Velominati Super Prestige: Gent-Wevelgem 2012

Tom Steels takes his second G-W victory in 1999

Gent conjures up images of the quintessential Flemish city. Age-old medieval architecture rising from the river’s edge is classically Belgian. Gent is also firmly tied to Belgium’s greatest gift to the world, cycling tradition. Many a pro-expat cyclist has relocated to Gent with the hope of testing their mettle in the seat of cycling’s soul. Brad Wiggins and Tyler Farrar are two current stars who come to mind who emigrated to Gent. It is where Wouter Wylant hailed from and I believe it’s where Andrei Tmchil calls home. Wevelgem, while I’m sure a very fine place, boasts only an old German airport constructed in WW1 and a pair of Miss Belgiums (2007 and 2011). But the countryside in between is the ideal place to hold one of cycling’s classics, Gent-Wevelgem.

Some may see it as a semi-classic. That argument held more water when the race was placed in between The Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix in April. Now that it’s been given it’s own weekend on the calendar leading up to Cycling Week, I think it’s fair to say that, while not a Monument, it deserves full classic status. Just look at the list of winners – Van Looy, Merckx, Van Springel, Godefroot, Maertens, Steels, and Boonen. And those are just a smattering of the Belgians. Throw in a few Cipollinis, Mosers, Kellys, and Hinaults and the winners list is a who’s who of hardmen.

That is all well and good but what is really getting me excited about Gent-Wevelgem this year is the Kemmelberg. The Kemmelberg factors virtually every year in the race but what’s different for me this year is the Keepers Tour is staying in Kemmel, very near the fabled climb. I imagine striking out on a morning ride just days after the race to have a go at the climb myself with the other blokes on the tour. I just hope I don’t have to unclip and walk up the damn thing and thank Merckx I don’t have to do it twice if I don’t want to (The racers will complete the climb twice).

There is no such thing as a VSP that is easy to forecast but this one can be particularly tricky. It’s usually one for the sprinters but rather than ending in a bunch gallop it often ends with a sprint from a small selection of riders who make it over the Kemmelberg intact. What does this mean for Mark Cavendish after his dismal day last weekend? Additionally, riding a bloc in this race could risk a premature peak for The Ronde the following week. In which case, maybe you look to guys like Sagan, Haussler, and EBH who are strong and likely to factor in the Monuments but may (and have) lay it all out for a day of Flandrian glory as they plot their up-and-comer status.

Here’s some great footage of the Kemmelberg and many of the other climbs being contested in 2010. It’s all good but if you want to skip to the Kemmelberg it’s featured at 7:30.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvaghC3Qhzg[/youtube]

There are many dudes who seem to be going well right now so get your picks in before 5am PST. Here’s the challenge – think for yourself this time, don’t follow the herd, and you just might put yourself in position to increase your tally for the Shop Apron awarded at the end of the season. Start list here.

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329 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Gent-Wevelgem 2012”

  1. Wow, almost Delgado’d. Here goes nothing. I’m liking my boy Farrar for this one. Just the right size race for him to take. Go go go!

    @harminator
    Yours and Blah’s picks are right there in with your post. Not sure what you think didn’t go right. Clarify?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Farrar
    2. Boss Hog
    3. Sagan
    4. Friar Tuck
    5. Bernie Eisel

  2. Farrar is due

    VSP PICKS:

    1. 141 FARRAR Tyler
    2. 1 BOONEN Tom
    3. 151 CANCELLARA Fabian
    4. 1 SAGAN Peter
    5. 92 FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar

  3. Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavendish
    2. Boonen
    3. Freire
    4. Ballan
    5. Sagan

  4. Last minute change of heart, Cancellara racing would be foolish not to pick him on this form….

    VSP PICKS:

    1. cavendish
    2. Cancellara
    3. farrar
    4. Cabre
    5. Hushovd

  5. VSP PICKS:

    1. Oscar freire
    2. fabian cancellara
    3. tom boonen
    4. greg van avermaet
    5. chavanel

  6. I’m way out of the running, need a virtual breakaway to succeed and have my sprint friendly picks come home.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Freire
    2. Boonen
    3. Goss
    4. Sagan
    5. EBH

  7. Oh is Hushovd in? I didn’t even think to consider him and now that I have, I won’t. Might pay later for that, as well as assuming Cavendish will struggle on the bergs.

