Velominati Super Prestige: La Fleche Wallone

The steep climb of the Muur de Huy

The inaugural Velominati Super Prestige continues with La Fleche Wallone on Wednesday, April 21.   This will be the third race in the season-long series and presents another opportunity to jump up the rankings and unseat current series leader and rainbow cog wearer, Rob, who consolidated his lead Sunday at Amstel Gold.  The competition remains very close and leadership can belong to anyone who makes a good race prediction Wednesday.

La Fleche is sure to be as unpredictable as Amstel, as the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull continues to wreak havoc on the start list, with riders who can not pronounce the volcano’s name being rendered unable to travel to the races.  Add to that the ferocity of the finishing climb – the Muur de Huy with it’s 26% ramps – and we have an other unpredictable race on our hands.  Is this a year for a solo breakaway to finally succeed, or will itagain feature a large group who contests the finale in a brutish uphill sprint?

This edition’s winner will again earn an “Obey the Rules” bumper sticker  and all reader’s points qualify towards the final prize of the free Velominati Shop Apron.  If you are inclined to enter, simply post your predictions for the top five placings in the comment section.  Good luck.

Rules and results are posted Velominati Super Prestige page.

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49 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: La Fleche Wallone”

  1. Someone’s got to stick their neck out and start the tyre rolling, so here goes:

    Frank Schleck – sentimental choice for all cycling fathers, but also a realistic contender
    Good Cadel (i.e. the Cadel which isn’t Bad Cadel) – by way of apology to Brett
    Ryder Hesejdal – he’s in good form, and he’s pretty cool
    Kolobnev – ditto (and he’s got a point to prove)
    Piti – I am not prepared to write his real name, for reasons related to, but different from, those attributed to Dr Fuentes (and I hope to be deeply wrong on this pick)

    Thought about also picking Pistolero – a rather random choice, but he’s in good nick and may feel like a bit of a hit out (and so long as he doesn’t win he won’t insult us with the ridiculous salute) – but had already got to 5.

    These are all subject to any intervention by Icelandic volcanoes, actual start lists, WADA and/or me coming to my senses and realising what a dumbass I’ve been.

    Disturbing thought: recent winners – Rebellin, Di Luca, Valverde. Almost makes me hope the Schleckster doesn’t make it…

  2. @Geof
    As a lawyer, I suppose you’re used to apologising…

    Another lottery this one, but a power climber will be the one. Hmmm, Cadel, power?

    1. Cuntador… in form, and might just want to prove he’s not just a stage race pony.
    2. Cadel… warming up for Liege, but will find himself leading out Kroon and KK will be unable to bring it home. Will later state if he hadn’t been working for KK, he would’ve won.
    3. Valverde… who cares if he’s doped, who isn’t? He’s suited to this, and I’m just gonna load my 5 with guns and hope for some points.
    4. Is Gilbert racing? If he is, he’ll be in the mix for sure.
    5. Sanchez. He’s dirty.

  3. @Geof….I like the way you’re thinking. Might mix it up a bit this week. Gilbert would be in there but I’m tipping him for LBL. Equally a crapshoot though.

    1.Contador…gaining a grudging respect for him, think he might light this one up.
    2.A Schleck.

    Might have to do the same loop as last time for this but just take it easier on the refreshments.

  4. The variables are upping the pressure… new course, effed travel, babies – god this is tough.

    1.) A. Schleck
    2.) D. Cunego
    3.) S. Vandeburgh
    4.) C. Knees
    5.) C. Evens

  5. This one is gonna come down to team support, combativeness on the Huy and controling break-a-ways. Which, upon second thought, sounds like every race. That said, if some Russian guy with the legs starts to roll untested it throws my whole scheme off. Too many variables to be confident but here goes:

    1. Contador. He’s combative, in form, has Pereiro there for him, and is racing against the Schlecks, Evans and Wiggins. He’s not gonna want to let his tour rivals best him. He’s going to scare them now and make them nervous until July.

    2. Valverde. He’s got Dirty Sanchez at his back and wants to win something before his upcoming two-year ban which will start before the Giro.

    3. F. Schleck. The Brothers Grimpeur showed some of their punch last week and will step it up tomorrow. They’re saving Andy for La Doyenne.

