Velominati Super Prestige: Gent-Wevelgem

Riders hoof it up the Kemmelberg

Rain. Cobbles. Bergs. Professional cyclists reduced to mortals who clammer up steep, slick cobbled grades on shoes not made for walking. Gent-Wevelgem is the teaser for the month of April, when the hardmen come to play on the stones of Belgium and Northern France. Personally, I liked it better when it was sandwiched between the two greatest one-day races of the year, De Ronde and Roubaix. On the other hand, Gent has been the Classic’s bridesmaid for long enough and deserves its own weekend, even if that still makes it a warm-up race to be won by someone who’s not enough weeks away from peaking.

The Flemish word for “hill” is “berg”, and to ask any cyclist who doesn’t live there, they’ll tell you Flanders is rife with them. The truth is that most of Flanders is quite flat, save for a ridge which calls itself home to some of the most fearsome cobbled climbs in the world.  Among these is de Kemmelberg, which features as the primary obstacle for Gent Wevelgem. Steep and cobbled, on a dry day it serves as the decisive climb on the finishing circuit of three laps; on a rainy day it will reap havoc on the field.

With that, we kick off the second edition of the 2011 Velominati Super Prestige for Gent-Wevelgem. Like La Primavera, Gent is enough of a wild-card that this is a tough race to call.  It rarely ends in a bunch gallop, but it’s not difficult enough to eliminate sprinters from the finale. The riders targeting Flanders or Roubaix will not quite be peaking yet, but the race isn’t so difficult that a rider two weeks from peaking can’t win. Our advice? Go with the gut, and try to pick people who are actually starting.

The winner of this VSP edition will earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker and all reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free personalized Velominati Shop Apron. This year we’ve enhanced the entry mechanism; if you are inclined to enter, simply post your predictions for the top five placings in the designated area above the posts section, bearing in mind that entry/modification of picks closes at 5am Pacific time on the day of the race. Check the Super-Prestige main page for rules and scoring information.

Good luck.

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173 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Gent-Wevelgem”

  1. Great photo, looks like the 89 Gent Wevelgem going on the team jerseys. From my pitiful memory the race was won by Gerrit Soleveld of Superconvex who sat on Sean Yates( 7-11) back wheel and overtook him in the sprint on a horrible day.

    On a really bike geek note: the SLX steel framed Ariostea-DeRosa team bike is my all-time dream bike & would be made complete dream with the Delta brake calipers to go with the Campagnolo gruppo. Add original 3TTT bars & stem, Ambrosio rims, Vittoria tyres & Turbo Special saddle for the real deal & why don’t they make’em like this anymore! Moulded carbon frames from a factory somwhere while an improvement in performance etc. don’t allow this Italian passion(or paint job) to come alive anymore which is a huge shame.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Hushovd
    2. Boom
    3. Flecha
    4. Matt Goss
    5. Greipel

  2. Great picture Frank. I sure hope this does not end in a sprint. btw did any one see a course profile anywhere?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Boonen
    2. Ballan
    3. Boom
    4. Nuyens
    5. Gilbert

  3. A crap shoot. Should just copy Steampunk. But he doesn’t have his lucky croc to hand, so I suspect his mojo is gone. We’ll see.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Ballan
    2. Gilbert
    3. Boonen
    4. Roulston
    5. Boom

  4. punish the pedals:
    @Scuba Steve
    C’mon you would be foolish to not have atleast 1 aussie in your selections! Is there nothing we cant win at the moment? (and yes Australia will be claiming Greg Henderson as an Aussie!)

    That was meant to read “Everyone else would be foolish not to have an aussie in their selections) Doh!

  5. Thought I’d go way outside the box in an effort to get into the front echelon…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Thor Husovd
    2. Leif Hoste
    3. Juan Antonio Flecha
    4. Sergei Ivanov
    5. Yoann Ofredo

  6. Late to the party again, so lets go nuts.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. haussler
    2. de gendt
    3. voeckler
    4. leukemans
    5. eeckhout

  7. punish the pedals:
    @Scuba Steve
    C’mon you would be foolish to not have atleast 1 aussie in your selections! Is there nothing we cant win at the moment?

    The cricket.

    Might be a sign, the Kiwis could be fired up. And if you thought my Aussie Top 5 for M-SR was ridiculous, well… Rouly goes solo, Hendo picks up the gallop from the remnants.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Rouly the Rouleur
    2. Hendo
    3. EBH
    4. Free Air
    5. Badger, Jr.

  8. So many options – the only certainty is that Australian dominance will continue

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Haussler
    2. Boonen
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. McEwen
    5. Goss

  9. @Marcus
    Haussler ain’t starting bro.
    Points out the guy with 0 points…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Tommeke
    3. Roulston
    4. Hoste
    5. Stuey

  10. Brett:

    punish the pedals:
    @Scuba Steve
    C’mon you would be foolish to not have atleast 1 aussie in your selections! Is there nothing we cant win at the moment?

