The 2011 Anti-V Moment of the Year: Paris Roubaix

Photo: Slipstream Sports

While the The V Moment of the Year is the moment during the season when the sport demonstrated the most pure example of spirit of The V, the Anti-V Moment of the Year similarly acknowledges the moment in which all those things that make The V great were ignored. This is more than just cheating or climbing into the broom wagon; this is reserved for under-handed tactics, or wheel-sucking to the win, complaining about dangerous descents, canceling races for bad weather.

The Anti-V is a virus. It starts small, as a nagging doubt perhaps about form or willingness to suffer that day. It replicates and feeds on itself; giving in to doubt is easier when you’ve done it before, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. It manifests itself in an absence of those things we love most about cycling: a combination of guts, class, and panache.

Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that we had even more trouble deciding on the Anti-V moment than we did the V Moment. Bretto made the case for les Fréres Grimpeur, but couldn’t dial in on a specific incident of Anti-V and kept repeating, “Every time they looked around, or when they mounted their TT bikes!” We did the only thing we could do, and had CERN crunch the data for us. They confirmed the Schlecks spent the equivalent of three full weeks rubbernecking and nearly a quarter as much working on their time trialing – too much to mathematically isolate a single moment. Sometimes the best decision in the midst of indecision is simply to make one, and that’s exactly what I did.

At the very instant when Johan Van Summeren was doing a reverse 270 cannon ball into the deep end of the V-Pool to bring us the V Moment of 2011, Jonathan Vaughters was clutching his shoulders as he gingerly waded into the kiddie pool – dragging a handful of race favorites with him.

The race was shaping up beautifully for Garmin-Cervélo. Van Summeren had read the race and left the favorites at the Trouée to join teammate Gabriel Rasch up the road in the day’s breakaway. The plan was to keep Johan in reserve at the front while the Garmin team worked to bring the break back, giving Thor Hushovd an armchair ride to the finish with the considerable advantage of having teammates in the finale. A beautiful plan, and I love it when a plan comes together.

But Garmin’s firepower wasn’t quite enough to bridge up in time, and Faboo wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of riding into Roubaix with Thor getting a leadout from three teammates. In typical style, he took the race into his own hands and left the others to their own devices. Hushovd, Flecha, and Ballan came along for the ride and the four made huge inroads on the gap with Cancellara doing the bulk of the work.

And here the sticky tentacles of the Anti-V set in. Faboo started doubting whether he should really be hauling such a fast finisher as Hushovd up to his teammates and sat up when the gap had gone down to within arm’s reach.

At this point, Garmin’s plan wasn’t as solid as it had been a few dozen kilometers before:

  1. The plan hinged on domestique Vanmarcke doing the work to bridge up to the breakaway, putting four Garmin riders at the front
  2. Vanmarcke wasn’t closing the gap quickly enough, and was dropped by Cancellara’s acceleration
  3. Cancellara was getting the job done, but was unwilling to do the last bit of work to close the break down completely

The plan was in need of some quick-thinking to maintain the upper hand, and everyone knows driving while strategizing is dangerous. So, for safety reasons, Vaughters called in Garmin’s pocket Timid Tactician: His Turtleneck Sweater. New plan:

  1. Double-dip by telling Fabian that Thor can’t work because he has a teammate up the road, despite the fact that his team had been doing the chasing in the first place
  2. Tell Fabian to wait for the slow guy behind who couldn’t keep up and wasn’t bridging quickly enough, so he can take over for Fabian, saving Thor
  3. Instruct Thor to sit back and refuse pulls

Cancellara, Hushovd and Vaughters all had their hand in making this the Anit-V Moment of the year, but Vaughters takes the bulk of the blame not only because his was inflexible and unimaginative thinking, but because he was playing both sides: the rider up front can’t work if he’s got a rider coming up, or the rider coming up can’t work because he’s got a rider up front. Pick one.

