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. Anyone notice no radios? Millar acted like a true Captain of the Route all day. Just like the good old days, a tactical masterclass from the riders and their Captain.

    Legend

  2. Chaps from the Land of Oz – you take sour grapes to a whole new level…..

    I’ll happily admit to being more British than Irish (born in Kent and British Passport), but not English – I was jumping off my seat watching some guys who live near my house, wearing green shirts, steamrolling the Aussies of the pitch last weekend – I felt so proud of them

    Millar never rode for Hong Kong, Wiggo never rode for Belgium – you are a National of wherever you declare your allegiance (unlike so many footballers) – GBR is England, Wales, Scotland, Northen Ireland and the Isles of Man and Wight

    That said, the joy of sport is watching people perform out of their skin, making us tingle with appreciation of something we can barely believe is possible – the gymnasts, the pole vaulters, the downhill skiers, the swimmers, Dan Carter’s flip pass, whoever – surely as cyclists you will have felt something special happened in Denmark yesterday, and yes, your guys didn’t win, but is it not best to keep those thoughts under wraps, and be gracious in defeat

    I think we all very a rush of excitement as Gossy won the MSR – no GBR folk dissing that one

    But why was Renshaw not there? – best leadout man in the World (Rabobank vs Green Edge hissy fit?) – then we might have had Gossy in the bands next year…..

    I sailed with Nathan Outteridge in Melbourne and Torbay this year – there is a guy you Aussies should be proud of – humble, polite, pragmatic and loves anyone doing well at any sport – and a lethal finisher – but we all rave about him over here too, even though he beats the British teams at every event – that said, most of the other Aussies I met were pretty full of disdain for other non-Aussie sportsman

    Anyway, yesterday was a masterpiece of team planning, and Cav paid credit to them all – this was 4 years in planning, ever since the parcours was announced and GB thought they had a chance (think of the pressure on Cavendish to nail that one!) – afterwards he talked little about himself, but mostly of the rest of the team (as few others do) – of the GB guys winning as many points as possible to maximise team strength, to Stannard and G for helping create a space for him – but Wiggins performance aside, this was a masterful piece of individual brilliance – he was rarely out of the front 20 for 266km, and was badly boxed in with 100m to go, yet still pounced – I really thought he had blown it – again, I was jumping up and down like an idiot on my sofa – anyone who does that to me gets my support!

  3. Hear hear Oli… I’ve never understood the disrespect that people have for Cavendish.

    The guy is already an all-time great – he’s got more Tour stages than any sprinter in the last 50 years. Maertens, Zabel, Cipo, McEwen, Petacchi, Freire, Boonen, Hushovd are not even close.

    He shoots his mouth off – hardly an abnormality for sprinters and not something that seems to be held against others. At least Cavendish backs it up, unlike Greipel, Feilleu and other moaning also-rans.

    And yesterday the team rode a brilliant race to keep him in it, something Cavendish never fails to acknowledge whether it’s with HTC or GB.

    I was out riding on Friday and somebody asked who I would be supporting – GB or Australia. I always support the Aussies when they are head-to-head but I said I wouldn’t be unhappy if Cavendish won because he’s a great rider, same if Gilbert or Hushovd won. (And maybe Goss would have won if they’d bloody well picked Renshaw).

    None of that may convince people to like him but the implication that he’s not a worthy or suitable world champion is just, well, a bit mean.

  4. @Dr C

    @ChrisO
    Well said both of you. Whoever won, I’d have been happy as it was a great race, plenty of V being laid down. When Tommy V went for it I texted my riding partner that’d I’d settle for him winning. When Hoogerland went for it, I thought it couldn’t get any better. When Cav looked like he was boxed in and Geraint was looking round for him I thought it was all over, but Cav doesn’t just have the power, he knew where to get himself, he knew when to take his chance and he made it by less than a wheel.

    It may be true that the course suited him better than previous years and possible he’ll never have the chance to win the rainbow jersey again, so I say well done to him for taking his chance.

    Also, I do agree that sometimes he seems like a douchenozle, but sometimes he seems like a thoroughly nice chap.

