Dare we be so bold as to hope for Rule #9?

Velominati Super Prestige: Milano Sanremo 2017

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Well, that didn’t go as expected. It was over a month ago the last time I wrote an article and every day since then, I’ve thought a thought something along the lines of, “Tomorrow, I write.” The funny thing about Tomorrow is that it never comes. My favorite band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, even wrote a song about it back when I was still impressionable and even then I didn’t catch onto the whole “Today, I write” concept.

Daylight Savings happened over here. That’s always a big deal for me because now I’m officially able to ride after work without headlights. Which, if I was riding as much as I should, would be very important to me. Which I’m not. Although I have to say I’m stunned by how strong I am every time I do manage to ride my bike. And how incredible it feels to hurt. Afterwards, my legs remind me of this life. It is an important voyage back to the mothership, even when I’m not able to make as many visits as I’d like.

Like family.

Milano Sanremo is on Saturday, and I’m ashamed to say we haven’t sorted out the prizes yet for this year’s edition, though there certainly will be some. As it turns out, a free frame to the winner is not always a welcome thing in terms of cash outlay to get the bike up and running so we’re looking at some other options this go around. In any case, we have a cracking edition on our hands. Based on the racing so far this year, either everyone is clean or everyone is on the next thing – either way, the racing is spot-the-fuck-on. Can’t wait to see what the riders are going to pull out.

I’m behind on updating the schedule but will do any day now. Keep on holding your breath. Rest assured, get your picks in by the time the clock goes to zero and you’ll get your points. Good luck and more than anything – have fun! And now for some regularity on the whole writing bit. Not that that’s why you lot come around here.

VLVV.

Final Race Results
1. KWIATKOWSKI Michal
2. SAGAN Peter
3. ALAPHILIPPE Julian
4. KRISTOFF Alexander
5. GAVIRIA Fernando
Final VSP Results
1. Skip (10 points)
2. Harry (10 points)
3. TheDon (9 points)
4. Haldy (9 points)
5. TurboJoe (8 points)
6. cycleman3000 (8 points)
7. dyalander (7 points)
8. JonnyG (7 points)
9. David van Dijk (7 points)
10. ClamSauce (7 points)
11. schall und rauch (7 points)
12. Lebowski Achiever (7 points)
13. Adrian (7 points)
14. Quadzilla (7 points)
15. Gervais (7 points)
16. Kunanyi (6 points)
17. sthilzy (6 points)
18. RobSandy (6 points)
19. Peter (6 points)
20. KogaLover (6 points)
21. chuckp (6 points)
22. chris (6 points)
23. Harry (6 points)
24. JohnB (6 points)
25. Randy C (6 points)
26. JayTee (6 points)
27. Paul Woodhouse (6 points)
28. Bianchi Denti (6 points)
29. Cameron W (6 points)
30. dancollins (6 points)
31. Geordi (6 points)
32. Brett (5 points)
33. Gopha (5 points)
34. Ccos (5 points)
35. Snowy (5 points)
36. Mattpmoore (5 points)
37. Steve Markham (5 points)
38. ramenvelo (5 points)
39. Ron (5 points)
40. Mike Collins (5 points)
41. John Irvine (5 points)
42. ojhart (5 points)
43. MikeK (5 points)
44. Jason Ziegler (4 points)
45. R00tdown (4 points)
46. Quasar (4 points)
47. hhbiker (4 points)
48. Rom (3 points)
49. Buck Rogers (3 points)
50. Jansen (3 points)
51. Jed (3 points)
52. 1860 (3 points)
53. Ryan Scully (3 points)
54. kixsand (3 points)
55. GoldenGorilla (3 points)
56. Stendhal (3 points)
57. Scott Shannon (3 points)
58. J. Wilkie (3 points)
59. Byron (3 points)
60. Geraint (3 points)
61. the Engine (3 points)
62. Father of Four (3 points)
63. Byron (3 points)
64. Chica (3 points)
65. Steve (3 points)
66. Clingon (3 points)
67. Fred (2 points)
68. Kevin (2 points)
69. freddy (2 points)
70. Stuart F (2 points)
71. Teocalli (2 points)
72. Rob (2 points)
73. Phil Hasty (2 points)
74. VirenqueforeVer (2 points)
75. taon24 (2 points)
76. ccunix (2 points)
77. Erik (2 points)
78. Stefaan (2 points)
79. MangoDave (2 points)
80. hombre_U (2 points)
81. Pot Belj (2 points)
82. DavidO (2 points)
83. Cary (2 points)
84. LeoTea (2 points)
85. The Grande Fondue (2 points)
86. RAFAEL OLIVEIRA RIBEIRO (2 points)
87. Roberto Marques (2 points)
88. Monti Martani (2 points)
89. TXGUNslinger (2 points)
90. Harminator (2 points)
91. il ciclista medio (2 points)
92. Hopey (2 points)
93. ErikdR (2 points)
94. foggypeake (2 points)
95. mulebeatsdrums (2 points)
96. Two Ball Billy (2 points)
97. Kyle (2 points)
98. Canucklehead (2 points)
99. JCM (2 points)
100. osbk67 (2 points)
101. Minnesota Expat (2 points)
102. xyxax (2 points)
103. portemat (2 points)
104. Kay_Jay (2 points)
105. Barracuda (1 points)
106. Benjamin (1 points)
107. Slowtrane (1 points)
108. Deakus (1 points)
109. Phillip Mercer (1 points)
110. wiscot (1 points)
111. Rick (1 points)
112. BaltoSteve (1 points)
113. DVMR (0 points)
114. oneninefiveninesix (0 points)
115. Magaramombi (0 points)