But worst of all, there is nothing more Anti-V than two riders within a chance of winning riding along gesturing to each other as they both refuse to take a pull for fear of dragging the other to the win. Certainly, a rider must be sure not to do too much work and place themselves at a disadvantage, but this should never come at the risk of losing the opportunity to win the race in the first place; I’m sure we can all agree it is much more in the spirit of the V to fight and get beaten into second place than to never fight at all and throw your chance away. In this, Cancellara and Hushovd each had a hand in the pie, but Vaughters and his Sweater were were the masterminds behind the stalemate.

We truly love what Vaughters is trying to do with Garmin by making it their mission to race clean, but racing clean is no excuse for uncorking an entire case of Vintage 2011 Anti-V. Vaughters races his team like they are weak with nary a chance to win, when in fact they are one of the strongest teams in the sport. It is time to wrap the bars in white tape, set aside the underdog tactics, and start racing like leaders. And by all means, fire the Sweater.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cEV1l9i1ec[/youtube]

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215 Replies to “The 2011 Anti-V Moment of the Year: Paris Roubaix”

  1. I think that the point is well and truly lost now. After this post I will give up. Sure the Schlecks rode badly. Sure two against one they should have won. This could also be the V moment for Gilbert. They didn’t exactly give up did they? For sure they didn’t whinge to Gilberts race director. The Anti V for Paris Roubaix was not in the tactics or the riding but in the silly conversations and squabbling that took place. Faboo is guilty ( I am a huge Faboo fan but does anyone complain more about getting marked in races..it’s a huge sign of respect ffs and you’re Faboo..ride ’em off your wheel before you get to the finish big man) And JV is guilty…he shoulda told Faboo to fuck off instead of trying to justify it and Thor is guilty. He should have told Vaughnters and Faboo to fuck it and ride his own damn race, he was never happy with the tactics to start, go check out the vid from Beyond The Peleton for that race and see how Thor reacts to JV on the bus prior to the race.

    This is not how grown men ( let alone cyclists who are, let’s face it alphamen plus ) should behave. Someone said it before. What would Merckx do? We know the answer.

  2. @paolo

    I think that the point is well and truly lost now. After this post I will give up. Sure the Schlecks rode badly. Sure two against one they should have won. This could also be The V moment for Gilbert. They didn’t exactly give up did they? For sure they didn’t whinge to Gilberts race director. The Anti V for Paris Roubaix was not in the tactics or the riding but in the silly conversations and squabbling that took place. Faboo is guilty ( I am a huge Faboo fan but does anyone complain more about getting marked in races..it’s a huge sign of respect ffs and you’re Faboo..ride ’em off your wheel before you get to the finish big man) And JV is guilty…he shoulda told Faboo to fuck off instead of trying to justify it and Thor is guilty. He should have told Vaughnters and Faboo to fuck it and ride his own damn race, he was never happy with the tactics to start, go check out the vid from Beyond The Peleton for that race and see how Thor reacts to JV on the bus prior to the race.
    This is not how grown men ( let alone cyclists who are, let’s face it alphamen plus ) should behave. Someone said it before. What would Merckx do? We know the answer.

    Merckxdamnit, man. I think I love you. Well-fucking-said. A+.

    @itburns

    Will we ever return to those Halcyon days of old?

    The wrong on this is so right, I have tears in my eyes. My goodness, my merckx. +1 badge to you, matey. And I’m so glad you made ME Ulli. Suck on that, Gianni!

    @brett

    @The Oracle
    The Brothers Gimpeur?

    Just when I think you can’t make things any worse, you go and do something like this.

    AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!!

  3. @Nate
    The original idea was to put all the Keepers in there utilizing the people you can see through the window. Gianni was easy because of the avatar but it took me 30 minutes and two espressos to track down Fronk in his front yard. As with most of my grand ideas, it was left unfinished. No disrespect to the other Keepers. Don’t want an unannounced V inspection.

  4. @itburns
    That would have been V-some too and congrats on yet another +1 award, you are racking those up. I think there are some photos of Marko out there but the rest seem to assiduously avoid the paparazzi.

  5. @lucky
    You’ve got a point on Ballan, but he’s so useless he’s not even worth mentioning in the same sentence with anything “V” associated with it – Anti or otherwise.