  5. Who cares if he sometimes comes off like a douchenozzle? What has that got to do with how he races a bike?

    All we know of the riders is what we’re fed, it’s not like we actually know any of them. I’ve read many equally bad comments attributed to different riders at all levels of the sport at various times, but I respect speaking honestly even if sometimes it is poorly judged. Better that than the sort of sanitised cliché that would be the alternative.

    If you like bike racing, then it’s the racing that riders should be judged by, not the claptrap soap opera cult of personality bullshit that surrounds it.

    Sorry for ranting, but this is a build up of frustration at reading way too much ignorant bias masquerading as insightful analysis…

  6. @Oli
    Yep it’s the bike riding that counts.

    I did say “seems” and on the BBC website David Millar said he’s a great guy, not only that, many riders as they passed him at the end looked genuinely happy for his victory. Mostly when he has seemed a bit off, he’s just finished a long day with maximum effort at the end – in that situation – most people don’t have full control of their tongue!

    Gah, better go and get some work done.

  7. @Oli
    @Zoncolan
    @Dr C
    @ChrisO
    @snoov

    @Gentlemen all

    I seem to have stepped in something here…
    Permit me to explain. I admit that I felt a bit disappointed that Cav won last night, and also admit that it’s not fair and reasonable.
    Great Britain rode an exemplary race. To put that sort of effort in over that distance to keep the speed up so high that NO ONE was able to make anything stick was nothing short of extraordinary.
    The fact that Cav was able to hang in that long and finish it off in the way that he did, in spite of being boxed in was also extraordinary. There is no doubt that he is the fastest man, and a desrving champion on that parcours.
    And that, for me, is the rub.
    I understand that road cycling requires an extremely varied skill set. DIt also requires tactical nous.

  8. @Marcus

    @Godsight
    In terms of age, I think you may have left out the bloke who came second and who won MSR.
    As for you imperialist pommy bastards, I think you should take a good hard look at yourselves and your “team”:
    – Cavendish – a fucking Manxman.
    To quote the infallible Wikipedia (bolding mine) Great Britain is the largest island of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland…It does not include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands which are not part of the United Kingdom, instead being self-governing dependent territories of that state with their own legislative and taxation systems.
    So he shouldn’t have been riding for you.
    – Wiggins – born in fucking Belgium.
    – Millar – born in fucking Malta and considers Hong Kong his home.
    A great win for the homeland indeed! And as for Irishmen like Dr C getting on the British bandwagon, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
    And yes, this is sour grapes.

    Being a Manxman I have some insight here. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom as you rightly say. However, it is part of Great Britain and it was the Great Britain cycling team. If Wonkipedia says otherwise, it’s wrong, like it is with so many other things.

    … and how do you produce bold lettering in a post? I feel like shouting too sometimes.

  9. Can I just add one more thing here – if somehow Goss had won, would he have been a worthy world champion. Or anyone in that Aussie team (apart from O’Grady, and that wasn’t going to happen was it).

    Nice guy and not a bad rider, but world champion… come on. Another Alessandro Ballan. Heinrich Haussler, Simon Gerrans, Baden Cooke – uh, no.

    There was a handful of people who deserved to win that race this year (taking into account the course, which means excluding Evans, Schlecks, Contador, Nibali etc).

    Cavendish, Hushovd, Gilbert and Voeckler and maybe you wouldn’t begrudge it to Sagan or Cancellara. Pretty sure that’s it.

    Yes, Goss, van Summeren, EBH, Froome and a few others have had some good moments and lit up some races. I take nothing away from them as bike riders. But if they or Greipel or Farrar or Rojas had managed to snatch a fluky sprint or breakaway, would that have been an adornment or a travesty ?

    I’m just pleased one of the right people won.

  10. @snoov

    @Oli
    Yep it’s the bike riding that counts.
    I did say “seems” and on the BBC website David Millar said he’s a great guy, not only that, many riders as they passed him at the end looked genuinely happy for his victory.

