Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a España 2017

Holy fuckballs. I’ve never been this late ever on a VSP. I mean, I’ve missed them entirely – which is another kind of incompetence entirely – but I’m shocked at how quickly this week blew by me. I think I have whiplash.

Be that as it may, the Vuelta is on our doorstep, and before you panic, I’ll leave the picks open until Monday so we have enough time to screw up our picks despite knowing who crashes out in the first few days.

This is actually exciting stuff. We have some serious grudge-matching going on here for the Vuelta. Chris Froome is double-talking, Bardet is trash-talking, and Contador is exit-talking. This could be interesting.

On the subject of Bardet, he is my new Schleck. I love how he looks on the bike, and he’s got a fighting spirit. And he rides a white bike, which is the color bike I’m obsessed with. And I’m equally sure he will never win a major bike race, on account that I fancy him. (Roman, if you are reading this, I ask your forgiveness.)

Alright, I’ll stop faffing about. Check the start list, get your picks in, and let’s get this party started.

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172 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a España 2017”

  1. VSP PICKS:

    1. FROOME Christopher
    2. NIBALI Vincenzo
    3. CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto
    4. CHAVES RUBIO Jhoan Esteban
    5. ARU Fabio
  2. @RobSandy

    Had a reshuffle. Not many people are tipping Bardet to do well. Not sure why.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Nibali
    3. Bardet
    4. Yates
    5. Aru
    0

    i didn’t list Bardet based on how destroyed he looked in the last Tour TT.  i think he’s toast.

  3. Lucky dip really, but I’m guessing

    Froomacil will probably be near the pointy end.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Froome
    2. Nibali
    3. Zakarin
    4. Chaves
    5. Aru
  4. Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

  5. @wiscot

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

    0

     

    Fortunately it has now closed otherwise there would be a few folk quickly ditching Contador!

  6. Two exciting finishes so far. Can’t believe Yves managed to hold them off. Nice ride!

    Oh, and the dirtbags going wide to move up at the train crossing – I’d have given those lads a frame pump in the wheels.

  7. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

    0

    Fortunately it has now closed otherwise there would be a few folk quickly ditching Contador!

    0

    I think the Contador scenario now playing out emphasizes the wisdom of Hinault when he retired. Hinault, being one of the great GT riders of all time, did not want to suffer the indignity and humiliation currently being experienced by Contador. Hinualt was not happy unless he was a contender. Alas, Bertie may not make top 10 if today is an indication.

  8. @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

    0

    Fortunately it has now closed otherwise there would be a few folk quickly ditching Contador!

    0

    I think the Contador scenario now playing out emphasizes the wisdom of Hinault when he retired. Hinault, being one of the great GT riders of all time, did not want to suffer the indignity and humiliation currently being experienced by Contador. Hinualt was not happy unless he was a contender. Alas, Bertie may not make top 10 if today is an indication.

    0

    …….or a lack of Steak……

  9. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

    0

    Fortunately it has now closed otherwise there would be a few folk quickly ditching Contador!

    0

    I think the Contador scenario now playing out emphasizes the wisdom of Hinault when he retired. Hinault, being one of the great GT riders of all time, did not want to suffer the indignity and humiliation currently being experienced by Contador. Hinualt was not happy unless he was a contender. Alas, Bertie may not make top 10 if today is an indication.

    0

    …….or a lack of Steak……

    0

    You know, I’ve always thought Bertie got a bit of a bum deal on the clenbuterol test. There’s no threshold amount for a positive test and the amount that showed was incredibly small.  Other riders I’m sure have tested positive for far more effective drugs which were below the positive threshold.

    I’m hoping he goes out in style, but it seems like that might not be the case. Here’s to hoping he gets at least a stage win in grand style. I think he deserves that.

    Looks like all the other main contenders have come ready to play. That was some fine racing today.

  10. @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

    0

    Fortunately it has now closed otherwise there would be a few folk quickly ditching Contador!

