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. @unversio

    @Buck Rogers It may be that his strength comes from something else. Belief is a powerful weapon especially when it is sharp.

    How do you mean?  Are you saying that it is a spiritual advantage that giving him his edge?  Just trying to understand your post.  Not judging here.

  2. @Buck Rogers I understand your perspective but it’s not as though he has done nothing in the last 3 years.  His best GT result is 9th at the Tour in 2010 but he has a lot of results in shorter stage races.

  3. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers I understand your perspective but it’s not as though he has done nothing in the last 3 years. His best GT result is 9th at the Tour in 2010 but he has a lot of results in shorter stage races.

    And at 41 or 42 he is getting stronger during a three week GT???  That’s why no one his age has ever even lead, say nothing about won, any of the three GT’s in each of their combined 200 plus year histories!  That is where the younger guys get you.  It catched up to the old guys.  And if he has had this miraculous recovery ability for the last 15 years where the hell has it been?  It’s never shown up before in a 3 week GT for him.  Just does not add up.

    Okay, I’ll stop defeding this position here as it could go on forever and we’ll probably (hopefully) never truly know if he is clean or not b/c you really cannot prove a negative, right?

    Just feels like 1998-2005 all over again to me.  Maybe I should market a wristband for Horner for a dollar a piece?  Might as well make some money off the madness!

  4. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers I understand your perspective but it’s not as though he has done nothing in the last 3 years. His best GT result is 9th at the Tour in 2010 but he has a lot of results in shorter stage races.

    He would have placed higher that year, but he was ferrying Lance up a climb after a crash — I don’t remember the stage — before they finally let him off the leash, at which point he didn’t lose much time the rest of the race.

  5. @Buck Rogers Hey I am not saying I am not skeptical — just pointing out he’s had some good stage racing results in recent years.

    BTW how are you liking that espresso machine?

  6. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers Hey I am not saying I am not skeptical “” just pointing out he’s had some good stage racing results in recent years.

    BTW how are you liking that espresso machine?

    Ha!  Tracking. 

    But I HAD to counter that his results are not good enough, esp not in the last 3 years and he shouldn’t be getting better as he goes over 40!  For me, every argument that I have seen for him is easily countered by stronger arguements if loked at without the WANT to believe.  If he was a 42 year old Kazakhastani I cannot begin to believe he would have the same support.

    But, I have actually been smiling while posting these.  Boring admin afternoon at work!  Giving me something to do. 

    And as for my beauty of an espresso machine:  She has been having trouble for the last two weeks!!!  Works some days, doesn’t others.  We realized that we had not been back flushing it for, oh, about 6 months, and now it is dying.  We did a bunch of emergency back flushes and cleaning flushes after speaking to the builder but it might have to make a trip to CA to be repaired.

    That’s probably what’s got me going.  The fear of losing my espresso mahcine for the next month or two, esp during the Cogal!!!

    Yeah, we’re stupid fucks when we come to our beloved espresso machine!!!

  7. Guest pundit tomorrow on itv4 for vuelta highlights is Jensy…..should be entertaining…!

  8. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers The part of me that recently turned 40 wants to believe but is also bitter and skeptical. The part of me that remains a fan of professional bike racing is tired of GTs and would rather talk about the changes to the back end of Milano Sanremo instead.

    Apparently Rule #65 applies to espresso machines just as much as bicycles.

    Yes!  I am truly, at heart, a lover of the Classics and one day races and the Hardmen and Hard Women that ride them.

    The last 15 years skeletal GT riders just do not hold the same mysticness for me.  Bring on the Giro di Lombardia!!!

  9. @Deakus

    Guest pundit tomorrow on itv4 for vuelta highlights is Jensy…..should be entertaining…!

    Jensy is always a good listen. When Jensy speaks its always enjoyable!

  10. Interesting to watch Sagan get the Cancellara treatment in Quebec City this afternoon. If you want to win, you need to lead…

  11. @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers The part of me that recently turned 40 wants to believe but is also bitter and skeptical. The part of me that remains a fan of professional bike racing is tired of GTs and would rather talk about the changes to the back end of Milano Sanremo instead.

    Apparently Rule #65 applies to espresso machines just as much as bicycles.

    Yes! I am truly, at heart, a lover of the Classics and one day races and the Hardmen and Hard Women that ride them.

