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.

Related Posts

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

  1. @Steampunk

    Of course””and not to fuel the fires of last year any further””he had to change bikes again…

    You beat me to it!! I was gonna say the same thing!

    @all
    I’ll be on the hill skiing by 7:30 so will likely not be able to enter the results before I leave, which means the results for Gent will be posted when I get back. The season is on!

  2. @Marko
    hey Marko, its not posting my picks though they were carried into the form.
    Can you help or is my old school post sufficient?

  3. Boonen better win tomorrow because he is not going to win anything else this Spring. It’s good Faboo is resting the guns as he would win again. When I saw him in the final selection at M-SR and sprinting well I’m thinking he is going to kill all those poor bastids this Spring.

    I have no fucking idea who anyone is talking about anymore, you kids with your crazy nicknames, simmer down now!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. tomeke
    2. juan antonio flecha
    3. gilbert
    4. boom
    5. davis

  4. trying again

    VSP PICKS:

    1. T. Boonen
    2. Tyler Farrar
    3. Greg VanAvermaet
    4. Yoann Offredo
    5. Mathew Haymen

  5. COME ON STANNARD!!! (even though I did not pick him, I LOVE this guy!)

  6. OK, now that’s done. Off for a ride and then take my wife to the hospital to have a baby. Typical Sunday.

  7. Farrar with another third place!!! That guy is going to be huge in a few years!

  8. xyxax :
    OK, now that’s done. Off for a ride and then take my wife to the hospital to have a baby. Typical Sunday.

    Now THAT is what I call a victory, Brother!!! Good luck!!!

  9. Damn. I only had one pick. But I knew Boonen had to get a win soon. looks like things wil be very interesting next weekend.

  10. … I actually picked Farrar as third, and now I’m 14th in the standings.

    Anyway, awesome race from Boonen and I really liked how Hayman kept going.

  11. xyxax :
    @Buck RogersThanks BR. Talk about the pain cave.And congrats on your (and scuba steve’s) prognostidigitation.

    Girl or Boy?!?!?!? And as a father of 5, I feel your pain, and incredible joy (although I cannot claim to feel your wife’s pain!).

    Thanks for the congrats. I need to figure out how to take a screenshot as I have a feeling this will be the last time that little jersey appears next to my name!!!

    Congrats again!

  12. @xyxax
    Congratulations to you, and the recently-arrived xyxaxissimus / xyxaxissima and his/her mother. Marvellous effort.

  13. @xyxax
    Congrats! Being a dad is a blast.

    My 4 year old is ready to take his V-apprenticeship to the next level: He just learned how to ride a pedal bike.

  14. Boonen and Cance confirm their form along with a few other heavy hitters. Bring on the Ronde!

  15. @xyxax
    Congratulations! And welcome to the little one.

    @Frank: given this community’s propensity for breeding and blimping, I suspect a line of velomitoddler wear is in order. With no other option in Cuba, I pasted a bunch of masking tape to my little one’s tummy so that she could sport a V-cog””the tan is starting to fade. Little Ts and baby grows would sell like hot cakes (which are, incidentally, the main reason we blimp after we breed).

  16. 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.

    Touche!

  17. Saw this anecdote on the CyclingTips write-up and thought I should share:

    I was having dinner with a mate of mine named Nick Mitchell a couple weeks ago and he was telling me an interesting story about Boonen in 2009. For the past few seasons Nick has racing in Belgium. Just before the World Championships Boonen was putting the final touches on his preparation and rocked up to the same kermesse as Nick. Boonen was incessantly attacking the peloton and finally a move stuck where Nick was able to follow. As they settled into a 50km/hr pace Boonen flicked his elbow signalling Nick to pull a turn. Nick was able to roll through for a couple of token turns, but that was all (and I know how strong Nick is!). After they got swept back into the bunch Boonen attacked again and managed to stay away with a small bunch for most of the race. Close to the end they got brought back by the peloton but Boonen still won the bunch kick after being in breakaways for almost the full 160km.

    After the race Nick found out that Bonnen had also done 60km of motorpacing earlier that day, and motorpaced another 60km home. 280km for the day – HARD. That’s how hard these top level guys work when they’re preparing for the big races.