    4. Evans. BMC has to get something rolling this year and Evans will have the support up to the Huy. His mangina will sieze up though and he’ll finish off the podium.

    5. Cunego. He’s got to be a favorite and the little bugger can ride a bike but I just don’t see him going it alone without anyone to cover attacks.

    Hard not to go with Wiggins or Gilbert mixing things up. Phillipe says he wants LBL this weekend but that could be a bluff. Wiggo and Sky have been impressive this year but I couldn’t possibly get all the tour favorites in there. It just didn’t seem right.

  6. This is again a really tough call. Oh, how I long for the simplicity of calling a race like Roubaix where there are only a handful of favorites. Would that it were so easy.

    I am afraid the Turquoise Terror will take the win with Valverde, the Brothers Grimpeur, Gilbert, Cunego, and the Good Evans all figuring in. But who would discount former winner Kim Kirchen or tactical genius Dirty Sanches? I need about 15 places in order to feel anywhere near comfortable with my selections. What about a Kamakazi Voigt fluke breakaway success? It’s all possible and tickles the imagination.

    So, without further ado, I will list my predictions

    1. Cuntador. His acceleration is unstoppable, and although he normally doesn’t really do these Cotes, he will be able to jump away on the right hander just between the steep sections where Armstrong jumped in ’96 and ride away from the rest. He will offend our sensibilities both by displaying his head-to-toe ugly turquoise kit and make that stupid-ass pistol salute.

    2. Andy Schleck. Frank will set him up, but the proud father lacks the explosiveness that his junior does.

    3. Valverde. He will lead out the sprint a bit too early and fade on the steep slopes, accustomed to going against the Tour Strongmen.

    4. Kirchen. I don’t think he’s done jack shit this year, but I’m tipping him anyway; the dude can deliver when the road goes up.

    5. Cadel. He will be good, good, good, and then someone will pass him and he will be bad, bad, bad. Then his dog will take a whiz on a reporter’s foot and there will be another t-shirt epidemic.

  7. @brett
    Yeah, I know they’re all doping, but shit, the guy and his federation are flying in the face of every pretext of fairness. Basso and Ulrich both went down, why does he get to keep flying free?

    It’s not the doping, it’s the blatant nature of him stepping around the process.

  8. @Geof
    Ack!! There are a couple guys that will truly break my heart if they are ever caught, and the Brothers Grimpeur are two of ’em. Tom “But I Didn’t Inhale” Boonen, and Spartacus are two of the others.

    *Touch wood*

  9. @Rob
    The tighter you close your grip, the closer we all come to taking that cog from off your back!

    If you come through with those picks, you can count on another out-of-competition clairvoyance test between now and Liege!

  10. @Frank
    A big Jens breakaway on the Cote d’Ereffe with 11k to go would be just about the coolest thing ever…
    Not sure why I didn’t have Wiggo featuring in my line-up. Sins of omission.

  11. A pretty classic ride up the Muur. For those of you of inferior genetic material and who thus can’t speak Dutch, the commentary is out of sync anyway, but the gist is “Armstrong chose the right moment to ‘schoove’ away.”

  12. @frank
    You all are making a lot of sense with your picks but its fun taking a flyer with someone like Knees, thats what Hesjedal was and look where I am now…but I am nervous. If I have more luck I will gladly take the test!

    P.S. I was always relieved I could not speak Dutch and Armstrong was a bull.

  13. Son of a beeeeeaaatch, no one said this would be easy. Who would bet against Gilbert after that finale the other day? But who would bet against pistol totin’ Bertie? or Valverde or Andy Schleck? This finish is timing and power, you go too early(Cadel) and pow, out go the lights. Brett, your idea of stacking the top five is wise.

    If a break stays away we are all doomed. What about Gesink? OK, I have a chicken to kill and hope for some bad Voodoo juju. So much pressure. I’m gonna hurl. Data soon.

  14. @Joe
    Wiggo? Really? On a one-day? I hope not to have to eat my socks, but I don’t see him figuring. Personally, I like your picks as they are.

  15. @john
    I know! Gesink! He could be just the guy for it. We’ve all seen his wild attack in the Vuelta…maybe he could pull it off!

  16. @Marko
    Well, with HumanPlasma being out of commision, you can imagine how that might impact your performance I mean morale.