    But for anyone calling the “Race 101 don’t chase a teammate” bullshit argument that JV even tries to use occasionally, I’ll remind them: Vaughers was playing both sides: the rider up front can’t work if he’s got a rider coming up, or the rider coming up can’t work because he’s got a rider up front. Pick one.

    And

    At this point, Garmin’s plan wasn’t as solid as it had been a few dozen kilometers before:

    1. The plan hinged on domestique Vanmarcke doing the work to bridge up to the breakaway, putting four Garmin riders at the front
    2. Vanmarcke wasn’t closing the gap quickly enough, and was dropped by Cancellara’s acceleration
    3. Cancellara was getting the job done, but was unwilling to do the last bit of work to close the break down completely

    The plan was in need of some quick-thinking to maintain the upper hand, and everyone knows driving while strategizing is dangerous. So, for safety reasons, Vaughters called in Garmin’s pocket Timid Tactician: His Turtleneck Sweater. New plan:

    1. Double-dip by telling Fabian that Thor can’t work because he has a teammate up the road, despite the fact that his team had been doing the chasing in the first place
    2. Tell Fabian to wait for the slow guy behind who couldn’t keep up and wasn’t bridging quickly enough, so he can take over for Fabian, saving Thor
    3. Instruct Thor to sit back and refuse pulls
  6. @itburns

    Will we ever return to those Halcyon days of old?

    jesus christ, this will haunt me in my dreams for quite some time. Nice one. Me and Fronk chillin’ in da uberbus.

  7. @frank

    @Gianni

    Vaughters is the director and his team won. I’d say he was the best director that Paris Roubaix. His job is not to make sure Thor won, his job is to make sure his team won. Why would he let Thor bring Faboo up? Fabian has ridden away from stronger riders than Thor.

    Actually, I’ve got to disagree with this. It wasn’t the team plan to have JVS up there at all. He made a call himself at Arenburg and bridged up. JV’s plan all along was to have Hushovd get to the front and he even insisted that JVS wait to attack until the Carrefore sector. The fact that Garmin won was dumb luck – and through the clever and great riding by JVS.

    Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) looked around and saw no one taking the initiative, so he decided to grab the race by the scruff of the neck.

    That JV’s Sweater takes credit for it now is just all the more evidence of his douchiness…

    I’m late to the party, and no eggspert on all these here taktiks, but I’m with Gianni on this one. JV may indeed be the ultimate douche if for no other reason that that shitte at the ’09 tour, but when JV made the call on not chasing and sitting on Faboo, JvS was indeed up the road. He was playing the cards he was dealt. Indeed, perhaps JvS dealt off the bottom of the deck, but I see a Garmin/Cervelo jersey on the winner.

    As to that shen in the ’09 tour, that was uber-bullshiat. I think they had counted on disguising their tactics in killing the time gap to “Thor needed the points” argument, but cav and HTC/HR were not driving the pace. Time matters not in the point classification. Driving the chase was pure spite. Liggett called exactly right: it was the double cross. Garmin fuckers even tried to point at LA/Astana. So yeah, JV needs a permeant anti-V labeel. But not for this. Just like Clenbutador is a doper – but not for what they caught him at.

  8. @Buck Rogers

    @ChrisO
    Man, love this site, esp since Fronk picks stupid ass moments for The Anti-V and then we all get to rag on him and then he tries for days to justify it and we all make fun of him.
    Man, this site should charge for this shit!

    I’d give a V-award for just this. Fuckin’ spot on, mate!

    Gosh, there is nothing more fun that poking Frank with a stick. You’ll get a complete description of how tough some dutch dude was in the 70s, and he’ll bust out not only a picture of DanDerWhathisname killing it, but have a complete play by play description of the tour de Obscureamuur to go with it.

    All hail the Keepers!

  9. @Nate
    Wow, just…wow. That bug was in production for less than 7 minutes. I can prove it from the SVN logs. And you noticed.

    Like I said, wow. I love you guys. An entire community of people possibly more detail-obsessed than me.

    @eightzero
    +1!

  10. @itburns
    Now if you could adjust this one to show @frank and the elder Schleck staring lovingly into each others eyes…

    @frank
    Will we be transported to and from events on the keepers tour in a bus as majestic as the uberbus?

