Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2017

As many of you know, I write a monthly column for Cyclist Magazine where I answer Dear Abby-esque questions, and the most recent query pertained to whether I consider the Tour the best race of the year, or whether it’s an over-publicized circus. The question made me realize something about myself: I have a weariness around the Tour de France not unlike a romantic whose heart has been broken one too many times.

The fact is, as much as I prefer a race like Paris-Roubaix or the Giro d’Italia to the mid-summer shit show that is the Tour de France, nothing gets my anticipation going quite the way the Tour does, which is undeniably the pinnacle of the season; all the classifications and stages are prestigious enough that racers of all sorts are all arriving at the start in peak form. There is a promise of hard racing from day one, but the first week consists mostly of me worrying about the big favorites crashing out. As soon as we get through that mess, my heart is usually broken on the first day in the mountains, when the favorite takes a decisive lead and the rest of the race is most about stages than the GC.

At least, these are the dreads of a man who lived through the Indurain and Armstrong eras of racing.

Nevertheless, the Tour always manages to seduce me, and this year is no different. Maybe this year, she won’t be such a cruel lover. And, maybe this year, I won’t make horrible picks in the VSP. Just maybe, just maybe. You know the drill; get your picks in by the time the clock goes to zero, and you get some swap options on the rest day. Good luck!
[vsp_results id=”104413″/]

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596 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2017”

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. Nairo Quintana
    2. Alejandro Valverde
    3. Alberto Contador
    4. Fabio Aru
    5. Richie Porte
  2. Hsrd to pick against Froome

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Porte
    3. Quintana
    4. Bardet
    5. Contador
  3. @litvi

    @Randy C

    @chris

    Why is it that no one eve asks me to take part in studies like this?

    0

    And that is hard to believe !

    0

    Hard to believe? Try mind-numbingly unscientific. Is 8 weeks enough to build the cardiovascular efficiency, muscle timing, and the capillary delivery of a pro in someone who starts at some unknown base? What about the notion that the pros are the best of the strongest of the fastest to begin with, and only a handful of those are contenders? Among this VERY select few, a 0.1% advantage is an incredible difference – it’s significantly more than the 4 minutes lead Froome had last year at the Tour (4′ is 0.075% of 89 hours and 4-odd minutes [running included]). Keep in mind these subjects are amateurs, not pros. And there is usually a good (/obvious) reason you remain an amateur and not a pro. You don’t make the cut. But wait, here this is: “Professor John Brewer, an expert in applied sports science at St Mary’s University College [in other words an actual scientist], cautioned that the benefits of improved oxygen uptake might be more pronounced in professional cyclists than in amateurs” (emphasis mine) Duh. BTW, not to The Telegraph editors: including that quick nod to peer review in the very last line of the story doesn’t resurrect the “Science” title of this section.

    0

    I’m not going to discount the psychological benefits of placebos, (I think there are plenty of studies out there that show they can be impresively effective)  but from what I’ve read, the effectiveness of EPO really depended upon what your starting/natural hematocrit level was. If it was 49% the chances of significant benefit were much less than it it was, say 45%. Giving a bunch of amateurs, albeit likely fit ones, is not comparable to top professionals. You could give me an 8 week training plan and all the EPO in the world and I wouldn’t/couldn’t hang with the professionals.

  4. Let’s just hope there isn’t too much overdoing it with the yellow and green bits, beyond the jersey itself.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Bardet
    3. Porte
    4. Aru
    5. Quintana
  5. VSP PICKS:

    1. Richie Porte
    2. Chris Froome
    3. Alejandro Valverde
    4. Romain Bardet
    5. Jacob Fuglsang
  6. @wiscot

    @litvi

    @Randy C

    @chris

    Why is it that no one eve asks me to take part in studies like this?

    0

    And that is hard to believe !