    The last 15 years skeletal GT riders just do not hold the same mysticness for me. Bring on the Giro di Lombardia!!!

    The wonder of the GTs has to do with the stories and narratives that unfold””not all at once, but over the space of three weeks. They are able to take on their epic quality precisely because they develop in serial form. But we’ve lost our capacity to dream in stories of this nature, to a great extent because the narrative is flawed. The narrative is flawed, not because some athletes cheat (cheating is as old as these stories), but because we have become less credulous and we lack the imagination to create new stories. Armstrong’s defeat of cancer to become the greatest GT rider in history makes a great story (and it appealed because it was different, if very American). On a smaller scale, so does Landis’s recovery to take the Tour. In a bygone age, we would have continued to revere these stories. Horner, the new Methuselah, is a great story. But it’s almost too good; we’re so numbed that we need ever greater stories and we recognize that all these riders have protean flaws…

  12. @Steampunk

    Interesting to watch Sagan get the Cancellara treatment in Quebec City this afternoon. If you want to win, you need to lead…

    Merckx alive, that was a helluva brutal finish! Looks like Sagan just ran out of gas and big skinny-malink Gesink rode the smarter race.

    For anyone interested, here’s the link Steamy neglected to provide for your viewing pleasure: http://www.steephill.tv/players/youtube3/?title=Final+Kms+of+Grand+Prix+Cycliste+de+Qu%C3%A9bec+2013&dashboard=&id=1BYSMesIjGk&yr=2013

  13. @Buck Rogers Don’t get me wrong, I know where you’re coming from. But given that Horner is, at 41, and leading a GT, is going to have the shit tested out of him. Now you’re a MD and while I’m not, I’ve been in medicine for over 23 years. What drug can you think of that would enhance his performance to this level that they don’t already test for, or we would know about? I’ve thought long and hard about it, and actually had a lengthy conversation with one of my Doc’s who also holds a Pharm-D and is a avid cyclist/ super fan. We can’t come up with anything in the formulary.

    Not being argumentative just to start a fight, I’m curious.

  14. @scaler911 Dammit Jim, I’m an eye surgeon, not a chemist!!!

    Man, how do I know???  I did not know about the ability to abuse EPO when they started using that in the early ’90’s, didn’t know about the ability to abuse HGH when they started that, same goes for CERA and lately micro-dosing EPO.  Not to mention that no one has a test for blood transfusions yet.

    Just b/c you cannot come up with what drug they are on does not lend credibility to an truly unbelievable story.

    Look at the last 20 years since they started the heavy EPO doping in the early ’90’s, everyone said that no doping was going on, then Festina happened.  They improved the testing and continued to improve testing, and then Floyd Landis happened.  Continued improving then Contador, Rasmussen, you name it.  Not to mention that Lance was riding and unfolding an unbelievable story during all this improvement, all the way to present day.  When and where does it stop???  Hell if I know but I really doubt that they are still getting them all.

    As long as they money is huge and someone wants a contract, there will be cheating.  And if there is a truly unbelievable story, one is crazy not to suspect something.

    Also not trying to be argumentative, just trying to find an argument that actually is not emotionally invested (like most of you have said that you are:  “Lives near me” Love the guy”  “Just a great guy” “Raced against him” etc).

    I would LOVE to believe, but I believed Pantani, I believed Lance for a while, I wanted to believe Floyd and Cantador and Schleck and Rasmussen and all the others.

    Guess I’m jaded but I am open to convincing but I have not seen anything that comes close to explaining this performance.

    Look, you’re a smart guy and you know science, does this ride REALLY add up to you?

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

    Oh come on! Cobo’s win was a joke. Other than one Tour stage in 2008, his few other wins (9) were all in the Iberian peninsula. Horner’s palmares way outweigh Cobo’s.

  16. @Steampunk

    @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers The part of me that recently turned 40 wants to believe but is also bitter and skeptical. The part of me that remains a fan of professional bike racing is tired of GTs and would rather talk about the changes to the back end of Milano Sanremo instead.

    Apparently Rule #65 applies to espresso machines just as much as bicycles.

    Yes! I am truly, at heart, a lover of the Classics and one day races and the Hardmen and Hard Women that ride them.

    The last 15 years skeletal GT riders just do not hold the same mysticness for me. Bring on the Giro di Lombardia!!!

