Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Olympic Road Race 2012

Grewal, legally doped to the gills, takes the win ahead of Canadian Steve Bauer.

You can all wave “goodbye” to your Post GT Depression Syndrome, because the Men’s Olympic Road Race is only three days yonder. I don’t typically give two shits about this particular event; while contested by national teams, unlike the Worlds it appears as just another one-day race on a calendar filled with events that carry much more historical and nostalgic significance. What’s worse, it seems the brilliance has faded from the flame of Olympic Spirit – after all, what is an international sports rivalry without the associated political Boggie Dance of Political Superiority? Merckx, I miss the Cold War.

But this time is different. Contested in London over a route that may or may not favor the squat little speed demon Mark Cavendish, the Cycling world has been abuzz about whether his presence on Team Sky alongside Pippi Longstockings implies his impending doom or his certain success – because everyone knows those are the only two possibilities. Be that as it may, the route boasts to be lumpy enough for breakaways or small field sprints, which makes this particular Velominatus, for once, really excited to see what happens. Oh, and as a special request to the riders, if we could keep everyone off the juice this time round, that would be peaches and creame.

With that, check the start list and pretend like that is going to help you make your predictions. Then look at the route and do the same before making a wild guess and hoping you come up good. One-Day VSP rules apply; get your picks in by the time the countdown timer goes to zero and pray for daylight.

Good luck.

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381 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Olympic Road Race 2012”

  1. @Teh Moos3

    Well, I was on Box Hill and from memory when the second group went clear they only had a 20 second lead for a couple of laps, with the front group’s lead dropping from 5:25 to around 1:40 by about the final climb (when I think the two leading groups had merged).  So perhaps GB thought that time difference wasn’t significant and they would be able to chase it down, along with the other teams that had an interest in a bunch sprint.  Another factor is they had been leading the chase for most of the laps of Box Hill so may have been measuring their efforts in order to stick with their plan.  Perhaps they didn’t realise how strong the leading group was both in terms of the quality of the riders in it and the number of teams.

    In terms of why teams should help each other, it’s useful to consider the strategy’s available for the race:

    1) (For teams with good sprinters) Engineer a bunch sprint on the Mall and let the sprinters battle it out.  Teams here included GB, Australia, Germany, USA (?)

    2) (For teams without good sprinters but perhaps better allrounders) Attack, form breakaways, put the teams following strategy 1) under pressure by making them chase.  Teams here included Belgium, Netherlands, Italy amongst others

    The point about other teams helping with the chase is not because GB expected them to handover the win but to further their own chances of winning.  So teams following strategy 1) should, in theory, have been working together to get themselves in the best place to win and, in doing so, would have eliminated the teams following strategy 2).  As it was, the teams following strategy 2) prevailed because those following 1) couldn’t get it together.  Also, some teams seemed to be hedging on both strategies but not really fulfilling either.  Yes, O’Grady was in the break and therefore in with a chance of a win but that left Goss and Gerrans (two awesome sprinters) back in the bunch with no apparent plan to bring them into play.  That said, perhaps the Aussies were more tactically astute if they changed their approach to match the way the race developed.

  2. @Jonny

    That makes sense for the most part, but the thing is, by the time that second break took off and had that 20 second lead, GB should have been well aware at that point that the Aussies, Germans and Belgians et. al. weren’t going to give them a shred of <3 and made their own plans at that point. Assuming they could talk to each other in the 5+ hours they had been pulling the whole peloton.

    Or were they not aware that there were something like 30 riders in the newly merged lead group? Does it then follow that Vino and Uran won because the sprinter's teams couldn't play nice and get their shit together?

  3. @Teh Moos3

    I think there’s an interview with David Millar (might be the one in CyclingNews) where he says Cav had the legs for attempting to bridge but they decided to stick with their plan – hopefully I’ve not just made that up.  If that’s the case they simply missed the decisive move as, like you say, they should have figured out they were on their own.

    In terms of awareness, they are Pros so should spot these things. When the leading groups joined up they had sufficient numbers and quality to make things happen for themselves but the fact that only GB were chasing helped.  Just look at what happened in the women’s race for a good example of what happens when the chasers can’t get organised and the lead group has quality riders.

  4. @Teh Moos3

    Or were they not aware that there were something like 30 riders in the newly merged lead group? Does it then follow that Vino and Uran won because the sprinter’s teams couldn’t play nice and get their shit together?

    Yes and no – the difference was that GB and Germany were basically the only ‘sprinter’s teams’ . Most others had either breakaway-oriented teams (Belgium, Italy, US) or mixed teams (Australia, Spain).

    It’s typical for one or two riders to be assigned the task of getting in the breakaways – in the Aussie case that would have been Gerrans and O’Grady, and maybe on a good day, Cadel. O’Grady just happened to be in the break that stuck. If they had been caught then Gerrans would have been the one to go with a move like Vinokourov’s, a few kms from the finish. And if all that failed then Goss was there to try for the sprint.

    The flaw in the GB plan was that nearly everyone else had worked out it wasn’t a sprinter’s course. It was much more like a one-day classic and the others planned accordingly. However they clearly hadn’t assigned anyone to get in the breaks so they were all together in the bunch, along with the Germans – Greipel being probably the only person with any chance of beating Cav in a one-on-one.

