Velominati Super Prestige: 2011 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal

The Hope of a Nation. Photo: Velonews

Americans love making fun of Canada. I suppose that even the very fact that we call ourselves “American’s” and not “United Statesians” is a bit of a slap in Canada’s face, but the fact of the matter is that, apart from their odd unit of measure and equally odd postal system, there isn’t much wrong with Canada. In fact, Canada even hosts the only North American cycling event that we consider worthy of a VSP; the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. (That’s not entirely true; we consider the GP Cycliste Québec, which took place today, to be equally worthy, but we got our timing wrong and everyone knows that revising your model is better than admitting you made a mistake.)

The eastern part of Canada has it all: hills, towns filled with a European atmosphere, and – most importantly – cycling fanatics. Indeed, this is a serious race which boasts serious statistics; with 4,000 meters of climbing over 200 kilometers, it surely stands alongside classics like La Doyenne in terms of sheer difficulty. But unlike the classics and more like a World Championship course, the GP Cycliste Montréal is contested over a circuit, which is good for the fans and gives the riders ample opportunity to decide where they will launch their winning move or, more likely, which of the steep hills will stamp their ticket to the Hurt Locker when the spindly Dutch climbers move to the front and pump up the jam.

But knowing a few things about a course doesn’t make picking a winner any easier. If GP Cycliste Québec showed us anything, it’s that always gambling on the Big Rider with the Big Name doesn’t assure one of getting any points. Besides, what’s the fun in always picking the same bloke? Take a look at the start list, because the geniuses over at the UCI Scheduling Committee made sure to schedule this in conflict with the Vuelta, so not everyone you want to see will be on the startlist.  Use your Powers of Deductionâ„¢ to decide your Top V, fill in the blanks and pick up an Obey The Rules bumper sticker for your trouble.

Good luck.

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87 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: 2011 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal”

  1. Due to some IT imposed exile I’ve missed a few weeks on here. Let’s see if my VSP skills have improved any…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. EBH
    2. Hoogerland
    3. P Gilbert
    4. Hesjedal
    5. M Gilbert

  2. while i know the majority of this is highly unlikely, i could give a shit less either way. i just want to watch the thing and see what happens which i also won’t get to do due to working SAG stops for unprepared century hounds…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. gilbert
    2. van garderen
    3. hesjedal
    4. hoogerland
    5. i am not ted king

  3. VSP PICKS:

    1. Boss Hogg
    2. Ryder
    3. Sammy Saycheez
    4. Giblets
    5. Welcome to Hoogerland

  4. Hello! Here my picks!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. P. Gilbert
    2. R. Hesjedal
    3. A. Ballan
    4. R. Di Gregorio
    5. J. Hoogerland

  5. While quebec is always steep be it downhill or uphill with only one flat portion in the middle but very windy ( it is the coastal road of the st-lawrence river)and favors more puncheur like Boss hogg and L’ours des ardennes. Montréal is more for the climber with one relatively big hill, then downhill to the next hill and then downhill right to a bit before the start/finish line where it goes back to the sky. As for québec probably the last 5km are all uphill and for the last 1k-500m with a headwind. During the sprint challenge, if i remember well, they never got faster than 50kph and that was with about the same conditions as today.

    I also had the chance to see the rider before the start, Boss hogg is very shy and not talking alot ( i just realised too that the whole sky team sitted beside me during the sprint challenge watching their teammate Jeremy Hunt race and talks to a velonews editor). Gilbert is very relax,calm but dont talk alot too, while local hero david veilleux was talking to everybody while Hoogerland was just a ghost, we saw him pass like if he was not there, it took many of us a while to realize that the giant that passed us was Hoogerland. And Dirty sanchez is injuried, got in a accident wednesday and while at the press conference he said he would be alright, when he got off, you could clearly see that he had trouble walking.

