Merckx leaves them behind on the Stockeu

Velominati Super Prestige: Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2015

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Liege is an interesting animal; whereas the Cobbled Classics are the sole domain of the specialists known as de Klassiekers in Flemish who rarely show their faces as serious contenders in the other portions of the season (assuming you ignore John Degencobble or Al Kristoff), the Ardennes classics have a strong showing from the Grand Tour GC contenders, rouleurs, and climbing specialists alike. Liege, being the biggest of the lot, is the final showdown and provides the first real glimpse into what might unfold in May and July.

The route is a brute; the road back from Bastogne being packed tight with shortish, punchy climbs. My favorite of the lot is the Cote de Stockeu, which climbs up steeply before taking a hard left turn and dropping right back down to the precise point from where the climb started. Its inclusion in the route is gratuitous in the most sinister sense. From there to the finish the route is bumpy to say the least, and the final uphill grind through town is where the race is lost if you don’t have the legs.

Will Nibbles take it? He’s performed well in the final before. Or will one of the specialists take it this time around? Last year saw Gerrans take the win from a small group, but a solo winner is just as likely. Amstel had a big bunch, so maybe QuietKowski will show again.

Start your Prognostication Machines, ponder the start list, and set your alarms to remind yourself not to Delgado. Good luck, and remember we have a frame from Jaegher and wheels from Café Roubaix on offer for the overall VSP winner after Lombardy.

 

Final Race Results
1. VALVERDE Alejandro
2. ALAPHILIPPE Julian
3. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin
4. DA COSTA, Rui
5. KREUZIGER Roman
Final VSP Results
1. dancollins (16 points)
2. bwjosh (14 points)
3. Tobin (14 points)
4. CanuckChuck (12 points)
5. ziggy (12 points)
6. erik (11 points)
7. sthilzy (11 points)
8. Yagerbomb (11 points)
9. zeitzmar (11 points)
10. rockkk (11 points)
11. hhbiker (11 points)
12. the Engine (11 points)
13. Hein (11 points)
14. Ron (11 points)
15. RedRanger (11 points)
16. Minnesota Expat (11 points)
17. dpalazzo (11 points)
18. JonnyG (9 points)
19. Clingon (9 points)
20. justinevan88 (9 points)
21. Geordi (9 points)
22. R00tdown (8 points)
23. DCR (8 points)
24. Rigid (8 points)
25. Al__S (8 points)
26. oneninefiveninesix (8 points)
27. Bianchi Denti (8 points)
28. The Grande Fondue (8 points)
29. Adán (8 points)
30. wiscot (8 points)
31. mylezz (8 points)
32. Vernwitha_V (8 points)
33. tony macaroni (8 points)
34. John Irvine (8 points)
35. Chica (8 points)
36. TheDon (8 points)
37. Jay (8 points)
38. xyxax (8 points)
39. ChrisO (8 points)
40. ojhart (8 points)
41. Lukas (7 points)
42. chui (7 points)
43. Phillip Mercer (7 points)
44. eenies (7 points)
45. foggypeake (7 points)
46. taon24 (7 points)
47. Chris John (7 points)
48. Haldy (7 points)
49. rfreese888 (6 points)
50. Rom (6 points)
51. Two Ball Billy (6 points)
52. fly (5 points)
53. gmk69 (5 points)
54. osbk67 (5 points)
55. sinikl (5 points)
56. koppie (4 points)
57. Ccos (4 points)
58. Barracuda (3 points)
59. Patrick (3 points)
60. Geraint (3 points)
61. LA Dave (3 points)
62. il muro di manayunk (2 points)
63. Teocalli (2 points)
64. frank (2 points)
65. PeakInTwoYears (2 points)
66. Duende (2 points)
67. Julez (2 points)
68. RobSandy (2 points)
69. amaZuluDude (2 points)
70. plynie (2 points)
71. Kris Fernhout (2 points)
72. Kevin (2 points)
73. ped (2 points)
74. Tom Mc (2 points)
75. ramenvelo (2 points)
76. Gervais (2 points)
77. CyclingPT (2 points)
78. KW (2 points)
79. simonsaunders (2 points)
80. Spencer (2 points)
81. JohnB (2 points)
82. AJ (2 points)
83. brett (2 points)
84. LeoTea (2 points)
85. David (2 points)
86. TedG (2 points)
87. VirenqueforeVer (2 points)
88. Drew (2 points)
89. el gato (2 points)
90. Fausto (2 points)
91. Tiglio (2 points)
92. unversio (1 points)
93. Harminator (1 points)
94. Steampunk (1 points)
95. brendan kane (1 points)
96. BatDan (1 points)
97. gilly (1 points)
98. dyalander (1 points)
99. Quasar (1 points)
100. CoachRobDC (1 points)
101. Mikael Liddy (1 points)
102. Giotto (1 points)
103. JCM (1 points)
104. strathlubnaig (1 points)
105. girl (1 points)
106. bea (1 points)
107. Roobar (1 points)
108. moondance (1 points)
109. Alex (1 points)
110. wilburrox (1 points)
111. Dave R (1 points)
112. Gianni (1 points)
113. SamV (0 points)
114. oldensteel (0 points)
115. Luis G (0 points)
116. ridley4033 (0 points)
117. 1860 (0 points)