    What would have been clever for GB might have been to make everyone think they were all for Cav and then put someone in the breakaway. But for that they should probably have selected Geraint Thomas instead of Ian Stannard.

    Personally I think Cav’s outburst is more symptomatic of his dawning realisation that he made a Terrible Mistake joining Sky this year. He’s given a lot and got nothing out of it, and that was probably what was exploding in his head after the race.

  5. @Jonny You may well be thinking of this:

    “We did what we’d planned. Cav had the legs to go with the attacks on the last climb but trusted our ability to bring it home. Gutted.”

  6. At least we can generally debate tactics rather than who actually won or lost… unlike the men’s gymnastics.

    That’s what happens when you award gold medals for exercise, not competitive sport.

  7. @ChrisO

    At least we can generally debate tactics rather than who actually won or lost… unlike the men’s gymnastics.

    That’s what happens when you award gold medals for exercise, not competitive sport.

    I’d argue that it is technique vs exercise for the men’s gymnastics events.  How many times have we ‘discussed’ here about a riders form vs his capability to win?  I have to say, however, those gymnastics boys/girls have some serious strength in their chosen activity.

  8. @sthilzy

    @G’phant

    Guns?  Did someone say guns?  http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/this-is-freakish“”german-cyclist-shows-off-his-freakishly-large-thighs-in-bizarre-twitter-picture/question-2839633/

    (Wasn’t sure where to post this, but as it is (kinda) Olympics-related here seemed no less appropriate than anywhere else…)

    How freaky can one’s guns get?

    http://edge.ebaumsworld.com/mediaFiles/picture/423855/472180.gif

     

    I’m only guessing here but he probably has erectile dysfunction. Helga, vere are de pills!

  9. Gustav Larsson, if wearing that helmet makes the difference between gold and silver… it still isn’t worth it.

  10. Wow, Froome has overtaken Sylvain Chavanel at 18km… and Chavanel is the French TT champion.

    Bad day for LL Sanchez… broke chain on the start ramp, then had a puncture.

  11. Now Martin 12 seconds faster than Froome and Wiggins another 11 seconds ahead of Martin at the 18km mark… Faboo to come.

  12. Brilliant ride by Wiggins.

    Poor Cancellara – he’s clearly in real agony. Chapeau to him for giving it his best shot.

  13. @ChrisO

    Brilliant ride by Wiggins.

    Poor Cancellara – he’s clearly in real agony. Chapeau to him for giving it his best shot.

    Awful to watch Faboo and painful to see Taylor Phinney outside the medals again – but Wiggo just rode like a machine – and same for Martin and Froome. Great riding all around!

  14. Beaker was in control from start to finish–looked almost effortless.   What an incredible ride.  Too bad for Spartacus–that RR crash really did him in.

    And FYI, Kristin Armstrong took the Women’s TT Gold.  USA! USA! USA!

  15. Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

  16. @wiscot

    Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

    I don’t think the noble Lords spend a lot of time on Twitter…

    Not in favour of knight/dame-hoods for current sportspeople – I think it should wait until they retire. Certainly didn’t do Sir Chris Hoy any good.

  17. @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

    I don’t think the noble Lords spend a lot of time on Twitter…

    Not in favour of knight/dame-hoods for current sportspeople – I think it should wait until they retire. Certainly didn’t do Sir Chris Hoy any good.

    Agreed. If an “honor” should be bestowed, waiting until retirement seems appropriate. For politicians, they should be awarded posthumously.

  18. @wiscot

    @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    Awesome ride by Wiggo. I guess he can take the rest of the year off now. Kudos to Faboo for riding at all. Clearly a class act in wanting to defend his title in spite of not being 100%.

    So will it be Sir Wiggo next year? The first time a peer of the realm has ridden the Tour? Or really, it should be Lord Wiggo seeing as he’s accomplished far more than Lord Snooty Coe. Maybe it’ll just be the knighthood as I don’t see Wiggo kissing enough ass to be “elevated” top the Lords. Or as Wiggo might refer to it, The House of Cunts.

    I don’t think the noble Lords spend a lot of time on Twitter…

    Not in favour of knight/dame-hoods for current sportspeople – I think it should wait until they retire. Certainly didn’t do Sir Chris Hoy any good.

    Agreed. If an “honor” should be bestowed, waiting until retirement seems appropriate. For politicians, they should be awarded posthumously.

    Politicians should only be allowed to stand for office if they can prove that they cycle 5,000kms a year at least half of which must be on the road. If they want K’s they should turn up for 80% their local club TT’s for at least one year.

  19. Felt sorry for Luis Leon, how gutted would you be snapping the chain on the ramp? Awesome ride by the Wiggo and great to see Va Va get the bronze.

    Just going back to the road race, I don’t think Cav shoulda whinged (pom) out loud. The GB tactics were plainly not up to the task, it wasn’t any other countries fault. Obviously he was disappointed, but would have showed more class to keep it all in.

  20. @ChrisO

    Gustav Larsson, if wearing that helmet makes the difference between gold and silver… it still isn’t worth it.

    I think someone heard the phrase “anatomic design” and took it the wrong way.

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