  11. fortunately Der Unst Unst Unst (German techno) is timeless… Der Uberbus could roll on for all eternity.

  12. @marcus

    @frank
    So Gianni should be sure to never take you up on an invitation to go fishing. Or Frank, are you Fredo?

    It’s all a part of life as the Cogsanostra. For all of us, if we don’t look out, we will be sleeping with the down-tube shifters before long.

  13. @frank
    Not too related but I am fucking devastated that Valverde (who has stolen races from Cuddles) took the win at TDU today. Every Aussie rider needs to make sure Gerro takes out the GC…

  14. @Gianni

    Also, I’ll defend Garmin’s tactics for denying George Hincapie’s yellow jersey opportunity too. Screw him, I like George but why should he be handed a jersey he didn’t earn? He could have ridden into it but was mad when another team denied him? Up to then HTC had nothing but great press and victories with Cav and Whitey didn’t need another huge HTC press jolt by having them in the yellow jersey too. I think he did the right thing personally. That’s his job, represent his sponsor and manage his team. Hand outs, what’s the point?

    ^^^^^^^^^
    THIS! They continue to argue and yet metaphorically Gianni has bolted up the road for the win…. Eros Poli eat your heart out.

  15. @frank
    Pick one?? What the hell? Why should he, and what kind of dumb-ass DS would he be if he made that call and got it wrong? He was playing both cards at the same time in a fluid situation and it worked out perfectly for the Team.

  16. @Chris

    @itburns
    Now if you could adjust this one to show @frank and the elder Schleck staring lovingly into each others eyes…

    Frank was there for Fronk during the birth of the first Cervelo. Or maybe this was when the votes for the Anti-V were being counted…

  17. I downloaded the newish Sufferfest vid (Very Dark Place) and what’ya know – one of the intervals is Faboo towing Thor along in last year’s P-R. Kinda ruined the integrity of that effort for me. They should have just put JvS in there and called it a solo break effort instead.

    @itburns
    We shall title this one, wait for it – Pillow Talk.

  18. @Marko
    when I did that sufferfest was too unconscious to notice… those videos are the only thing that make those early am trainer sessions palatable…

  19. @Zoncolan

    @Gianni

    Also, I’ll defend Garmin’s tactics for denying George Hincapie’s yellow jersey opportunity too. Screw him, I like George but why should he be handed a jersey he didn’t earn? He could have ridden into it but was mad when another team denied him? Up to then HTC had nothing but great press and victories with Cav and Whitey didn’t need another huge HTC press jolt by having them in the yellow jersey too. I think he did the right thing personally. That’s his job, represent his sponsor and manage his team. Hand outs, what’s the point?

    ^^^^^^^^^
    THIS! They continue to argue and yet metaphorically Gianni has bolted up the road for the win…. Eros Poli eat your heart out.

    You are the best! Mention me and Eros Poli in the same sentence and I’m good for the day. I’m dreaming of having Eros lead the 2013 Keeper Tour in Italy…that would be a tour to remember.

  20. @Gianni

    @Zoncolan

    @Gianni

    Also, I’ll defend Garmin’s tactics for denying George Hincapie’s yellow jersey opportunity too. Screw him, I like George but why should he be handed a jersey he didn’t earn? He could have ridden into it but was mad when another team denied him? Up to then HTC had nothing but great press and victories with Cav and Whitey didn’t need another huge HTC press jolt by having them in the yellow jersey too. I think he did the right thing personally. That’s his job, represent his sponsor and manage his team. Hand outs, what’s the point?

    ^^^^^^^^^THIS! They continue to argue and yet metaphorically Gianni has bolted up the road for the win…. Eros Poli eat your heart out.

    You are the best! Mention me and Eros Poli in the same sentence and I’m good for the day. I’m dreaming of having Eros lead the 2013 Keeper Tour in Italy…that would be a tour to remember.

    —and one Tour i would happily swim from New Zealand with my bike on my back for…

  21. I know I’m late on this, but surely vaughters (There is no “V” there) telling Garmin not to ride with Faboo and theVVoodsman a minute up the road in the RVV with the team having done nothing all spring rates as a more anti-V than at P-R.

