Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia

Ivan Basso leads the 2006 Giro before illness forced him out of the lead.

The inaugural Velominati Super Prestige continues the with Giro d’Italia, on Saturday May 8 in Amsterdam. This will be the first Grand Tour of the series, and while we have a set of rules established for the competition, we’ll be modifying them as we go if we notice any problems with them.

Personally, I feel the Giro is the Cyclist’s Grand Tour; it’s not as main-stream or commercial as the Tour de France, but the race generally makes for a  more exciting three weeks. There is something about the topography and geography of Italy that seems to lend itself to unpredictable and aggressive racing  where several riders typically stay in contention until the final stages of the race.

With this being the first Grand Tour of the series, we’ve set up a scoring system that we think will be fair but will also help to close down the competition and afford newcomers the ability to catch up with some good picks.  Jump over to the VSP Schedule, Rules, & Results page for a full explanation of the rules and the standings, but here is the ten-second overview:

Every contestant is to choose their top five General Classification picks of the race.  The final podium of the Giro is worth 15 points to the winner, 10 points for second, 5 points for third, 3 points for fourth, and 2 point for fifth.  Given the effect crashes can have on a tour, we’ve set up some guidelines around making changes to your lineup during the race: you’re allowed to change your lineup if any rider in your pick list drops out for any reason without any penalty; rest days will allow contestants to make changes to their lineup, however those changes will come at a point penalty.  (Visit the VSP Schedule, Rules, & Results page for a complete breakdown of these points.)

Every day, the leader in the points standings will have the honor of wearing the Pink Jersey when commenting on the site; the overall winner will wear the Pink Jersey for the remainder of the season, and will also earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker.  All reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free Velominati Shop Apron.  As always, if you are inclined to enter, simply post your predictions for the top five placings in the comment section.

Sub-competitions will be conducted while the Giro is underway for specific stages.  These stages will be chosen a few days prior to the stage being held and will be selected based on the current race conditions with the aim of choosing the most decisive and exciting stages of the race, so check back often to make sure you don’t miss out.

Good luck!

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213 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia”

  1. @frank

    Basso looked really good today. That’s nice to see. Tomorrow should shake things up a bit and be hella fun to watch. Most of all our pics are starting to creep back into contention.

  2. Not sure I can cope with too many more personalities for Evans: Good Cadel and Bad Cadel have now been joined by Disgraceful Cadel –

    “Evans lost contact with Vincenzo Nibali, Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi towards the top of the Monte Grappa but got back to Basso and Scarponi on the descent. However he described the way he rode downhill as “a disgrace”.”

  3. @Nathan Edwards
    Word. I love that guy, myself, and it was great to see him climb like his old self. He just stayed on top of that gear like an animal.

    I couldn’t believe how long that last km took…he went through 400m to go, and then still rode for another 5 minutes!

  4. @all
    Updated standings today sees Jarvis re-take the Pink Jersey Badge:

    Contestant Total
    1 Frank: 7 points
    2 Jarvis: 5 points
    3 Rob: 4 points
    4 Marko: 3 points
    5 Geof: 3 points
    6 Joe: 3 points
    7 Brett: 2 points
    8 Nathan Edwards: 2 points
    9 John: 1 point
    10 Robert Marques: 1 point

  5. I fall into the fandom of Basso and was pleased to see him tear up the Zoncolon today (what a bugger that thing looks like). I suppose he falls under the categorie of repentant doper and therefore, good doper. I kept saying to him over the computer screen, “see dude, you don’t need the juice to do this shit”. Fitting as well that he’s the poster boy for the Giro edition of the VSP. Good Cadel certainly showed up as well but man that guy never makes it look easy. What a masher and stark difference from Ivan.

    So what’s the average time for the GC favs to make up in the next week? 5-6 minutes? Godamn this is a cool bike race.

  6. Fucking A. Forza Ivan comes good. Christ, Zoncolan is satanic piece of tarmac slavery…what a beast. Caught the last 20 minutes after getting back from 3 days steady lubrication, pastafication and riding up mountains. The pain and the espresso are still fresh and I’m feeling my inner Italian. Hell, I might even shave my legs in celebration. Vai ragazzo!

