The 2013 V-Moment of the Year

Fabs over-drafts the V-Bank account.
Fabs over-drafts his V-Bank account. Photo: @The Engine

2013 was The Year of the Anti-V. In every other year, the Velominati Cogclave to decide the V and The Anit-V awards is full of curses and thrown pint glasses, usually in defense of each of our chosen V-Moments. 2013 saw the same scene, except this time it was for us having too many competing Anti-V Moments and when it came time to discuss the V-Moment, we sat around, staring at our cogs like we were first learning to shift gear.

Was there actually a V-Moment of the Year this time around?

It was a year that started strongly with The V. It flowed through the early season races, and as we made our way to the first Monument of Milan Sanremo, it unleashed its fury upon all those who dared start the race. The V can be an intangible thing, manifesting itself in other Rules as it did that day in the form of Rule #9.

As The V is wont to do on some occasions, however, its ferociousness drove back the intensity of the racing and the finale was almost anti-climactic to the scenes witnessed during the race. Then we were into the cobbled classics and again we were witness to the iron fist of The Nine, though this time in the form of cold but dry weather. Brett and Frank were there along with Pavé Cycling Classics and the Keeper’s Tour 2013 attendees to feel its awesome might first-hand. Cold cobblestones are less forgiving than warm ones, in the sense that the Emperor is less forgiving than Darth Vader.

The classics closed with excellent but forgettable racing in the Ardennes Classics, even if Dan Martin won a magnificent Liege. But then the season faltered; first with the Giro which was a complete snooze-fest, starting with Brad Wiggins guzzling a bottle of expired Anti-V before riding a slip-n-slide down a mountainside, then with Nibali riding so well we had not choice but to resent his dominance.

Then the Tour warm-up races passed under the radar as they normally do before Froome put us all to sleep at the Tour in the same manner Nibali did at the Giro. Both Nibali and Froome’s wins came at no fault of their own, but let me momentarily show some dirty Schlecky Love and state that both those brother better meditate extensively on the V and Nibali better show up fit at the Tour because the lap around France really needs some competition for the top step – I’m tired of resorting to watching the fight for second and third to try to find anything interesting.

A few mid-season races followed before what would have been an absolutely gripping Vuelta were it not for the fact that it was the Vuelta and only a handful of us even noticed that a 41-year-old American wound up winning. A Pacific-Northwestener, no less. That gives the good ol’ You Ess of Aye a win in every Grand Tour. But because of its unfortunate nature, no one gives two shits about the Vuelta – not even enough enough shits to garner the victor a contract for 2014.

Then the Worlds rolled around and the Anti-V was once again in full bloom. The Brits, whom you would think could ride in the rain, all fell off and called their mothers to bid them a good day before retiring to the team car. Then the Spanish had things dialed in before they all dropped the soap and let a Portuguese rider become the least-deserving World Champion since Ale Ballan.

I don’t want to sound too negative, but that’s a lot of Anti-V, right there. Loads of it.

In the final analysis, it comes down as usual to the Cobbled Classics. I was buying frites in the field by the Oude Kwaremont when I looked up and saw Boonen riding a wheelchair out of a hospital. Bugger that, I thought. Probably some sappy retrospective. Nope, Tom boned a fucking signpost and ruined his season. But then Fabs and Sags went shoulder to shoulder on the Paterberg, which was a pure, unadulterated showing of the V. Two men well versed in suffering and pain, drag-racing up a near-vertical cobbled lane. After the race, Fabian stated that he didn’t really attack Sagan; they had both gone full gas up the hill – he had just gone full gas for longer. That’s an “Instant Classic Hardman Quote” if I’ve ever heard one.

Then it was on to Roubaix the next week. Fabian crashed a few times in training, which is really embarrassing, especially if you’re Swiss and you know chicks are looking at you. The race itself saw an awesome fight, with Faboo off his best and the field knowing it. They took the fight to him, and he was outnumbered all the way. Omega-Pharma Quickstep entered the critical Carrefour de l’Arbre with two riders – Vandenbergh and Stybar – in the four-man group with Fabs and Sep Vanmarcke each to fend for themselves. Sadly, the drunken crowd accidentally intervened and knocked both OPQS riders out of contention.