    At the end of the day, Right Douchebag, Wrong Moment.

  22. @Oli

    @frankPick one?? What the hell? Why should he, and what kind of dumb-ass DS would he be if he made that call and got it wrong? He was playing both cards at the same time in a fluid situation and it worked out perfectly for the Team.

    And things are right in the universe again.

  23. I enjoy this site. Really, I do… But I have never seen such a collection of pussies as the people who contribute stories to this place. The fact that there is a list of rules is so “anti-V” that I fear the irony is lost on most of you. I laugh. At you.

  24. @Calmante

    I enjoy this site. Really, I do… But I have never seen such a collection of pussies as the people who contribute stories to this place. The fact that there is a list of rules is so “anti-V” that I fear the irony is lost on most of you. I laugh. At you.

    Ignorance is bliss. Therefore you must be very happy, Stay, read, and learn. Remember, if you are going to be a jackass, be a funny jackass (Rule #43). If you can’t abide by that just stay off the fucking site and let us happy pussies.

  25. @Oli
    I updated the definition of Anti-V to help you understand that this isn’t about whether he did anything wrong to play both sides, but that it is a perfect example of the Anti-V.

    @Calmante
    You left off “idiots”.

    As a matter of proving that last point, I am unable to understand how if we were to stop contributing stories to this place and took down The Rules, how there would be much left? Maybe you would like us to just put the logo up, and leave it at that. Its an idea, anyway…

  26. Aw, man, and i was thinking about sending in a guest article for consideration. Damn. Guess that makes me an almost-pussy. I laugh. At Robot Chicken.

  27. @Calmante

    I enjoy this site. Really, I do… But I have never seen such a collection of pussies as the people who contribute stories to this place. The fact that there is a list of rules is so “anti-V” that I fear the irony is lost on most of you. I laugh. At you.

    I knew a tranny hooker once called Calmante. Is that you baby?

  28. @frank
    I don’t think JV showed any of the “wheel-sucking, bragging, and poor sportsmanship” attributes you ascribe to him at all. In fact, I think he showed guts and panache in playing the race out as he did, therefore I still utterly dispute your Anti-V call.

  29. Scale911: Tranny? Hooker? Who Calmante?!

    @Calmante

    If The Anti-V is the based on the inverse of Rule #5, the contradiction of claiming that having rules is against the rules is most likely to have caused you to disappear up your own ‘rse.

  30. @Calmante

    I enjoy this site. Really, I do… But I have never seen such a collection of pussies as the people who contribute stories to this place. The fact that there is a list of rules is so “anti-V” that I fear the irony is lost on most of you. I laugh. At you.

    The funny thing about the Rules is that it is the litmus test for getting this site and I do mean the funny thing… So even though you have failed the first test there is a slight possibility of redemption – of course for true redemption you have to love Bob Marley – “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.”

  31. @TommyTubolare

    Yes well the whole aero thing has been a typical UCI mess for a while now.

    How do you permit shoe covers but not a cover on a helmet vent ?

    Why permit aero skin suits but not the Bont Crono shoes ?

    They really wouldn’t know their arse from their elbow, and would almost certainly ban one of them.

  32. @ChrisO

    I think the UCI has come in for the greatest number of criticisms in this post, after Frhank for picking what he did… possibly something telling there. @Marcus

    @Calmante

    I enjoy this site. Really, I do… But I have never seen such a collection of pussies as the people who contribute stories to this place. The fact that there is a list of rules is so “anti-V” that I fear the irony is lost on most of you. I laugh. At you.

    I knew a tranny hooker once called Calmante. Is that you baby?

    Just because it goes Baa doesn’t mean you get to call it whatever you want. Calmante’s a rediculous name for a sheep.

  33. With the exception of Anjin-san, those were all pretty hilarious responses, and that’s why I enjoy this site.

    However, the vast majority of the rules are ridiculously anti-V and make riders look like a bunch of whiny ass bitches, not hardmen. How about a recall of most of the rules? It’s not too late to salvage them.

