It Begins

The Lion Roars This Weekend

This weekend proper bicycle racing starts for the season with Omloop Het Volk (yes, I know it’s not called that anymore but I like the old name better and it’s easier to spell for my dumb American ass) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Now that riders have stretched their legs in the TDU, Oman, Algarve, Qatar and various and sundry other spots on the planet, the peloton gets down to serious business in the country that suits it best in weather that will hopefully befit Rule #9. Can I get an A-Merckx from the cog-gregation!?!?

Although the Velominati Super Prestige won’t launch officially until Milan-San Remo, we thought it would be fun to have an un-official, no points awarded banter about this weekend’s races. Is Flecha going to repeat in Gent? Will Vaughter’s strategy of splitting Thor and T-Bone to captain each race respectively result in two for the win column for Garmin-Cervelo? What of Phillipe Gilbert, is he primed to start an onslaught on the great podiums of his country? Will Steampunk show his form in a semi-classic by tipping the winner or bluff until a monument? We will never find consensus among us when it comes to tipping the winners and also-rans.

The one thing I can say for sure is that we’ll all be cheering for rain to cover, no deluge, the cobbled bergs of Flandria. The potential for a heaping helping of Rule #9 served up on a big old platter of the V is the one thing we can all agree would make this weekend’s racing that much better. So I tuned in Al Roker to see what the chances are that our heroes will need to don arm and knee warmers underneath rain capes and he says yes, more than likely. The Flandrian forecast for both Saturday and Sunday looks like precip has an 80% chance of coming from the heavens. Looks to be a good weekend.

So tip your top five for OHN and KBK here if you’d like and know that no points will be awarded. But at a minimum, we felt the need to create a space where we could discuss the weekend’s festivities. Our V-Chalice runneth over with stoke and it just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have a dry space for it to spill.

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102 Replies to “It Begins”

  1. Oops… I should read better.

    OHN

    Chavanel
    Gilbert
    Boom
    Flecha
    Boonen

    KBK

    Boonen
    T-Far
    EBH
    Devolder
    Po-ta-to

    Delenda est Alberto

  2. OHN

    Gilbert
    Chavanel
    Burghardt
    Boonen
    Eisel

    KBK

    Boonen
    Farrar
    Greipel
    Flecha
    Flens

  3. Het Volk (I’m with Marko on this one)
    Thor
    Boonen
    Gilbert
    Flecha
    Pozzato

    KBK
    Farrar
    Greipel
    Leukemans
    Van Avermaet
    Boassen Hagen

  4. @Marko: like I need the added pressure.

    Het Volk
    1. Steegmans
    2. Gilbert
    3. Flecha
    4. Rollin
    5. Boom

    KBK
    1. Boonen
    2. EBH
    3. Hoste
    4. Roulston
    5. Tankink

  5. Aaaaahhh…and here we have the reason why this is not part of the VSP: OHN is the race for the anxious cobbled specialist to prove they are ready to make their mark, but it is too far before Flanders to be any real sign of form – and too close to it to be able to peak for both. Indeed, all the strong men will figure, but the rider who wins here will not figure in the top five of THE WEEK.

    1. Boom
    2. Boassen Hagen
    3. Farrar
    4. Gilbert
    5. Boonen

    KBK

    1. Hincapie
    2. Boonen
    3. Faboo
    4. Gilbert
    5. Farrar

  6. @frank
    Bolder, still, to pick four out of five guys who aren’t riding for KBK. And Corn-fed isn’t racing OHN. It seems it’s not only the cobbled specialists who are worried about peaking too soon.

    In principle, you’re right, though. I can’t see the big guns really pushing for this, with the exception of Boonen, who might feel he needs to show some form (to himself as well as to the peloton).

    Raise a glass with me tonight, lads, for Shay Elliott…

  7. Saturday

    Gilbert, Boom, Flecha, Devolder, Pippo

    Sunday

    Leukemans, EBH, Boonen, Farrar, Van Avermaet

    Bring it on bitches!!!!!