  18. Entry for Dictionari Velominari:

    Schadenfreude: noun That unique pleasure found in the fact that Mark Cavendish has crashed more than he’s won this season. And that Mark’s newfound ability to scrub the tarmac coincides with the reunion of Tom Boonen and Gert Steegmans into a well performing sprint train consisting of 2 men. See also: Schadendouche or Cavenfreude.

  19. minion : See also: Schadendouche or Cavenfreude.

    Actually I feel bad for the guy. But these terms are genius. Well played.

  20. Points! Happy days.

    Good that Tomeke’s in form – Cankles is looking ridiculously dominant.

  21. @Gianni

    Oh ye of little faith, no Tomeke anywhere in the top five? Where is the love?

    I’m sick with guilt. The problem there is that I happened to just read an interview with him where he said he doesn’t give a shit about this race anymore. All I got was T-Bone for a point and I called Greipel for 4th, which is almost the same as not getting any points.

  22. @all
    Wow, what a weekend, eh? The two big names from last year have fired off the flares. Should be a great two weeks!

    Here is the VSP G.C., which I forgot to post before in my haste:

    [vsp_gc]

    [/vsp_gc]

    Congrats, Buck! You look great!

    @Rob and @ben
    The Vuelta and the Tour had the same color points jerseys, but I’ll make the colors different so you can tell the difference a bit easier. Thanks.

  23. @minion

    Schadenfreude: noun That unique pleasure found in the fact that Mark Cavendish has crashed more than he’s won this season. And that Mark’s newfound ability to scrub the tarmac coincides with the reunion of Tom Boonen and Gert Steegmans into a well performing sprint train consisting of 2 men. See also: Schadendouche or Cavenfreude.

    Has anyone noticed that both he and Thor are looking a bit heavy? I’m actually starting to feel bad for Cav he’s crashing so much. There has to be a measurable amount Cavendouche biomass on the tarmac in all the various races he’s been crashing in.

    @ZachOlson
    What a training regimen! 280km that hard…incredible. No wonder his leggs look like that.

  24. I am more than a little surprised I am doing so well in the VSP considering I didnt start watching cycling till Le Tour last year. cant wait till Sunday(I dont even have to work that day)

  25. Yeah, schade is German slang for shame, as in ‘oh, that’s a shame’, and the freude has the same root as friend, so there is some empathy or kind consideration to the word as I understand it in German. The pleasure in someone else’s misfortune is still there, but it’s a tricky one to translate for sure.
    Last year I was getting a little worn out of his bragaddacio, but at teh Commonwealth Games he rode for teammates from the Isle of Man and put a good dig in for at best continental riders, knowing the course would slay him. Props for that, and he is learning a bitof humility (the hard way) this year. Still have dollars on himfor the tour but.

  26. @frank
    Thanks Frank! Yeah, lucky picks today but I feel so good for Boonen having won. It’s been a while since he won a cobbled race. A lot of podiums but no pave wins since ’09, I think. Also, is this his first Gent-Wevelgem win? If so, that pretty much rounds out all of the pave races for him, doesn’t it?

    Should be an amazing two weeks coming up! This win should give Tomeke the confidence to mentally be with Cancellara, although Cancellara is going to be hard to beat. Such an AWESOME time of year!!!

  27. Hate to be a pain FRANK,

    I show up twice on the leader board (4th and 17th) I scored 5 in round 1 and 8 in round 2. I used the same user name (ScubaSteve) but may have had different log ins or email addresses when entering my yips. Can this be sorted?

    Cheers

  28. Traveling for the weekend and just watched the finish of both races. Oh boy, this is going to be a fun spring!

    As for the dictionary entry of Schadenfreud – eh, not really digging it. That word is kind of like a thorn in my saddle, poking through my bibs. I’d rarely seen the word a year ago and now it is tossed around all over the place. I’m tired of it.

    I’m also tired of people hating Cavendish. I don’t feel much one way or the other, but I do enjoy watching him sprint. It’s just kind of silly for people to form these immovable opinions of some dude they’ve never met and only heard talk mere seconds after busting his arse to cross the line. Eh, maybe he’s a bit of a dick, but so what?