    0

    Hard to believe? Try mind-numbingly unscientific. Is 8 weeks enough to build the cardiovascular efficiency, muscle timing, and the capillary delivery of a pro in someone who starts at some unknown base? What about the notion that the pros are the best of the strongest of the fastest to begin with, and only a handful of those are contenders? Among this VERY select few, a 0.1% advantage is an incredible difference – it’s significantly more than the 4 minutes lead Froome had last year at the Tour (4′ is 0.075% of 89 hours and 4-odd minutes [running included]). Keep in mind these subjects are amateurs, not pros. And there is usually a good (/obvious) reason you remain an amateur and not a pro. You don’t make the cut. But wait, here this is: “Professor John Brewer, an expert in applied sports science at St Mary’s University College [in other words an actual scientist], cautioned that the benefits of improved oxygen uptake might be more pronounced in professional cyclists than in amateurs” (emphasis mine) Duh. BTW, not to The Telegraph editors: including that quick nod to peer review in the very last line of the story doesn’t resurrect the “Science” title of this section.

    0

    I’m not going to discount the psychological benefits of placebos, (I think there are plenty of studies out there that show they can be impresively effective) but from what I’ve read, the effectiveness of EPO really depended upon what your starting/natural hematocrit level was. If it was 49% the chances of significant benefit were much less than it it was, say 45%. Giving a bunch of amateurs, albeit likely fit ones, is not comparable to top professionals. You could give me an 8 week training plan and all the EPO in the world and I wouldn’t/couldn’t hang with the professionals.

    0

    I always understood 45% to be more advantageous than 49% as it allowed a 5% increase without exceeding the arbitrary 50% limit applied at the time. Although a 55% reading would result in sleepless nights on the rollers.

  7. I’m hoping for some exciting racing, though my picks aren’t very exciting.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome, Chris
    2. Porte, Richie
    3. Bardet, Romain
    4. Quintana, Nairo
    5. Aru, Fabio
  8. I’m putting my money on the little pocket rocket from Columbia. Bardet is due to. I’m hoping my fifth place for Froome is giving him a higher place than he gets, but I want the points when he inevitably

    proves me wrong and wins.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Quintana Roo
    2. Bardet
    3. The Door
    4. Aru
    5. Froome
  9. Best moment of last year’s edition ? Was it Froome attacking over the top for big descent off the front or was it Froome and Thomas hitching on to Sagan and Bodnar for an attack off the front ? Either way, anyone seeing Teams Porte, Nairo, Bardet pulling off that kinda race action ? We shall see… anyways, The Sky Train/Froome Fortress, unless misfortune strikes, is very, very strong.

    btw @chris hard to believe the idea put forth that it doesn’t work !!!

    cheers all

  10. @wiscot

    @chris

    @frahronk The v-site is broken, paragraphs don’t work and it’s infected with nasty little social media likey likey things. /newpara If we must have social media buttons, can we have a little “that’s shite” turd button?

    0

    I like your idea, but 95% of what’s on Social Media is generally classifiable as “shite.” I like to think the V-site shite is a better class of shite. Designer shite if you will, for a discerning audience.

    0

    If by “discerning” you mean “shite,” then yes.

  11. @chris

    @wiscot

    @litvi

    @Randy C

    @chris

    Why is it that no one eve asks me to take part in studies like this?

    0

    And that is hard to believe !

    0

    Hard to believe? Try mind-numbingly unscientific. Is 8 weeks enough to build the cardiovascular efficiency, muscle timing, and the capillary delivery of a pro in someone who starts at some unknown base? What about the notion that the pros are the best of the strongest of the fastest to begin with, and only a handful of those are contenders? Among this VERY select few, a 0.1% advantage is an incredible difference – it’s significantly more than the 4 minutes lead Froome had last year at the Tour (4′ is 0.075% of 89 hours and 4-odd minutes [running included]). Keep in mind these subjects are amateurs, not pros. And there is usually a good (/obvious) reason you remain an amateur and not a pro. You don’t make the cut. But wait, here this is: “Professor John Brewer, an expert in applied sports science at St Mary’s University College [in other words an actual scientist], cautioned that the benefits of improved oxygen uptake might be more pronounced in professional cyclists than in amateurs” (emphasis mine) Duh. BTW, not to The Telegraph editors: including that quick nod to peer review in the very last line of the story doesn’t resurrect the “Science” title of this section.