From the Carrefour emerged two riders, and they fought it out in the famous Roubaix velodrome.

We are often witness to Cancellara laying down the V, but we are rarely witness to him laying on the ground after an effort. He was Off Form but On V that day; he raced with his mind and used it to get what he needed from his body. Into the Velodrome, he didn’t lead as is customary for him. He played cat-and-mouse like every other intelligent rider might. He waited. He even used the banking of the velodrome to his advantage.

He had an imperfect body that day, but he was more determined than any other rider to win. And, through a near-crippling application of the V, he prevailed against stronger riders who had the courage to take the fight directly to him. That, my fellow Velominati, was the V-Moment of the Year.

And, Coppi New Year to everyone.

The Tour of Flanders 2013

The Runner-Up Moment: Fabs drops Sagan in a drag race up the Paterberg.

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92 Replies to “The 2013 V-Moment of the Year”

  1. Such a monster ride, glad I got to witness it live and hope to someday join the keepers tour to witness something like it in person!

  2. Why Fab? He wears Black and Pain in the same Pedal stroke? Not a good look I’m afraid. When there’s more white in that kit and and he smiles up the cauberg i’ll giveth the velominati a little more credibility.

  3. Fantastic!   Excellent choice.  

     Btw I think the ‘on the bike’ anti v moment may well have been Twigglet at the Giro.  Poor, very poor.

  4. @Jon B

    Why Fab? He wears Black and Pain in the same Pedal stroke? Not a good look I’m afraid. When there’s more white in that kit and and he smiles up the cauberg i’ll giveth the velominati a little more credibility.

    Such a shame Jon B…we are all in desperate need of your validation.

  5. Agree totally with this one. That was a fantastic race to watch (even if it was online). Spartacus was expected to deliver that day, and given his crashes no one would have blamed him for hopping in the broom wagon. But he didn’t. Even if he wasn’t totally “on”, he got the job done. As they say “luck favors the prepared”.

  6. Great post (per usual). Gotta love Spartacus – the guy is a machine. Let’s hope next year’s V-Moment is a Faboo (trying to join Tommeke with 4…Tom going for 5)/Boonen duel at Roubaix.

  7. @Damn

    Surely Marianne Voss at the worlds was one of the years V moments ?

    She certainly would be the standout rider of the year, but she’s so fucking dominant its hard to pin a single V Moment on her. One of the side effects of kicking everyone’s ass is you make it look easy.

    Without question the best rider on the year, possibly of all time (including Merckx).

  8. @frank

    She certainly would be the standout rider of the year, but she’s so fucking dominant its hard to pin a single V Moment on her. One of the side effects of kicking everyone’s ass is you make it look easy.

    Without question the best rider on the year, possibly of all time (including Merckx).

    +1!

  9. @frank

    @Damn

    Surely Marianne Voss at the worlds was one of the years V moments ?

    She certainly would be the standout rider of the year, but she’s so fucking dominant its hard to pin a single V Moment on her. One of the side effects of kicking everyone’s ass is you make it look easy.

    Without question the best rider on the year, possibly of all time (including Merckx).

    Then please explain why every race I picked her for she did not win…and when I finally thought “fuck it, i’ll go for one of the bridesmaids” the Vos Boss strolls down the aisle to take another dominant win…

  10. I can understand why Faboo is right up there at the top and I guess it is human nature to select a worthy winner where success is the reward for the vast quantities of V laid down in an awesome ride.

    However.

    I would have to say that my V moment of the year is one where failure was the ultimate result.  I know @Frank has an almost phobic disdain for La Vuelta but for the 2nd year it has been by far the most engaging Grand Tour and Tony Martins solo break/time trial practice on stage 6 was something else to behold.  In contrast to the cat and mouse velodrome finish of Faboo, Tony laid down all the V he could, he then borrowed some V from the spirit of Merckx and laid down some more.  In end, it was all in vain, caught on the line with an expression of agony, exhaustion, a win stolen at the last possible second and like Spartacus, complete exhaustion afterwards.