    You can tell by Millar’s tweets that he thinks the world of Cav, possibly in a somewhat fatherly/senior pro way as the result of having signed his autograph for Cav when he was a boy. It also looks like Millar and Wiggins have put events at Slipstream to bed.

    Tweets from both of them this morning:

    “Oh. My. God. I think a pig has shit in my head.” – Millar

    “Balls! Sore head missed my flight” – Wiggins

    Haven’t watched the race yet, was out riding yesterday morning and s a result of that and Mrs Chris taking the boys to rugby, I had a list of jobs waiting when I got home. Highlights being recorded tonight though. That said I’m delighted Cav and GB won.

  11. Bugger…

    As I was saying, there are many and various types of cyclist, be they Rouleurs, Puncheurs or Grimpeurs or any other fancy sounding french subcategories that I can’t be fucked thinking of just now.
    I admire cyclists that are versatile, who can win races that you might not normally expect them to. I’m thinking Thor in the TdF this year and Giblets in anything else.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t admire Cav. He has amazing speed and skill. He is certainly the fastest sprinter of his generation. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve become jaded by the mechanical efficiency of the flat races. I have read either here or elsewhere of Cav’s erstwhile team HTC as ‘The Borg’. An entity that eats everything up and makes everything the same. That kind of racing just feels negative to me.
    I love the guys like Jeremy Roy in the tour or last night Jonny Hoo and Tommy V (notwithstanding all of his antics and pantomime) putting their balls on the line for the win.
    I also understand that there is an incredible amount of tactical skill involved in working out how long they should leave the poor fuckers out there to fry themselves to maximise the protected man’s chances.
    I suspect that the UCI is quite tactical in how they choose parcours for the World Championships perhaps to ensure that a broad range of rider types have the opportunity to wear the bands. It’s obvious that this year was for the sprinters.

    So, no sour grapes from me in spite of the cockishness of my previous post.
    I’m not upset that the Aussies lost.
    I guess I just wish that the parcours was more selective. I think that World Championship courses should be like Monuments, only harder. I think that the riders should have to donate their right kidney just to finish. But maybe I’m just an idiot that likes to see other people suffer.

    So, chapeau to Cav. And well done team UK. You have done your countrymen proud.

    And, Oli you are right. Cav has won a monument, and a good one at that. I would love to see him break out of the mold that he’s currently set in to see if he can become something other than the fastest fucking caboose of all time.

    Now, onto more important things…
    Did you read in Women’s Weekly about Kelly Preston’s miracle baby?

  12. Sorry Mouse, but I’ve started now…would you expect Contador to win bunch sprints? Thor to win HC mountain finishes? Greipel to win from a long solo break? Voeckler to win big time trials? Why should Cavendish be something other than what he is, especially when what he is is freakishly talented within his sphere?

    Pro road cycling encompasses all facets of the road, and that’s how it should be. One of the beautiful things about the Grand Tours is that they, at various points, showcase the different styles of rider, and it would be pretty boring if every stage was the same. The season is the same, with various races tailored to different strengths and abilities. Surely it’s only fair that some Worlds suit climbers, some breakaways and some suit sprinters?

    To view a race by wishing it was something else entirely misses the point – enjoy each race for what it is within its context and I believe you’ll end up with a much deeper enjoyment of the sport.

  13. @Oli
    Oli, of course you are right.
    It is a broad church. I suppose I was wishing this race was something it wasn’t as you have quire rightly pointed out.
    This really is the first season that I have followed all the way through (thanks be to SBS) and am coming to see how the races vary to suit all types.
    I reslove to be much more zen about it from now on.

  14. @ChrisO

    Can I just add one more thing here – if somehow Goss had won, would he have been a worthy world champion. I’m just pleased one of the right people won.

    This is a bollocks argument. The person who deserves to win is the person who wins. I am not especially fond of Cavendish (I’m grown up enough to admit that part of the reason for this is because he beats lots of Aussies), but he is unquestionably the fastest man in a bunch sprint going around at present (and has been for a number of years). He deserved to win yesterday. I know that because he crossed the line first. If someone else (Goss, Hausler, Griepel, even a lesser known like Tjallingi) had crossed the line first, that rider would have deserved to win.

