Velominati Super Prestige: Amstel Gold Race 2012

Joop and Steven break clear in Amstel Gold

When people think of the The Netherlands, they generally think of flat lands, windmills, and a topography where people claim to “live at elevation” when their home on the third floor of a building. Never the less, this is not entirely true as The Motherland does, in its most southern reaches, boast quite hilly terrain; the province of Limburg juts out into the Ardennes region which is famous in Belgium for the short, steep climbs typical of a geography hewn from high plains by flowing water. Its the perfect place for a bike race.

This Sunday marks the official end of the Cobbled Classics, and the begging of the Ardennes Classics. The big, heavy riders who go well on the cobbles will take a back seat to lighter but powerful rouleurs who can go uphill quickly for a few kilometers. A Grimpeur may be able to gain the upper hand, but only if they go climb quickly enough to shed the stronger riders with fast finishes. Last year we saw Philippe Gilbert use the Amstel Gold Race to start his astonishing streak of wins, finishing off all the Ardennes races with his fast finish. However, if a Lexicon entry is enough to condemn a rider’s chances, then the recent addition of Gilbackwards should seal his fate. Valverde is back from suspension and going as well as ever, and he could well be the man for this season.

The Ardennes Classics also serve as an indicator for the Grand Tours. The Giro is just around the corner, and the Tour de France only a few months away. Riders will be eager to measure themselves against one another and see who is ahead and who is behind schedule (I’m looking at you, Grimplette). Then there are the upsets and the kamikaze breakaways to consider; Jens Voigt has been close in these hills before, can he close the sale this year?

Check the start list and watch the countdown timer as picks close at 5am Pacific on Sunday; up for grabs is the personalized Velominati Shop Apron to the contestent who wins the season-long competition. Check the Main VSP page for scoring guidelines and rules. Also don’t be alarmed if your post doesn’t show up in the sidebar; in an effort go cut down on the noise caused by the VSP, we’re now filtering out the posts that only contain someone’s picks and no further content; don’t worry – they still count and they’ll still show up in the main feed; they’re just being filtered out of the “Recent Posts” feed.

Good luck.

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262 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Amstel Gold Race 2012”

  1. @sthilzy
    Yours went in a while ago – just before mine did, so you’re fine:



    1. Joaquin Rodriguez
    2. P Sagan
    3. A Valverde
    4. S Gerrans
    5. P Gilbert

    You were probably looking at the side bar looking for your post? – picks with no comments don’t show up there so they don’t clog up the comment feed.
    Anyhoo – those picks are in. Happy travels.


    1. Valverde Alejandro
    2. Rodriguez Joaquin
    3. Vanendert Jelle
    4. Freire Oscar
    5. Sanchez Samuel

  3. Shhhiiiiiitee, only just got back in internet range, hope this gets in in time!


    1. Cadelephant
    2. Sammy Sanchez
    3. P. Sagan
    4. Simon Gerrans
    5. E. Boss Hag

  4. @Rigid
    I wish. I came home with whatever it was ailing Gianni. Been a long, touch and go week with few miles in the legs.

    Glad you’re enjoying the German countryside. Plenty of great riding to be had.

  5. I’m surprised Gilbert is at the front of the bunch, considering his recent form.

  6. What a wonderful decision the director made to show the whole peloton come over the Kuetenberg. So good to see the suffering etc etc. Ouch.

  7. Freire atatcking? Never thought he’d be a contender in the uphill finish. Dang, knew he wanted to do well to to spite his old team. Wonder if he’ll pull it off?

  8. @Sauterelle

    Wow. Wasn’t expecting that finish!

    No kidding! What was the top 5 Anyways? I think I stunk up this VSP royally!

  9. That was a surprise. Who finished 4th and 5th? Other than with Sagan, is anyone getting VSP points?

  10. 1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team 6:32:35
    2 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
    3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
    4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
    5 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
    6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team

    Cycling news brief results. Goose egg for me!

  11. Provisional results – looked to me like it may have been Voekler over the line before Gilbackwards, but I could be wrong. Stand by.

    [vsp_results id=”15339″]

  12. That is the beauty of bike racing. I have exactly ZERO points and I loved that finish.

  13. @Erik

    That is the beauty of bike racing. I have exactly ZERO points and I loved that finish.

    I agree!!

    Ugh, my original picks had Vanendert and Freire in and I took them out!

  14. Heh. I told the VMH that apparently I need to be sick every week to help with the picks.

    She wasn’t keen on the idea.

    Nor am I.

  15. @Erik

    That is the beauty of bike racing. I have exactly ZERO points and I loved that finish.

    Exactly! For a moment there I was actually rooting for Piti! Man, the VSP makes for strange bedfellows at times.

  16. I knew Enrico rode well a couple of years ago, but I really did not expect this.

    For me, this was the most exciting finish of a (semi)classic this year.

  17. @Bill
    I’m sick as a dog at my brother’s place in Scotland. And I also blame @Gianni. Still, got to watch Amstel live at a hospitable time, which was nice…

  18. Damn that was close and intially I put Vanendert in second. I will get my revenge at Liege (the only certainty at Fleche Wallone is that only the last 500m matter).

  19. Wow, that was probably the best spectating at any of the races this tour… great atmosphere on the Cauberg and then in the town later, and awesome hanging out with @harminator Rick and Sarah, and David from Melbourne (but not really from Melbourne).

  20. We had the perfect spot. Great view up & down the Cauberg. Beer stand: 2 metres. Frites and squirrel dog stand 3 metres. Port a loo 10 metres (critical!). Met Brett, Dave was drawn to the gold marsupial…

    The beer was called Amstel Gold: The only words we recognised over the PA all day.

    Main group lap 1:

    Cuddles rode like his dog but looked immaculate:

    The Cat went for glory:

    Terpstra chased:

  21. Yeah, he chased. We had no idea who won. Just watched the finish – great win for Gasparotto. (Who?)

  22. And then, as the crowds made there way down from the hill, the winner already on the podium, a lone figure appears through the gloom.

    “Oh look, it’s a Schleck” someone joked. But then we realised it was indeed a Schleck, and then it was just a bit sad.

  23. Almost as sad – this old bloke whose wife can’t bear to look at him anymore…

    Steampunk – I got alot of chaff. This is the wheat.

  24. And the awesome photos continue to roll in! Thanks lads for the great shots. Still feeling as if I’m in Europe for the third week in a row!

    Pedale – love that shot – the calm, cool dude in the middle of a turbulent pre-race sea!

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