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. Nibs
    2. Kwitter
    3. Costa
    4. Galloping T
    5. Rod, J
    0
  2. eh. At least I got picks in VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Gerrans
    3. Kwiatkowski
    4. J-Rod
    5. Domenico Pozzovivo
    0
  3. VSP PICKS:

    1. Costa
    2. Nibs
    3. Kwitter
    4. Galloping T
    5. Rod, J
    0
  4. VSP PICKS:

    1. Kwiatkowski
    2. Valverde
    3. Rodriguez
    4. Gilbert
    5. Gallopin
    0
  5. Oh dear…

    0
  6. I’m thinking I need to swap Martin for J-Rod for fourth.

    0
  7. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. J Rod
    4. Nibali
    5. Kelderman
    0
  8. VSP PICKS:

    1. kwiatkowski
    2. jrod
    3. valv
    4. pozzo
    5. roland
    0
  9. @PeakInTwoYears

    Oh dear…

    It does not look anywhere as near as cold as Joaquin’s dressed for so musta been taking it easy and I’d swear it sure looks like he has his socks pulled up over his knickers/leg warmers, whatev… and if that’s the case, I just don’t get that.

    0
  10. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Dan Martin
    4. Nibali
    5. Joaquim Rodriguez
    0
  11. @wilburrox He’s dressed like a crazy old lady with bad circulation.

    0
  12. VSP PICKS:

    1. Martin
    2. Purito
    3. Matthews
    4. Valverde
    5. Possovivo
    0
  13. Nothing but favorites, the Cycling News of prognosticators. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Costa
    4. Rodriguez
    5. Martin
    0
  14. VSP PICKS:

    1. J. Rodriguez
    2. M. Kiwatkowski
    3. A. Valverde
    4. V. Nibali
    5. T. Gallopin
    0
  15. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Nibali
    3. Kwiatkowski
    4. Martin
    5. Gallopin
    0
  16. VSP PICKS:

    1. nibali
    0
  17. entry screen not working…. VSP PICKS:

    1. nibali
    0
  18. @xyxax Ooh! Can you read your picks in that curious British accent from the Cycling News videos?