    0

    I think the Contador scenario now playing out emphasizes the wisdom of Hinault when he retired. Hinault, being one of the great GT riders of all time, did not want to suffer the indignity and humiliation currently being experienced by Contador. Hinualt was not happy unless he was a contender. Alas, Bertie may not make top 10 if today is an indication.

    0

    …….or a lack of Steak……

    0

    You know, I’ve always thought Bertie got a bit of a bum deal on the clenbuterol test. There’s no threshold amount for a positive test and the amount that showed was incredibly small. Other riders I’m sure have tested positive for far more effective drugs which were below the positive threshold.

    I’m hoping he goes out in style, but it seems like that might not be the case. Here’s to hoping he gets at least a stage win in grand style. I think he deserves that.

    Looks like all the other main contenders have come ready to play. That was some fine racing today.

    0

    a)  i excluded Bardet from my list based on his final TdF TT, but included Cotador out of sentimentality and well wishes.  one good decision cancels a bad one.  story of my life.

    b)  agree on Contador getting hosed on the clenbutrol flap.  i have watched these last ten years of cycling with a jaundiced perspective, because it’s the same sort of shit e have seen time and time again.  the drugs are different, the individuals are different, yet the mechanisms of deceit remain the same.  all i see, collectively, are the same riders, guilty of the same shit, scurrying back and forth from one conveniently held position to another.  the only differences are, some have produced results, and some have NOT.  the only two individuals i respect in the pantheon of whistleblowers are Lemond and Andreu, who both came forward when they still had something SIGNIFICANT to lose.  in my eyes, the rest are doing nothing but recriminating and playing dumb, in a sisyphean effort to validate their percieved legacy.

    c)  has anybody here watched Icarus yet?  if an organization can change urine samples to protect the guilty, another organization can surely do the same to implicate the innocent.  why, at this point, should any of us believe ANY of the players in this story to hold some sort of moral high ground?  every last agency invoved in this ongoing debacle has demonstrated corruption and incompetence.  UCI, WADA, etc, straight down the line.  gimme a break.  may as well ask the IRS their opinion, too.

  11. i should qualify that rant by saying that i really don’t believe Lemond ever doped in the first place, so maybe “coming forward” isn’t the best way to describe what he went though.  truth lies in action.  viewed thru the lens of history, Lemond’s actions are those of an innocent man. and a righteous one.

  12. @Cary

    @Cary

    @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a VSP where entries could be posted after the race starts. If this keeps up I’ll be re-submitting in a couple of weeks!

    0

    Fortunately it has now closed otherwise there would be a few folk quickly ditching Contador!

    0

    I think the Contador scenario now playing out emphasizes the wisdom of Hinault when he retired. Hinault, being one of the great GT riders of all time, did not want to suffer the indignity and humiliation currently being experienced by Contador. Hinualt was not happy unless he was a contender. Alas, Bertie may not make top 10 if today is an indication.

    0

    …….or a lack of Steak……

    0

    You know, I’ve always thought Bertie got a bit of a bum deal on the clenbuterol test. There’s no threshold amount for a positive test and the amount that showed was incredibly small. Other riders I’m sure have tested positive for far more effective drugs which were below the positive threshold.

    I’m hoping he goes out in style, but it seems like that might not be the case. Here’s to hoping he gets at least a stage win in grand style. I think he deserves that.

    Looks like all the other main contenders have come ready to play. That was some fine racing today.

    0

    a) i excluded Bardet from my list based on his final TdF TT, but included Cotador out of sentimentality and well wishes. one good decision cancels a bad one. story of my life.

    b) agree on Contador getting hosed on the clenbutrol flap. i have watched these last ten years of cycling with a jaundiced perspective, because it’s the same sort of shit e have seen time and time again. the drugs are different, the individuals are different, yet the mechanisms of deceit remain the same. all i see, collectively, are the same riders, guilty of the same shit, scurrying back and forth from one conveniently held position to another. the only differences are, some have produced results, and some have NOT. the only two individuals i respect in the pantheon of whistleblowers are Lemond and Andreu, who both came forward when they still had something SIGNIFICANT to lose. in my eyes, the rest are doing nothing but recriminating and playing dumb, in a sisyphean effort to validate their percieved legacy.

    c) has anybody here watched Icarus yet? if an organization can change urine samples to protect the guilty, another organization can surely do the same to implicate the innocent. why, at this point, should any of us believe ANY of the players in this story to hold some sort of moral high ground? every last agency invoved in this ongoing debacle has demonstrated corruption and incompetence. UCI, WADA, etc, straight down the line. gimme a break. may as well ask the IRS their opinion, too.