    Full credit to Cav and to team GB for yesterday’s win.

    Watching the overhead shot yesterday, I think the key difference between Cav and Goss yesterday was psychological. In the last 50m Cav knew he was the fastest man on the planet (and went for the line an the assumption he would get there first). Goss, on the other hand, was concerned he might not be and so hesitated.

    I didn’t like the parcours though. I know they have to put on a race for the sprinters every few years (Zolder anyone) and it would have seemed odd had Cavendish not won the worlds in a career which has already proven so stellar, but I’d much prefer to watch a race where the winner comes from a small selection (Mendrisio, even Geelong) rather than a mass sprint. Hence the last 45 mins of Paris Tours is interesting while I would happily watch most (if not all) of Lombardy or San Sebastian or Flanders or Liege.

    The womens race was almost as dull as the Eurosport commentary implied. I could have sat in that bunch longer than the Guyanan girl.

  15. @Nof Landrien

    @ChrisO

    Can I just add one more thing here – if somehow Goss had won, would he have been a worthy world champion. I’m just pleased one of the right people won.

    This is a bollocks argument. The person who deserves to win is the person who wins.

    It’s an argument. You think it is bollocks. There is a difference.

    Just like there is a difference between saying “deserved to win” and “deserved to be world champion”.

    As for the women’s race, actually I think the Eurosport commentators did a valiant job of bigging it up.

    Apparently some of the women were aggrieved that Pat McQuaid made comments afterwards against introducing a minimum wage in women’s cycling. On the evidence of that race I think $3.60 an hour is about right.

  16. That parcours did exactly what it was supposed to do, which was to confirm who the fastest man in the world is on a bike right now. They were all there; Goss, Griepel, Faboo, Sagan, etc and Cav beat them mano-a-mano. That’s what he does in such races.

    You may be dissapointed in not seeing the bands in small selections and breaks next year but you’re going to see the rj win more sprints and tour stages than it ever has. And that too is as it should be. The bands need to be in the mix.

    Cipo will have plenty of entertaining things to say as not since his reign have we seen a similar combo of raw ability and gravitas.

  17. @Gianni – apologies… I should learn to read. You rock… AWESOME photo of Freddie

    @Marcus – is that just venting of relief coming out that the All Blacks finally managed to beat France in a World Cup game? shame it was only the pool stage, eh?

    LOVING the tweets coming in this morning… I may finally be warming to a new media application named after something between a Twat and a Shitter… i.e. it should have been called “Perineum”

  18. I prematurely posted. After a days work I amquite pleased to see the crazy carryings on. To clarify my point – it was purely against the seeming convenient grouping of countries., principalities, fiefdoms and dominions that those filthy Brits use when it suits. As for the racing, I reckon it was great. GB farked up by missing thebreak but then made amends. My Country’s selectors no doubt let some unknown politics interfere with good sense – no Renshaw FFS? Idiots.

    Cav has now made amends for his one-legged pass of Cipo

  19. @Oli
    Good man Oli and thanks for bringing some sense back to this.
    It was a cracker of a race and despite being an Aussie and yelling “Gooooooooo Gosssssss” at the TV (he didn’t quite) I’m very pleased to see such a worthy winner.

    As you say we’ll see rainbows with arms aloft a lot next year.

    And guys, let’s not be too harsh on the women. It wasn’t exciting I’ll grant but the sprint was just as good and the race had its moments. They all certainly deserve a minimum wage to support more professionalism in women’s pro cycling.

    Now, bring on Lombardia!

  20. Congrats to Cav. I mean, wow. Simply amazing.

    (I’m referring of course to the Peta Todd google image search I just did.)

  21. @Marcus

    @Godsight
    – Millar – born in fucking Malta and considers Hong Kong his home.

    Millar spent his formative (teenage years) in Hong Kong but was 20 or there abouts when HK was handed back to China. Like anyone else, with British parents, who grew up there during that era, he wouldn’t ever consider that qualified him to ride for Hong Kong.

