Velominati Super Prestige: La Vuelta a España 2013

The Long Sock Brigade hits the Angliru.
The Long Sock Brigade hits the Angliru

Seriously. Is it almost September? This was not the agreement, this was supposed to be an endless summer. And all you A-Holes down there in the Antipodes are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, enjoying longer days and shorter nights. I don’t need to tell you where you can take that, but it’s dark and it smells. I have no patience for the changing of seasons when it means I’m going to be benching Number One and busting out the headlight.

I’m not going to lie to you; the Vuelta is my least-favorite race of the year. Part of it is the parcours-it’s hard enough to get excited about flat sprint stages in the Tour, but these stages in central Spain that go down a straight freeway for hours are just too much for my brain to find interesting. Hey look! There’s another shrub! Wasn’t he a President at one point? There will be some redeeming points of the race, I’m sure, and the shit-steep climbs they dot along the route are certain to be highlights of the season. But after you do the math, this is the grand tour with the weakest field, the worst route, and-most damning-the strongest signal that Summer is coming to an end on the half of the world that matters.

I can’t be bothered to sort out the route and what stages are going to matter, but I’ll tell you this: for the last few years, the winner of the Vuelta VSP has won the VSP GC. A few years back, @Marcus complained that he only lost the VSP because @Nate used the second Rest Day Swaps to his advantage to take the win, but after heavily increasing the penalties, he kept losing. Typical of a man who posts photos of his todger on a Cycling site. (@Nate, your win was clean according to the VCI.) Speaking of which, at worst the Vuelta will distract from Pat McQuaid and his bid for losing the UCI Presidency.

He has a strong lead in the 2013 Anti-V competition, however.

Check the start list, get your picks in, and don’t Delgado this baby; it could be your ticket to the shop apron. Bon chance.

[vsp_results id=”26944″/]

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484 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: La Vuelta a España 2013”

  1. My picks stay.  I picked ’em, so I’ll go down with ’em.

    @San Tonio  sorry to say that Dan Martin was forced to abandon after stage 7 due to a blow to his head in a crash

    I’d actually quite like to see Horner win now. After all, Cyclingnews always need a good PED story to run through the winter! I reckon he and Raphael Nadal share the same knee doctor.

  2. @Mike_P I know that Martin crashed out but its not worth the points to swap out the fifth place rider. As for Chris Horner I’m holding out hope that he is just one of those rare athletes that is just as good later in their careers as when they where younger.

    @Deakus From zero to hero out of the blue…..I hope this is a final blast from him pre-retirement but really? Surely if it was possible at his age Jensy would be doing this?

    One look at Horner’s palmares and I wouldn’t say that he was a zero before the Vuelta. He’s had good results for many years now maybe not in a Grand Tour but still impressive work.

  3. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. J Rodriguez
    2. V Nibali
    3. R Uran Uran
    4. C Betancur
    5. A Valverde

  4. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Uran
    2. Nibali
    3. Valverde
    4. J. Rod
    5. Henao

  5. VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Nibali
    2. Henao
    3. Rodriguez
    4. Betancur
    5. Valverde

  6. I am with San Tonio…Horner in…

    VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Vince Nibbles
    2. Chris Horner
    3. Piti
    4. J-Rod
    5. Basso

  7. @strathlubnaig

    I am pulling Kreuziger and going with Valverde

    And keeping two and a half hours down Betancur – now there’s confidence

    VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Purito
    2. Nibbles
    3. Urang Utan
    4. My Little Scarponi
    5. Betancur

  8. Never have changed a pick before, may regret this…

    VSP PICKS (2nd Rest Day Swaps):

    1. Alejandro Valverde
    2. Purito Rodriguez
    3. Vincenzo Nibali
    4. Mikel Nieve
    5. Bauke Mollema

  9. Who has Horner to win? Anyone? And when did you make your pick. I am curious, ’cause I’m feeling pretty good about my prognostication skills if he wins this.  Not that the rest of my picks are very good.  And I thought for sure that Nibali would use the race to train for the WC.

  10. @Erik

    Who has Horner to win? Anyone? And when did you make your pick. I am curious, ’cause I’m feeling pretty good about my prognostication skills if he wins this. Not that the rest of my picks are very good. And I thought for sure that Nibali would use the race to train for the WC.

    Not me!  I do not have him in my Top 5.  I’m still waiitng for Slammy Sammy to make his move, BABY!!!

  11. @Buck Rogers

    @Erik

    Who has Horner to win? Anyone? And when did you make your pick. I am curious, ’cause I’m feeling pretty good about my prognostication skills if he wins this. Not that the rest of my picks are very good. And I thought for sure that Nibali would use the race to train for the WC.