    Add Gesink to the list of guys I hope never get caught. Love that dude. Future big name, methinks.

    And, in Dutch it’s pronounced “Rob-o-bunk”, which is amazing après-pos given their results so far this year. If you consider winning a monument a “bad start”.

  17. @brett
    I’m afraid to look up dirty sanchez in the urban dictionary.

    Bertie and Gilbert are holding out for L-B-L but Andy is not as he is afraid he dosen’t have the form for that slog. Cunego will finish much higher than 80th. If there is break that stays away with Dan Martin from Garmin in it, he will prevail. Or not. I’m so confused.

    1. Gilbert-too strong, the Spartacus of the Ardenne.
    2. Andy Schleck-cannot fight off Gilbert in the last 50m
    3. Dan Martin- who cares, got to throw it in there for fun
    4. Perrick Fedrigo-insane, perhaps. The French, fuggetaboutit.
    5. Contador-just to stack the top five

  18. @ video Wow, what a display of doping from Pharmstrong! He really ‘schooved’ that needle into his ball sack.

    I was actually thinking Sammy Sanchez, but he’s not riding, but LL Cool Sanchez could be a good pick too…

  19. @brett
    Oh, is that bad? Hold on while I rearrange my needles…

    On a (hopefully) unrelated note: I just read that in 2007 – Gesink’s first year riding La Fleche – he clocked the fasted time up the Muur on the final ride up; he started way back in the bunch and ended up ninth. I feel bad for not supporting him more now. I say, anyone who backs him is goes up a notch in my book.

  20. Awesome race, guys. Our inability to call the Ardienne classics so far has done nothing to open up the competition. While Marko took today’s race and jumped up the rankings, Rob still managed to maintain his lead. Liege should prove to be interesting.

    The results are:

    La Fléche Wallonne, April 21, 2010

    1. Marko: 3 points
    2. Rob: 2 points
    2. Frank: 2 points
    2. Brett: 2 points
    5. John: 1 points
    5. Joe: 1 points
    5. Geoff: 1 points
    8. James, Dan O, Jim: 0 points

    The current Super Prestige standings are:

    1. Rob: 12 points
    2. Marko: 11 points
    3. Frank: 10 points
    4. John: 9 points
    5. Brett: 8 points
    6. Joe: 6 points
    6. Geoff: 6 points
    8. James, Dan O, Jim: 0 points

    Full results are posted on the main Super Prestige page.

  21. Congratulations to Marko on taking the win and to Geof, who takes the Obey the Rules sticker for this edition. The tie-breaker for this one was by merit of Geof being the first to post his results.

    Please let me know if anyone sees any errors in my calculations.

  22. Wow. That was pretty great from Cadel, clearly Contador is off his meds…where was that fabled spring? Why did I drop Cunego from my line up for the doper at the last minute? Doh! A Schleck seemed to be doing a holding role for his Bro, the rascal. Rodriguez looked strong at the end though – nice to see. I’m still with Gilbert for LBL…..

  23. Good work all. Not easy to call but fun as hell to watch. I thought those of us who picked Bert were surely gonna wrack up fivers. But low and behold the good Cadel shows up. Nice to see El Pistelero shoots blanks sometimes, he visibly lost it on that last pitch. And good on Cadel for doing the rainbow stripes some justice. Now a quick sigh of relief and the stress continues with LBL.

  24. @Joe
    Yeah, crazy, huh? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Cadel take over; he’s usually the guy with the ill-timed attack, but that just goes to show how much experience counts for in these classics. From where I’m sitting right now, I’m not banking too much on a Bert win for LBL. It’s too important in these races to know exactly when to get your groove on.

  25. @Marko
    This one was really hard to call, but I’m really happy for Cadel. I’ve felt he’s looked overweight all season (and still does) but I guess he’s not. I don’t think you can win one of these races if you’re a fatty.

    El Pistolero. What to say. It thought he was moving away from that salute, but I guess not. I mean shit, he even had his bike painted in that stupid impressionistic rainbow pistol hand.