// Velominati Super Prestige

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. Phil Gilbert
    2. Gaviria
    3. Kristoff
    4. Viviani
    5. Matthews
  2. VSP PICKS:

    1. Peter Sagan
    2. Fernando Gaviria
    3. John Degenkolb
    4. Arnaud Demare
    5. Nacer Bouhanni
  3. VSP PICKS:

    1. Matthews
    2. Gaviria
    3. Sagan
    4. Degenkolb
    5. Kristoff
  4. Ah, euro-decadence. Lying on the couch, scratching my crystal balls, and picking after a leisurely breakfast.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Matthews
    2. Gaviria
    3. Sagan
    4. Bouhanni
    5. Cobrelli
  5. @the Engine

    Only three weeks until I’m riding a Flandrian Classic myself – just throwing that in there…

    You’re doing the P-R cyclo? The full 230+ one?

    You are not doing RVV are you? I”m in for the 237 k’s of RVV, man! It doesn’t get real until the 8th hour, BABY!!!

  6. @xyxax

    I wish I had not read that. Not a good image conjured there!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. viviani
    2. demare
    3. gaviria
    4. van av I mate
    5. sagan
  7. VSP PICKS:

    1. Michael Matthews
    2. Elia Viviani
    3. Sagan
    4. Ben Swift
    5. Kwiatkowski
  8. So the race has been full-on for a while over here in Europe and the VSP is still open for over another hour.

    Does this always happen and I have never noticed it before b/c I was not living in Europe?

  9. @DVMR

    Jesus Christ, what kind of nincompoop (that’s right, I said nincompoop!) would turn their nose up at a hand-built custom frame? Send them my way if you don’t want them, cheers lads.

    Really? The answer might be a parent paying north of $60K/year for college room, board, books, fees and tuition.

  10. @Minnesota Expat

    @DVMR

    Jesus Christ, what kind of nincompoop (that’s right, I said nincompoop!) would turn their nose up at a hand-built custom frame? Send them my way if you don’t want them, cheers lads.

    Really? The answer might be a parent paying north of $60K/year for college room, board, books, fees and tuition.

  11. VSP PICKS:

    1. Van Avermaet
    2. Kristoff
    3. Matthews
    4. Gaviria
    5. Ben Swift
  12. @Teocalli

    @xyxax

    I wish I had not read that. Not a good image conjured there!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. viviani
    2. demare
    3. gaviria
    4. van av I mate
    5. sagan

    Not those balls, silly. Though they’re great. Again. The BEST! FACT!!

    At least you picked a likely winner.

  13. @Buck Rogers

    @the Engine

    Only three weeks until I’m riding a Flandrian Classic myself – just throwing that in there…

    You’re doing the P-R cyclo? The full 230+ one?

    You are not doing RVV are you? I”m in for the 237 k’s of RVV, man! It doesn’t get real until the 8th hour, BABY!!!

    I think Ivor is doing Alex and William’s Malteni PR/RVV gravel spectacular.

  14. @Minnesota Expat

    Yes really.

  15. Hey guys – I’m a little behind getting picks mapped but will get to it shortly!

  16. FFS. My fucking stream skipped from 7km to 4km, so I missed the move on the Poggio. Great finish though!

  17. Result:
    1. KWIATKOWSKI Michal
    2. SAGAN Peter
    3. ALAPHILIPPE Julien
    4. KRISTOFF Alexander
    5. GAVIRIA RENDON Fernando

  18. One in the correct place & two correct guesses. A decent start I suppose.

  19. @mulebeatsdrums

    My laptop stream stopped at 1.7 km left, and never restarted. Had to see it in replay.