    The cricket.
    Might be a sign, the Kiwis could be fired up. And if you thought my Aussie Top 5 for M-SR was ridiculous, well… Rouly goes solo, Hendo picks up the gallop from the remnants.
    VSP PICKS:
    1. Rouly the Rouleur
    2. Hendo
    3. EBH
    4. Free Air
    5. Badger, Jr.

    Bump. I have absolutely no idea who’s on form and who’s not and can almost guarantee that the winner will be a million miles away from whoever I pick. So I’m going completely on instinct and personal preference and nothing on anything resembling fact or common sense.

    Is Freire racing? Thought he was out injured.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Ballan
    2. Flecha
    3. Haussler
    4. Pettachi
    5. some belgian

  11. Edit picks. Haussler for Hendy, and lets not forget unfortunately Barry Humphries is also a Kiwi. Sorry lads.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Ballan
    2. Flecha
    3. Hendy
    4. Pettachi
    5. some belgian

  12. Harder to pick than a broken nose…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Thor
    2. Flecha
    3. Boonen
    4. Gilbert
    5. Chavanel

  13. THANKS CJ – AUSSIE REIGN OVER

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Nuyens
    2. Boonen
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. McEwen
    5. Goss

  14. VSP PICKS:

    1. O’Grady
    2. Gilbert
    3. Flecha
    4. Ballan
    5. Davis

  15. Not had anywhere near enough time to think about this race. Picks from the heart

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Tomeke
    2. Juan the Arrow
    3. When will I be Famous
    4. Yann O
    5. Phil G

  16. VSP PICKS:

    1. Thor Hushovd
    2. Philippe Gilbert
    3. Kurt-Asle Arvesen
    4. Sylvain Chavanel
    5. Matthew Goss

  17. Well that didn’t turn out well at all for me. When in doubt, just write Cancellara at the top of everything that doesn’t involve sprinting or giant climbs. Might have to use that as my new rule of thumb.

  18. Oh, the pain. Can’t wait.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Ballan
    3. Sylvain Chavanel
    4. Flecha
    5. Voeckler

  19. @andy

    VSP PICKS:
    1. Tomeke
    2. Juan the Arrow
    3. When will I be Famous
    4. Yann O
    5. Phil G

    Please help me with picks 3 and 4; unless you’re OK with what I put in there for you now, which is “N/A”. Not sure it will make a difference in the end.

  20. VSP PICKS:

    1. Ballan
    2. Boom Boom
    3. Boassen Hagen
    4. Gilbert
    5. Pozzato

  21. Pardonnez-moi Baron de Coubertin, mais cette fois pour gagner le grand George à tout prix!
    (google language for the translation)

  22. @Frank Possible that “When will I be famous” is another obscure Matt Goss reference …. it’s the name of a big hit for Bros …. which as you know now was an 80’s british boy band. Made up of brothers Matt and Luke Goss but as you are (I think) a) under 40, b) not female c) not born in the UK, it’s unlikely you’d know all that ….

    VSP PICKS:

    1. gilbert
    2. boonen
    3. thor
    4. flecha
    5. ballan

  23. Dammit Leif, you race where I tell you!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Tommeke
    3. Roulston
    4. Hincapie
    5. Stuey

  24. Also picking O’grady might be pretty fucked after being in the move at e3 prijs…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Tommeke
    3. Roulston
    4. Hincapie
    5. Nuyens

  25. 3 = matt goss (bros, top hit when will i be famous, we discussed this from MSR…)
    4 Yoann Offredo! I mistyped it

  26. Having just seen Fabian kill it at the E3-Prijs… He’s top of my picks for the RVV and Paris-Roubaix, with no competition… Boonen, Haussler and Thor can bitchslap it out for 2nd… Spartacus will be unstoppable in Flanders

    LOVING the return of Bros in this blog… Go Matt G

  27. @frank
    Suggestion for a new Rule. Velominati pro cyclist nicknames must be easily linked to their intended rider or be obscure and particularly amusing. Accordingly obscure nicknames that turn out to have a very tenuous link to their rider and are not funny, are prohibited. A breach of this rule can result in the loss of one or more VSP points at the absolute discretion of the Keepers.

  28. VSP PICKS:

    1. Flecha
    2. Gilbert
    3. Tick Tick BOOM
    4. Ballan
    5. Davis

  29. @Marcus
    I like it. The practical application of this is that if I can’t figure out what you’re getting at and am not laughing hard enough to ask, your pick will be assigned to “N/A”, yielding no points.

  30. Time to enter my picks. I’m absolutely flummoxed. Really, I think Goss is a great option, so is Potato and so is Nuyens and Boss Hog. But, I have to say I was very impressed by Andre the Giant’s efforts at MSR for his boy Gilbert. Dude is a powerhouse. He might even make it over the hills. I don’t think the Douche is nearly close enough to peaking to figure, but you just can’t say, can you?

    The winds will be a killer, that’s about the only think you can say for sure. My picks are loaded for points, not places because I just don’t know. But I’d love to see Hincrapie pull something out.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. T-Bone, from a select group
    2. Goss
    3. Boss Hog
    4. Greipel
    5. Hincrapie

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