Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Tarmac in bad state - Isn't that why we're here?

The 2012 Velominati Super Prestige kicks off in proper form this season with the debut of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as part of the series. I’m tempted to stubbornly refer to this race as Het Volk, but I’ll toe the line and refer to the race by its bewildering new(ish) name.

This is a tricky race to predict because the big races in April are a funny distance away; they are close enough that riders wanting to do well there should be in good enough form to be competitive now, but far enough off that a win here could indicate a rider hitting their peak too soon.

In fact, the latter seems to be the case: riders who show brilliance here rarely shine in April when the Monuments of Vlaanderen and Roubaix are contested. De Vlaeminck, Museeuw, Van Petegem, Vandenbroucke – all champions of the Cobbled Classics and all men who never succeeded to win Het Volk/Het Nieuwsblad in the same year as either of the big cobbled classics; in fact, a cursory study of past results lists reveals only Merckx and Ballerini as being able to pull this particular double.

This timing makes Het Nieuwsblad a particularly difficult race to predict; in addition to the wily nature of any cobbled classic, the big names may not quite have the eye of the tiger while riders with an outside chance at victory in April may be focusing their early season on glory in this minor classic which covers many of the sacred roads as de Ronde.

With that we kick off the first event of the 2012 VSP; up for grabs is the personalized Velominati Shop Apron to the contestent who wins the season-long competition. Check the Main VSP page for scoring guidelines and rules. As a sidebar, we’ve also made lots of changes to the VSP engine; despite my usual nonchalant approach to production-testing, I’ve actually done my best to test the system this time around. There are, however, too many scenarios to be sure I covered them all, so I strongly encourage you to enter your picks early, knowing that you can make changes all the way up until the VSP closes. If you notice something behaving strangely, please let us know and we’ll have time to resolve the issue or let you know precisely why you’re crazy.

Picks close at 5am Pacific time on Saturday, and since last year’s VSP taught us that our readership sucks at time zone calculations (I’m looking at you, Bretto), we’ve introduced a countdown clock which should make even the most bone-headed of contestants aware of how much time they’ve got left to enter their losing picks (now I’m looking at you, Ron).

Good luck, and stand by for the VVomen’s Het Nieuwsblad VSP, scheduled to go live tomorrow.

Related Posts

464 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad”

  1. @Buck Rogers
    Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw: BR’s showing some sympathy for my neo-Victorian sensibilities!

    You’re right about the numbers. Maybe we should create a series of VSP teams and collect aggregate points…

  2. @Steampunk

    @Buck RogersWell, fuck me gently with a chainsaw: BR’s showing some sympathy for my neo-Victorian sensibilities!
    You’re right about the numbers. Maybe we should create a series of VSP teams and collect aggregate points…

    Bloody HELL (sorry)! Now THAT is an awesome idea!!! How cool is that? Pair up some older folks that have been around for a bit with some newbies and have teams!!! We should have thought of that one a month ago! could still have individual standings but also team standings. Wow, cool idea.

  3. People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.

    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

  4. @all
    Make sure you check your pick mappings to ensure (a) that they were mapped correctly, and (b) that you got your correct points. If there’s a problem, just hit the little “dispute” like next to the incorrectly mapped/scored pick. Your assistance will help us improve the model and auto-mapping system, which dramatically reduces our workload on the backend.

    Thanks.

  5. Very happy for Sep! Nice win, lad. And yep, Boonen showed some incredible class. That was just awesome – Boonen did his best, couldn’t pull it off, and congratulated the better man on the day. I think I might pay attention to more sports if they had such class. (nah…I probably wouldn’t!)

    So who was cramping today? Boonen or Sep? And I was only able to catch the last 17 km, sorry out riding my own bike. When did the definitive break go? I’m sure that hill of cobbles has a special name.

    And who the heck crashed trying to get the inside lane on Boonen?

    I also watched the post-race coverage on Sporza. Wow, if I could head to the local pub and watch that I’d be in heaven. (don’t have a t.v.) Highlights, analysis, actual talking from the PROS, not just lame cliches. I need to move!

    This VSP is off to a solid start!