    0
  19. 1. Nibali 2. Valverde 3. Kwiatkowski 4. Rodriguez 5. Costa VSP PICKS:

    1. nibali
    0
  20. VSP PICKS:

    1. Pozzovivo, D
    2. Nibali, V
    3. Gallopin, T
    4. Rodriguez, J
    5. Kwiatkowski, M
    0
  21. VSP PICKS:

    1. M Kwiatkowski
    2. A Valverde
    3. J Rodriguez
    4. V Nibali
    5. R Costa
    0
  22. It could happen. VSP PICKS:

    1. Pupupurito
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Valdirty
    4. Nibs
    5. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa Conch
    0
  23. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Rodriguez
    3. Kwiatkowski
    4. Pozzovivo
    5. Gallopin
    0
  24. I know I should pick Malmerde but I’ve already soiled myself with him once this season. And I feel dirty. VSP PICKS:

    1. Rolland, P
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Costa, Rui
    4. Kelderman, W
    5. Gallopin, T
    0
  25. Hopefully this will work out better than last Sunday which went roughly as follows: Realise I’ve forgotten to enter my picks whilst driving to race, curse bitterly. Find enough mobile signal to realise picks aren’t closed, but not enough to enter, rejoice. Discuss likely victors with team mate; proclaim Kwiatkowski as being a sure thing. Get to race, get distracted by signing on, warming up etc and forget to enter picks. Realise this halfway through the race, curse bitterly whilst getting a good shoeing in a lined out bunch courtesy of some proper Pros who only have to ride their bikes on Monday. Finish race with no points and no picks. Go home to eat body weight in chocolate brownies and watch the race, see MK take the win. Curse bitterly. VSP PICKS:

    1. Oh Danny Boy
    2. The Uncursed Rainbow
    3. Pitiful
    4. J-Rod
    5. Wheelsucking Gerro
    0
  26. VSP PICKS:

    1. Kwiatkowski
    2. Alejandro F**king Valverde
    3. Martin, Dan
    4. Gallopin
    5. Rodriguez
    0
  27. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Rodriguez
    3. Kwiatkowski
    4. Gallopin
    5. Dan Martin
    0
  28. VSP PICKS:

    1. nibali
    2. valverde
    3. wellens
    4. gilbert
    5. kwiatkowski
    0
  29. @harminator

    @frank

    @Harminator

    @rockkk

    Can anyone stop the green valley? I ‘m not sure they can . I just hope Gerrans doesn’t wheel suck his way to a good result . VSP PICKS:

    1. valverde
    2. kelderman
    3. rodriguez
    4. kiatkowski
    5. bardet

    I’m happy to concede that Gerrans following wheels in Australian races against much weaker domestic riders was totally lame. But in a Monument against the best teams in the world, its just smart racing. The job of the other teams is to unhinge anyone who can finish better than their finisher. If they can’t do that, they have to accept the consequences. How long was Kwiatowski in the wind last weekend?

    All fair enough but how much more exciting is it when you see a rider doing their time in the wind and then still coming good like, like Kristoff at Flanders or Degencobble at Roubaix. There’s a “risk it all” kind of honor in it that is absent in a wheel sucking win.

    Degs was definitely the man at Roubaix this year. And Kristoff was clearly dominant at the Rhonde. Both wins were strong and smart. I was in 3 separate conversations on #KT15 where a local renner gave the gallic shrug and said the words “the strongest won”. Its like a Flemish climax. (I couldn’t stop – I just kept going – I came first.) These wins close the discussion from the “what if” and celebrate the rider. There is no doubt.

    I think Kwiatkowski is getting some unfair stick here. One race does not a wheel sucker make. Thinking back to how he won the worlds, which was a master class in tactical riding AND panache, I’m prepared to give him the benefit of doubt for last week.

    0
  30. VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Rui Costa
    4. Rodriguez
    5. Pozzovivo
    0
  31. @gilly

    @harminator

    @frank

    @Harminator

    @rockkk

    Can anyone stop the green valley? I ‘m not sure they can . I just hope Gerrans doesn’t wheel suck his way to a good result . VSP PICKS:

    1. valverde
    2. kelderman
    3. rodriguez
    4. kiatkowski
    5. bardet

    I’m happy to concede that Gerrans following wheels in Australian races against much weaker domestic riders was totally lame. But in a Monument against the best teams in the world, its just smart racing. The job of the other teams is to unhinge anyone who can finish better than their finisher. If they can’t do that, they have to accept the consequences. How long was Kwiatowski in the wind last weekend?