    For the race as entertainment, get there on a bike( so you can move from place to place quickly) and go for the start unlees you can wait for hours to keep your spot at the finish line you are better off checking every rider before the start and then go watch confortably on the tv. The challenge sprint was more interesting for spectator, and that 4-5% climb as the last part of sprint made thing very interesting, it was also fun to see all the different tactics than you can use in those kind of sprint. In the final, they were almost at a walking pace right until the 250m mark before the sprint started while in some, a rider would attack right at the beginning and try to keep his lead for the whole kilometer.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Hedjesdal
    2. Gerrans
    3. Leipheimer
    4. Pierre Rolland
    5. Gesink

  6. Clearly I have no idea what I’m doing. But, apparently, Ryder knows what’s up. He gets all the cute girls.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Phillip Gilbert
    2. Simon Gerrans
    3. Ryder Hesjedal
    4. Tejay Van Garderen
    5. Svein Tuft

  7. ridden this many x. super great circuit for a race. the road is really beaten up in spots though the section up and down the mont royal has been repaved now. it’s super tough so there will be a selection but the winner likely decided on tactics. don’t recall seeing anyone strong enough to ride away on their own if the pack wanted to chase. all the tops will be heavily marked, maybe setting the stage for a strong non-favorite to get away. best team with more than one guy left near the end could win with the #2 taking off as the #1 will get marked out.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. sagan
    2. lloyd
    3. sanchez

  8. VSP PICKS:

    1. Ryder #1
    2. Gesynk #2
    3. Leiphymer #3
    4. Gylbert #4
    5. Boassyn-Hagen

  9. Gilbert goes to the front with one lap to go at the GP de Q.
    At Noodle 3.

  10. You know a race is hard when hincapie, bossaon haggen, sanchez and about 100 or more rider abandons the race. That was brutal. Now i gotta use that circuit for training

  11. I clearly don’t know what I’m doing. I’m off over to waterskiing.com to lay down my picks for the upcoming world slalom champs.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Hayden Roulston
    2. Ryder
    3. Gerrans
    4. Vande Velde
    5. Michael Barry

  12. VSP PICKS:

    1. Ryder
    2. Vande Velde
    3. Phillip Gilbert
    4. Leiphymer
    5. Tom Danielson

  13. VSP PICKS:

    1. Boss Hogg
    2. Ryder
    3. Sammy Saycheez
    4. Gesink
    5. giblets

  14. I finally picked Gilbert today for the win and it didn’t count! Here’s hoping that he can do the double!!!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Gesink
    3. Hesjedal
    4. Ciolek
    5. Cunego

  15. Good effort by Kitchen Sink today, but really just a toy for Badass Phil to play with

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Fast Phil
    2. Johnny Hoooooooo
    3. Flecha
    4. Jelle Funnyface
    5. A Balloon

  16. He was always in the peloton right to the finish, the peleton just didnt have the legs to bridge the gaps. The peeton on the last laps was like 30 rider big and there was no gruppetto , if a guys was dropped he would stop by the hotel and go straight to bed.

  17. Eh, Hoo knows?
    Lets give some of these other fellas a try, ok Phil?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Pierre Rolland
    2. Rui da Costa
    3. Ryder Hesjadal
    4. Giblets
    5. EBH

  18. VSP PICKS:

    1. Hesjedal
    2. Leipheimer
    3. Phil Liggett
    4. Tommy D
    5. Gilbert

  19. Um, yeah. Who knows? My magic eight ball told me that Hesjedal would get away solo, Gesink would bridge, but Hesjedal would take him in the final 100 meters. Meanwhile, an amazing chase behind is denied the win but Phil Gilbert picks up the final podium spot.