    Why does he beat Faboo IMHO.  Because he did it alone, no-one to compete with, no-one to sit in the wind for him….just eyeballs out hardness.  The fact that he came second – Immaterial – The V was present in his eyes when you saw the depths to which he had plundered the V bank.  The man will be paying off that debt for some time to come.

  11. Agree with all of the above, but do think Froome, winning solo atop the Ventoux, in the yellow jersey and the number 1, and then needing oxygen at the top, deserves at least a mention.  Last, and only time that has happened:  1970, a certain E Merckx.  Just sayin’. Merry New Year to all

  12. I agree that Spartacus was incredible at both the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix. But I would switch the order. For me, the latter will always carry the question mark of what might have happened had Stybar not run into that spectator. I’m not saying that this in any way diminishes Cancellara’s win – all part and parcel of the race – but at the Ronde, it was man against man up the Paterburg, and Fabian simply crushed Sagan like he was a used beer can. The fact that he dished out the punishment on such a berk made it all the sweeter.

  13. @Roadslave525

    Agree with all of the above, but do think Froome, winning solo atop the Ventoux, in the yellow jersey and the number 1, and then needing oxygen at the top, deserves at least a mention. Last, and only time that has happened: 1970, a certain E Merckx. Just sayin’. Merry New Year to all

    That is what I love about these discussions.  So much gets forgotten throughout the season. the shame was I missed this stage of the Tour, something about a family holiday got in the way (note to self to organise family better this year!).  I was using this example in a hop related post ride recovery discussion with one of those people who seem to want to use their feet to propel them from A to B, rather than the naturally occurring velos that we find scattered about the place.

    Unfortunately the story of Froomedogs effort was lost in the mist of hop froth and bollocks that we were talking.  My only real response came next morning when I emailed this across to the misguided individual….if only Huskys could cycle!

  14. Shouldn’t Geriant Thomas at least get a token nod or fist bump for doing virtually all of the tour with a fractured pelvis? I can’t even imagine how much that would have hurt.

  15. @deakus I hear ya.  It’s like the stage to Saint Amand Montrond.  as David Walsh tweeted… “173km flat stage.  Cav wins in a sprint.”  If I’d taken that at face value (I.e. Been unable to read irony), would’ve missed one of the most exciting, strategic stages ever… Come to think of it, I don’t think this year’s TdF was  a) that dull, and b) a foregone conclusion… And there were certainly many (at least V) moments of greatness and panache.  I actually think 2013 was a hell of a season… Stannard on the Poggio honouring the National Jersey, burying himself… Sagan vs Cancellara on the pavé… Doper Hesjedal’s incredible bike handling and selflessness to tee up DM in LBL… Nibali attacking, whilst in malgia rosa and the snow atop the Tre Cima Di Lavaredo; Cav losing out to Kittel and much else in a great TdF; Costa in both TdF and World Champs (that last lap!)… Etc.  still happy Spartacus gets the award though… He rode both magnificently and smartly in the RvV and PR… Let’s see him resurrect The Hour in 2014, as long as the UCI aren’t dicks about the equipment.  Bring.  It.  On.

  16. @Adie

    Shouldn’t Geriant Thomas at least get a token nod or fist bump for doing virtually all of the tour with a fractured pelvis? I can’t even imagine how much that would have hurt.

    Last one to get off his bike when the rest of the sky team bailed in the rain!  Chapeau to G!

  17. @Deakus

    I can understand why Faboo is right up there at the top and I guess it is human nature to select a worthy winner where success is the reward for the vast quantities of V laid down in an awesome ride.

    However.