  22. Other grapes:

    The top three all had a team at the front in the final couple of kms. And Cancellara finishes 4th, sprinting on the hoods, behind Greipel by a tread. My due respect.

  23. Regardless of the argument about whether Cav was a worthy winner (he was, in my opinion) I’m just worried abut the extent to which Cav might be a rainbow turd next year. His clothing choices are dubious: that skinsuit was awful. The top half of the GB jersey is ok but carrying the design down into the shorts is hideous.3/4 sleeves? the personalized socks? The silver shoes? the weird helmet cover (was it really that cold?) Did the skinsuit have rear pockets or did he expect teammates to carry gels etc? I know it’s a circuit race so he has regular access to hand-me-ups from support staff. Still, I guess he might feel faster in a skinsuit and in a race like the WCRR when he must have made an educated guess that it would come down to a sprint, every bit of help, be it physical or psychological, is worthwhile.

    Couple of other things: The Aussies must be kicking themselves for leaving out Renshaw – the man who knows Cav’s sprinting tactics better than everyone else. I think Cancellara and Griepel should have had joint bronze medals. Too close to call.

    If people think Cav’s winning record is boring, let’s remind ourselves whose pic heads this article: Freddy Maertens. In the 1977 Vuelta he won 13 stages!

  24. @wiscot
    This is where the Velominati schism starts, isn’t it? Ugly get-up to be sure, but if plastic on the helmet and skinsuit saved him in the neighborhood of 5 watts @ 45kph, that’s going to make a big difference by the end of the race.

    And, surely, even for the cynics: the fact that the GB train seemed to lose its way just a bit in the final stretch and Cav wasn’t delivered to the line makes this more impressive than if he’d been set up in perfect position. Incredible team ride, to be sure, but Cav had some real work to do in that sprint…

  25. @Steampunk

    Peta Todd seems pretty nice actually – I follow her on Twitter.

    She’s quite articulate, definitely not stupid and tweets quite well – sometimes quite funny. Tends to avoid the inane and mundane in jokes and crap that a lot of celebs, and others, put on Twitter.

    I’m assuming those are the main reasons Cav likes her.

  26. @Steampunk
    Steampunk, my point is that we all want to achieve the perfect balance of efficiency and aesthetics. While ugly, I don’t doubt for a second that the skinsuit and helmet may have helped Cav mentally and physically. If only he could fully reconcile the two!

    The GB team were amazing. They put huge pressure on themselves to get this result on a course they knew suited their plan and star rider. The WCRR often sees mixed loyalties, but in this case the team rode as one. If they adopt a similar strategy for the Olympic race, and advance word is that this is what they’re planning, things could be different as I guess there’s a real hill in that one. I wouldn’t bet against him though. Olympic medals mean a LOT in the UK. Two examples: Chris Hoy – knighted. Sebastian Coe – ennobled to the House of Lords. Cav is torn, I think, between his desire for a good Olympics ( I think he is still bitter that he was one of the few (the only?) British track rider to leave the 08 Olympics without a medal, and more Tour wins. The problem is, he gets one chance every four years at the former and in 2016 who knows what his sprinting prowess will be by them. On the other hand, he gets several chances every year at the tour.

  27. @wiscot
    I’ve not really seen what he was wearing, only from some low res you tube footage but I do think that the GB kit serves a purpose, it stands out from the bunch pretty well which must be fairly important for the team when they are trying to keep it together in the faster more fluid sections of a race. The Aussie kit seems to be the opposite, mainly with a few green and yellow stripes. A move to out and out skin suits might not be on the cards for stage racing or one day events but skin suit/race kit hybrids like the Castelli Speed Suit are bound to become commonplace (isn’t that what Frank is proposing for the V-Kit?). I would agree though that 3/4 length sleeves have no place on a bike!

    This had to be part of the plan for the Olympics, it’s what the whole Team GB thing is about at the moment. Even if it’s not Cav, which I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be, they’re honing the ability to place their best sprinter at the right place to go for medals. The Olympic course has got a hill but Cav has already won the test event on it although that race may have had fewer laps.