  8. Great season

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara
    2. Van avermaet
    3. Sagan
    4. Gerrans
    5. Cavendish

  9. @frank

    @harminator Yours and Blah’s picks are right there in with your post. Not sure what you think didn’t go right. Clarify?

    All good now. Ignore me. I was distracted trying to make friends with Keith.

  10. Hoho, Greenedge putting the pain into the group. That crash could cause some problems…

  11. Wow! I doubted Tomeke and removed him from my picks. I’m an idiot. Can’t wait to see him join RdV on 4 Paris Roubix wins in 2 weeks!

  12. BBBBBOOOOOOONNNNNEEEEENNNN!!!!!!!

    That was a PROPER sprint. No leadouts, five dudes across the road, just riding full gas to see who breaks their cranks off first.

    AWESOME!

  13. Great racing and a lovely day in Belgium.

    Race Results
    1. BOONEN Tom
    2. SAGAN Peter
    3. BRESCHEL Matti
    4. FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar
    5. BOASSON HAGEN Edvald

    VSP Results
    1. pink (14 points)
    2. dancollins (12 points)
    3. Jay (12 points)
    4. RayElVis (11 points)
    5. Blah (11 points)
    6. Marcus (10 points)
    7. Noel (10 points)
    8. Ron (10 points)
    9. gaswepass (10 points)
    10. TOM.NELS2120 (9 points)
    11. Simon (9 points)
    12. Two Ball Bill (9 points)
    13. The Fish (9 points)
    14. blue (9 points)
    15. seemunkee (9 points)
    16. marko (9 points)
    17. Gianni (9 points)
    18. Danger (9 points)
    19. Cyclops (8 points)
    20. napolinige (8 points)
    21. San Tonio (8 points)
    22. Mikel Pearce (8 points)
    23. CanuckChuck (8 points)
    24. Nosyt (8 points)
    25. Buck Rogers (8 points)
    26. Calmante (8 points)
    27. mouse (8 points)
    28. Azzurri Tim (8 points)
    29. sthilzy (8 points)
    30. R00tdown (8 points)
    31. Markp (8 points)
    32. Lukas (8 points)
    33. Skip (8 points)
    34. niksch (8 points)
    35. G’phant (8 points)
    36. imakecircles (8 points)
    37. MJ Moquin (8 points)
    38. LastBoyScout (8 points)
    39. noiyce (8 points)
    40. Bill (8 points)
    41. Trobs (8 points)
    42. ramenvelo (8 points)
    43. Islandbike (8 points)
    44. wiscot (7 points)
    45. Rickx (7 points)
    46. Mikael Liddy (7 points)
    47. Louutah (7 points)
    48. xponti (7 points)
    49. il ciclista medio (7 points)
    50. Heihachi (7 points)
    51. Sam (7 points)
    52. Spicy McHaggis (7 points)
    53. ChrisO (7 points)
    54. Jonny (7 points)
    55. snoov (7 points)
    56. Mikeweb (6 points)
    57. brett (6 points)
    58. xyxax (6 points)
    59. Bianchi Denti (5 points)
    60. frank (5 points)
    61. acciaio (5 points)
    62. Alex (5 points)
    63. Geordi (4 points)
    64. taon24 (3 points)
    65. ajn124 (3 points)
    66. RedRanger (3 points)
    67. Cyclistthings (3 points)
    68. Fausto (3 points)
    69. olliewm (3 points)
    70. scaler911 (3 points)
    71. sprider (3 points)
    72. The Oracle (3 points)
    73. trustnoone (3 points)
    74. Tartan1749 (3 points)
    75. eightzero (3 points)
    76. tony macaroni (3 points)
    77. mattd (3 points)
    78. paolo (3 points)
    79. Skinnyphat (3 points)
    80. Mason (3 points)
    81. LA Dave (3 points)
    82. nico (3 points)
    83. pakrat (3 points)
    84. Aidas (2 points)
    85. TomC (2 points)
    86. Vin’cenza (2 points)
    87. Flying Crowbar (2 points)
    88. payaso (2 points)
    89. Souleur (2 points)
    90. itburns (2 points)
    91. King Clydesdale (2 points)
    92. 936adl (2 points)
    93. simonsaunders (2 points)
    94. SimonH (2 points)
    95. moondance (2 points)
    96. Dr C (2 points)
    97. motor city (2 points)
    98. Dan_R (2 points)
    99. roger (2 points)
    100. Rigid (2 points)
    101. Rob (2 points)
    102. Chris (2 points)
    103. zac (2 points)
    104. diablo (2 points)
    105. Benj (2 points)
    106. Belgian Cobblestones (2 points)
    107. godsight (2 points)
    108. G’rilla (2 points)
    109. tomb (2 points)
    110. Nate (2 points)
    111. harminator (2 points)
    112. DerHoggz (2 points)
    113. VeloVita (1 points)
    114. Erik (1 points)
    115. GProsser (1 points)
    116. roadslave525 (1 points)
    117. draffenator (1 points)
    118. Steampunk (1 points)
    119. Anjin-san (1 points)
    120. cchern (1 points)
    121. jkennedy (1 points)
    122. Pistolfromwarragul (1 points)
    123. Jarvis (1 points)
    124. Poppyseed (1 points)
    125. Tobin (1 points)
    126. sgraha (1 points)
    127. Lister (1 points)
    128. calves (1 points)
    129. mcsqueak (1 points)
    130. el gato (1 points)
    131. taylorgibson (1 points)
    132. Oldschooly (1 points)
    133. JC Belgium (1 points)
    134. DaRCrider (1 points)
    135. David (1 points)
    136. adrian (0 points)
    137. Pedale.Forchetta (0 points)
    138. Lepidopterist (0 points)
    139. Dino (0 points)
    140. sgt (0 points)