  7. Did anyone else notice the ride that Sastre did? At the start of the climb he was heading out the back of the group, then rocks up in 6th less than 3 minutes down. Don’t think that guy is finished yet.

  8. @Marko
    Spot on, Marko. I have steadily revised my view of Basso, from hostility (he was a doper) to resignation (at least he wasn’t a Ricco-sized arsehole) to neutral acceptance (he’s just humbly going about his work – and posting his data on-line) to enthusastic support (teamwork with Nibali, etc, and then Zoncolan). And if anyone starts casting aspersions on the current run of form by Liquigas (let’s not forget Little Peter tearing it up Stateside) and the depth of its roster I am going to bury my head (metaphorically) in a big deep hole, because I Don’t Want To Hear It.

  9. @Jarvis
    Sastre always rides the first parts of climbs badly… we’ll just have to see. Basso seems to have this one now. I’m wondering whether to take a points penalty to put him in my line-up. Rest day is tomorrow right? So I have to decide by then.

  10. How can Basso not win this? What a monster, maybe he has found some better dope. I was pretty sure we would never see him ride well as a clean rider. I guess I have to take back my remark about Basso smoking like a hippie’s motorbike. What next, Karpets? And Twiggo finishes 104th, that doesn’t bode well for the TdF.

    Jarvis, do tell, your hate for Jens? Big breeder, five kids? East German? I love it when someone hates a rider everyone else likes, like Brett’s hate of Little Georgie Hincapie(who got his ass handed to him by Ryder H today in the ToC!

  11. Wow, what a bunch of hypocrites!

    How can you sit there and say “Vino and Ricco and Piti are bad, but Basso is cool”? He did the same, denied it just like the others, then came up with the lame “attempted doping” line. And he was the only guy who could hang with Pharmstrong in the TdF in 04 and 05, doesn’t that tell you something?

    I don’t care that riders dope, they all do it, some get caught, and some play the holier than thou card and hide behind ‘miracles’ and ‘charity’. Others get caught and think ‘fuck it, why should I be repentant when the others get away with it?’

    You were all quick to point the finger at Vino when he won L-B-L, and wondered whether he was clean. Why not the same aspersions for Basso suddenly coming good again after a year of doing SFA?

    Sure, have your favourites, hate who you like, but don’t crucify some and revere others who are all on the same doping page.

  12. @brett
    Yes, understandable points made with customary punch and conviction. (Have we driven you to drink again, Brett?) Personally I am finding all of this very confusing. I don’t lke Vino (perhaps I should add “yet”, given my changing view of Basso). And I dont like Piti. And I am pretty sure it’s something to do with them doping and not really facing up to it. And I think that’s different to Basso. And Millar. (And even if I didn’t think that, I might be tempted to assert it anyway, just to see Brett go into orbit again.) But maybe I just don’t like the cut of their gib. I dunno.

    In any event, it is one hell of a race.

  13. @Geof
    And that’s all it comes down to; who we like as riders or personalities. I hate Pharmstrong, not because he’s a doper, but because of his bullying of anyone who speaks out against doping, and his hiding behind his ’cause’ while scamming his followers (who have some sort of deluded blind faith).

    I didn’t like the way he turned the Tour into seven years of boring racing through his team’s superior doping program and methodical tactics.

    And I hate how anyone can believe that a pre-cancer LA who was NEVER gonna be a Tour GC contender could come back from the supposed brink of death and suddenly be so much better than anyone else. It’s total bullshit, and to believe otherwise is delusion of the highest order.