    Not me! I do not have him in my Top 5. I’m still waiitng for Slammy Sammy to make his move, BABY!!!

    Lets see how Horner goes after the rest day.  His super sludgy blood might have set solid with the inactivity.

  12. @Chris Yes!  Blood clots everywhere!

    But, the wind has happened today, echelons everywhere!  Will be cool to see who is where!!!

  13. Pozzovivo and Pinot in the 3rd echelon!  Not sure where Roche is.  This could get VERY interesting!!!

  14. Roche in the first group.  Next group with Pozzo and Pinot is 40 seconds back.

  15. Good day for the Roche lovers!  (there’s a pun in there somewhere, eh?).  Pozzo loses BIG TIME on the ay.

  16. @Chris

    @Buck Rogers

    @Erik

    Who has Horner to win? Anyone? And when did you make your pick. I am curious, ’cause I’m feeling pretty good about my prognostication skills if he wins this. Not that the rest of my picks are very good. And I thought for sure that Nibali would use the race to train for the WC.

    Not me! I do not have him in my Top 5. I’m still waiitng for Slammy Sammy to make his move, BABY!!!

    Lets see how Horner goes after the rest day. His super sludgy blood might have set solid with the inactivity.

    I would also like to see Sanchez make a move. But he won’t.  And Horner’s blood might be sludgy, but I bet it is from his secret stash of Big Macs.  There, I said it. I’m sticking with the naive thought that he is clean — at least now.

  17. I’ll give Horner the benefit of the doubt based on he’s simply done less all year than the other’s due to injury and is therefore basically fresher.  I’d love to believe that things really are getting better in cycling.  Re the comments on Wegelius elsewhere, the one’s I feel for are those that were clean and would have been at the top had others not cheated but of course that is impossible to determine the relative differences if the field had been level.

  18. @Teocalli

    I’ll give Horner the benefit of the doubt based on he’s simply done less…

    Bit like Cobo, you mean.

    In all seriousness though, I’d agree with everything else in your post. It must have been shit to know you were good enough but couldn’t compete without doping. I doubt I would have had the strength to say no in that situation.

  19. Updated standings based on Roche moving up a few days back – cracking stage today.

    Provisional Race Results
    1. NIBALI Vincenzo
    2. HORNER Christopher
    3. VALVERDE Alejandro
    4. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin
    5. ROCHE Nicolas
    Provisional VSP Standings
    1. Tobin (42 points)
    2. Facetious_Jesus (42 points)
    3. freddy (36 points)
    4. Buck Rogers (33 points)
    5. bretth (33 points)
    6. TOM.NELS2120 (33 points)
    7. sthilzy (33 points)
    8. meursault (33 points)
    9. Marco (33 points)
    10. taon24 (33 points)
    127. Lukas (0 points)
    @Cyclops I wish he rode narrower bars.

    @Chris Yeah, I hate to say it because I really like him, have met him, and he was a super nice guy to us. But I remember seeing him racing in Stillwater MN and he was a big, thick, muscular rider. Then a few years later he was a super wispy thin little thing and back to winning in Europe.

  20. Based on Valverde catching him before the line, Nibali looked like he went too hard to stay with J-Rod and Horner and blew up a bit.

    Saturday is going to be mayhem.

  21. @Collin

    Based on Valverde catching him before the line, Nibali looked like he went too hard to stay with J-Rod and Horner and blew up a bit.

    Saturday is going to be mayhem.

    Fuck me!  He’s going to do it, isn’t he? 

    Hats off to the race, though. This has been one amazing nail-biter of a race!!!

    Go NIBBLES!!!  Hang on, Man, even if it’s by your teeth!

  22. This course has really brought out something special. Almost every mountain stage (of which there are been many) has been entertaining.

    I wonder if everyone will wait until Saturday or if tomorrow is going to be flat-out racing the whole day. There are bonus seconds scattered all over the course.

  23. @frank

    Updated standings based on Roche moving up a few days back – cracking stage today.

    Provisional Race Results
    1. NIBALI Vincenzo
    2. HORNER Christopher
    3. VALVERDE Alejandro
    4. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin
    5. ROCHE Nicolas
    Provisional VSP Standings
    1. Tobin (42 points)
    2. Facetious_Jesus (42 points)
    3. freddy (36 points)
    4. Buck Rogers (33 points)
    5. bretth (33 points)
    6. TOM.NELS2120 (33 points)
    7. sthilzy (33 points)
    8. meursault (33 points)
    9. Marco (33 points)
    10. taon24 (33 points)
    127. Lukas (0 points)
    @Cyclops I wish he rode narrower bars.
    @Chris Yeah, I hate to say it because I really like him, have met him, and he was a super nice guy to us. But I remember seeing him racing in Stillwater MN and he was a big, thick, muscular rider. Then a few years later he was a super wispy thin little thing and back to winning in Europe.