  14. Sporza originally flashed that Cavendish was #2. Ha, that was kind of funny.

    And wow, Boonen is surely answering any questions (answered!) about how his form is after an off year or two. Seems to be back BIG TIME.

    Now I just wish I spoke Flemish so I could understand what Gert is saying. These interviews on Sporza blow my mind – for U.S. sports like football & basketball it is just really, really dumb dudes offering cliches & bs. Sporza has there guys sit down in their kit after a few hours of racing and offer some actual answers & replies. It’s completely ridiculous, but I’d rather watch Gert talk in a language I can’t understand than some weirdo football player talk about how god allowed him to win the game. And how he gave 110%.

    I can’t imagine riding that far on Friday, then Sunday, much less pulling off a double win

  15. @pink taks the win with 2 points of daylight over @dancollins and @Jay who tied for second. @Marko’s protégée, @The Fish takes the lead in the GC with two point of daylight @Fausto in second and @zac in third.

    [vsp_results id=”15074″]
    [/vsp_results]
    [vsp_gc]
    [/vsp_gc]

  16. Pleased with my progress… Worried about another goose egg for the women’s Ronde, though.

  17. The only consolation I take from my Pedalwan leading the VSP GS is that I’m still crushing him on rides. That’ll change at some point though too as I’ve got 15 years on him. Fucker.

  18. TOMEKE!!! TOMEKE!!! TOMEKE!!! YES!!! What a start to the season! Man, I hope and pray that he can pull off RVV and/or P-R!!! But he will be one marked man for sure. Feels like 2008 and 2009 all over again!!!

  19. Did Bennati flat late in the race & still pull off a top 10? If so, that dude is riding well this year. Put in some strong riding in the Bianchi Strade.

  20. Okay, reason #2 why Sporza is awesome:

    A woman flashed the breakaway riders & not only did they show it once…they showed it as a highlight AND had Boonen comment on it.

    Fucking incredible. In the U.S. we talked about seeing at boob during the Super Bowl for a few months. Uptight asshole Americans. Feed your face, watch an extremely violent sport, but a boob…unacceptable!

    Okay, I need to go outside and get a ride in, oh wait, field hockey is on!

    Happy Sunday everyone!

  21. @Ron

    Okay, reason #2 why Sporza is awesome:

    A woman flashed the breakaway riders & not only did they show it once…they showed it as a highlight AND had Boonen comment on it.

    Fucking incredible. In the U.S. we talked about seeing at boob during the Super Bowl for a few months. Uptight asshole Americans. Feed your face, watch an extremely violent sport, but a boob…unacceptable!

    Okay, I need to go outside and get a ride in, oh wait, field hockey is on!

    Happy Sunday everyone!

    DAMN! I cannot get any live feeds here in Hondo! And I could really use a shot of a boob right about now as well!

  22. @Buck Rogers

    @Ron

    Okay, reason #2 why Sporza is awesome:

    A woman flashed the breakaway riders & not only did they show it once…they showed it as a highlight AND had Boonen comment on it.