    Or, I bet he wins jus like he did in Quebec.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Hesjedal
    2. Gesink
    3. Gilbert
    4. Boasson Hagen
    5. Leipheimer

  20. VSP PICKS:

    1. Edvald Boasson Hogen
    2. Gilbert
    3. Gesink
    4. Sagan
    5. Vande Velde

  21. VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Boassen Hagen
    3. Hejsedal
    4. Davis
    5. Gilbert

  22. Gilbert cannot possibly win again, so I’m going with Gilbert.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Levi
    3. Gesink
    4. Rydah
    5. Hoogy

  23. Who the hell knows. I’ll be riding my new bike then going to work

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. EBH
    3. Gilbert
    4. Hoogerland
    5. Gerrans

  24. @LA Dave

    Gilbert cannot possibly win again, so I’m going with Gilbert.
    VSP PICKS:
    1. Gilbert

    such is the logic of 2011 – he is fucking awesome – even my Mrs was gigling as he dived in and out of, and teased the breakaway yesterday, and she doesn’t even know how it works – panache transcends all

    @RedRanger

    Who the hell knows. I’ll be riding my new bike then going to work

    Just right, and we will all be riding your bike too???? (@xyxax – is that how it works??)

  25. VSP PICKS:

    1. Edvald Boasson Hagen
    2. Gilbert
    3. Hoogerland
    4. Leipheimer
    5. Hejsedal

  26. I really have no idea

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Gilbert
    3. Hesjedal
    4. Ebh
    5. Gesink

  27. Refusing to pick Phil Gil has worked a treat thus far in 2011, so…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Thibault mother fuckin’ Pinot
    3. Hesjedal
    4. Roulston
    5. Wegmann

  28. VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Gerrans
    3. Ryder
    4. Gesink
    5. Hincapie

  29. Anyone else notice GarVelo’s absence in Quebec? Back to their early spring non-factoring. Sky looked weak, too, until Uran picked it up at the end.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gesink
    2. JC Peraud
    3. Pete Rolland
    4. Ten Dam
    5. Barry

  30. VSP PICKS:

    1. PhilGil
    2. Ryder on the storm
    3. Duran Duran
    4. Gessing
    5. Gerran getit

  31. Did I make the time cut?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Gerrans
    3. EBH
    4. Ryder
    5. Gesink

  32. How are we feeling about Gilbert’s streak this season? He’s showing some Merckxian form here, with what appears to be the longest peak in history.

    Loads of panache, loads of the V, no doubt. A streak like this is possible, I suppose, if he’s so much better than the rest that he can win without peaking, but that’s not really the way the sport has been tracking lately, with the gaps between riders getting small, not bigger.

    I’m starting to pick up whiffs of chemical after-smell.

  33. @frank

    Say it aint so Joe…

    I think you’re being a trifle harsh – it’s not like he was an also-ran who has turned into a phenomenon overnight. He started last season in similar form but couldn’t maintain it as long, which suggest evolution rather than (drug-induced) revolution.

    And his feats have not bee Merckian, in the sense that he wasn’t able to pull it out for a grand tour. He did well at the start of the TDF and then faded, as would be expected.

    Personally I think Gilbert is awesome – no rider has excited and inspired me so much since Pantani (unfortunate associations aside).

    Frankly (and don’t tell Scaler) if I had to, with a pro-cyclist, it would be Gilbert.

  34. @ChrisO
    Fair enough, and I’m certainly not accusing him of doping, I’m just starting to have a bit of the suspicions. It’s a long peak he’s been running and I think in the climate we’re in, it’s only natural to ask the question, “Is this reasonable?”

    But don’t forget, the days of the drug-induced spike in performance are long gone – that was the stuff of steroids and amphetamines before EPO. These days, the top riders are on regimens that bring their body up to this level gradually and hold it for long periods – just look at Pharmy’s 7 Tours. That’s no flash in the pan, but the notion that he rode those clean has long since gone the way of the whippoorwill, n’est pas?

    To be clear, wondering if he’s on drugs has nothing to do with liking him. The racing is spectacular and that’s enough for me. My list of favorite riders reads like a who’s-who in doping; Ullrich, Pantani, Basso, Hamilton, Di Luca…Doping is a part of our sport, like it or not. I’d prefer that it be clean, but…

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