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. @frank
    Are you one of those Motorcus cranks from last year, too?

    Actually, I think we might look back on 2011 as a bit of a transition year. I mean, in terms of the one-day races, who else is there? Who, realistically, was going to beat Gilbert? Looking at the races he’s won (and I can’t help thinking I would have come out well ahead just by putting $20 on him to win every one-day race he entered), teams have seemed out of sorts, and no other rider has shown the same combination of tactical savvy and grinta (I wonder what no radios yesterday meant in Quebec? Surely: Advantage Gilbert).

    The real revelation of 2011 has been the under-25 set: Eddy the Boss, Sagan, Phinney, Fuglsang, Kittel, etc. It’s great to know that cycling is in such good hands””I’m already salivating for 2015! But who’s really ready to compete for the one-days on a serious basis? Look at past winners: they’re either very long in the tooth or have run into various doping allegations. Add to that that Gilbert is one very special athlete, and I think you can start to get a sense of his dominance this year. He’s just that much strong, faster, smarter. The only thing that is extraordinary is the extended consistency, but even then, he hasn’t looked overwhelmingly fast in an inhuman kind of way. Compare with Spartacus from last year’s Spring Classics (and I’m inclined to think he was legit), who blew the field out of the water: Gilbert’s wins look more like he has an extra commitment to the V than to being ridiculously superior. He just wants to win that much more and can bury himself just that little bit deeper than the rest. It seems psychological more than physical if you ask me.

    Of course, my new glasses prescription called for rose-colored lenses…

  2. @frank
    I’m not ready to go that far yet. He seems to have a modus operandi: finish strong on uphill finishes. He’s not riding away from anyone until the last kilometer. We all seem to pick him a winner on races with that profile. It can’t be too steep. The race can’t be too long. He’s not a GC guy. He’s not a P-R guy. As for the Canada races, he stated he’s motivated to overtake Good Cadelephant for the World’s number 1. Now that he’s done that, he may take it a little easier to rest a touch for the Worlds. I think I can accept a two-peak season when the peaks are far apart–Spring Classics and Worlds. But by no means am I a chamois sniffer. If he gets caught grabbing the brass ring on the Pharmaceutical Merry-Go-Round, I won’t defend him.

  3. If we’d had a VSP for today’s Paris-Brussels, I wonder if we would have all finished with 0 points. I couldn’t pick the top-5 finishers out of a line up if I had to.

  4. @frank
    I don’t know but it’s possible he can do what he does because he focuses on one-day racing and stage wins in stage races. Not doing GC racing means he doesn’t need extra terrestrial help with recovery. Also, he’s always been absurdly strong, e.g., his early Het Volk wins, where he went from a long way out. Now, with more experience, he knows how to deploy his strength to maximum effect. I.e., he has learned the essential art of classics racing, which is to attack as late as possible but before the other guy. He used to try to win from much further out. So,


    1. PhilGil
    2. bOSShOG
    3. Gesink
    4. Hope
    5. Gerrans

  5. Easy conclusion to come to, and clear hangover persisting from last 20 years – I do hope he is clean

    Speed always make you a better tactician, but he just seems to play it right so often, albeit with a bit of extra gas, but he seems to know when he’s going to blow and wait for asistance, rarely finds himself out of position, and I think he just digs it a bit harder than others – he was doing squares at the end of yesterday’s race, albeit not quite as spectacularly as Gesink was (Cobo makes me much more suspicious) – he’s also only done one grand tour, unlike so many others, which may have helped him stay strong

    I imagine the aura he has created about himself must be pretty disturbing for those trying to take him on, especially in that aggressive looking uber cool Belgian Road Champ strip, which makes him look like the devil hovering about the front of the peleton, waiting to take souls – just makes me tingle watching him race, which is what it’s all about – fingers crossed

  6. “Gilbert’s wins look more like he has an extra commitment to The V.”

    Mmmm hmm. I’m going with this one. I think it was you, Steampunk, who posted a quotation (statement) from Millar (?) along the lines of “Racing with Phil sucks. He told us when & where he was going to go, then he went, and all I could do was watch.

    He just seems fast, stronger, and better able to grind it out on those steep finishes than others.

  7. @Steampunk

    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.

    Garmin and sky were probably leading the peleton for 10-12 tour of the race. They were always at the front whatever was happening in front but then when rabobank turned thing to 11, many ( and i mean hundreds) guys got dropped by the change of pace directly in a 12% climb. It was brutal, out of 176 starting riders, 76 riders finished. And even at the finish Garmin was still hauling the peloton to try to bring back the breakaway.