    The wonder of the GTs has to do with the stories and narratives that unfold””not all at once, but over the space of three weeks. They are able to take on their epic quality precisely because they develop in serial form. But we’ve lost our capacity to dream in stories of this nature, to a great extent because the narrative is flawed. The narrative is flawed, not because some athletes cheat (cheating is as old as these stories), but because we have become less credulous and we lack the imagination to create new stories. Armstrong’s defeat of cancer to become the greatest GT rider in history makes a great story (and it appealed because it was different, if very American). On a smaller scale, so does Landis’s recovery to take the Tour. In a bygone age, we would have continued to revere these stories. Horner, the new Methuselah, is a great story. But it’s almost too good; we’re so numbed that we need ever greater stories and we recognize that all these riders have protean flaws…

    Methuselah? IIRC you earn your ducats at a university, correct? Because that sounds like an argument I would have with a good friend of mine who is a Doctor of Post-Modern Literature.

    Damn but I love getting into the whisky and having a good debate with that guy. It’s like a tennis game of poetry against brute force.

  17. @wiscot

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

    Oh come on! Cobo’s win was a joke. Other than one Tour stage in 2008, his few other wins (9) were all in the Iberian peninsula. Horner’s palmares way outweigh Cobo’s.

    Your cheery picking one of the MANY points that I have made.  Good Lord.

    I used Cobo as an example of someone who was not at all credible but he was a hell of a lot younger and could conceivably be peaking later in a three week GT than a 41 tear old who has done shit for 3 years, never has peaked late in a GT and all the other too many points that I made to remember.

    I really need to stop championing this cause.  It is getting too depressing.  Please, believe what you want.  I wish I still believed in Santa and the Easter Bunny, too.

  18. @wiscot Make that “You’re”.

    Jeesh, you guys are making me so crazy that my grammaritcal skills are going out the window!

    I am really the only guy who has followed cycling for the last 27 plus years that is convinced this is not a “natural ride” around here???

    Nah, probably just the only one stupid enough to bother trying to speak about it.

  19. @Buck Rogers No, you are not.  Unfortunately it is not hard to be skeptical of GT performances these days; nor is it hard to find data and/or anecdotals evidence to support the skepticism.

  20. I think someone said earlier that maybe now riders that really were naturally gifted, talented if you will, are now getting a fair crack at winning races.

    I don’t have any evidence other than this.  All these riders know that doping is frowned upon and I think it was after the stage two days ago I saw Horner being interviewed after the stage.  I find it hard to believe he went through that interview in the manner that he did, that is to say, he didn’t look one bit guilty or covering anything up or worried about what’ll happen if he gets caught.  Was it a supreme piece of acting?  I don’t know.  Sure, I’m surprised by his performance but is it impossible?  Dunno.

    Did Armstrong do all the above?  Well there was always the hint that he was a dick but Horner seems to be a much more jovial chap.  Guess well have to wait and see.

  21. @scaler911

    @Buck Rogers Don’t get me wrong, I know where you’re coming from. But given that Horner is, at 41, and leading a GT, is going to have the shit tested out of him. Now you’re a MD and while I’m not, I’ve been in medicine for over 23 years. What drug can you think of that would enhance his performance to this level that they don’t already test for, or we would know about? I’ve thought long and hard about it, and actually had a lengthy conversation with one of my Doc’s who also holds a Pharm-D and is a avid cyclist/ super fan. We can’t come up with anything in the formulary.

    Not being argumentative just to start a fight, I’m curious.

    Consider it a miracle without the drug. We should all remember that racing and training goes with a healthy dose of patience. Horner has waited long enough and he has certainly learned how to control a race by now.

  22. @ramenvelo

    Me too. No disrespect to you @Buck or @Nate but I’m inclined to believe that it’s legit. I have no evidence one way or the other to prove it, nor has anyone else. Horner always has been a top GC rider. I’m inclined to believe that his time has come. Sure, everyone points to the study that suggests that VO2 max capacity declines after the age of 35 but surely there are intricacies in that the “science” may or may not account for. I think that everyone has been burned a few too many times and this is corrosive to your spirit. Sometimes it’s best to let go, I think. (Fuck. Listen to me. (Smiley face). Psychoanalytic bullshit, etc)

  23. @mouse I hear you.  Being ‘merican I have been burned to many times by

    .

