and big Ryder plus the Frenchies (Alaphillippe to podium?) and some others and it’ll be a cracker.

    Great to see Phil Gil get two stages. Another great racer who rode aggressively.

    Will Froomie get Richie’s mobile home for the Tour?

    Bring on the Tour!

  32. @wiscot

    Damn straight!

    And with Keisse’s win on the final stage,  someone finally appeared on the podium not wearing a fucking baseball hat!

  33. @ped

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Etixx QS are without a doubt, the most natty team out there who always look awesome on the podium. Don’t the other teams see how much better they look? You can get just as many sponsor logos on a real cap as you can a baseball bunnet.

    I also forgot about wee Nairo Q. So long as the top dogs make it to the mountains, it’s going to be a helluva race. My dream would be to see all the top boys mark each other to death and big Ryder winning the whole damn thing after a crazy-ass breakaway.

  34. @ped

    @wiscot

    Week 1 is  going to be a crash and split fest. Even if all the GC boys stay up, someone’s team will be decimated

    I think you’re right. There’s just such crazy pressure to perform/succeed at the Tour that it gets a bit mental. If there’s a crash or something on stages 3 or 4 (and everyone will remember stage 5 last year) it could get weird.

    Add in the simmering feud between Tinkoff and Astana. Those boys have thrown out the rulebook. That being said, I thought it was classy for Landa to allow Contador to cross the line almost solo on Saturday (he really backed off and tried to stay out of camera shot) and that Uran didn’t contest 2nd with Hesjedal the same day.

  35. I want some of what Astana is using for recovery “accelerator”.

    Actually… no, no I don’t want that. I predict Hesjedal getting a podium result in this Giro if they ever manage to reconcile Astana’s biological passports.

  36. @wiscot

    Loved the inclusion off the unpaved Finistre climb. The Tour needs some of that. Plus a really long TT like 60-80kms long. Fuck the climbers, they have it in their favor too much..

    Yes !

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