Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de Suisse 2012

Andy Hampsten becomes the first North American to win a National Tour at the Tour de Suisse.

This is an exciting time of year. The Giro is in the books, the Tour is firmly in everyone’s sights, and those of us with the vaguest idea of how the big race will unfold are prognosticating the loudest as we use races that are proven to reveal fuck-all about what will happen at the Tour to predict what will happen at the Tour.

With the Dauphiné underway we look to the start of the Tour de Suisse to peer deeper into the murk to see who is riding well. As far as I’m concerned, I might as well lay out all the rider’s names in a random pattern and blow snot-rockets at the floor to make my picks this year because I honestly haven’t the foggiest idea who will take it; the biggest race of the year is spinning up to be the biggest enigma of the year.

All this babbling serves to demonstrate another important point, and the reason why the Dauphiné wasn’t in the VSP: these stage races are little more than preparation races for the big names, and a chance for the smaller one’s to take center stage. So why did the Tour de Suisse get a VSP while the Dauphiné didn’t? For starters, the latter feels less like a dress rehearsal for the Tour, but mostly its because there is a mountain pass that has cobbles all the way up it in Switzerland (though I’m not sure if they’re riding it this year). How cool is that? I can get on board with any country who values labor costs little enough to pave an entire mountain road one cobble at a time. Yes, we’re that scientific here in the Velominati Boardroom.

When this race is over, we’ll have even less of a clue as to who will win in July (well, everyone except @Marcus, who needs neither evidence nor results in order to be sure Cuddles will win) and we’ll be able to distract ourselves with the various National Championships which will take place in the week leading up the Tour’s start and guessing wether Bruyneel has the nerve to cut either or both Schlecks from his Tour team.

So, dust off your monkey’s bones and 12-sided die, time to make your predictions for the 2012 Tour de Suisse. Check the Tour de Suisse site for the latest route and roster info and remember that since this is a stage race, (not a Grand Tour), points on offer are 10 for first place, 8 for second, 7 for third, 5 for fourth, and 3 for fifth – all based on the final General Classification; plus two bonus points per rider in the top five regardless of the rider’s placing. Get your picks in by the time the countdown clock goes to zero, and pray for an intervention. Make sure you check the mappings of your picks before the race ends so you get the points you deserve, and use the dispute mechanism to alert us of any issues. Note that the dispute mechanism is the official means by which to raise concerns about your picks; questions about your mappings or disputes raised in the posts will be largely ignored.

Good luck.

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286 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de Suisse 2012”

  1. @frank

    @snoov

    As probably the biggest fan of Gimplette around, I think its easy for us to judge from our armchairs riders who go through more suffering even as the lowest-level pro than we can rightly imagine.

    But judging is kind of like our specialty, so we’re bound to stick to our comfort zones. 

    We probably misjudged him, but we misjudge any of these guys when we call them pussies. So long as the jabbing is all good humored and fun, which its been as far as I can tell, i wouldn’t go over-thinking it too much.

    Though I’m certainly not seeing Andy go to these lengths to stay in a race:

    To be fair, it must be kinda hard to tie an inner tube to your sacrum…

  2. @harminator

    @frank

    Harmon is answering a question from a viewer, who asked if you can tell the nationality of a rider.

    They say you can’t, of course, which is almost true. The only nationality you can recognize are the Aussies, because they’re the ones riding wheels!

    BOOM! That’s right! I said it, @Marcus!

    Not true! You can also tell the Dutch. They’re the ones crying because they haven’t won a jersey at a grand tour since the 80″²s

    Great. Now I have to clean the coffee spray off of my new iPad.

  3. @harminator Your comment about the Dutch and their non-winning prowess got me to thinking about the French and their lack of recent tour wins. So I got an idea to help em. If the Tour de France were to be ridden backwards, stage 21 to 1 in retreat fashion, I would bet that they would win every stage from now until the end of time.

  4. @Monkeyscat

    @harminator Your comment about the Dutch and their non-winning prowess got me to thinking about the French and their lack of recent tour wins. So I got an idea to help em. If the Tour de France were to be ridden backwards, stage 21 to 1 in retreat fashion, I would bet that they would win every stage from now until the end of time.

    I loves me some good nationalistic bashing. Especially the more unreasonable it is. Carry on.

    @harminator

    @frank

    Harmon is answering a question from a viewer, who asked if you can tell the nationality of a rider.

    They say you can’t, of course, which is almost true. The only nationality you can recognize are the Aussies, because they’re the ones riding wheels!

    BOOM! That’s right! I said it, @Marcus!

    Not true! You can also tell the Dutch. They’re the ones crying because they haven’t won a jersey at a grand tour since the 80″²s

    Patently untrue. We’re the ones making justifications and generally mismanaging talent because we haven’t won a jersey at a grand tour since the 80’s.

  5. To quote Nigle Powers, “There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch”.

  6. @harminator

    @frank

    Harmon is answering a question from a viewer, who asked if you can tell the nationality of a rider.

    They say you can’t, of course, which is almost true. The only nationality you can recognize are the Aussies, because they’re the ones riding wheels!