    PS. Frank, did you honestly pick Hincapie for Sunday? WTF? No way, what excuse will he come up with this time for missing the break? Yah, I’m an ass…

  8. First of all, since it was asked – A-Merckx!

    Omloop –

    Gilbert
    Popo
    BoomBoom
    Boonen
    Devolder

    The Donkey Race –

    Hushvold
    Burghardt
    Hoste
    Weylandt
    Voeckler and his endless face of endless pain

  9. @Steampunk
    Woopsie. This is why we have these tests.

    @caviarboy

    PS. Frank, did you honestly pick Hincapie for Sunday? WTF? No way, what excuse will he come up with this time for missing the break? Yah, I’m an ass…

    That’s exactly it…this is exactly the right amount of pressure. The race doesn’t matter, but it’s still a hardman’s race. Conditions are perfect.

  10. HV

    Rolly
    EBH
    Gilaburp
    Boomboom
    Pippy

    Eyeore

    Berny Eisey
    Tommeke
    Casper the Ghost
    Sting like a bee Devolder
    Jezza Hunt

  11. Frak. First local ride is the cascade “chilly hilly” a season beginner for us seattlites. Forecast is for crap weather, but Rule #9 is compelling me. 35degF temps and snow/rain on sunday forcast. Can the Velomenati guilt me into this? Must I earn Hardman stripes?

  12. Thor
    Gilbert
    Tomeke
    Boom
    Flecha

    Then
    Farrar
    Eisel
    Tomeke
    Boassen Hagen
    Cancellara

    Rush job! But one can hope lack of thought will get the job done – thinking clearly didn’t help last year!

  13. OHN
    Boasson Hagen
    Gilbert
    Thor
    Kroon
    Chavanel

    KBK
    Greipel
    Boom
    Farrar
    Boonen
    Devolder

  14. OHN

    Gilbert
    Steegmans
    Flecha
    Hushovd
    Chavanel

    KBK

    Boom
    Maaskant
    Boonen
    M. Burghardt
    Boasson Hagen

  15. OHN
    Gilbert
    Flecha
    Voeckler
    Millar
    Velits M

    KBK
    STANNARD
    Weylandt
    Roelandts
    Eisel
    Steegmans

  16. Have no idea who is riding which race & can’t think of most names of the top of my head, so will go with
    Omloop:
    Gilbert
    EBH
    Chavenel
    Boonen
    Boom

    KBK:
    Hammond
    Flecha
    Farrar
    Pozzato
    Eisel

  17. Al Roker was right, it’s wet out there. I’m gonna have to take JiPM for the win on this one. At least two or three of us actually picked guys riding this weekend and in the right race. Nice work. No picks outta me. I’m looking forward to the post race banter. Now back to my regular schedule program, damn I wish I understood Flemish.

  18. And he’s pipped at the line. Great riding by Langeveld. And this is also why we don’t VSP this one.

  19. Alright American Velominati. I have a subscription to cycling.tv. I went to steephill.tv. I went to cyclingfans.com. How did you guys get live coverage? I had to live by the cyclingnews.com ticker. Dammit.

  20. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    You’ve discovered the secret meaning in Marko’s title: The hunt for viable internet feeds begins again. FWIW I was able to get the spanish feed posted on a couple of the sources you mention to work tolerably.

  21. Marko:
    It’s gotta be The V on Langeveld’s stem that’s keeping him out front

    I was thinking the same thing. You beat me to it.

    Al Roker is god””and half the man he used to be…

  22. @Steampunk
    One of the many American exports that we subject the world to. Sorry you live so close to the border and have to endure Roker. Move your ass up to Whitehorse, P.G., or Yellowknife and you won’t have to put up with him. You’re right though, I’m sure Al climbs well for his weight now that his stomach is the size of a golf ball.

  23. @Nate
    Nice one. Flèche is one of my all-time least favorite riders. Just massive a wankpod. Virtually unbeatable in a one-man sprint, though. He’s also really good at sprinting for second in a two-up sprint. Of for third in a three-up. You get the idea.

    I didn’t like him already when he was riding for iBanesto in ’03; then really lost it for him when he destroyed the lead group in P-R in ’09 by going through a small gap and crashing at the critical moment. Douche.

    Fantastic way to open the season. Let’s hope the rain holds until April.