    I would have to say that my V moment of the year is one where failure was the ultimate result. I know @Frank has an almost phobic disdain for La Vuelta but for the 2nd year it has been by far the most engaging Grand Tour and Tony Martins solo break/time trial practice on stage 6 was something else to behold. In contrast to the cat and mouse velodrome finish of Faboo, Tony laid down all the V he could, he then borrowed some V from the spirit of Merckx and laid down some more. In end, it was all in vain, caught on the line with an expression of agony, exhaustion, a win stolen at the last possible second and like Spartacus, complete exhaustion afterwards.

    Why does he beat Faboo IMHO. Because he did it alone, no-one to compete with, no-one to sit in the wind for him….just eyeballs out hardness. The fact that he came second – Immaterial – The V was present in his eyes when you saw the depths to which he had plundered the V bank. The man will be paying off that debt for some time to come.

    THIS!  Martin’s solo in La Vuelta was the one time during the season that both me and my VMW were screaming at the TV when he reached 500m to go.  I certainly won’t take disagree with Faboo’s ride(s) getting kudos but I’m with Deakus on this one.

  18. @Deakus

    @frank

    @Damn

    Surely Marianne Voss at the worlds was one of the years V moments ?

    She certainly would be the standout rider of the year, but she’s so fucking dominant its hard to pin a single V Moment on her. One of the side effects of kicking everyone’s ass is you make it look easy.

    Without question the best rider on the year, possibly of all time (including Merckx).

    Then please explain why every race I picked her for she did not win…and when I finally thought “fuck it, i’ll go for one of the bridesmaids” the Vos Boss strolls down the aisle to take another dominant win…

    Karma…

  19. Maybe next year Velominati should contribute suggestions for V-Moment in December and then the Keepers select a final group and select a winner or if @Frank is up for a load of challenge set up a voting button system for selecting a winner from a shortlist?

  20. @paolo

    @Jon B

    Why Fab? He wears Black and Pain in the same Pedal stroke? Not a good look I’m afraid. When there’s more white in that kit and and he smiles up the cauberg i’ll giveth the velominati a little more credibility.

    Such a shame Jon B…we are all in desperate need of your validation.

    Please note this is not me. The similar handle may cause confusion, one word with an h.
    There were many moments of the year for me, most mentioned here, many can be considered as demonstrations of dominance but that to me is not what the V is about. I have to go with Frank on Cancellara. Not 100% and slipping and falling like a newbie on Strictly Ice Dancing but having that little bit extra to go on to triumph not how we have got used to seeing him do so. V.

  21. @JohnB   Apparently people have been known to threaten legal action over less confusing similarities than that……

  22. @Teocalli

    Maybe next year Velominati should contribute suggestions for V-Moment in December and then the Keepers select a final group and select a winner or if @Frank is up for a load of challenge set up a voting button system for selecting a winner from a shortlist?

    But we like a good argument, erm debate.

  23. @Teocalli Re-reading your suggestion, it’s becoming quite appealing…move the debate ahead of Christmas and have a proper ding-dong (technical term!).  Good thinking. +1

  24. @Mike_P

    @Deakus

    I can understand why Faboo is right up there at the top and I guess it is human nature to select a worthy winner where success is the reward for the vast quantities of V laid down in an awesome ride.

    However.

    I would have to say that my V moment of the year is one where failure was the ultimate result. I know @Frank has an almost phobic disdain for La Vuelta but for the 2nd year it has been by far the most engaging Grand Tour and Tony Martins solo break/time trial practice on stage 6 was something else to behold. In contrast to the cat and mouse velodrome finish of Faboo, Tony laid down all The V he could, he then borrowed some V from the spirit of Merckx and laid down some more. In end, it was all in vain, caught on the line with an expression of agony, exhaustion, a win stolen at the last possible second and like Spartacus, complete exhaustion afterwards.

    Why does he beat Faboo IMHO. Because he did it alone, no-one to compete with, no-one to sit in the wind for him….just eyeballs out hardness. The fact that he came second – Immaterial – The V was present in his eyes when you saw the depths to which he had plundered The V bank. The man will be paying off that debt for some time to come.