    0

    I have always thought that the UCI, and WADA were complicit in widespread doping. Of course, I cannot prove anything so it is just my opinion. However, I seem to recall a certain Texan making large donations to the UCI that was used for blood testing equipment.

     

    Surely that is just a coincidence…….

  13. sure he did, it is a matter of record, now.  yet, why was the Russian Federation allowed by the IOC to compete at the Rio Olympics, again?  bullshit on top of bullshit!  it’s about money, and only money.  once Lance’s career crossed the threshold whereby more money could be made by taking him down, than by looking the other way, the endgame was a foregone conclusion.  i am cynical for a reason.  follow the money.  you’ll never be wrong, but reality spares no disillusion.

  14. @Cary

    a) i excluded Bardet from my list based on his final TdF TT, but included Cotador out of sentimentality and well wishes. one good decision cancels a bad one. story of my life.

     

    …and I took Bardet out based on your comments. Who’s the bigger fool? The fool, or the fool who follows the fool?

     

  15. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    a) i excluded Bardet from my list based on his final TdF TT, but included Cotador out of sentimentality and well wishes. one good decision cancels a bad one. story of my life.

    …and I took Bardet out based on your comments. Who’s the bigger fool? The fool, or the fool who follows the fool?

    0

    i’ve been trying to figure that out since i was in the Marine Corps.  no answers yet.

  16. Some time ago I read a scientific article on this contaminated meat stuff that purportedly was from a reliable scientific source, I can’t remember whether it was around the Contador incident or another one so I will make that disclaimer.  Basically what it came to, is that for Clenbuterol (etc) to be retained in meat in sufficient quantity to give a positive test in an athlete then either the bull would have to have a dose that would probably kill it or the athlete would have to eat the figurative bull between two bread vans.  Since then I’ve always been a bit cynical over contaminated food – unless the contamination was direct into the food ie from a malicious source.  If I ever get really bored I may try to find the article.

  17. Here you go……turned out easy to find at least in part…..

    Clenbuterol is banned for use in livestock in Europe and the United States. Although the drug has been used to encourage muscle growth in animals like cows and pigs, European and American regulators cracked down on the practice about 10 years ago after several clenbuterol-poisoning cases in Spain, France and Italy.

    In most of those cases, the victims fell ill after eating the animals’ liver, where clenbuterol is known to accumulate.

    Fernando Ramos, a professor at the University of Coimbra in Portugal who has studied clenbuterol contamination in meat for 20 years, said it was highly unlikely that Contador tested positive from eating meat other than liver, noting that the concentration would have to be so high that the animal would have died before being slaughtered.

    When asked what the chances were that Contador’s positive test, even at such low levels, was a result of the meat he ate, Ramos said, “I can say 99 percent, it’s impossible.”

  18. On the Bertie/ clenbuterol thing (and having a background in livestock production processing – someone’s go to do it!) I would tend to agree that it was unlikely to have come from meat. I also think it is highly unlikely that he took it deliberately. If you wanted to create lean muscle/ burn fat there is an alternative substance used in livestock production in soem parts of the world (but not Europe/ US) called ractopamine which has a half life in the body of 6 hours compared to a couple of weeks for clenbuterol. More likely it was in some supplement or other that he got off the internet. We had a similar case in the UK with a footballer (soccerer? soccer player?) Kolo Toure who tested positive after using his wifes slimming pills.