    Saturday is going to be a John McClane body count!

    All I wanted was one Pepsi, just one Pepsi….

  24. Sooo good!

    Y’know what makes me think racing has turned a bit of a corner is seeing GC riders have bad days. Froome cracking and getting illegal feed, Nibbles cracking and losing seconds to Horner, it shows that they are not good to go 150% every day anymore…

  25. I’ve been loving Wurf’s blog for a while now….incredible insight into life as a domestique. The guy has such an amazing attitude, too.

  26. Yeah, his blog is very revealing and interesting, I only really follow here, his blog and a results site. I am flabbergasted at the assistance he gets from other teams/directors when he is in trouble, and it sounds like they all are quite cordial in the peleton, chatting and joking with each other. I thought the bunch would be all stern, serious and cold, only helping your team and screw everyone else, but couldn’t be further from the truth. they’re all pulling for each other to finish, help other hurt riders with shelter or supplies etc. Provides a lot more positive perspective of the whole deal…

  27. Holy fucking shit. Horner is going to do this, especially with Nibali’s bullshit boo-hoo attitude. The man needs some V.

  28. @ramenvelo Nibali’s latest interviews do seem to have a certain amount of resignation to the fact he’s going to explode on the Angliru and cede the race to Horner. It is unusual, given Nibali still has the lead, however slender that may be.

  29. @Beers

    Sooo good!

    Y’know what makes me think racing has turned a bit of a corner is seeing GC riders have bad days. Froome cracking and getting illegal feed, Nibbles cracking and losing seconds to Horner, it shows that they are not good to go 150% every day anymore…

    I agree, there was an interesting article I remember from a year or so back written by a sports scientist that basically said that over time in an event like a Grand Tour the power output of the human body had to tail and should have the odd crisis point but that in the peak of the doping period their power output not only maintained but in some cases increased through the tour.  The conclusion as I remember was left open – I guess he didn’t want to get sued – but was pretty clear.  I wonder if anyone else remembers the article?

  30. @Teocalli

    @Beers

    Sooo good!

    Y’know what makes me think racing has turned a bit of a corner is seeing GC riders have bad days. Froome cracking and getting illegal feed, Nibbles cracking and losing seconds to Horner, it shows that they are not good to go 150% every day anymore…

    I agree, there was an interesting article I remember from a year or so back written by a sports scientist that basically said that over time in an event like a Grand Tour the power output of the human body had to tail and should have the odd crisis point but that in the peak of the doping period their power output not only maintained but in some cases increased through the tour. The conclusion as I remember was left open – I guess he didn’t want to get sued – but was pretty clear. I wonder if anyone else remembers the article?

    This looks like the conclusion to it http://bikepure.org/2013/06/watts-the-story-to-tour-de-france-glory-report-into-doping-in-the-tour-de-france/

  31. Watching the final 30 k yesterday it dawned on me why cycling is such an amazing sport to participate in & follow. It doesn’t fucking matter who wins each day because that dude instantly becomes a goddamn badass that I’d buy a beer and hope to have a chat with if I saw them.

    Sure, one might like one racer more than another but, some guy I’ve never heard of attacks with 5 k to go, then holds off the dogs, or gets caught with 1k to go while suffering from a foot cramp and still has the chops to come around at the line…total hardman.

    *I guess that is the biggest crime of doping, this elemental awesomeness of the sport is stolen when you know that guy crossing the line first is a hopped up scumbag full of lies & EPO.

    **Incidentally, I think this is why most other sports, especially most balls sports, have lost their intrigue. It’s tough to just be happy with a good game or match because some players and teams just rub you the wrong way. (I’m looking at you, Philadelphia Flyers) Or, the entire league (NFL) is totally doped and everyone pretends to not know it and it’s just a big corporate reach around. I can’t just watch and enjoy the spectacle.

  32. Just watching a live stream of Eurosport…is ‘toym bonnifickayyshun’ a new scoring concept Sean Kelly has developed? No disrespect to the double hard bastard intended.

  33. @Cyclops

    Horner!!!!

    YES!

    I wonder how spunky Purito will feel tomorrow? Is he going to leapfrog Valverde or even Nibali? I feel good about Horner, though.

  34. @Beers

    Sooo good!