    That’s probably why I hate The Ego-testicle the most; Because the other guys who doped were already Tour contenders, and while they all obviously got the benefits of doping, they were still all on a pretty level playing field. Guys like Ullrich and Pantani must’ve been wondering how the hell this former strong one-day specialist could suddenly be riding away from them in the Alps and TTs. It’d be like if Spartacus came out and rode Contador et al off his wheels in all the mountain stages and won the Tour by 5 minutes this year. I’m sure questions would be asked then…

  14. Nathan Edwards :@frank
    3rd stage of the Giro… again!?!
    So revised
    1. Cadel
    2. Wiggo
    3. VDV Sastre
    4. Garzelli
    5. Cunego
    I will not put Veino down…

    I figure this is an 8 point penalty? (I recant of my previous statement about not putting Basso down)

    1. Basso
    2. Cadel
    3. Sastre
    4. Scarponi
    5. Cunego

  15. Ok jumping in here on the rest day and I’m sorry Frank but I am bad at paying attention to rules so I have no idea if 1) I should just put Basso in for Petacchi or 2) reshuffle completely?

    my old picks:
    1.) Cunego
    2.) Vino
    3.) Evans
    4.) Sastre
    5.) Petacchi

    only changing Petacchi:
    1.) Cunego
    2.) Vino
    3.) Evans
    4.) Sastre
    5.) Basso

    my new picks changing all except Evans:
    1.) Basso
    2.) Sastre
    3.) Evans
    4.) Scarponi
    5.) Cunego

    I think that would be an 8 point penalty but that assumes that I have only brought in 2 new (Basso and Scarponi) Cunego and Sastre just changed places???
    If that is right I will go with it but if it is a 16 point penalty I will go with the following… for 4 penalty points?

    1.) Cunego
    2.) Basso (new -4)
    3.) Evans
    4.) Sastre
    5.) Scarponi (new, no penalty)

    Jeese Stage racing is complicated!

  16. @brett

    Wow, what a bunch of hypocrites!

    It’s easy: the problem with Veino and Piti are the manner in which they don’t address it. Vein, in particular, has never addressed the past and now says, “of course I’m clean now.” I don’t care if he admits, denies, whatever – show us the respect to address it and let us move on.

    Basso, as lame as his excuse is, has at least addressed it and made moves to repair his relationship with his fans. Sure, he must still be doping, but at least you can draw the line in the sand and say, “This was the past, this is the present.”

    And how can you say “no” to this little punnim?

    I didn’t like the way he turned the Tour into seven years of boring racing through his team’s superior doping program and methodical tactics.

    Amen. I care more about good racing than doping. Fuck that. I hate Brown-heel and Pharmstrong for the way they raced, as I called it last year, “Assembly-line Racing.”

    You know why I liked pre-cancer LA? Because he was a bad-ass, fiery asshole who made racing exciting.

  17. @Rob
    Yeah, your first choice is a 16 point penalty, and technically you are too late with your substitution on Petacci for that to be free. So, your second choice is actually at an 8 point penalty. Sorry, I’d love to let you off on that one, but the rules are the rules. I’d hate to have Geof come in here and get all on up in our faces about all that lawyerly crap.

    Let me know if you want to proceed with the 8 point penalty.

  18. Rest day re-shuffle? No, think I’ll stick on these.

    @john, did I not explain my dislike of Jens, or was it on another thread. Too old-school for my liking (regards doping), was generally one of the first the English-speaking media would go to for quotes after their de-briefed by Lance and never spoke out convincingly against doping.

    @Brett the difference with Basso could be down to one word, or name, Sassi. Same trainer as Evans, for the very deliberate reason that Sassi is anti-doping. Now that doesn’t stop Basso doing what he wants to in his spare time, but for now I’ll give him the benefit. Remember, the chances are that Basso has targeted the Giro, while Evans is still probably wanting the Tour.

    @frank can you do that telepathy again ust before tomorrows TT? Ta.

  19. @Jarvis
    Jarvis, I think it best you never raise this subject again. Seriously. I’m struggling with it.

    Whatever his position on doping, the dude can harden up. ‘Nuff said.

    As regards Sasi, there’s cool piece on CN regarding climbing rates. If his math is any good, both Basso and Evans were within the realistic realm of speed/wattage for the climb:

    Basso’s power to weight ratio was 5.68w/kg. In the past Sassi has said that any value over 6.2w/kg for a long effort on a major climb at the end of a stage race could be an indication of doping.