    THIS! Martin’s solo in La Vuelta was the one time during the season that both me and my VMW were screaming at the TV when he reached 500m to go. I certainly won’t take disagree with Faboo‘s ride(s) getting kudos but I’m with Deakus on this one.

    Another vote for Tony Martin’s breakaway here.  174km with your nose in the wind and not slow either – 44.8kmh average.  And when he knew the peloton were trying to close him down he went deeper and deeper into the cave trying to make it happen.   The man is a quadruple-hard bastard and deserves more love IMO.

  25. @Mike_P

    @Teocalli Re-reading your suggestion, it’s becoming quite appealing…move the debate ahead of Christmas and have a proper ding-dong (technical term!). Good thinking. +1

    Yup – it would allow plenty of banter to V-Trade (or should that be V-Banter) to try to influence the final decision.

  26. I’m a big fan of Fabs and I can’t disagree that his crushing of Sagan in Flanders was a great moment, particularly as it had that “teach you a lesson” vibe about it. (Don’t forget Sagan practically nominated himself for the Anti-V on the podium). Nevertheless Flanders was a bore-fest until that moment. Was there a breakaway of any note?

    For mine,  until both Cancellara and Boonen are in the mix for Flanders and Roubaix there will be something of a hollow victory about those races. Please boys, keep it rubber side down for 2014!

    @Frank – I don’t know what to suggest for you if the you watched the world champs RR and found Anti V. Maybe for the 140 abAndies but the rain was completely diabolical early on. For the 61 who finished (yeah, I looked it up – T. Voeckler finished 61st, 15:11 back) it was a quintessential Hardman’s day. The field was thinned but still full of big names: Nibbles, Purito, Uran, Sagan, Fabs, Giblets, Henao. It was a proper display of Rule #70. Purito could win the V award for any number of rides in 2013 in my book, the worlds included. But the Costa win was as worthy as any other in my book. (Cav lined up behind a glut of medal winning pursuiters for his bands). If it was so easy for him to suck wheels to the red kite why didn’t the rest of the selection tag on? Costa will honor the bands, I’m sure of it.

    P.S. Thanks for another great year flying the V. I love this place.

  27. @Frank

    …before they all dropped the soap and let a Portuguese rider become the least-deserving World Champion since Ale Ballan.

    That hits really close to home in the microcosm of cycling known as Eye-Duh-Ho.  I ride with myriads of riders that are far stronger than I.  Yet through an application of The V and Rule #5 when the elastic was a millisecond away from snapping I was able to get over the last hill that was about 10k from the finish line of the 2011 Idaho State Championship road race in the lead group.  The rest, as they say, is history and I have a nice SC jersey hanging on my wall.  A classic example of a dog having his day.  Deep down I’ve always know that if even one of the guys that I ride with on a regular basis had made the trip to the other side of the state that day the results would have been markedly different.

    It remains to be seen if Rui will have a Gilbert/Cyclops* year in the rainbow bands but I hope better for him even though he has already shown his “colors”……with regards to Obeying the Rules.

    *Following Cyclops’ crafty victory he upgraded and proceeded to a string of DNFs and DFLs in a season of drowning his sorrows in bacon cheeseburgers from The Blue Wave.

  28. @afroturk

    I agree that Spartacus was incredible at both the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix. But I would switch the order. For me, the latter will always carry the question mark of what might have happened had Stybar not run into that spectator. I’m not saying that this in any way diminishes Cancellara’s win – all part and parcel of the race – but at the Ronde, it was man against man up the Paterburg, and Fabian simply crushed Sagan like he was a used beer can. The fact that he dished out the punishment on such a berk made it all the sweeter.

    I agree with you to a point; I think the only reason Roubaix won out was the fact that the battle happened at the finish line, making for some extra excitement. With the Paterberg is patered out to him riding into the finish in an armchair. Also the fact that he was obviously off his best made it worthy.

    But that moment on the Paterberg, drag racing like that – it was a fantastic moment. Also, it is not an easy climb!

