Velominati Super Prestige: 2011 Men’s Elite Worlds Road Race

Freddy Maertens-Former World Road Champion. Photo: Jesse Willems

A clatter of the metal grate rolling up signals another opening of the Velominati Bookmaker’s Office. The gaggle of skinny (and not so skinny, you know who you are) jabbering cycling addicts rush the door, each with their dream of a bumper sticker dancing in their heads. Before the office opened the bookies have consulted the oracle; a garbled audio of Sean Kelly’s predictions where he maybe tipped the little known Gullaume Van Keirsbulck, or did he say Phillip Gilbert. Bettini likes Cavendish’s chances while Cavendish likes Thor’s chances and Thor likes Keirsbulck’s chances or did he say Roelandts?

Since Geelong everyone has been saying this was a sprinters course, so a sprinter won’t win. It is only 266km with no serious grades and a total of 1785m of climbing. I could finish this course, if I could ride 266km and there was no time cut. For the professional road championship it does not sound long or grueling enough but the weather could be cold, windy and wet, if so the Spanish will suffer and the Italians will have to race with neck gaiters.

Looking back this year Cancellara should have won the 2010 world title so his less-than-spectacular season could be blamed on the curse of the rainbow jersey. Gilbert cannot have another season as good as this one so he better not win on Sunday or the jersey will be blamed in 2012. I started to feel bad for Thor when the yellow jersey came off his back and went to Voeckler during the Tour de France until I remembered he had the rainbow jersey underneath it! Who needs that trashy yellow one when you are already have the rainbow? I stopped feeling bad for Thor.

It’s late in the season, many have packed it in for the year, others have ridden the Vuelta to gain form. Are they good or cooked? Will the British team work together to bring Cav to the line or go down in flames like the Italians used to? The thought of Cavendish wearing the rainbow hoops for the next year has caused some anxiety in the office. His propensity for white tube socks with black shoes would diminish the aura the rainbow jersey brings to any worthy rider. The Aussi team looks unbeatable and yet…The bottom line on bookmaking is this will be another impossible race to pick the winner, unless you choose Gilbert.

Here is a link to the start list. As always, if you are inclined to enter, simply post your predictions for the top five placings in the form below. Make your picks by 5am Pacific Sunday morning, regular VSP Rules apply.

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274 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: 2011 Men’s Elite Worlds Road Race”

  1. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    @Ron
    @Oli I think those are the Rudy Project Sport model. A pair sold on ebay for $29.95 last month. To me, these look like a copy of the Oakley Factory Pilot.

    Yes, Rudy Projects. I still have a pair somewhere that I bought, and raced with, in 1989. I was SOOOO proud of those sunglasses!

  2. I’d like Fabooo to win but I think he is off his feed this year. I’ve bet against Gilbert all year, saying he couldn’t keep going this well and I want to say it now but no. I will nay say it. Sagan could well win this whole thing, or a lone Moroccan soloing to victory. Or not.

    Or it all comes down to a classic field sprint and Cav crushes all.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Boss Hog
    3. Sagan
    4. Cancellara
    5. Visconti, why not?

  3. Dutch boss isnt there so switched him for Blitzkrieg Jr aka marcel kittel.Blitzkrieg sr being Monkey Greipel. Le jeune étalon is Tony Gallopin, he always seems to hang out in the top 5-10 in bunch sprint even with the top of the cream. Slovakian karate kid is the damm annoying 21 year old Peter Sagan ( annoying cause i am 20 year old and had the dream of being a world champion at 12 but a little anemia made me steer from that dream and just started back being on a road bike this year).

    VSP PICKS:

    1. L’ours des ardennes
    2. Boss Hogg
    3. Slovakian karate kid
    4. Blitzkrieg jr
    5. Le jeune étalon

  4. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    Cancellara confirmed he’s with Radio Luxembourg for next year. Having Bruyneel around diminishes my man-crush on Faboo.

    Word. And the Schlecks. And my lingering hope that any of the three are clean. I’m suddenly finding myself hopeful that Voigt retires.

  5. @Ron
    Raddest Rudy Proj’s ever. Not Oakley, as has been stated before, and definitely an evolution of the Factory Pilot revolution. I don’t believe they were plays on the Blades, as they came out at the same time or even before the blades, but they were the shit either way. Chuck Flop made them his bisznitch.

    Here he’s rockin ’em along with Luis Herrera in ’87, I believe. I don’t *think* blades came out until ’88. I’m pretty sure Razor Blades were introduced in ’89, though, so they had to be released in ’87 or ’88.

  6. So, I have a few issues. I don’t want to see Cav in the bands. He’s taken a huge step this year in humility and becoming a dude I can like, but I think he needs another season to develop the right bouquet, you don’t want to bottle him in the rainbow jersey too early, it’ll spoil him for sure.

    I’m not a vinter, so I may have gotten that wrong, but you get my drift. Also, I can’t stand the idea of a guy like Freire Jaques riding another season in that fucking thing. The fact that he’s had as many rainbow bands as he has is a testament to why the race should be held in August and not during fucking Oktoberfest. If for no other reason than that all the Germans are hammered.

    I say it’s time to give the bands to an underdog, to a guy whose career it will transform for the better. A guy like Matty Goss, who’s knocked on the door with some killer wins but doesn’t have the confidence to swing it around the way he should, or a guy like Sagan who you know is going to beat it all down eventually. Or test positive. Or both.