    Fucking incredible. In the U.S. we talked about seeing at boob during the Super Bowl for a few months. Uptight asshole Americans. Feed your face, watch an extremely violent sport, but a boob…unacceptable!

    Okay, I need to go outside and get a ride in, oh wait, field hockey is on!

    Happy Sunday everyone!

    DAMN! I cannot get any live feeds here in Hondo! And I could really use a shot of a boob right about now as well!

    http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/videozone/MG_opvallend/1.1254861

    Makes it difficult to even go During-Race Kelly. She’s smokin’ hot.

  23. @Ron
    I’m not sure where you live Ron but today here on the East coast of Scotland was such an awesome day I thank Merckx I shined the racing and went out on my bike. 100km of sun and empty roads and my confidence restored as the last time I’d gone out was after a cold and I thought I’d lost all my form. Still two months from peaking but the tan lines are coming along nicely.

    And top twenty in the VSP!

  24. @Marko
    Ahhhhhh Marko! A friend in need is a friend indeed! I owe you one!

    Yeah, the whole three week pre-race Kelly is one of the worst things about these trips!

    Also, we need to see if we can get someone to volunteer for a job like hers on the 2 much on 200 ride!

  25. @Ron

    Did Bennati flat late in the race & still pull off a top 10? If so, that dude is riding well this year. Put in some strong riding in the Bianchi Strade.

    Ron, Bennati did indeed flat and would never have rejoined except for some serious drafting of team cars. It was so friggin blatant. At one point he was mm away from his car’s rear bumper. I think if he’s placed they would have had to seriously consider sanctioning him.

  26. Anyone see the Cav interview on Sporza? I like Cav but that was weak. He basically blames the guy whose wheel he was on for losing the wheel ahead. I dunno..when I see that happening on a group ride I try to go around and close it down myself. I mean I’m no great shakes but isn’t that what you do? Try and close it down otherwise it’s over…he can’t climb for shit this year.

    In other news I am lov/ing my new intornetz tv…sporza on a 50″. Superb!

  27. @Marko

    @Buck Rogers
    We’ll be on those roads in less than a week for the KT and can look her up.

    See if she’s available for late June in Vermont. I’m sure we could take up a collection and make it worth her while. Just imagine the motivational uplifter it would be if we had her standing every 60 to 80 k’s along the route!

  28. @frank
    He might not be the fastest guy in the peloton anymore, but tell me: is there anyone who can dig into the V and hold on for that long? He seems to have an extra 50-100 metres on just about everyone right now…

  29. Nice the camera man almost broke his neck getting a shot of those two. Also way to go Boonen winning on Friday and Sunday, impressive.

  30. @paolo
    Is it really a surprise? When your only race winning strategy is to get towed to somewhere around 100 or 200 meters from the line and unleash a sprint and that plan fails you’re left with shit. As @frank pointed out above – this was a proper mano-a-mano sprint. Had Cav been at the pointy end and stayed there under the power of his own guns he probably would have won but you can’t bank on lead-outs in the classics like this.

  31. @Marko

    @paolo
    Is it really a surprise? When your only race winning strategy is to get towed to somewhere around 100 or 200 meters from the line and unleash a sprint and that plan fails you’re left with shit. As @frank pointed out above – this was a proper mano-a-mano sprint. Had Cav been at the pointy end and stayed there under the power of his own guns he probably would have won but you can’t bank on lead-outs in the classics like this.

    Hmmm a tad unfair because we’ve all seen him win without lead outs. He’s a canny lad and knows how to ride a wheel with or without team mates.

    I am just suprised to hear him blame someone else for losing a wheel on a climb. When you can’t climb for shit it seems unfair to blame being gapped on someone elses ability to hold a wheel. That might be the first time I have heard him be less than honest with himself.

  32. @snoov

    @Ron
    I’m not sure where you live Ron but today here on the East coast of Scotland was such an awesome day I thank Merckx I shined the racing and went out on my bike. 100km of sun and empty roads and my confidence restored as the last time I’d gone out was after a cold and I thought I’d lost all my form. Still two months from peaking but the tan lines are coming along nicely.

    And top twenty in the VSP!

    This is AWESOME news, snoov! I should have done the same, but I really wanted to watch the race live.

    I need a ride like that; I’m scared my form is all off due to poor commitment of late.

    Sounds like a great Sunday. Wish I could have spent mine riding in Scotland.(I’m on the east coast of the U.S.)

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