    As for Sky, they hauled the peleton for the first half of the race for Boss hogg but he didnt had the leg so they let Garmin do the job and then when Uran went they were all happy to have one of their teamate at the front so they lifted. Tom Barry still got in the top 20 while hauling the peleton for a long time.


    1. Gilbert Grape
    2. Ten Dam
    3. Spilak
    4. Hoogerland
    5. Amador Bakkazakova

  9. @RedRanger

    And Saxo Bank keeps on rolling. Love him or hate him but Riis can run a team.

    As to Gilbear, I posted my colours to the mast earlier that the playing field has been leveled by improvements in controls – which would let outstanding athletes stand out.

  10. I hoping to double my zero points from the Vuelta here.


    1. Chill Bear
    2. EBH
    3. Ryder Rides Bikes
    4. Gerrans
    5. Jerome Pineau

  11. I love how no one at Leotard-Schleck told Mercedes that Nissan would be nearer the top of the masthead at the new Radio Luxembourg. Mercedes had a multi-year contract. Wonder what the contract buyout is gonna cost?

  12. I’ll be there watching the race in person!


    1. Tejay Van Garderen
    2. Philippe Gilbert
    3. Levi Eggtimer
    4. Robert Gesink
    5. Edvald Bossen Hagen

  13. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    +1 Radio Luxembourg – nice styling

    might turn out to be just a rumour, but from a pretty knowledgeable source – can’t find anything about it myself – might have come from a twitter feed – makes no sense so hard to believe – that said, Brailsford did say he would buy Faboo if he did come available

    and can you see Faboo driving a Nissan Primera….?

  14. Crap, just realized Sagan will not be racing here as he just won a stage in the vuelta.

  15. @ramenvelo

    Crap, just realized Sagan will not be racing here as he just won a stage in the vuelta.

    We are in the same boat. I have him as winning the thing. Oh well. I’m more pissed I need to go to work when I would rather ride my bike or study for a test.

  16. Prelimanary results:
    1.Ruis da costa
    2 Pierick Fredigo
    3. L’ours des ardennes !!!!!

    Motherfucking gilbert bridging the gap between the 3 rider at the front in the last 500m to go and get 3rd place. WOW. For 4th and 5th i dont know their name but when i get the final result i will post it. There is a omega rider in 4th and a leopard trek rider in 5th

  17. Just got the final 5 top spot
    1 ruis da costa
    2. P.fedrigo
    3. Phil Gil
    4. Reolandts
    5. Denifl

  18. Poor old Roelandts – looked like Gilbert offered to lead him out to the breakaway for the finish, but Gilbert was going so fast he couldn’t get past him!

    Good race

  19. The girlfriend and I had an amazing time at the race. My first pro bike race was so fun, I might write a guest article about my experiences and what I learned.

    Saw the finish from the 100 meter sign, great spot.

  20. credit for sagan? list not our faulty. pretty sure no one got costa or fedrigo. a lot of gilberts, probably strongest but got marked out. tends to work out that way because the mont royal is too far from the finish. can attack there to make a selection but it won’t stick, unless the pack miscalculates. the favorites never get away but dark horses can if there is a miscalculation. sanchez had a go but left his move too late. if he bridges, it probably all comes back together. they won’t tow him to the line. funny thing how this race tends to work out. the winner won’t be a fluke but not likely a favorite either. still remember watching kelly and lemond eye each other while kelly’s guy muller took off for the win.

  21. @chubster
    Hmm, I picked RDC for P2.
    Credit for Sagan? Suggest you meditate on Rule #5.
    Insert prohibited smile facsimilie produced by typing colon and ending parentheses in sequential order here.

  22. There seems to be no better way to miss the entry zone for a VSP event than being in an airplane traveling thousands of km from home and when finally somewhat adjusted to one’s new locale, finding a way to check in with this community, only to discover that, yup, you’ve blown it again. I did it before with La Vuelta and here I am again doing it with the Grand Puba Whateverthisraceis…

    In the words of that great sage Charlie Brown, “Good Grief”.

    Should I simply concede the Sacred Apron at this point? Sigh.

  23. I need to get to this one year soon. PRO bike racing in Montreal in September? Sounds awesome.

  24. don’t you just love him…

    “Honestly, I think that third place is a superb result because I crashed and I was really scared,” Gilbert said. “When I hit the ground I told myself maybe it was over for the world championships. I managed to get back on the bike and I felt better as the race went.”

    He even gains strength from hitting the tarmac!!

  25. Wow, with the point for this race and the point for the Vuelta I have scored a whopping 2 points in the VSP in August. I think I must be just about two months from peaking in the VSP!

  26. Again, sorry for the tardy scoring of the VSP, but better late than never, yeah?

    [vsp_results id=”9446″]

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