    I would have preferred Bertie to have retired last year. I always hate to see someone go on too long (although I saw James Brown live well after his prime.)

    (By the way do I use too many parentheses) (?)

  19. Never mind the brackets (as the Sex Pistols didn’t say) my spelling and punctuation in that post were shit!

  20. I finally paid to watch cycling this years (cycling.tv) and now the Vuelta is blacked out in the U.S. Great!

  21. @Ron

    I finally paid to watch cycling this years (cycling.tv) and now the Vuelta is blacked out in the U.S. Great!

    0

    Ron,

    I watched the Sporza feed on Steephill.tv yesterday – live! Ok, it’s in Dutch, but hey, you can’t have it all!

  22. @Joe Bloggs

    Never mind the brackets (as the Sex Pistols didn’t say) my spelling and punctuation in that post were shit!




    0

    I got your jist and appreciate the informed comment. Yeah, Bertie should have retired a while back, but I guess when teams throw big $$ at you it’s hard to turn down.

  23. @wiscot

    @Joe Bloggs

    Never mind the brackets (as the Sex Pistols didn’t say) my spelling and punctuation in that post were shit!

    0

    I got your jist and appreciate the informed comment. Yeah, Bertie should have retired a while back, but I guess when teams throw big $$ at you it’s hard to turn down.

    0

    Robbie McEwen had a very interesting observation regarding this upon his own retirement years ago.  as i recall, it was something like “a rider must compete until they are done racing.”  meaning, if a rider retires too soon, before the spirit and willingness to compete at the pro level is exhausted, they will struggle to adjust to life after cycling.  as a fan, i always liked McEwen.  nobody in his day had his race savvy and killer instinct.  that he’s articulated the dynamics of racing at the top levels so as to be better understood by punters like me is a big plus, too.

  24. @wiscot

    The NBC Sports Gold cycling package (I think I paid $29.00 for 6 months) is broadcasting the Vuelta live on its website. Well worth it for those of us in the USA.

  25. @dancollins

    @wiscot

    The NBC Sports Gold cycling package (I think I paid $29.00 for 6 months) is broadcasting the Vuelta live on its website. Well worth it for those of us in the USA.

    0

    I’m in the US but get my TV “over the air” these days. Cut the cable a few years back. That’s not too bad a price though . . .

  26. @wiscot

    @dancollins

    @wiscot

    The NBC Sports Gold cycling package (I think I paid $29.00 for 6 months) is broadcasting the Vuelta live on its website. Well worth it for those of us in the USA.

    0

    I’m in the US but get my TV “over the air” these days. Cut the cable a few years back. That’s not too bad a price though . . .

    0

    I only get “over the air”, too.  But the NBC Sports Gold is something that you can get through your computer, tablet or (maybe) a smart TV app.  I put the app on my tablet so I can watch from anywhere.  Well, except from my place of employment – they would frown at that.

  27. @MangoDave

    I believe Dave is correct. As long as you have internet access, I think you can purchase the NBC Sports Gold cycling app. I don’t think you need a TV subscription through cable, etc.

  28. @MangoDave

    I believe Dave is correct. I don’t think you need a TV subscription to NBC Sports. As long as you have access to the internet, you can buy the NBC Sports Gold cycling package app. I watch it on my laptop and on my smartphone.

  29. We have highlights on Itv4. Which means I have to endure that Watchfinder bastard again.

  30. @RobSandy

    Managed to avoid him so far – thanks to the ITV4 schedulers p*ssing around with the time so that whenever I get chance to watch there is womens rubgy or some scousers playing football instead, and la Vuelta is on way past my bedtime!

  31. Commuted to my office today on my white bike! Everyone needs a white bike. Simple, clean, sexy! As much as I like my flashy Tommasini paint job, I love having a white/black bike and wearing white/black kit.  A moving Peugeot jersey!!

  32. @Ron

    Commuted to my office today on my white bike! Everyone needs a white bike. Simple, clean, sexy! As much as I like my flashy Tommasini paint job, I love having a white/black bike and wearing white/black kit. A moving Peugeot jersey!!