    I don’t know if it’ll finish in a bunch sprint, but I’m guessing that the week of racing has shown the teams one thing: if you don’t make the race hard enough, it will end in a bunch gallop. And if it ends in one of those with Cav in the bunch, we all know who will win. I also don’t think Gilbert will want to chance a sprint, so he’s going early, and likely to take a group with ‘im. He’s also peaked for about 6 months which is aobut 22 months longer than is customary, so I’m figuring he’s going to have to miss one sooner or later.

    This week, especially the women’s race, has shown that every team but Great Britain should be trying to make this race as hard as they can, whether they’ve got sprinters or not, because almost every sprinter is a better climber than Cav and a worse sprinter than he is.

    I’m going with the following fucking hail Merckx. And I love it. Fuck the favorites. Vive le Surprises!!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Goss
    2. Haussler
    3. Sagan
    4. Faboo
    5. Gibert

  7. @frank
    I wasn’t saying they were Blade rip-offs, I was saying that perhaps Ron was getting them confused. No offence to Ron, but I doubt he’s as chronologically aware of sunglass models as you are, Frank.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavendish

  8. Made it this far betting heavily on Gilbert. Not stopping now.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Sagan
    3. The Incumbent
    4. Gossie
    5. Spartacus

  9. @Gianni

    @Steampunk

    No love for Danny Oss? I’m not fond of this Italian team at all, but I do like Oss. If Pozzatto was racing, I think we could all safely plug him in in 6th place

    No, I like Oss and this Italian team, if I wasn’t a moron I’d put Visconti in, AGAIN. I was referring to an Italian team of old where they had too many chiefs, they raced against each other, chased each other down and ended up with nothin’.
    You are right about Pozzatto, slot him right into 6th.

    Sure you aren’t talking about the German T-Mobile team?

  10. @frank

    I’m going with the following fucking hail Merckx. And I love it. Fuck the favorites. Vive le Surprises!!

    I’m inspired to move Robbie to the top.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. The Ewe Man
    2. Cavalry Dish
    3. Gilbert the Corsair
    4. Spartacus
    5. God of Thunder

  11. If cavs not looking good in the final K I can’t see him even trying so Gil will jump clear boss will chase and the rest will sprint out for the bronze

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Eddie Boss
    3. Kittle
    4. Matt Goss
    5. Cancellara

  12. BBC are covering the race on the red button it started at 9:00AM my bacon rolls are nearly ready :)

  13. for the Aussie’s out there, SBS are live streaming the race already ahead of the TV broadcast later

  14. Go Australia

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Goss
    2. Hushovd
    3. Cancellara
    4. Gilbert
    5. Cavendish

  15. Reckon the top 4 might be able to blast off the front leaving Cav to sprint it out for 5th

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Fast Phil
    2. Stuey O
    3. Thor
    4. Spartacus
    5. Cav

  16. VSP PICKS:

    1. Thor de Rainbow
    2. Is Goss is good
    3. Hass the hoff
    4. PhilGil
    5. Saggin”

  17. I suppose I knew it, but was just reminded that Van Summeren is Belgian. Wow, makes his Paris-Roubaix win that much better. Nice!

  18. Thor caught behind a crash and now 3+ min back with 5 laps to go…there goes one of my picks.

  19. Thanks to many of you for the history lesson in sunnies! You ask a question ’round here, you get numerous good answers.

    Oli – Yes, I’m positive Frank knows more than I do about cycling sunglass evolution. And c’mon now, I might be excitable over the VSP, but I’m not easily offended. None taken!

    To me this bike race exists inside a little plastic box with a screen on my table. It’s pure awesome that there are people standing on the side of the road watching it live.

  20. Ringin’ that bell…

    What colour socks should Cavendish be sporting? Black on black is trendy, it seems, but isn’t white socks, black shoes a classic look?

  21. I like what he does, but he’s always grimacing and looking like he’s going to pop… can’t take a turn… then he can juuuuuust cover that attack… then can’t take a turn… then juuuuust cover that attack again.

  22. I love seeing guys think, “Well boys, 5k to go…time to chuck my bottle, throw my gels, and dive into this…” Awesome to see them a bunch of riders aggressively jettisoning everything but the bike.

  23. Aussie tactical genius. Take over, wear out your guys while giving the Brits a rest. Well done, bunglers.

  24. I didn’t see that coming.

    I’m happy for the guy & I look forward to seeing how he races (and carries himself) in the next year.

  25. That finish was madness… great job by the Brits and an amazing sprint by Cavendish. Thought he was done for a minute there.

  26. And is Faboo still considered to be out of form like at the start of the season? Two thirds a failure? If he gets third. That’s close, looking at the photo :-)

  27. @snoov

    Best performance by any British team in any sport EVER!

    Yeh. Funny thing is that this is so different to other team sports. One race a year, two in Olympic years, and they gelled so well for the common cause. Easy to do so with one so very clear option like Cavendouche, though.

  28. @Blah

    And is Faboo still considered to be out of form like at the start of the season? Two thirds a failure? If he gets third. That’s close, looking at the photo :-)

    Fourth. Retire, Fabien, you old nag.

  29. What a great finish. I gained a lot of respect for Cav after watching the finish today. I’ve been known to give him disrespect for winning so many races by perfect lead out. But today he really put himself into the perfect position to win the race.

    Doesn’t mean I still wasn’t rooting for Voekler when he made that attack. I’m really surprised there wasn’t much in terms of attacks in the last 4k. If I were in the race and the pace shut down like that I would have tested the waters. Especially people like Hagen and Gilbert.

  30. Cavendish in the bands: Can his head get any bigger? Can he back it all up? Unfortunately yes.

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