    0

    I’m not going to discount the psychological benefits of placebos, (I think there are plenty of studies out there that show they can be impresively effective) but from what I’ve read, the effectiveness of EPO really depended upon what your starting/natural hematocrit level was. If it was 49% the chances of significant benefit were much less than it it was, say 45%. Giving a bunch of amateurs, albeit likely fit ones, is not comparable to top professionals. You could give me an 8 week training plan and all the EPO in the world and I wouldn’t/couldn’t hang with the professionals.

    0

    I always understood 45% to be more advantageous than 49% as it allowed a 5% increase without exceeding the arbitrary 50% limit applied at the time. Although a 55% reading would result in sleepless nights on the rollers.

    0

    All discussions of EPO seem to ignore the downside risks (MI, Stroke, VTE and others) and these are substantial.  When used for legitimate medical purposes physicians would without the drug when the the hemoglobin reaches 12 g/dL, and hold it at even lower levels depending upon disease state.  The low end of the normal range for healthy males is 13.5 g/dL, anyone that meets this criteria and uses EPO is assuming an enormous risk that is probably not truly offset by the benefit.

  12. What the heck. Froome is already older than Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault and Indurain were when they won their fifth Tours. So’s Valverde, but I’m picking he and Bardet can get something from the descent finishes. With less than 40km of time trials the race is made for Bardet, but Valverde looks smarter and more durable to me…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Bardet
    3. Porte
    4. Froome
    5. Chaves
  13. After sitting out the Giro because my picks did not register, and then delgadoing the Tour de Suisse, I am jumping back into the fray.  Although, my picks seem rather lemming-like…  And we’re off for a three-week adventure just like that.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Quintana
    2. Porte
    3. Froome
    4. Bardet
    5. Contador
  14. VSP PICKS:

    1. Richie Porte
    2. Chris Froome
    3. Nairo Quintana
    4. Robert Gesink
    5. Alberto Contador
  15. @chris

    @wiscot

    @litvi

    @Randy C

    @chris

    Why is it that no one eve asks me to take part in studies like this?

    0

    And that is hard to believe !

    0

    Hard to believe? Try mind-numbingly unscientific. Is 8 weeks enough to build the cardiovascular efficiency, muscle timing, and the capillary delivery of a pro in someone who starts at some unknown base? What about the notion that the pros are the best of the strongest of the fastest to begin with, and only a handful of those are contenders? Among this VERY select few, a 0.1% advantage is an incredible difference – it’s significantly more than the 4 minutes lead Froome had last year at the Tour (4′ is 0.075% of 89 hours and 4-odd minutes [running included]). Keep in mind these subjects are amateurs, not pros. And there is usually a good (/obvious) reason you remain an amateur and not a pro. You don’t make the cut. But wait, here this is: “Professor John Brewer, an expert in applied sports science at St Mary’s University College [in other words an actual scientist], cautioned that the benefits of improved oxygen uptake might be more pronounced in professional cyclists than in amateurs” (emphasis mine) Duh. BTW, not to The Telegraph editors: including that quick nod to peer review in the very last line of the story doesn’t resurrect the “Science” title of this section.

    0

    I’m not going to discount the psychological benefits of placebos, (I think there are plenty of studies out there that show they can be impresively effective) but from what I’ve read, the effectiveness of EPO really depended upon what your starting/natural hematocrit level was. If it was 49% the chances of significant benefit were much less than it it was, say 45%. Giving a bunch of amateurs, albeit likely fit ones, is not comparable to top professionals. You could give me an 8 week training plan and all the EPO in the world and I wouldn’t/couldn’t hang with the professionals.

    0

    I always understood 45% to be more advantageous than 49% as it allowed a 5% increase without exceeding the arbitrary 50% limit applied at the time. Although a 55% reading would result in sleepless nights on the rollers.

    0

    This is an important point, that even the article accidentally hit on, namely haematocrit vs. haemoglobin levels.  The concentration (the former) tends to go down in top athletes in peak form, but the theory is they have a higher blood volume.  It’s worth mentioning the blood does much more than carry oxygen, and just imagine all the fuel consumption, waste production, hormone and endocrine signals, etc., etc. going on for 4 or 5 hours at top level racing. Blood volume – and the ability to circulate it – are two growth processes I can’t hardly imagine would pass many noticeable milestones in just 8 weeks among amateurs who, let’s not forget, have demands off the bike as well.  So again, this article doesn’t pass the sniff test with me.  Light on science, heavy on agenda. But looking back, maybe that agenda is to heap more humiliation on COTHO.  If that’s the case, then let’s have some more!