    0

    Photos please. (or it didn’t happen!)

    Is there a most combative rider award at the Vuelta? We all know Thomas DeGendt was robbed of that award at the Tour, but here he is again at the Vuelta doing the same thing. Kicking ass and taking names every day in breakaways. Chapeau!

  33. Barguil thrown out by Sunweb for not following team orders http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sunweb-send-barguil-home-from-vuelta-after-disagreements-over-tactics/

  34. @Cary

    @Teocalli

    Barguil thrown out by Sunweb for not following team orders http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sunweb-send-barguil-home-from-vuelta-after-disagreements-over-tactics/

    0

    complete asininity. sending Barguil home with a parcours this hilly is folly.

    0

    Barguil is a short timer with Sunweb. He is signed with a new team next year so Sunweb owes him nothing. His personal results will benefit another team next year. Why keep him in the race if he is not going to be a team player?

    I would bet money that the decision to send him home had something to do with team morale.

  35. @Rick

    @Cary

    @Teocalli

    Barguil thrown out by Sunweb for not following team orders http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sunweb-send-barguil-home-from-vuelta-after-disagreements-over-tactics/

    0

    complete asininity. sending Barguil home with a parcours this hilly is folly.

    0

    Barguil is a short timer with Sunweb. He is signed with a new team next year so Sunweb owes him nothing. His personal results will benefit another team next year. Why keep him in the race if he is not going to be a team player?

    I would bet money that the decision to send him home had something to do with team morale.

    0

    nothing’s better for morale than results, and Barguil was their best shot at that.  has to be more to the story than that.

  36. @Cary

    @Rick

    @Cary

    @Teocalli

    Barguil thrown out by Sunweb for not following team orders http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sunweb-send-barguil-home-from-vuelta-after-disagreements-over-tactics/

    0

    complete asininity. sending Barguil home with a parcours this hilly is folly.

    0

    Barguil is a short timer with Sunweb. He is signed with a new team next year so Sunweb owes him nothing. His personal results will benefit another team next year. Why keep him in the race if he is not going to be a team player?

    I would bet money that the decision to send him home had something to do with team morale.

    0

    nothing’s better for morale than results, and Barguil was their best shot at that. has to be more to the story than that.

    0

    There was more to the story. It was all in the article: Barguil wanted to ride for himself instead of the team. This created “several disagreements within the squad.” As a result, they sent him home.

    This is part of team sports. If a participant in a team sport doesn’t work toward team goals the participant is not allowed to play. Apparently, the team had tabbed Kelderman as its GC hope.

  37. @Rick

    Barguil refused to bring Kelderman back to the peloton after the latter suffered a puncture. Correct decision I think.

  38. @Rick

    @KogaLover

    @Rick

    Barguil refused to bring Kelderman back to the peloton after the latter suffered a puncture. Correct decision I think.

    0

    I concur.

    0

    Agreed. I read a quote from Barguil to the effect that he didn’t want to ride for GC and was prepared to lose time to put himself in that situation. Sounds like Sunweb have a talented prima donna on their hands (for a while longer, at any rate.) One things for sure, Hinault never intimated and such sentiments and except for races such as the Tour where he was undisputed leader, he was known to be a very loyal teammate.

    I doubt Tom Dumoulin will be sorry to see Barguil go if that’s his attitude and actions.

  39. @Cary

    @RobSandy

    @Cary

    a) i excluded Bardet from my list based on his final TdF TT, but included Cotador out of sentimentality and well wishes. one good decision cancels a bad one. story of my life.

    …and I took Bardet out based on your comments. Who’s the bigger fool? The fool, or the fool who follows the fool?

    0

    i’ve been trying to figure that out since i was in the Marine Corps. no answers yet.

    0

    Turns out we were right about Bardet after all.

    Typical that the year I might win the VSP the points aren’t being calculated and there doesn’t seem to be any prizes!

    Doesn’t matter, I didn’t enter for the prizes. Like I don’t race for points..

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