    Hats off to Sagan making the move and Kwiat and Alaphil able to go with.

  20. Three out of the five, none in the right order!

    FARK it’s going to be a long year!

    Got to LOVE Sagan “Making the Race” as they say!

  21. Already seeing a lot being written about how Sagan was the strongest and Kwiatowski was at best “tactical” at worst “wheel-sucking”. I can understand why, Sagan is clearly special. However, it seems a bit lazy to colour the race in terms of this over simplistic dichotomy and worse it detracts from both Sagan and Kwiatowski’s rides. Sagan was clearly strong – he was well ensconced in the peloton but unlike Kwiatowski, Sagan hat to use energy surffing the peloton. His attack was ferocious but it was also brilliantly timed and tactically sound. He would have been a deserving winner. Kwiatowski was also clearly and brilliantly strong. To bridge with Alaphillipe, perhaps not as impressive as Sagan’s instigating move and drive thereafter but still mightily difficult and impressive. Moreover, while he didn’t go to the front and drive, nor did he simply wheel suck; he took a couple of key turns to ensure they stayed away and he had time to execute his sprint – and this is where his mix of strength and tactics matches that of Sagan’s Poggio attack to make him a deserved winner. To lay off slightly, then leave Alaphillipe chasing while overhauling Sagan was a brutal display of strength, determination and skill.

    It would be a shame to just put it down to strength v tactics when I think there’s a far more interesting narrative in what appears to be a great rivalry in Sagan v Kwiatowski. They’ve now crossed swords on multiple occasions as pros in big races and I’m pretty sure they also did so as juniors. Both are really versatile, Sagan’s green jersey dominance and extre world championship clearly puts him in his own league, but Kwiatowski is building a very strong palmares specifically by taking on a beating Sagan and we could be seeing an all time rivalry progressing.

  22. @dyalander

    10-4 and 100% with ya on all that. A couple of years ago Sagan made a kinda sorta similar move and won a WC. This year however someone, Kwiatowski, had the legs to bridge up to him. And ultimately win. What a great finish. So very powerful and crossing the line you could just tell it was all left out there. That was very cool.

  23. @dyalander

    Agreed. But I have always loved the rider that “Makes the Race”.

    They do not necessarily win but they make the right move at the right time with incredible panache. Sparty did it a few times, Tommeke was awesome at it as well.

    Great race and great comments afterwards by all the riders. I do not think that Sagan was taking anything away from Kumquat with his post-race comments (“he owes me some beer”). Supposedly they are quite good friends and I still love Sagan’s philosophy that he said a few years (last year?) about it, in the end, just being a bike race. He said something along the lines that he isn’t curing cancer out there, he is riding his bike. Great, great race.

  24. @dyalander

    a great rivalry in Sagan v Kwiatowski. They’ve now crossed swords on multiple occasions as pros in big races and I’m pretty sure they also did so as juniors.

    They did indeed:

    [img]https://scontent-lht6-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/s640x640/sh0.08/e35/17267428_422561678090594_3318586908811984896_n.jpg[/img]

    (credit: Kwiato’s Instagram feed)

    Agree your points – Kwiatowski managed to bridge, stay with Sagan on the descent (no mean feat in itself), and then did just enough to keep the trio away from the peloton without emptying the tanks and towing Sagan to the line to gift him an easy win. He’d have looked pretty stupid if he’d done the latter. Great finish, and a great ride by both of them, chapeau.

  25. Attempt at image embed failed, image toolbar not working for me, ah well

  26. Yup, it’s a race. The idea is to play to your strengths/opportunities to win!

  27. it seems like Sagan, Kwiatkowski, and GVA are ready to pick up where Cancellara, Boonen, and Gilbert are leaving off. serious horsepower, serious race smarts, and unafraid to lose a race. it’s made for a very exciting 2016, and so far, 2017.

  28. Awesome finish, and great rides by all three of them. MK went to his limits to beat arguably the strongest rider in the field and did exactly what he needed to do. And, as could be seen by the Sagan’s instant congratulations, he won totally legitimately. Alaphilippe is super impressive too – what a sprint from him after 291km! Great stuff!

  29. Got Sagz’ placing right. And Gaviria in the top 5. So I guess a good start?

  30. Perfect V

  31. @KogaLover

    This Alaphillipe guy…I like.