    Y’know what makes me think racing has turned a bit of a corner is seeing GC riders have bad days. Froome cracking and getting illegal feed, Nibbles cracking and losing seconds to Horner, it shows that they are not good to go 150% every day anymore…

    Yeah, everyone except the 41 year old Horner that is.

  35. @Erik

    My top two picks are romanticism. I want to see Horner go out on a high note. I never want to see the Basque team surrender.

    Truth is, Nibali will win as preparation for the World’s. We’ll see.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Chris Horner
    2. Sammy Sanchez
    3. Joaquim Rodriguez
    4. Dan Martin
    5. Alejandro Valverde

    I just had to look and see if anyone picked Horner from the get go and as far as I could see only Erik did. 

    STRONG fuck’in work, mate.  Serious crystal ball, there. 

    I hope you also played the lottery becasue you are spot on so far!

  36. @Buck Rogers Thank you!  But it is still only 26 points by my math. Depending on how Valverde and Rodriguez shake out I can still lose.

    I had a feeling Horner wanted it.  Let us all hope it is legit.  As I’ve noted above, I really want it to be.

  37. Well at least nibbles losing the lead should reshuffle the super prestige a bit….i think he will blow on the angliru…i just need valverde to have a storming day tomorrow and for horner to forget to take his sherbert!

  38. @Erik

    @Buck Rogers Thank you! But it is still only 26 points by my math. Depending on how Valverde and Rodriguez shake out I can still lose.

    I had a feeling Horner wanted it. Let us all hope it is legit. As I’ve noted above, I really want it to be.

    You know, I truly, sooooo truly want it to be legit!  And it might just be! 

    As a child of cycling who came to the sport in the mid-to-lates ’80’s I have lived and died a million deaths with pro cycling and God I hope it is all clean now! 

    I really need to just keep my negativity to myself on this subject.

    So …. Go Horner you CRAZY FUCKING AMERICAN!!!

    On another note, I checked ESPN’s homepage today and it was like 1986 all over again (except then it was the daily newspaper).  An American about to win a Grand Tour for the first time and NO, ZERO, mention of it anywhere.  And here I thought we had come so far!

  39. Fucking Awesome! Horner!! A local (from Bend OR just over the hill from me, and a guy that would be in our group road races from time to time before he became pro).

    The suck part is over on cyclingnews the commenters are all just tearing him up saying there’s no way a 41 y/o AMERICAN can win a GT without doping. Fuck those guys. I’ve met Chris, raced with him a few times. I’ll fall over if he’s not clean.

  40. @scaler911

    Fucking Awesome! Horner!! A local (from Bend OR just over the hill from me, and a guy that would be in our group road races from time to time before he became pro).

    The suck part is over on cyclingnews the commenters are all just tearing him up saying there’s no way a 41 y/o AMERICAN can win a GT without doping. Fuck those guys. I’ve met Chris, raced with him a few times. I’ll fall over if he’s not clean.

    CANT. STOP. MYSELF. 

    Not saying that he isn’t clean (well, actual, yes I am) but you cannot blame anyone for questioning this!!!  Come on!!!  Look at the last 20 years, man! 

    Anytime someone does some completely unbelievable, oh say, I don’t know, like being the first person in the HISTORY of CYCLING to lead a GT at 41 years old, esp when, if it IS a level playing field the differences are so minute between the top athletes, and esp when the athlete in question has truly done fuck all for the last two years, you HAVE to question it.  And it is not like he is competeing against a bunch other old washed up guys not in their primes.  And all the other top guys in the peloton have had bad days, not Horner.  You HAVE to question it, if nothing else to keep the sport credible. 

    We all know that he was desperate to find a new team, no one wanted him next year:  Why?  B/c he hadn’t done shit for years.  If he truly had the talent, I find it so hard to believe that some team would not have invested in him.  And the Vuelta seems to be the most tainted, least tested event for GT’s for the last few years. 

    Do you really believe that Cobo was clean???  He’s more believable than Horner on paper!  And when Valverde won it???

    Besides, I grew up racing in New England in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s and met and raced at the same races as Tyler Hamilton.  SUPER nice guy.

    Michael Barry, just the nicest guy in the world.

    I hope he’s clean but you either have to not know any cycling history or be completely in lala land if you are not questioning this performance.  Nothing peronsal, and it is not like you are new to the sport, you know this sport more than someone who started riding three years ago.  Hell, you went a hell of a lot farther in the racing scene than I ever did.  I topped out as a Cat 3. 

    But, you know, if it smells like shit, looks like shit, and even tastes like shit, you really have to entertain the idea that it is shit.

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