  16. Gah, having such an off year. Shots in the dark…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Chris Froome
    2. Nairo Quintana
    3. Romain Bardet
    4. Richie Porte
    5. Alberto Contador
  17. Predictable choice. Expecting Quintana to be the ‘nearly man’ once again.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Quintana
    3. Pinot
    4. Contador
    5. Bardet
  18. Holy shit. Just remembered at the last minute. Literally figuratively the last minute!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Porte
    3. Quintana
    4. Aru
    5. Izagirre Ion
  19. Ya’ll watching the start of this TT? Raining, wet and all the corners and road paint. Nacer Bouhanni may as well get off his bike and walk around the corners as fast as he’s taken some of ’em. And he’s making a catch too ?!? Super exciting… yahhhnnn… Wouldn’t that be classic suck yes? Day 1 and someone finds themselves a pile of time back after they dump it in a wet slick corner full of road paint.

  20. Not that far away in Valkenburg and its pissing it down and has been since the early hours.  Would have had an epic ride this morning but managed to take a wrong turn – again and did the bleedin’ short course – again.  Somewhat miffed as along with another guy we are sure we didn’t miss a sign but clearly we must have.  Oh well, off to see the TdF go by tomorrow.

  21. @Randy C

    Ya’ll watching the start of this TT? Raining, wet and all the corners and road paint. Nacer Bouhanni may as well get off his bike and walk around the corners as fast as he’s taken some of ’em. And he’s making a catch too ?!? Super exciting… yahhhnnn… Wouldn’t that be classic suck yes? Day 1 and someone finds themselves a pile of time back after they dump it in a wet slick corner full of road paint.

    0

    Valverde down and slid in the barriers hard – didn’t look like he was getting up anytime quickly.

  22. One down. More proof that it never pays to bet for or against Valverde. Hope he’s not too injured. Looked like a hard fall.

  23. As much as I truly detest Malmerde and wish that he would just go away from cycling forever, I never wish him any harm or that he will crash.

    Hope he is fine and not hurt too awfully bad.

  24. @Buck Rogers

    As much as I truly detest Malmerde and wish that he would just go away from cycling forever, I never wish him any harm or that he will crash. Hope he is fine and not hurt too awfully bad.

    0

    Broken kneecap. Sounds painful.

    On the plus side, Go G! I am absolutely made up for the guy, especially after the Giro. Stage win an Maillot Jaune, probably for a good few days too. Legend.

  25. That was a stupid start to the TdF… So, the main goal of the opening stage for the racers was to stay upright ?? And here we are with an entirely upset set of circumstances to kick everything off as a result of a stupid course that had no business being raced in the rain. Wonder if anyone setting this up thought, well geeze, wouldn’t this be a real beauty if it rains ? Stupid stage. My opinion.

  26. @Buck Rogers

    As much as I truly detest Malmerde and wish that he would just go away from cycling forever, I never wish him any harm or that he will crash.

    Hope he is fine and not hurt too awfully bad.

    why do people dislike him?  is it the doping connection, or is he some kind of arrogant among arrogants?  this isn’t a troll, i’m asking an honest question.  he doesn’t seem any better or worse than many of the other higher profile pro tour riders, to me.

  27. @Teocalli

    Not that far away in Valkenburg and its pissing it down and has been since the early hours. Would have had an epic ride this morning but managed to take a wrong turn – again and did the bleedin’ short course – again. Somewhat miffed as along with another guy we are sure we didn’t miss a sign but clearly we must have. Oh well, off to see the TdF go by tomorrow.

    0

    At least you got 100k in; I got zero… How many heightmeters?

  28. This could be perfect, Thomas follows team orders and rides in support of Froome but with only a few mountain stages has no jour sans, finishes with him everyday and wins.

     

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