    All fair enough but how much more exciting is it when you see a rider doing their time in the wind and then still coming good like, like Kristoff at Flanders or Degencobble at Roubaix. There’s a “risk it all” kind of honor in it that is absent in a wheel sucking win.

    Degs was definitely the man at Roubaix this year. And Kristoff was clearly dominant at the Rhonde. Both wins were strong and smart. I was in 3 separate conversations on #KT15 where a local renner gave the gallic shrug and said the words “the strongest won”. Its like a Flemish climax. (I couldn’t stop – I just kept going – I came first.) These wins close the discussion from the “what if” and celebrate the rider. There is no doubt.

    I think Kwiatkowski is getting some unfair stick here. One race does not a wheel sucker make. Thinking back to how he won the worlds, which was a master class in tactical riding AND panache, I’m prepared to give him the benefit of doubt for last week.

    I have to agree with you . His ride in last years Strade Bianche was pretty awesome as well He’s back in VSP PICKS:

    1. valverde
    2. kelderman
    3. rodriguez
    4. Kwiatkowski
    5. bardet
    0
  32. @Fausto While I don’t wish you any bad luck, that was extra funny.

    0
  33. @Harminator Also Pozzo was a key animator in last year’s race and is coming off fine form shown at Trentino. The finale is plenty hard to suit Valverde, he’ll be there or there abouts for sure. I don’t think he’s ever gone long though. And speaking of long – it’s damn time we went for a ride together again.

    0
  34. @Steampunk

    @xyxax Ooh! Can you read your picks in that curious British accent from the Cycling News videos?

    As long as the text is without the slightest deviation from the soporifically obvious, I’ll read it in any fucking accent you want. Just click on the flag in the top right.

    0
  35. @xyxax

    @Fausto While I don’t wish you any bad luck, that was extra funny.

    So long as I can keep you amused.

    0
  36. Irish eyes are not smiling at the moment. Dan Martin has crashed out of the race.

    0
  37. Valdirty again.

    0
  38. @dancollins takes another one!

