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. @Dr C
    Geez you clowns miss the point of a bit of fun don’t you?

    Rather than handing out a geo-political fanboy treatise, the ONLY response to me was to ask when Australians let Germans (Haussler – who actually was a kraut-registered rider but never rode for them).

    Look forward to Cav riding for the Isle against England et al at the next Commonwealth Games. Don’t u people find that odd?

    Fell off my chair when I read a cyclingnews article saying that Matt white said Goss’ silver justified Renshaws omission. Many years ago I learnt to disregard self-serving statements as evidence…

  2. @Dr C

    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!

    I have to say, watching Cav over the last day or so, has been impressive and makes me hopeful. I’m very, very impressed that he’s been planning this for so long, and that GB coordinated their efforts enough to make sure they had the points to get the team they needed to the race. That kind of planning and prep speaks to a maturation way beyond his dickish image. That, and he stopped giving those stupid victory salutes that were an insult to everyone with any sensibility, so it’s all headed in the right direction.

    As for your other question regarding Renshaw…if I was the coach there is no fucking way I’d put Renshaw on the team. The guy has been Cav’s lead out for so long, together with knowing the agreements that come into play between the trade team riders already and their special relationship, it presents a monstrous risk – one that I as a manager would never be willing to take depsite Renshaw going to another team next year. But yeah, if he’d been that loyal to Goss and led him out, we might have another rider in the bands.

    For my money, I like Goss a lot better that Cav and think his career would have gone through a cool transition had he won, but that’s the thing about the Worlds…it takes a special rider to win them, no matter the parcourse.

    You lost me, I’m really not sure what you’re referring to.

  3. @frank
    Interesting angle on the Renshaw omission…. Did Renshaw not lead out Goss when Cavendish wasn’t riding, which might have balanced that out? We’ll never know

    Why did Cuddles not ride?

  4. @frank
    Might be drawing a bit of a long bow to say that Aussie selectors were worried about Rickshaw somehow arranging for Cav to latch onto him instead of Goss (that would be a neat trick). However it would seem that somewhere somehow Renshaw has upset the Australian selectors. Cyclingtips did a whole pre-Worlds article on this omission – and a lot of people opined that GreenEdge and Cycling Australia are too close to one another – and the opposite applies to riders who aren’t GreenEdge… All mere speculation of course.

    @Dr c

    Why did Cuddles not ride?

    for the same reason he doesn’t win flat tour stages…

  5. I honestly think Renshaw would have led out Goss if he was put on the team, but I can see the risk and what is done is done.

    @frank I agree with you about Goss, I like him much more then Cav, mostly based on attitude but also because I seem to favor the men who blur the gap between puncheur and sprinter. Its one of those things I can’t explain. I’m not a fan of Cav, Ferrar, Pettachi, or any of the like.

    My favorite rider is by far Thor Hushovd. I think this years Tour de France gained him a lot of fans. He was a great world champion who could animate a race. Gilbert and Bossen Hagen would also make great world champions in my opinion. There is a style of ride that I see as what a world champion should be. Obviously Cavendish is a good rider, and a great sprinter. But he just isn’t all-round enough for me to like him.

  6. Steinlager is on sale at my local beer store. A case is $12.99 USD. Awesomeness. I didn’t remember it being this good! And they are really ampin’ up the Fresh Factor with their marketing.

    Nate, beware…there are a lot of lads chasing you who want that apron!

  7. @Oli
    I never meant to imply that Cav didn’t have a great race. He pulled it together at the end shot the gap and came home with the hoops. Good on him. I just don’t like the guy. Maybe this coming season he’ll grow on me, and wear the WC jersey with honor. Don’t take it personally.

  8. @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.

    I think this should pretty much sum things up…

  9. @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.

    Great post Oli, thank you. I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence. Would I have preferred a course that more suited a puncheur or climber? Sure, but that doesn’t detract from the beauty of Sundays’ race. The last few k were incredible to watch and to re-watch and see how things develop and how amazing it was that Cav was able to work his way through the madness and win.

    I think (hope) wearing the stripes will help him to continue to grow and increase the level of maturity he’s started showing the last year or so.

    Of course he could go completely the opposite way and really piss some folks off… either way there will be plenty to talk about next year.

  10. I think this story nicely ties a few things together. Cav was signing shirts at a Crit in 2008, and in the queue was Freddy. When he reached the front and introduced himself, Cav’s response was “With a record like yours, you should be signing my shirt.”
    And so, when he beat Oscar Freire in the sprint for second place (Carlos Sastre having mysteriously broken away to win), this is what Cav’s shirt looked like.

    For the record, I am australian and I like cav, thanks to all for the entertainment

  11. @tommeesee
    That’s class. Seems to me he has the potential to not just become one of the greats but also to become more than just a great rider.

  12. For all of those lamenting the flat course this year, next year’s 265km course in the hilly Limburg region shoudl make up for it.

    Sounds like an awesome course where Phil-Gil, if he holds form for the next year, will be the overwhelming favorite.

  13. @BuckRogers it’s basically the Amstel Gold course isn’t it, which Gilbert has won for the last two years, so that will be a good form guide.

    Could be one for Sagan as well.

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