  28. @wiscot
    Good points, all. And I wasn’t disagreeing. On the positive side of the Olympics, I suspect Wiggo just showed that you can have your cake and eat it, too. A good Vuelta put him in terrific form for this past week.

  29. @wiscot

    Regardless of the argument about whether Cav was a worthy winner (he was, in my opinion) I’m just worried abut the extent to which Cav might be a Rainbow Turd next year.

    Agree 100%. To be fair, I found Cuddles to be a whiney second-rater until he pulled on the bands, and it transformed him into a very decisive and aggressive rider who is quite awesome. Maybe the same thing will happen to Cav.

  30. @scaler911

    This is the last thing I’ll say about Worlds this year:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksUhMa2eFTo
    That’s how you do rainbows.
    Nice job Cavendish. Meh.

    Great footage, the different camera angles are quite refreshing. Great to see a breakaway win but I’m not sure that it’s as entertaining as everyone arriving on the last straight for mass sprint if the chasing groups have spent too much time looking over their shoulders and covering each other for the first and second loser spots when mounting a coordinated attack might have given them the chance to go for the real prize.

  31. @frank
    Frank, from what I’ve read Cav is quite a student of the sport and wants to end his career with his name up there amongst the greats. Barring accidents, I think he’ll do this and I’m sure he’s well aware of the need to do the rainbow jersey proud.

    While much is spoken of his arrogant attitude (something I’ve never really understood as he 1) backs up words with wins, 2)always thanks his teammates profusely and 3) is/was still young when he started winning). Also, if he was a whiny bitch, I doubt the team would have buried themselves the way they did. He’s obviously patched things up with Wiggo (teammate next year?) If it wasn’t for these three factors then he would be an arrogant, whiny bitch. But he’s not.

  32. @Chris
    Chris,

    I’m sure Team GB have the same plan for the Olympic RR, but to be fair, even with the scheduling factor of a week between the end of the Tour and the Olympic RR, the field in the latter will be of a significantly higher caliber than the warm-up event. Like I said before, the Olympics are very special in the UK. Maybe not so much in the rest of the world. For example, ask Phil Gilbert if he’s rather win Flanders or the Olympics. Hushovd and Hincapie and Paris-Roubaix.

  33. @wiscot
    Good point about the quality of the field although the fact that other nations place less importance on the Olympics may be beneficial to Team GB. Either way, I’m looking forward to finding a spot on the route with the kids.

  34. @Oli

    Fuck, it would be nice to come on here and see some unadulterated celebration of what was a classy victory in the World Championships by a guy most of you wrote off, but instead (apart from a few knowledgeable Poms) there’s nothing but sour grapes and grudging acceptance.
    To me it just confirms that the actual substance of the racing is secondary here to the wanky made-up women’s magazine hero-worshipping. Have a read of the many, many rider comments praising Cav and the GB Team for what was a great win and perhaps you might realise that winning a race like this isn’t some sort of fluke.
    I’m sure Cavendish won’t be winning the Tour of Flanders anytime soon, but last I checked Milan-San Remo is still a Monument and I’m putting my money on the Rainbow Stripes crossing the line there in first place…I hope that meets your criteria for wearing the jersey with honour.

    Late to the party, and ready to kick up a dust storm. I for one have not heard a single person say Cav’s win was undeserved or that Team GB wan’t impressive, or that Cav didn’t do an incredible sprint from way back, showing amazing skill to navigate a tight bunch (safely) to take the win. Good on him; the course was decided by others, and he and his team used it to their advantage.

    Personally, I wanted Goss to win Sunday and Vos to win Saturday. The fact that they were beaten fairly by other riders who made less mistakes and rode better races does nothing to lessen the fact that I’m disappointed. Same goes for the bulk of the other races this year; and I love the sport all the more for the fact that it doesn’t give me what I want all the time – when my favorites win, its all the more exciting.

    On the larger point, to criticize (or, more accurately, to borderline insult) people for begrudgingly congratulating Cav on his win is to completely miss the point of this community. Fans, by definition, are emotional, otherwise they would be called analysts. To admire an athlete for their accomplishment is one thing. To become a fan of them means you on some level connect with them. If, for you, that means just their performance, then great. If, on the other hand, you only like riders who wear purple fuzzy polkadot trousers, then good on you for that. We connect with people for our own reasons, and none of those reasons are subject to judgement by anyone else.