  6. Uh, found the highlight of that crash – Lars Boom? What the heck was he trying to do? Exchange some paint or did he just run out of road?

  7. I even got Boonen at the right place! Well, I hope for a top 50 in this years VSP GC as well as at least one top 10, and this isn’t a bad start at all.

  8. @Ron
    too bad you don’t speak Dutch/Flemish…
    Boonen started a rush on Taaienberg (that hill of cobbles has indeed a special name), where Boom fell while he tried to do the same. (The road there narrows a bit down, he went off, tried to get on road again, but the mud decided differently)Vanmarcke was the only one who could manage to follow immediatly. a bit later, Flecha, Hayman, Vanmarcke, Breschel, Hushovd and Devenyns closed the gap. then Hushovd and Breschel got dropped in the Paddestraat (in my opinion, one of the thoughest cobbles in Flanders if you do it in this direction). from that point on, Vanmarcke was the stronger rider (compared to Flecha, Boonen and the rest of course). Boonen was very good, but he was like wrenching and shuffling on his saddle, stretching his legs and so – normally he doesn’t. Vanmarcke tried again on Lange Munte, but failed. the last 17k you saw on internet…

  9. Whod’a thunk that picking five guys called ‘Marten’ wouldn’t work?

    That’s my throwaway round, now it’s serious business…

  10. My patriotic pick of Avery for 5th was originally mapped to van Avermaet!! I didn’t see Avery in the results nor any off his Champion System teammates. Anybody know what happened to them?

  11. not sure why my last entry was addressed to SkinnyPhat (I feel awkward just typing that name- sorry, no offense intended) it was intended as a general question to the group.

  12. @Calmante

    People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.
    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

    At least you aren’t ranting about embrocation again… which, by the way, I really like! Mark my words, I will surpass you in the standings soon- I am peaking, in terms of picking winners, in two months.

  13. @mcsqueak

    YES! One point ahead of Calmante.

    Ha! I am now the standard of excellence on this site! I knew it would happen, eventually…@Anjin-san

    @Calmante

    People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.
    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

    At least you aren’t ranting about embrocation again… which, by the way, I really like! Mark my words, I will surpass you in the standings soon- I am peaking, in terms of picking winners, in two months.

    I may have peaked early. I need to taper for the classics.

  14. @JC Belgium

    @Anjin-san
    La Machine brought Boonen in position before Taaienberg, finished 21st in the second group.

    Damn him and his team responsibilities… I thought they might give him the green light to go for it if Boonen wasn’t in peak form. Thanks for the info.

  15. @Calmante

    @mcsqueak

    YES! One point ahead of Calmante.

    Ha! I am now the standard of excellence on this site! I knew it would happen, eventually…@Anjin-san

    @Calmante

    People are obviously showing up here more and more because of my increased involvement. Obviously.
    I’m happy with my performance, although my strategy for the women’s race was flawed. Rather, it was non-existent.

    Yep, You’re the standard alright.

    LIke I was saying earlier this week. Y’all can save a lot of heartache, and just mail me the Apron on Monday.

  16. On a reflection SVM is a deserved winner and was the strongest out there. He was first to react with Boonen On the Taaienberg and then put in huge digs on the mole berg and the Paddestraat, that last had Boonen digging very deep, he almost cracked him there. You could see half a length open and then Tomeke just held on and Flecha was eating his stem. He even had time to look back as he crossed the line, just to make sure he had vanquished Boonen.

  17. “Damn auto-correct” must be one of the most typed phrases in the mobile device world. Apple should add it as a notify (see I tried to type hotkey and got “notify”).

  18. @Buck Rogers
    He placed 107 – 7:45 back…I am not sure what is more amazing, the fact that he finished, or the Millarcopteresque launch of his bike that followed his face plant.

  19. @Buck Rogers
    1. Boonen is one strong dude.

    2. I don’t like watching highlights of crashes. I understand that they often animate a race, but it’s a bit like highlight reels including fighting in hockey: I could just as soon do without them. Show me the race, show me the guts and glory that went into making the final selection, show me the suffering. But do I really need to see riders hitting the deck?