    @Roadslave525

    Agree with all of the above, but do think Froome, winning solo atop the Ventoux, in the yellow jersey and the number 1, and then needing oxygen at the top, deserves at least a mention. Last, and only time that has happened: 1970, a certain E Merckx. Just sayin’. Merry New Year to all

    That at least deserved a mention!

    @Deakus

    Yours too, another great ride. So to the fight Nibbles gave Horner on the Angrilu.

  29. @Roadslave525

    Come to think of it, I don’t think this year’s TdF was a) that dull, and b) a foregone conclusion…

    That’s because you’re English and if my memory serves, you were raised in Kenya? I can totally understand if you’re sitting on the other side, hoping he pulls off the win, the race would seem more exciting and less a foregone conclusion.

    Nibali attacking, whilst in malgia rosa and the snow atop the Tre Cima Di Lavaredo

    Its very interesting to me always the people who love the dominance and those who don’t. I think it ultimately comes down to how much affinity you feel for the rider more so than the objective nature of their riding or win.

    For me, as is plainly known around here, I generally start to dislike a rider the moment they take on what looks like a dominant lead in a race. I’m alway rooting for an underdog – the guy who everyone has written of and has no chance of making it. The guy who hasn’t even got a name tag!

    Let’s see him resurrect The Hour in 2014, as long as the UCI aren’t dicks about the equipment. Bring. It. On.

    No kidding mate. That will undoubtedly be my most anticipated event of the year.

  30. @Deakus

    @Adie

    Shouldn’t Geriant Thomas at least get a token nod or fist bump for doing virtually all of the tour with a fractured pelvis? I can’t even imagine how much that would have hurt.

    Last one to get off his bike when the rest of the sky team bailed in the rain! Chapeau to G!

    GOLD!

  31. @Teocalli

    Maybe next year Velominati should contribute suggestions for V-Moment in December and then the Keepers select a final group and select a winner or if @Frank is up for a load of challenge set up a voting button system for selecting a winner from a shortlist?

    You must be confused. Do you have any idea how much work a democracy is? Fuck, we can hardly get consensus amongst the Keepers.

    And plus, if we did that and everyone agreed, what would we argue about for the next two days?

  32. @jollygoodvelo

    Another vote for Tony Martin’s breakaway here. 174km with your nose in the wind and not slow either – 44.8kmh average. And when he knew the peloton were trying to close him down he went deeper and deeper into the cave trying to make it happen. The man is a quadruple-hard bastard and deserves more love IMO.

    He is a hard bastard. I remember him riding Ventoux in the lead several years back, and just looked like grim fucking death with a heartbeat.

  33. @frank

    @Teocalli

    Maybe next year Velominati should contribute suggestions for V-Moment in December and then the Keepers select a final group and select a winner or if @Frank is up for a load of challenge set up a voting button system for selecting a winner from a shortlist?

    You must be confused. Do you have any idea how much work a democracy is? Fuck, we can hardly get consensus amongst the Keepers.

    And plus, if we did that and everyone agreed, what would we argue about for the next two days?

    @Frank 1) yup I do realise how much work is involved in a democracy but as it wouldn’t be me doing the work I think it’s still a great suggestion.

    2) you really think it is likely everyone would agree around here?  What I am suggesting is more likely to extend the argu…discussion into a hors d’oeuvre (otherwise known as a bun fight) to elect the shortlist followed by the usual haran….reflection on the Keeper’s wisdom of the final selection.  So everyone would get two bites of the cherry?

  34. @frank

    @jollygoodvelo

    Another vote for Tony Martin’s breakaway here. 174km with your nose in the wind and not slow either – 44.8kmh average. And when he knew the peloton were trying to close him down he went deeper and deeper into the cave trying to make it happen. The man is a quadruple-hard bastard and deserves more love IMO.

    He is a hard bastard. I remember him riding Ventoux in the lead several years back, and just looked like grim fucking death with a heartbeat.

  35. Another one for Tony Martin here – I don’t particularly like T Martin, but I was won over by that ride and the immense level of V involved. I think I actually welled up when he was finally caught on the line (not ashamed to admit it!).

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