    We take what we see, we color it with our emotion, and we come here to talk about it and spin theories. That is the beauty of fandom and the beauty of this site. I doubt there is anyone who is more proud of this community that I am, but come on: this is an online community for cycling fans. While there is a lot of great (and credible) insight going on here, quite frankly, if you are looking for unbiased analysis, you’re in the wrong place. You can go read CyclingNews or some other of the many excellent cycling sites around; don’t come looking for it here. Here we have opinions, we’re right, we’re wrong, we disagree and we have fun doing it; don’t try to turn this into something it’s not.

    @Oli

    Sorry Mouse, but I’ve started now…would you expect Contador to win bunch sprints? Thor to win HC mountain finishes? Greipel to win from a long solo break? Voeckler to win big time trials? Why should Cavendish be something other than what he is, especially when what he is is freakishly talented within his sphere?
    Pro road cycling encompasses all facets of the road, and that’s how it should be. One of the beautiful things about the Grand Tours is that they, at various points, showcase the different styles of rider, and it would be pretty boring if every stage was the same. The season is the same, with various races tailored to different strengths and abilities. Surely it’s only fair that some Worlds suit climbers, some breakaways and some suit sprinters?
    To view a race by wishing it was something else entirely misses the point – enjoy each race for what it is within its context and I believe you’ll end up with a much deeper enjoyment of the sport.

    Despite how far off your initial comment was, this observation is just completely spot on. Excellent stuff and a great point.

  35. @frank, @Oli

    +1 Not my cup of tea as a parcours, and Cav’s kit was an abomination before Merckx. Hope he looks better in the bands. Bring on Lombardia!

  36. @oli I never wrote Cav off. I just thought that there would be a final push from the breakaway heavy hitters and he would win the bunch sprint just bike lengths behind.

    Fun WC race, everyone, don’t you think?

  37. As a Canuck who was disappointed to see Barry on the ground after the crash (I was at Hamilton in 2003 when he finished 8th), I have to say that was an awesome race and an awesome display of teamwork and class by the GB team.

    Anyone who says anything else is just a sore loser. The course for Worlds changes every year and is suited to the grimpeurs and climbers more often than not. The sprinters should have their chance as well. 260k at 45kph is no walk in the fucking park, even if you are sitting on the wheel.

    The Vuelta this year was poorer in my opinion because there were not enough opportunities for the sprinters.

  38. @G’phant
    I plan to stay in the drops all the way to the line, with the likes of you and Marcus chasing me. Hopefully Ron isn’t lurking in the crowd with a frame pump.

  39. “The team all rode out of their skins today. It’s a shame they can’t wear the world champion’s jersey as well. I’ve won the jersey, but I just put the finishing touches to the mission.” Mark Cavendish

    Rather late to the party here, I’m afraid, but may I just say ‘jolly good show’ to the British Team, and especially to Mr. Cavendish. It looked a little dicy towards the end, but that man can certainly sprint.

  40. I don’t think there’s enough concern at the impact of Team GB’s skinsuit wearing. In the past year or so my regular weekend jaunt around the Surrey Hills has seen a massive increase in the incidence of Sky team jerseys. The last thing I need is for skin suits to become popular. Fat, middle aged men (I am one of these but it’s not fat) are bad enough in bibshorts and a jersey, but in a skin suit? Please. No. I think they should be banned in mass starts, like Spinaci.

  41. @frank

    You can go read CyclingNews or some other of the many excellent cycling sites around; don’t come looking for it here. Here we have opinions, we’re right, we’re wrong, we disagree and we have fun doing it; don’t try to turn this into something it’s not.

    By the way, I don’t mean to in any way suggest we should NOT be informed…go to CyclingNews, go to The Inner Ring, go anywhere you can and soak up all the facts and information you can manage to sponge up.

    Then come here and spin wild theories.

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