    Final Race Results
    1. VALVERDE Alejandro
    2. ALAPHILIPPE Julian
    3. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin
    4. DA COSTA, Rui
    5. KREUZIGER Roman
    Final VSP Results
    1. dancollins (16 points)
    2. bwjosh (14 points)
    3. Tobin (14 points)
    4. CanuckChuck (12 points)
    5. ziggy (12 points)
    6. erik (11 points)
    7. sthilzy (11 points)
    8. Yagerbomb (11 points)
    9. zeitzmar (11 points)
    10. rockkk (11 points)
    11. hhbiker (11 points)
    12. the Engine (11 points)
    13. Hein (11 points)
    14. Ron (11 points)
    15. RedRanger (11 points)
    16. Minnesota Expat (11 points)
    17. dpalazzo (11 points)
    18. JonnyG (9 points)
    19. Clingon (9 points)
    20. justinevan88 (9 points)
    21. Geordi (9 points)
    22. R00tdown (8 points)
    23. DCR (8 points)
    24. Rigid (8 points)
    25. Al__S (8 points)
    26. oneninefiveninesix (8 points)
    27. Bianchi Denti (8 points)
    28. The Grande Fondue (8 points)
    29. Adán (8 points)
    30. wiscot (8 points)
    31. mylezz (8 points)
    32. Vernwitha_V (8 points)
    33. tony macaroni (8 points)
    34. John Irvine (8 points)
    35. Chica (8 points)
    36. TheDon (8 points)
    37. Jay (8 points)
    38. xyxax (8 points)
    39. ChrisO (8 points)
    40. ojhart (8 points)
    41. Lukas (7 points)
    42. chui (7 points)
    43. Phillip Mercer (7 points)
    44. eenies (7 points)
    45. foggypeake (7 points)
    46. taon24 (7 points)
    47. Chris John (7 points)
    48. Haldy (7 points)
    49. rfreese888 (6 points)
    50. Rom (6 points)
    51. Two Ball Billy (6 points)
    52. fly (5 points)
    53. gmk69 (5 points)
    54. osbk67 (5 points)
    55. sinikl (5 points)
    56. koppie (4 points)
    57. Ccos (4 points)
    58. Barracuda (3 points)
    59. Patrick (3 points)
    60. Geraint (3 points)
    61. LA Dave (3 points)
    62. il muro di manayunk (2 points)
    63. Teocalli (2 points)
    64. frank (2 points)
    65. PeakInTwoYears (2 points)
    66. Duende (2 points)
    67. Julez (2 points)
    68. RobSandy (2 points)
    69. amaZuluDude (2 points)
    70. plynie (2 points)
    71. Kris Fernhout (2 points)
    72. Kevin (2 points)
    73. ped (2 points)
    74. Tom Mc (2 points)
    75. ramenvelo (2 points)
    76. Gervais (2 points)
    77. CyclingPT (2 points)
    78. KW (2 points)
    79. simonsaunders (2 points)
    80. Spencer (2 points)
    81. JohnB (2 points)
    82. AJ (2 points)
    83. brett (2 points)
    84. LeoTea (2 points)
    85. David (2 points)
    86. TedG (2 points)
    87. VirenqueforeVer (2 points)
    88. Drew (2 points)
    89. el gato (2 points)
    90. Fausto (2 points)
    91. Tiglio (2 points)
    92. unversio (1 points)
    93. Harminator (1 points)
    94. Steampunk (1 points)
    95. brendan kane (1 points)
    96. BatDan (1 points)
    97. gilly (1 points)
    98. dyalander (1 points)
    99. Quasar (1 points)
    100. CoachRobDC (1 points)
    101. Mikael Liddy (1 points)
    102. Giotto (1 points)
    103. JCM (1 points)
    104. strathlubnaig (1 points)
    105. girl (1 points)
    106. bea (1 points)
    107. Roobar (1 points)
    108. moondance (1 points)
    109. Alex (1 points)
    110. wilburrox (1 points)
    111. Dave R (1 points)
    112. Gianni (1 points)
    113. SamV (0 points)
    114. oldensteel (0 points)
    115. Luis G (0 points)
    116. ridley4033 (0 points)
    117. 1860 (0 points)
    0
  39. @LA Dave

    Valdirty again.

    Nice one.

    0
  40. Can I put in my pick for the 2016/2017 winner? Julian Alaphillipe.

    0
  41. I’m torn between wishing I’d Delgado’d (again) and feeling the satisfaction of not having to cheer Valturd for the VSP. One fecking point this week and I’m plummeting down the ranks

    0
  42. A healthy 9 points, so close to being more. Holding steady in 3rd overall as the tours start to loom on the horizon.

    0
  43. @justinevan88

    Can I put in my pick for the 2016/2017 winner? Julian Alaphillipe.

    Not Romain Bardet ? Also, for ’15, or at least right now, Astana… Jacob Fuglsang stronger than Vincenzo Nibali?

    0
  44. @1860

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nicolas Roche
    2. Kwiatkowski
    3. Hermans
    4. Martin
    5. Pozzovivo

    Nice… I got a grand total of 0 points. Looking at my picks, I coulda shoulda been negative points… best finisher was Pozzovivo in 8th, Kwiatkowski with 21st place, followed by DNF, DNF and guess it… DNF!

    0
  45. I clearly have no idea how the scoring system works. I picked Valverde 2nd, and had Rodriguez in the top 5 too, and got 2 points in total…

    0
  46. Christ, position 1 and 5 don’t make ya feel good if you’re holding out hope for a cleaner peloton.

    0
  47. @JonnyG

    A healthy 9 points, so close to being more. Holding steady in 3rd overall as the tours start to loom on the horizon.

    Easy shooter. We’re not even half-way into a 200km mountain stage with three uncategorized climbs approaching (the Giro/Tour/Vuelta) and a group sprint in Richmond. But we do appreciate your long pull on the front!

    0
  48. Image — this. Campagnolo Srl @tdwsport

    0

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