    It’s hard for me to understand anyone who rides a lot to hate someone who is that talented and works that hard on a bicycle.

    Oh well.

  29. But, I do understand that is how most things go with PRO athletes; we don’t know much about them but we form opinions.

    It just seems like hating C-douche is a bandwagon thing. I can understand how he might inspire some anger, but I also think he’s great to have in the peloton. Things would be a lot less exciting without him, whether due to his sprinting or crashing abilities…

    Anyway, it just seems like hating him is the easy thing to do. Maybe hating/loving Cav has replaced hating/loving Armstrong?

  30. Scuba Steve :
    Hate to be a pain FRANK,
    I show up twice on the leader board (4th and 17th) I scored 5 in round 1 and 8 in round 2. I used the same user name (ScubaSteve) but may have had different log ins or email addresses when entering my yips. Can this be sorted?
    Cheers

    DAMN! There goes my jersey! :) (feel like I just got caught with some Spanish beef hanging out of my mouth!)

  31. Ron :
    Traveling for the weekend and just watched the finish of both races. Oh boy, this is going to be a fun spring!
    As for the dictionary entry of Schadenfreud – eh, not really digging it. That word is kind of like a thorn in my saddle, poking through my bibs. I’d rarely seen the word a year ago and now it is tossed around all over the place. I’m tired of it.
    I’m also tired of people hating Cavendish. I don’t feel much one way or the other, but I do enjoy watching him sprint. It’s just kind of silly for people to form these immovable opinions of some dude they’ve never met and only heard talk mere seconds after busting his arse to cross the line. Eh, maybe he’s a bit of a dick, but so what?
    It’s hard for me to understand anyone who rides a lot to hate someone who is that talented and works that hard on a bicycle.
    Oh well.

    Man, I think Cavendish is awesome, esp whenever he opens his mouth. The guy has NO FILTER at all and is really refreshing. If given the option of hanging out with him or Cuddles, I’d Cavendouche anyday. Sure the guy can complain, and cry like a little girl on the podium, but he is REAL and for that, I like him!

  32. @Ron
    Cav rode past Cipo pedaling one-legged. That sort of shit can never be forgotten or forgiven.

    As for being quick to judge people on relatively scant evidence, my ability in this area extends beyond sportspeople to any member of society.

  33. @Buck Rogers
    thank god you all don’t hate him, he’s our only world class rider. We’ve got a few lads promising (Swift, Kennaugh, Thomas), but we need a basis for the sport in our country grow. And about the straight forward nature of his statements, it’s just a feature of anybody from the north of Britain (Manx counts as its intrinsically linked with Liverpool), got a load of americans with me a uni and how straight forward i put things threw them for a few weeks

  34. @Ron
    Yeah, I lived in Germany and so my first exposure to the word was there, where it has a different context, which is what I was trying to explain. English speakers only really apply it to celebritards/sportspeople they don’t like, wheras the way it was used when I encountered it being used in German had a context of freindliness and admiration.

  35. @ Buck Rogers – The lack of a filter on Cav is what I really like about him. I’ve come to cycling from other sports, mainly American ones, where all anyone says anymore is something stupid and boring. Maybe he is a bit over the top some days, but at least I hear what is on his mind instead of what he is coached to say, lest he lose a sponsor or two.

    @ Marcus – ha, ha, ha, Yeah, you gotta judge people sometimes. And it is even fun to do. Nothing wrong with forming an opinion on someone.

    @ minion. I actually like the word/idea/sentiment. I am just always a bit jarred when something comes out of nowhere and is suddenly everywhere. I was just being cranky. Good work on the dictionary entries!

    Damn, just watched the finish of both races again. Oooh, so excited for this weekend. Cancellara just…rode away and stayed away. Boonen used his team and showed some finishing speed. Awesomeness.

    Those photographers need to stay off the course though.

  36. Watching today’s race: Greipel gets a lot of deserved criticism to be sure, but the man has a pretty impressive engine. That was quite a finish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.