    @Eightzero
    Rule #5 and Rule #9. Come on. Really, you’re asking US if you should do it? Do it. Obviously.

  24. @Marko
    Actually, Al Roker is Canadian.

    @frank
    Dude: way harsh. Today’s ride was pretty impressive. He’s not an out-and-out sprinter, but I can’t think of more than a couple of riders who demonstrate more class on cobbles.

  25. A bit of class from the world champion:

    As for the radio ban, Hushovd added: “It just makes it more complicated but I’m sure we’d have the same group up the road with or without radios. They just pedalled harder than us.”

  26. @Steampunk
    I enjoyed him bunnyhopping onto the sidewalk in the last km to try to make Langeveld come through. Of course, he put himself in that position, leading going into the last k. My take on him, he’s tough but he has less tactical sense than a sack of potatoes.

  27. @frank
    He wrote himself in indelible ink onto the list of Permanent Fuckwit Riders when he pulled that “arrow” victory salute at his Tour win.

    But I think his song should be “I’m a Catalan on Cobbles” sung to Sting’s Englishman in New York. A shit song too.

    So much better to be talking about real racing than that other crap!

  28. Alright, signed off yesterday and didn’t get a chance to sign on until today and I miss ALL the fun!

    So, for tomorrow:

    1.Boonen
    2.Gilbert
    3.Thor
    4.Boom
    5.Roulston

  29. Was traveling for the past two days, completely forgot about the race and I just got home. Half past midnight, drinking an Eggenberg beer from the town I just visited, and about the watch the last 10 km. Awesomeness.

  30. Alright, who can read lips? What are Flecha and Langeveld saying to each other at the 4 km mark?

  31. Woah, and just watched a short, but awesome, interview with Freddy Maartens. He said his toughest moment on a bike was crashing and breaking his arm in the Giro when he was leading. Then his boss, the Flandrian head, wanted him to start the Tour de Suisse eight days later.

    I’d never heard that story. Wow, that’s a demanding boss, eh.

  32. on another note, I was watching a bit of video youtube from PEZ on the Giro of Sardinia, in Italian. The announcer kept saying DiLuca this, Diluca that…I’m thinking they are talking about some past edition but no, there he is in his little Katusha kit, at the front, like he belongs there.

    I’m so sick of these guys; EPO, CERA, lifetime ban. They have no place in the peloton. Especially Diluca, he is already a habitual offender.

    I really thought I heard the Italian announcer say Schumacher too, please tell me this is not possible. At least Ricco proved he is a complete and utter idiot.

  33. Boonen wants to reclaim his lost race yesterday.
    Boom wants to finally win a classic.
    Maaskant was close yesterday, but he fell and Flecha made his move that exact moment. He wants his revenge.

    I don’t know who else will be there, but keep an eye on these three.

  34. Frank, I’m starting to realise that your weird prejudices against various riders automatically makes me like them even more.

    And Marcus, the bow and arrow salute was creative genius – who wants boring same-same arms in the air every time?

  35. Oli Brooke-White:
    Frank, I’m starting to realise that your weird prejudices against various riders automatically makes me like them even more.
    And Marcus, the bow and arrow salute was creative genius – who wants boring same-same arms in the air every time?

    Spose u liked Cav’s phone home salute too?

  36. Steampunk:
    A bit of class from the world champion:

    As for the radio ban, Hushovd added: “It just makes it more complicated but I’m sure we’d have the same group up the road with or without radios. They just pedalled harder than us.”

    Succinct

    @Oli Brooke-White
    How much time do you think these blokes would devote to devising a new salute? Would it be the night before – “mmm, now IF I win tomorrow what shall I do? Everyone does the both hands in the air thing, sooo last century. Liked Clenbutador’s pistol, same theme…..I know, bow and arrow, fuckin’ genius!” as they drift off into sleep or at the moment they’re crossing the line ” OMG, OMG, OMG, I’ve won OMG, OMG, OMG what am I gonna do? hands, no, pistol, shit, rockin’ the cradle, shit….” all in about 10 nano seconds.
    Now if it’s while crossing the line at the critical moment, brain only focused on the V just delivered, then some can be forgiven. An unhealthy amount of time devoted to a tosser’s salute, fail.

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