    More relevantly, though, is that Vaughters has a lot of panache and doesn’t deserve this distinction. Secondly, the very act of calling someone anti-V is, in and of itself, anti-V. Can’t you see that? Harden the Fuck Up, for Pete’s sake! It’s fine to recognize V moments, but the whining, oh man, the whining… Vaughters may be one of the greates directeurs to ever grace the sport.

    @chris Above all else, Rule V, right? Why are most of the rules about image, though? They seriously need to be culled, starting with the wussiest.

    It’s funny, this obsession with looking pro, because pros are some of the most vain, insecure people I know. Saddle height, bar drop, bar reach, hood angle (oh, hood angle!) is set as arbitrarily as it is by the greenest noob. I love reading cyclingnews.com for the pro bike features, where you get these millimeter-accurate measurements, many of which are simply made up, as if there was some miracle formula that they used. Retul? BG Fit? It’s for chumps with money to spend, not pros. That was a tangent… Maybe I’m just a bitter old man at this point.

  34. Additionally, I’d like to apologize for being a jackass, especially an unfunny one.

  35. @Calmante
    Well done, it takes some stones to apologize in a public forum. That said, I may just be a redneck from North Carolina, but where I am from when you poke your head into a new group of people and call them pussies you can generally expect a cold reception if not an ass whoopin. So harden the fuck up, or go cry somewhere else. What I like about this site, the previous statement notwithstanding, is that we talk cycling and pick on the prima donnas of our sport (who deserve all the shit we give them because they are not Jens Voight), not each other. All that said, if you can ride as well as you talk shit, I couldn’t hold your wheel for 30 seconds ; )

  36. @Oli

    @frank
    I don’t think JV showed any of the “wheel-sucking, bragging, and poor sportsmanship” attributes you ascribe to him at all. In fact, I think he showed guts and panache in playing the race out as he did, therefore I still utterly dispute your Anti-V call.

    You’re not the only one. And you’re still wrong!

    @TommyTubolare

    So his rider wins PR and gets The V award and yet you award his DS with The Anti-V?

    You’re missing the point. First off, the blame is not entirely on JV – also on Faboo and Hushovd. And, it has not so much to do with the race or the result, but with the specific MOMENT – which is why it is called the Anti-V Moment of the year and not the Anti-V Race/Rider/Minute/Hour or any other unit.

    Two riders sitting around allowing the race to go up the road while a DS tells them they should wait for the dropped guy is just oozing Anti-V.

  37. @Calmante

    It’s funny, this obsession with looking pro, because pros are some of the most vain, insecure people I know. Saddle height, bar drop, bar reach, hood angle (oh, hood angle!) is set as arbitrarily as it is by the greenest noob. I love reading cyclingnews.com for the pro bike features, where you get these millimeter-accurate measurements, many of which are simply made up, as if there was some miracle formula that they used. Retul? BG Fit? It’s for chumps with money to spend, not pros. That was a tangent… Maybe I’m just a bitter old man at this point.

    It really goes beyond Looking Pro – and has a lot more to do with Looking Fantastic, which a subset of Pros do. Just because a Pro does something doesn’t make it look good. Quite on the contrary, in fact. But many Pros serve as a great example of exactly how to Look Fantastic, and that’s where we take inspiration from.

    Is it vain? Yes, absolutely. Does it make it more fun to wander out to your bike, in the pouring rain, knowing you look the fucking business in your knickers that are adjusted exactly the right way, with your arm warmers and gilet – with your cap under your helmet perfectly placed and your glasses perched in your helmet? Hell yes.

    Do you feel better climbing that twenty km climb with your jersey unzipped completely, flapping in the wind like a badass? Hell yeah.

    Looking Pro serves as a motivation to ride better, harder, and stronger – and have more fun doing it. If you can ride just as hard and have just as much fun with a YJA, hairy guns, and wearing tennis shoes, there is not one single reason why you should care about The Rules.

    On the other hand, if you can laugh at yourself, admit you’re having a ball, and find motivation through looking the business and getting out on your bike, then you are in the right place.

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