  20. frank :@Rob
    Yeah, your first choice is a 16 point penalty, and technically you are too late with your substitution on Petacci for that to be free. So, your second choice is actually at an 8 point penalty. Sorry, I’d love to let you off on that one, but the rules are the rules. I’d hate to have Geof come in here and get all on up in our faces about all that lawyerly crap.
    Let me know if you want to proceed with the 8 point penalty.

    I have never “knowingly” broken The Rules and I can’t start now. I thought DNFs got a pass?(Quote VSP rules re: “DNF: If a rider in a contestant’s pick list withdraws from the race for any reason (including doping offenses, illness), the contestant shall be allowed to make full changes to their picks.”) So I go with the second.

    1.) Cunego
    2.) Basso (new -4)
    3.) Evans
    4.) Sastre
    5.) Scarponi (new for Petacchi -4)


  21. @Rob
    Well, the rules continue to state the following:

    Lineup changes must be made before the start of the next stage. We realize that’s a short window of opportunity; if you feel this is unfair, please review Rule #5.

    However, reading them again, the structure of the sentence as well as the placing of the statement made for ambiguity, so we’ll give you a pass on that one.

    1.) Cunego
    2.) Basso (new -4)
    3.) Evans
    4.) Sastre
    5.) Scarponi (no penalty for Petacchi)

  22. @all

    Crazy day for those guys riding up ladders to get to the finish. Amazing climb. Today sees Joe take a big lead as we enter the last week of racing. We expect to see lots of changes in the coming days.

    Contestant Total
    1 Joe: 14 points
    2 Rob: 8 points
    3 Marko: 4 points
    4 Nathan Edwards: 4 points
    5 Geof: 3 points
    6 John: 1 point
    7 Jarvis: 1 point
    8 Robert Marques: 1 point
    9 Frank: 0 points
    10 Brett: 0 points

    Note: Some of you show zero points despite having riders named in the top 5; this is because you have taken penalty points to make changes to your lineup.

  23. Looks like we will have Basso, Evans and Nibali on the podium on sunday…and for sure I will not be in pink jersey…meet you next time in Paris!

  24. Ahhh unlike Rob, I feel I may have peaked too early…my time in the maglia rosa may be short, but certainly not full of misery. More ‘Good Cadel’ today, he had to pull something out and did. Clever marking by Basso though and was it me or did he get impededed a bit towards the top? Short of a miracle, lil’ Carlos has blown it…he needed a lil’ less time fumbling with his crucifix and a bit more time sucking up some Rule #5. He’s not going to handle consecutive mountain bruisers at the end of the week well. Got to be Ivan’s to lose now, especially with Liquigas looking as strong as they are. Poor old Evans let down by team again. Pudding Bowl Boy (wiggo) better podium in the tour now because he’s been marking time in the laughing group for the last few days. Gonna have to get medieval on that boy if he doesn’t pull his shit together and start dealing out a little pain….

  25. @all
    No change in the VSP again; Joe hangs on for another (likely his last) day.

    Seems to me that Basso timed his form perfectly and played the perfect strategic game. We’ll have to see how it plays out, but he came into the Giro just a bit behind form, and everyone else came in bang-on. They’re fading as he’s hitting his two-month peaking cycle and is finally not too fat to climb anymore.

  26. @Frank…while you are correct, it is fact that I’m not peaking yet. I will be peaking in 2 months..Speaking of which, I was out riding with a motley, pick up peleton around the local park this evening. After a the requisite period of cyclo-courtship we all decided to get better acquainted. The pace went up. Eventually there were just 2 and I was breathing predominantly through my harris, lungs having given up sometime ago. Looking over, I discovered my new cohort seemed to be experiencing similar difficulties…there was a momentary confusion of raised eyebrows as we indicated a mutual lack of desire to take the front. Then, almost simultaneously, we both snicked up a cog and picked up out of the saddle, probably slower, but definitely the attitude. Lovely.