    In the interest of full disclosure, it would be awesome for my VSP if Horner comes through.

  24. As an fyi

    The Angliru requires some special considerations when it comes to gearing, and Alasdair Fotheringham has updated us with the lowest gears available to the principal contenders – Valverde 36×29; Nibali 34×29; Sanchez 34×32; Roche 36×32; Horner 34×32; Rodriguez 36×28.

  25. Chaos. Pure chaos. Loving this race…the crowd is manic the riders are at their limit, camera motos stalling, where are the leaders? Another Frenchman gets a win…and the nice guy finishes first – absolutely broken.

    What an amazing example of the beauty of this sport!

  26. OK, I stand corrected. This has been a pretty fucking rad GT. That last battle was absolutely a cracker.

    Anyone else notice that Horner sounds exactly like the Road Runner?

  27. Wow, I never thought I’d see Chris Horner’s name at the top of a GT GC on the second-last day. Congrats to RedRanger for taking the win in a tie over Donnie Bugno (who gets a commendation for an awesome handle).

    Provisional Race Results
    1. HORNER Christopher
    2. NIBALI Vincenzo
    3. VALVERDE Alejandro
    4. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin
    5. ROCHE Nicolas
    Provisional VSP Standings
    1. RedRanger (32 points)
    2. Donnie Bugno (32 points)
    3. Nate (30 points)
    4. Mike_P (28 points)
    5. Collin (28 points)
    6. imakecircles (28 points)
    7. jeyrod (28 points)
    8. Skip (28 points)
    9. eightzero (25 points)
    10. Lukas (25 points)
    127. eenies (0 points)
  28. Hot damn that was a hell of a race. Pure mayhem.

    I was watching it with someone that had never seen a bike race before, trying to explain what was happening as motos were crashing and people were blowing up everywhere was, say, interesting?

  29. @frank

    OK, I stand corrected. This has been a pretty fucking rad GT. That last battle was absolutely a cracker.

    Anyone else notice that Horner sounds exactly like the Road Runner?

    As ever Frank you are a long way ahead of me….i was about to berate you for your laclustre approach to this GT once again and demand a retraction…..your self awareness and humility have once again denied me my moment of feeling righteous….but….once again the TdF has proved to be 3/3 for entertainment on the grand tours for the second year in a row….

    VLVV (vivre la vuelta velominati)

  30. @JohnB

    Horner. Must be beetroot juice.

    that beetroot juice, and porridge in the mornings, job done.

  31. I am watching todays stage again but on ITV4 with speshul guest common tater, Jens Voigt, should be interesting.

  32. @brett

    @Buck Rogers

    I am really the only guy who has followed cycling for the last 27 plus years that is convinced this is not a “natural ride” around here???

    No.

    Are we going to be able to enjoy seeing a ‘Murican in Red in Madrid tomorrow, without talking about how he got there, when up to now, he’s passed all the doping controls? Can we just be happy for him? Can we consider that there’s the possibility that perhaps during the EPO years he was actually one of the most talented racers in group that was clean the whole time? Or are we going to do the guilty until proven innocent thing? It’s not like he won by 10min. It was close.

  33. Amazing. I am the only guy to pick Horner from the start. I swap out an DNF Dan Martin. And I only have 21 points.

    Have I offended thee? V? I shall go and flog myself under the watchful eye of the Man with the Hammer.

    And, @scaler911 — thank you.

  34. Horner seems like one of those guys who’s said before that he could win a grand tour and until now subsequently crashed out or suffered injury in them.  Maybe this time, luck was just on his side.  Of course, I don’t have all the data, yada, yada, and Horner may be doped to the gills in some new way, but that was exciting racing.  Nibbles went down swinging, too.  Great conclusion to a grand tour.

  35. Ridiculously exciting finish to that one!

    It’s a shame that my reaction is tempered with suspicion of wrong doing.  It really shouldn’t be that way.   It makes me mad and somewhat sad.

    Superb performance though…really top notch.

  36. I really enjoyed the moments when the racers had ascended into the fog. The moto was stuck behind the commissar’s car, so no one knew what was happening. They stayed with that moto once it was clear, so the suspense of seeing what the positioning would be was fantastic. First, J-Rod, then Valverde, and finally Horner and Nibali. Fabulous.

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