Velominati Super Prestige: Liége-Bastogne-Liége

We’ve all watched bike races, that’s a given, but how many of us actually listen to a bike race? It’s at this time every year that I’m reminded of something;

The Ardennes Classics sound different.

How does a bike race sound exactly? In the case of L-B-L, it’s the low buzz of the TV helicopter that is ingrained in my psyche. The subliminal hum of the rotors, droning away, overlaid with the monologue of Phil and Paul (or some Dutch or Spanish guy), also droning away, is a trance-inducing concoction not even the likes of Ken Kesey ever experienced.

Be warned, if you’re a Vietnam Veteran watching (and listening to) this clip of Argentin taking his fourth Doyenne may lead to flashbacks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzAntXH46p0&feature=related

While the cobbled northern Classics elucidate a mien that takes hold of our hearts and can’t really be explained, the hillier races in the last week of the Spring campaign offer their own charms for us to appreciate. The fragile climbers, who’ve avoided the rough and dirty roads in weeks previous, mix it up alongside a smattering of the Big Men of the Stones who make the crossover to give it one last crack, or to simply help their grimpeur buddies get a slice of their own pie. These are races that can go to any number of riders who are having an on day.

Which doesn’t make picking a winner in this, the final Spring edition of the Velominati Super Prestige any easier. Will a Schleck, any Schleck, stand up (or be countered). What will the reactions be if Veino repeats, will he still be the villain, or is a year a long time in cycling and he’ll be forgiven, cheered and revered?  PhilGil could make his own history and take not only the triple crown of Amstel, Fleche and Liége, but the quadruple with his Brabanste Pijl win thrown in for good measure. Whichever way the cards fall, or whoever plays them right, it’s always a worthy winner who rolls across the line first in Ans.

All that’s left to do is take a look at the start list, use your Powers of Deductionâ„¢ to decide your Top V, fill in the blanks and pick up an Obey The Rules bumper sticker for your trouble. It’s a prize older and more coveted than any other cycling-based-website-race-tipping-competition-bumper-sticker-giveaway.

Maybe listening to your heart is the way to go on this one.

Best of Belgian to you.

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257 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Liége-Bastogne-Liége”

  1. morning – watch out for Van Avermaet and Siutsou, dangerous riders to let go here
    2 climbs to go

  2. Look for the Schleck sequential attacks coming soon to isolate Gilbert.

  3. From a Leopard perspective, with two out of four being a schleck, you’d be pretty upset if you didn’t put this one away…

  4. @CJ
    Exactly! If one of the Schlecks do not win, it will be a failure for Leopard at this point. Go GILBERT!!!

  5. What an ass-whipping Gilbert administered to the Schlecks… what a straight-up beating.

    I love this sport.

  6. Here’s hoping that Frank took second as I had Phil Gil 1st and Andy third in my picks! :)

  7. @CJ
    They could have tried to attack on the St Nicholas, but if they had, Gilbert would probably have counterattacked out of spite. The man is overflowing with the V.

  8. What a stud. Schlecks didn’t even try, they could have at least tried. What, he needs a win at the Ronde and P-R to fulfill his master plan? He just knocked three of his career goals off in a week.

  9. My velomitoddler has spent the past couple of minutes bouncing around the house: “He winned! Gilbert the Crocodile winned!”

    I guess Gilbert owes the Schlecks a pint or two for carrying him to the line like that. Very puzzling. Andy showed at least the semblance of a pulse last year when he and Contador went head to head at the TdF, but the two of them should have at least tried to put the hurt on Gilbert. No sign of life. No sign of a plan. They created such an incredible and improbably opportunity in that two-to-one break. But it seemed to be Gilbert who dispatched Van Avermaet. Good on Gilbert, but the Schlecks seemed to make that too easy…

  10. That has to be one of the greatest displays of tactical flaccidity I have ever seen. Both Schlecks displayed an almost Hincapie-like lack of willingness to lay it on the line and try to win. It was clear from the bottom of the St. Nicholas that Gilbert’s massive V had cowed them both into riding for 2nd and 3rd.

  11. @Nate
    Absolutely.
    It looked like he was riding by himself in the last 5k.
    Any weak-ass attacks would only have provoked him.

  12. @Marko
    Very impressive and classy. The Schlecks should have done something but it’s hard to say what they actually could have done.

    I’d say Gilbert has a better chance at Milano San Remo than Paris Roubaix, at least at this point in his career.

  13. @all
    Maybe we are looking at this all wrong. The Schlecks, having un grand rendez-vous en juillet, are two months from peaking. Given that, they did admirably.

  14. Yep, if I was in that position with my brother, I’d at least gave tried something. Phil Gil is certainly at a stud right now, but you have to give it a go.

    Nice race, what a way to start a beautiful Sunday. Now I’m heading out to ride for a few hours before the Sabres game comes on. Ooh boy, if they could knock out the Flyers this would be one sweet Easter.

    L-B-L, a ride, Sabres stomping the Flyers. Yeehaw.

  15. @Marko

    They need to room with Jens for a few weeks. (“Yes legs, I hear you complain so I will sit up now”)

    Fransies

  16. Mighty ride by Gilbert there was no stopping him today, why those two didn’t do SOMETHING i don’t know. Even if it was futile they had to give it a go, 1 – 2 on gilbert leading up to St Niclaus and up it, something….. if they had then they wouldn’t have people like us talking about how they did nothing afterwards and the press asking them why they did nothing….. personally i prefer Gilbert as a rider and am very happy with the out come and bow at his pedals

  17. What was the point of Andy fighting his way back if they weren’t going to try something? The need to learn a lesson about The V from Faboo and Jens.

  18. Wow, looks like race was insane; I’m going to have to catch the re-air of this. I feel ripped off that I only got three points for naming the top three, but I deserve a point penalty for being stupid enough not to pick Gilbert in first.

    Looking good for the Schlecks for the Tour, though, eh?

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