  27. frank :@Rob
    However, reading them again, the structure of the sentence as well as the placing of the statement made for ambiguity, so we’ll give you a pass on that one.
    2.)Basso (new -4)
    5.)Scarponi (no penalty for Petacchi)

    Thanks, I was going to tough it out but I never disagree with the judges.

    Tomorrow and Saturday are going to be epic even though it probably won’t snow on the Gavia. I feel there will be some new places in the standings but I can’t see who…

  28. @Joe
    Strong work, my son, strong work. I love the Rule #5 gear snick scenario. Makes me think of a revision to the Merckx quote, “It doesn’t matter how fast you go, just so long as you harden the fuck up.”

  29. @Rob
    I am really hoping to take a couple hours off in the morning tomorrow and watch the coverage live. It is going to be epic, but I am increasingly feeling like there will be little Rule #5 action going on and the splits won’t be big enough. Is it possible that Davide A-yo-yo might hold on?

  30. @frank You know the talk on US tv is that Ivan and Cadel may not be able to put the time on him… but this has been a long hard race and I think there will be some surprises. I just can’t say what they might be – from someone off the radar to I. or C. going balls to the wall and being a true Campionissimo. Whatever, its going to be fun – hope you get to see it.

  31. WOW! What a day! Take that Baseball!

    A-yo-yo really yo-yo’d today, coming back with that amazing descent. I thought the guns in that group would shell him again up the last climb, but no! Amazing riding. Basso went all Merckx-style on both those last climbs, just sitting in the front and owning that shit. Great to see.

    I totally get Scarponi going for the win, but would you feel kinda sheepish knowing you did about 5% of the work and jumping by at the end? I don’t know; if he does, I suspect he’ll get over it.

  32. @Joe
    Did Cadel actually hit that car on the way down? The picture breakup made it hard to tell if he made contact or not.

    Pretty much Rule #5 all over the road today.

  33. Standings after Stage 19 sees Robert re-taking the lead. Nice show!

    Contestant Total
    1 Frank: 9 points
    2 Robert Marques: 6 points
    3 John: 5 points
    4 Marko: 2 points
    5 Geof: 2 points
    6 Joe: 2 points
    7 Jarvis: 1 point
    8 Brett: 0 points
    9 Rob: 0 points
    10 Nathan Edwards: 0 points

  34. @Frank….sooo close. I’m watching on Eurosport ONLINE Crap-o-vision, so again, tough to tell.

    Arroyo comes close to getting my ‘most man sized pair of glands’ award for that descent and his immortal work on the front up the last climb. All of them cooked but my man riding like he’d had the pink jersey seared on his back. Chapeau.

    Loving Basso’s grimace, it’s great to see him back.

  35. Me and Basso on pink jersey? You must bee kidding…
    Does anyone of you have the guts to go downhill as Arroyo did today? That was absolutely insane!!!

  36. @Roberto Marques

    That was fantastic riding on Arroyo’s part. Sean Kelly and the other dude on Eurosport kept saying Cadel should be commended on his ride. Sure, he had a good ride, but wouldn’t you expect more from Cadel, or at least think that’s what you’d expect to see from a rider of his calibre? He didn’t get any prizes in my book other than a pat on the back and a “Pretty Good today son”. Basso on the other hand just may have won himself another GT today. The way he spins up those climbs with that look on his face is Rule #5 all the way.

  37. I never liked Cadel Evans. The high-pitched, whining voice. The lack of ruthlessness. Lack of gratitude for the work Horner did for him. And the fact it seems he’s always riding in the wrong gears. Then he won the Rainbow jersey. Then he rode like a champ in the Spring. He rode like a champ in the first half of the Giro. I’m pulling for him big time. He’s about to be my new hero. And then, like always, he just ain’t got it. Why do we expect so much from Cadel?? He’s a strange one.

  38. My smugness of rest-day has been replaced by a that yawning-chasm of despair and ruefulness that comes with a missed opportunity. I think this is as good as it gets for me unless the Gavia can pull a rabbit from it’s snow-covered banks for me

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