  20. @Tobin
    Much more to my liking. Thank you. Beautiful moment. I remember that point in my pro racing fandom, when I discovered I knew what and when to watch for the decisive move. Rather than “what just happened?” I’d graduated to “here it comes.” As it happens, I was actually across the room playing ball with the littlest Steampunk this morning when Vanmarcke made the move, but nevertheless…

  21. @Steampunk

    @Tobin
    Much more to my liking. Thank you. Beautiful moment. I remember that point in my pro racing fandom, when I discovered I knew what and when to watch for the decisive move. Rather than “what just happened?” I’d graduated to “here it comes.” As it happens, I was actually across the room playing ball with the littlest Steampunk this morning when Vanmarcke made the move, but nevertheless…

    Vanmarcke (VM, which is RAD btw), just unleashed it on the cobbles there. Really beautiful move. I watched it on Cycling.tv which I’ve just gotten into. Good coverage, but only one guy doing common tatering. Wish I spoke Dutch, Flemish and Itialian.

  22. @Steampunk

    @Buck RogersLet me google that for you: yes. 107th @ 7:45.

    Double hardcore! Man, not sure I would have climbed back on after that crash that late in the race. Would love to think that I would have, but I cannot swear to the fact that I would have.

  23. @Steampunk

    @Tobin
    Much more to my liking. Thank you. Beautiful moment. I remember that point in my pro racing fandom, when I discovered I knew what and when to watch for the decisive move. Rather than “what just happened?” I’d graduated to “here it comes.” As it happens, I was actually across the room playing ball with the littlest Steampunk this morning when Vanmarcke made the move, but nevertheless…

    I thought you were supposed to be out riding your bike, stopping for some hot bitter stuff, then building your bike?

  24. @JC Belgium

    @Ron
    too bad you don’t speak Dutch/Flemish…
    Boonen started a rush on Taaienberg (that hill of cobbles has indeed a special name), where Boom fell while he tried to do the same. (The road there narrows a bit down, he went off, tried to get on road again, but the mud decided differently)Vanmarcke was the only one who could manage to follow immediatly. a bit later, Flecha, Hayman, Vanmarcke, Breschel, Hushovd and Devenyns closed the gap. then Hushovd and Breschel got dropped in the Paddestraat (in my opinion, one of the thoughest cobbles in Flanders if you do it in this direction). from that point on, Vanmarcke was the stronger rider (compared to Flecha, Boonen and the rest of course). Boonen was very good, but he was like wrenching and shuffling on his saddle, stretching his legs and so – normally he doesn’t. Vanmarcke tried again on Lange Munte, but failed. the last 17k you saw on internet…

    Thanks for this, JC! I was able to watch the final 35km via steephill and realized that one big move happened at the 20km mark, which I just missed when I came in at the 17km mark.

    And thanks for the names of those climbs!

  25. The despite the language barrier the sporza feed was quite nice, had a little tracker on the bottom that showed who was in what group, splits, and where they were on the course. I just know too little of any of these languages, and I can only speak and write, I can’t listen, if you know what I mean. Sadly the listening is the most useful in this case. Luckily Eurosport also covers races and I know enough UK speak that I make it out alive.

  26. And I can only speak and write French, a tad of Italian, and a very minute amount of German.

  27. That said if anyone knows a good website with some basic Dutch or Flemish along with some important cycling terms that would be awesome.

  28. From CyclingNews and a definite qualifier for BRR: With 35km to go Vanmarcke put the hammer down himself on the Molenberg. “During training I managed to complete it on the big ring so I wanted to arrive there in first position and do it again,” he said. “There were some gaps but not enough. That’s why I tried again on the cobbles of the Paddestraat.”

  29. Eros Capecchi won the GP Lugano, KBK is rapidly becoming a bunch sprint with Cavendish and Greipel.

  30. @Netraam

    Yep…break is pretty much caught, and Lotto & Sky are featuring prominently at the front of the peloton. Shaping up to be a Greipel/Cav showdown.

  31. @Nosyt

    Rabobank also in position; will be interesting to see what Renshaw can do.

    Yeah, Cav/Greipel/Renshaw sprint: Should be pretty awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.