  26. @frank

    I too am happy for Cadel and take back what I posted about his mangina. I’ll change that description to big rainbow striped balls. I agree, he has looked a little pudgy and the new pic of him crossing the finish line makes it look like he’s got a huge dip in. And the schlecks, I’m not sure what to think of them for Sunday. Great ride on Frank’s part today albeit unsuccesful. And I’m really doubting Andy’s fitness these days. No doubt it’s on the upswing and he’s going to want to defend this weekend but it seems he’s behind the rest of the bunch. Gotta love the Saxo guys overall. I’d like to see someone tip Jens this weekend.

  27. Yeah, good on ’em. Always nice when the World Champion wins and when someone learns from their mistakes. And it shows experience is a big factor in these one day races, Alberto might have won with better timing. LBL should be a lot of fun to watch. I’d like Ryder to win but I might have to bet against him. Is that wrong?
    And what happened to Wiggins? I think he is a pure stage racer, or at least not a Spring Classics boy.

  28. @john
    I have a sneaking suspicion that Wiggins is not actually just a pure stage racer but may in fact be almost entirely pure “Wankpod”. I know he has the hopes of a nation on him, but he looks just a tad too much like one of the dillholes from Oasis and not enough like Eddy Merckx or the hard-ass kid who cut his own arm off when he got it stuck under a rock in a canyon and now continues to rock climb with one fucking arm.

  29. @Marko
    Yeah, I have to say that while I’m not tipping him for a win at Liege, I am really impressed with his gutsy move today. That’s the second time I’ve seen him really ride aggressively (without being stupid) and that’s the second time I’ve seen him ride away with the win. Strong work.

  30. @frank
    I’m with you on that, he is not looking the part of Hardman. Last summer he had a skinhead thing working which was much better than his “Mod” pussy look. A dillhole(!?). Yeah. fucking dillhole. I’m waiting to see him drop Lance again, that was cool or ride away from everyone like my boy Fabian does.

  31. I have a sneaking suspicion that Wiggins is not actually just a pure stage racer but may in fact be almost entirely pure “Wankpod”.

    “Wankpod”?! Nice. Twiggo certainly doesn’t do it for me. When he was on the Geek’s team I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but that clearly no longer applies – and the circumstances of his defection to the Thin Blue Lie do nothing to enhance his rep.

    On a more positive note, full respect to Good Cadel. Marvellous effort. Yes, Brett, he is (apparently) a power climber. And Bertie is not (always). Which is even better.

    Am, naturally, honoured to be a recipient of the sticker. Not sure about your maths work there, but I’ll take it and display it with pride nonetheless. You can send c/- Brett.

  32. @all:
    Clarifying question: Is Cadel Evans doing the “Thumbs Up” salute? If so, that’s maybe even lamer than Cuntador’s pistol.

  33. I think he’s saying; “Look at the huge dip of Skoal I have in my mouth. If you use Skoal, you too can attack on the Muur de Huy and win a monument. It’s the new CERA.”

  34. Could be a Cavendish style phone tribute or perhaps just directing attention to his magnificent camel’s hoof of a chin…jury’s out for me.

  35. Joe :Could be a Cavendish style phone tribute or perhaps just directing attention to his magnificent camel’s hoof of a chin…jury’s out for me.

    It’s worse than that. He’s thinking “Shit, how does that cool pistol sign go?” Just after this shot, he gives some random hand-wave, entirely consistent with the accompanying thought “Oh, that’s right, forgot the index finger. Fuck. Have gotta get this right before the Giro.”

    OK, a more charitable view is that he’s thinking “Look, Bertie, I don’t need an index finger to win in style. Stick that up your Spanish arse.” But even that is pretty sad. Even if he meant it metaphorically.

  36. @Marko, @Joe
    You guys are geniuses. Skoal in his camels hoof of a chin!!!

    …assimilating phrase “camels hoof of a *blank*” into vocabulary now…

  37. @Geof
    It definitely does seem like he is really uncomfortable when he wins. It’s like, “Really? Did no one pass me?” The little wave at the worlds was uberlame, too. Yikes. Dood needs to work on his Coolness Quotient.

  38. I’m sorry, the guy is becoming a classic and thats with the camel hoof thing too. But shite do they have to dress him up in all those championship stripes? I mean gloves, helmet, even the socks – wtf, he didn’t win the best dressed butch guy in the gay pride parade.
    Damn, come to think of it he does look good – wait I didn’t say that.

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