Velominati Super Prestige: Giro de Lombardia

Lombardia 2008

The race of the falling leaves; this Classic of cycling is a circuit course around Lake Como in the lakes district of northern Italy. It’s the last chance to save a season for those whose season needs saving. For the riders who have been at it since the Tour Down Under this is one race too many, others will climb off at the first feed, muttering basta!  If you’ve had an injury or missed a chunk of the regular summer season, getting back into form for this race is your last gasp for greatness, as it is for the Velominati Super Prestige series, the coveted shop apron will be awarded at the conclusion of this race. The renting of lycra and cursing of the gods will be heard as the elusive apron slips out of all but one Velominatus’ hands.

The unstoppable Cadel Evans will be relegated to his not-so-resplendent BMC kit, all powerful Thor has extended his season to honor the Arc en Ciel Jersey. Bettini won Lombardia in his Worlds jersey after a Rule #5 solo descent to the line. Can Thor do the same? Fellow Italian Cunego has also soloed away to victory here. Last year Gilbert won a two-up sprint from Sammy Sanchez ahead of a chasing group. For 2010 the course has been made longer and harder, as if it wasn’t already.

Lombardia is rarely won in a field sprint, whoever goes on the last climbs and can descend without crashing (I’m looking at you Frank Schleck) has a chance. This is an Italian race, a home race for the Squadra and that has to be factored in. It’s an all a-rounder’s race, not for the pure climbers, pure sprinters, or big roulers. Fabian Cancellara has it on his punch list but I don’t think it’s going to happen this year. Look to the Worlds results, factor in who still is hungry and has form, who is a strong-man who can get his climb on after too many kilometers, add the Italian factor and you might have a handful of possible winners.

Check out the rules and scoring here, and good luck.

Paulo showing how it’s done, techno-beat style.


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29 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Giro de Lombardia”

  1. 1. Bugle-song (far-fetched, but I like the kid)
    2. Nibbles
    3. Sammy’s Sandwich
    4. Irishman Martin
    5. Pip Giblets

    …and Steampunk for the apron. I pencilled Gesink in ftw about a month ago, and that’s shot my whole plans for Lombardy. Would love to see King Thor stick with the climbers in order to show them all how to descend, but my sense is he’s showcasing the rainbows for Cervelo out of duty and his season’s over. What the hell are we going to do with ourselves after this weekend?

  2. @Steampunk
    NO. FUCKING. WAY. I predict maybe 2 points for that pick, mate.

    Here’s where it’s at:

    1) Le Grand Frere Grimpeur. There isn’t a man in the bunch with a more Magnificent Stroke. Knees tucked in, long, lanky, power, grace. You can’t beat that shit, except mabye be racing a bike faster or staying on it in the twisty bits. It’s like the nose on a 1997 Bordeaux. Unfortunately, like a ’97 Bordeaux, if you didn’t coddle it and fucking keep it perfectly, by now it’s all fucking corked and stinky and will give you gut rot. But Frank doesn’t have gut rot. He just needs to win another massive race. And that will happen tomorrow.
    2) Does anyone care about who looses? There’s no way anyone will loose to Frankie boy in a sprint, except Contador, but we all know he has to be solo to win. Which he will be. What happens behind? Well, put me in for a Gilbert second place – also solo. He can win a gallop, but he has the class to avoid the waiting game. Why wait for a sprint for second when you can escape and go for the win – even though you narrowly miss the Grimpelder?
    3) Cunego has done nothing, why not get third?
    4) Riccardo Needle, assuming he’s starting. He’s bound to want to prove that doping still works, and will likely show.
    5) Danilo Di Luca will do so many drugs in 2011 that he will invariably travel back in time to earn 5th place before his ban ends.

  3. 1. Nibbly Knees-up
    2. Dr Phil Gilabert
    3. Le Grand Grimpeur
    4. Samuel Sandshoe
    5. No idea but I like Irish Martin and, as we now know, you don’t fuck with the Irish

  4. whether The Sweater buys him a good or bad bottle of wine, Our Hero Thor! will not win tomorrow:

    “I’ve signed with Garmin and so I have a contract with them for 2011. I’m going to have dinner tonight to talk about he the future. That’s it,” he said, admitting he will drink one glass of wine if Vaughters picks an expensive vintage.

  5. @all
    We’ll allow you through midway through the race to enter your picks this time – on account of us being a bit late to get the bugger up.

  6. Hmm … another 1,000,000 to 1 shot. I suspect some less well known Italians will be in there at the final knockings rather than my collection of favourites, but here goes ….

    1. Gilbert
    2. Nibbles
    3. Sammy Sanchez
    4. Cuddles
    5. Scarponi

  7. Here is where I finally put myself deep down in the standings.

    1. Giovanni Visconti-if I keep picking him, some year it will pay off
    2. Gilbert- close but no one should repeat too often
    3. Vincenzo Nibali-I’m just picking cool italian names now
    4. Thor-because he is a badass
    5. Danny boy Martin-not really

  8. 1: Evans above. Showing that even without a stripey top, he’s still got some big nads, and he ain’t trading in the V.

    I’m going out on a limb here, I’ve got nothing to lose, so…

    Bunch gallop for 2: EBH
    3: Paolini
    5: Sagan

  9. frank :@Steampunk
    NO. FUCKING. WAY. I predict maybe 2 points for that pick, mate.

    Dude! That’s not nice.

    Interesting stat: so far as I can work out, not Spaniard has ever won the Giro di Lombardia. Now I wonder if I should revise my picks and promote Sammy’s Sandwich. Head says no, but my left ankle can be pretty persuasive. I’ll need to mull on my ride…

  10. Alright, lads, we’ve got a tie between Ken and Mr. Haven each with seven points. Ken entered his pick before Mr. Haven, which gives him the Obey the Rules Bumper Sticker. Well done!

  11. Thanks Frank. Great end to the race. Plenty of Rule #5 and #9 on show. Great move by Gilbert where he stuck it in the big ring, put the hammer down and Scarponi was caught searching for gears.

    Beginner’s luck for me again….!!

  12. Early VSP for the giro. Danny “The Mouth” di Luca. Of course that is if he is still alive. Many Italians who turn State’s evidence often end up sleeping with the fishes.
    Hope this recidivist has nailed some big names to get such a big letoff.

  13. This from Blazin’ Saddles made me chuckle:

    Still on the doping front, the riders competing in this weekend’s Tour of Lombardy have decided to delay the start of the race by 10 whole minutes in protest to the claims made by Ettore Torri, CONI’s anti-doping head, that they are all at it.

    Apparently the protest was the idea of Liquigas’s Roman Kreuziger, displaying a level of influence inversely proportional to his grip on the peloton once actually in the saddle. Still, it won’t be the first time Kreuziger has lost ten minutes this season.

  14. Well done Ken. Gilbert has V aplenty…. I reckon the rainbow jersey will be his one day.

  15. Thanks Dave. Agree – with the right sort of course, he’s got a great chance …

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