    BOOM! That’s right! I said it, @Marcus!

    Not true! You can also tell the Dutch. They’re the ones crying because they haven’t won a jersey at a grand tour since the 80″²s

    Who knew there was a Curse of Hennie Kuiper?

  7. Jeez, didn’t see the race going like this…

    RE: Albasini – wait, I thought the guy was a pretty good sprinter. Now he wins a climbing stage? Am I thinking of someone else or is he both?

    Jeez, I gotta study up. Must know all the riders at the PRO level and their skillz.

  8. More heartbreak for Roy. Great ride by him, and a lovely move to drop Montaguti. One of these days, he’s going to cross the line ahead of the rest. I’m hoping it comes next month on the big stage.

    Brave ride by Schleck, too, given all the drama surrounding the team. But not enough against a decidedly second-rate field. I don’t see him being within a stone’s throw against the likes of Evans and Wiggins.

  9. The Velominati VSP… Gesink, Cunego, Kreuziger, Valverde and Leipheimer.

    So we continue our less than 50% success rate.

    Practising what I preach, I was the only person to have Costa in any position, and one of only two to have Ituralde.

    Two people had Schleck in second, and Leipheimer was a popular choice in third with 15 picks, while Gesink had five votes for fourth.

  10. @ChrisO

    I took Nieve in the Giro as my dark horse. He looked very good there and again this week. A bit more solid in the TT, and he looks like a good podium pick. Nice rider.

  11. @ChrisO

    Practicing what I preach, I was the only person to have Costa in any position, and one of only two to have Ituralde.

    I’m very impressed with Costa and very impressed you picked him. I really didn’t know anything about him before this race.

    @Steampunk
    nice pick too. Why did I pick Lovkvist as my dark horse? Because I thought he might finally do something? Wrong. He is the Linus Gerdemann (sp?) of Sky.

  12. @Gianni

    You and me, both. I keep waiting for Lövkvist to jump up and say “look at me!” with a breakout ride. The guy’s got all the tools: decent climber, strong TT, etc., and Sky’s given him every chance to shine. But he doesn’t seem able to hang in there.

  13. @San Tonio

    @versio

    Kreuziger, I have foreseen your destiny. Fourth!

    you mean sixth and out of the VSP.

    No… I picked Kreuziger as 4th. Would not have picked him as 6th?

  14. @ChrisO

    The Velominati VSP… Gesink, Cunego, Kreuziger, Valverde and Leipheimer.

    So we continue our less than 50% success rate.

    Practising what I preach, I was the only person to have Costa in any position, and one of only two to have Ituralde.

    Two people had Schleck in second, and Leipheimer was a popular choice in third with 15 picks, while Gesink had five votes for fourth.

    I haven’t had a chance to look through all the stuff you sent me – will do soon though. I’m glad we’re reinforcing the fact that we know fuck all about racing. That’s promising.

  15. @ChrisO

    @frank

    Which leads me to mention that the wild forest-boy in Germany has turned out not to be feral and uncivilised, just Dutch.

    Or, as Keeper Jim says, “It’s typically Dutch: accurate but awkward.”

    @Monkeyscat

    To quote Nigle Powers, “There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch”.

    One. Of. The. Best. Lines. Ever.

    So sorry I missed these jokes when they were relevant.

  16. @Steampunk

    Nieve has had an odd string of 10th place finishes. Two in the Vuelta and two in the Giro. He’s 28 years old – if he can find a team that will support him going for GC he might get up to the podium places.

  17. Bugger me. 10 points, how did that happen? I am in shock. That’ll be the last you see of me on the VSP podium though.

    Incidentally a compliment to the regulars on here, love your work. It makes office time so much more bearable.

  18. @ChrisO

    He impressed me during the Giro, always hanging with the main group on the main rides, but he was never able to make up the deficit from the TTT and the ITTs, where he lost some time. At 28, I thought this might be his breakthrough year. But you’re right: a bit more support and he could be a real contender.

  19. Anybody notice Frank Schlecks interview regarding the Tour? Here is part of his reasoning for not wanting to be named captain of the RS tour team:

    In addition, “I don’t want to be named as the leader, because if I put in a disappointing performance, then everyone can afterwards complain that I was not good enough. ”

    He really needs to have rule 5 tattooed on the inside of his eyelids.  Here’s the link if you care to read more:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/schleck-doesnt-want-captains-role-at-tour-de-france

    So who is their captain then? Klody? Change their mind and let Horner race?

  20. @LA Dave That team is an absolute mess.  The only ones who have a pair are Faboo and Jens, and Fabian gets limited support in his classics endeavors.  Jens is Jens, but a bit past his prime (and no, I wouldn’t tell him that).  The Schlecks have no sense of drive.  My oh my.

  21. @LA Dave

    It’s probably realistic that Frank can’t hold his form through the Tour.  He should be stagehunting, they can send Spartacus after yellow in the first week, and it can be a farewell tour for the old dudes.  That’s about the limit of what they might be able to accomplish.

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