  32. @dyalander

    Couldn’t agree more. Kwiat-Krush earned the win. Even Sagz acknowledges that MSR is the “easiest” Monument to race but the “hardest” to win. More than anything, I think what Sagan has working against him is that his team just isn’t as strong and doesn’t have the depth of the likes of Sky and Quickstep. So he is left having to do more work than riders on other teams and doesn’t have the luxury of a Plan B (Viviani in the case of Sky and Gaviria in the case of Quickstep) card that the team can play. For him, he’s all in and it’s all or nothing.

    Also, notice in the pic posted by @KogaLover that Sagan’s chain is halfway off the big ring. Perhaps a bit of bad luck that was just enough to cost him the few inches difference?

  33. @chuckp

    I noticed live in the final sprint that Sagans chain was bouncing all over the place and Kwat’s by comparison looked static. Looked like it had too many links (unlikely) or it has been stretched by the massive guns of Sagan (more likely!).

    Either way it can’t have helped?

  34. This.

  35. And this is why Sagz is such a class act. Kwiat-Krush too.

  36. @RobSandy

    @KogaLover

    This Alaphillipe guy…I like.

    Me too ! And in rewind/review of the finish there was a point that Kwiatkowski need Mr Alaphillip to help bridge the gap. These three studs just provided some real fireworks for a finish that was a blast to watch. Love it.

    BTW all: apparently there is some big annual college basketball tourney going on here in the states ? Would be news to me. Between the spring classics, the monuments and our HS mtn bike team and the better weather and longer days I’m 100% loving this time of year for cycling.

    Cheers all !

  37. God DAMN if that doesn’t give you a warm, fuzzy, I-want-to-go-crush-the-fucking-Pave’-on-a-damp-morning feeling I don’t know what will!

    Just awesome!

  38. @chuckp

    And this is why Sagz is such a class act. Kwiat-Krush too.

    My above post was in reply to this photo. God, what a great time to be a cycling fan!

  39. @Buck Rogers

    @chuckp

    And this is why Sagz is such a class act. Kwiat-Krush too.

    My above post was in reply to this photo. God, what a great time to be a cycling fan!

    Anyone else who can’t wait for the Belgian classics?

    Also, how savage was Sagan’s attack on the Poggio? They all must have known it was coming but only 2 had the legs to follow.

  40. @Buck Rogers

    @chuckp

    And this is why Sagz is such a class act. Kwiat-Krush too.

    My above post was in reply to this photo. God, what a great time to be a cycling fan!

    There’s your Pic of the year – Right There!

  41. As crazy as it might be to take life lessons from a twenty year old who rides a bicycle all day…Sagan’s philosophy is pretty fucking incredible.

    No stress, no worries. Tranquilo at all times. Train your ass off. Race your ass off. Do you maximum. If you succeed, awesome. If not, shake the lads hand and look towards next weekend with no regrets.

    It’s not always possible, but to just live free of fear, regret, pessimism and just do your best and not worry about the results, well, that is amazing. Chapeau to that dude, for sure.

  42. @Ron

    ‘Like’ button pressed

  43. 1. Delgado! Dammit dammit dammit! (Only excuse- I’ve been observing a relatively monastic existence while observing an intense observance of Rule #71.)

    2. It is an amazing time to be a cycling fan, indeed. I think only my fellow Velominati understand the rush and anxiety that I felt from the time He attacked on the Poggio to the throw across the line.

    3. Champions win not just when they aren’t first on the podium, but when they show us how great their sport can be.

    Do we have a reverent name for Sagan yet? We have the Prophet, the Apostle, the Lion, Il Pirata, The Twatwaffle, ….surely this deserves some endless discussion on this site.

  44. @KogaLover

    Also notice, Sagan is the only one not on his brakes – full commitment

  45. If we have the Prophet and Apostle why not Petrus “the Rock” or Pontifex – his name is Peter anyway… :)

  46. @Pali65

    If we have the Prophet and Apostle why not Petrus “the Rock” or Pontifex – his name is Peter anyway… :)

    Peter the Great?

  47. Some great racing in the E3 today. Gilbert is on form as are GvA and Tommeke. Flanders should be fun – although Quick Step must be getting a bit tired of the second step they seem to be on a lot these days. (Yes, I know Lampaert won on Tuesday and that they’ve scored a few wins this season, but they weren’t the ones that really mattered).

  48. this spring has certainly NOT disappointed so far!

  49. @Ron

    Nice stuff Ron.

  50. @Buck Rogers

    If it’s taking you 8 hours you’re going too slow.

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