Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s and Women’s World Elite Road Race Championships

Just add water.  It’s true of dehydrated food and it’s true of a dehydrated sport approaching the end of the season. It seems adding a dose of rain improves any race, but none so more than the World Road Race championships. That is, so long as you ignore Paris-Roubaix and de Ronde van Vlaanderen. In any case, I’m hoping for rain in Melbourne on on Saturday and Sunday.

The cycling world’s eye is turned sharply towards Australia as the World Championships unfold. It seems to me the competitors are facing some unique challenges in this years event, given it’s location and route. Conventional knowledge is that the course is not hard enough and will favor the sprinters. I am convinced this is not the case, despite the considerable setbacks of not having studied the course nor having been to Australia. I’ll also mention that I’m unwilling to do any “research” to validate my assumptions, but they sound good and a good-sounding guess is almost the same as a fact.

I’m not about to underestimate the disorienting effect of riding upside down.  Aussies and Kiwis will be used to it, but all that blood rushing to your head when you’re in Oz will do nothing to toughen up your guns.  Riders who already have a big head, like ‘Cav, will be at risk of having their noggin’s rupture under the pressure.  I just hope they’ve been acclimating by sleeping upside down.

It’s also Springtime in Oz, so the Euros who already raced a Spring campaign will suffer the unpredictable side-effects of experiencing the same season twice, similar to what happens when you travel back in time and share a brewskie with your past self.

Finally, most Europeans are used to having dogs and the like shoot into the road and know how to handle it.  It’s usually no big deal because European dogs are generally small and fluffy and can be run over pretty easily with only a bit of fur getting stuck in the drive-train. However, I have it on the excellent authority of someone who’s credibility I can’t verify that kangaroos are fucking everywhere down there, and everyone already knows all Aussies carry Bowie knives. I can only speculate as to the sequence of events caused by having a marsupial hop into the rider’s path during the race.  I’m guessing those Bowie knives will likely come in handy.

Bear these insights in mind as you enter your picks for the inaugural Velominati Super Prestige World Road Race Championship edition.  This one is a little bit different from before; we’ll be doing a concurrent event for both the Men’s and Women’s Elite Road Race.  Enter your picks for both races by the time the Women’s race starts on Saturday.  After the start, substitutions for the Mens race will only be allowed for pre-race DNS’s.    Regular 1-day race points apply for both races, 5 for first, 4 for second, 3, for third, 2 for fourth, and 1 for 5th.  A bonus point will also be awarded for any pick in the top five, regardless of placing.

Bonus Points:

We will be offering a 5 point bonus to the contestant who correctly picks both winners.

We will also be awarding bonus points to anyone who identifies egregious Rule Violations before, during, and immediately after the races.  Entries should be posted here as you see them; supplemental evidence given through photos posted or specific times in the races (km’s from the finish) will be given extra consideration.  Violations are worth 1 bonus point each, at the panel’s discretion.

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66 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Men’s and Women’s World Elite Road Race Championships”

  1. So what happened to Cavendish anyway? I only saw about the last hour or so and never saw/heard him mentioned. Did he go off the back and pull out or what?

  2. Pulled out earlier. The pace was a bit hot, perhaps saving it for the Commonwealth Games when it became apparent he wouldn’t medal.

  3. @Mr Haven


    Little fella sure was spoutin off beforehand. It’ll be interesting to see if he can ever develop into a rouleur as we’ve seen from Thor. It seems a logical rider progression as they age and fast-twitch muscles get slower. Not that he needs to. He’s certainly accomplished much in his short tenure and will certainly do more in terms of sprints but he (and the media) keep talking about him producing in one day races and classics which just aint happening.

  4. @Marko
    To be fair, Cav was quick to say that the Geelong course really didn’t suit him (it’s also one of the reasons I admire Thor all the more: he’s got one big body he has to Rule #5 up those hills””lots and lots of power).

    We’ll see if Cav evolves, but for now, he’s about the only legitimate sprinter in the peloton (pax Corn-fed). He is fast as hell, but his main competition is coming from older, Classics guys and not out-and-out sprinters. Ale-jet and McEwen are getting a little long in the tooth, and nobody else is really world class. My timing is probably horrible for this, but even Thor seems to have lost a step or two (he freely admitted that during the TdF).

  5. @Steampunk
    agree…and for all their “rivalry” Thor said without malice after the race that the course didn’t suit Cavendish, that Cav was a pure sprinter and the fastest around but that this course was for SMASHing.

    I think Cav not succeeding was less of a disappointment than Corn-fed not being anywhere. Which I think represents Corn-fed’s biggest problem, he is very inconsistent. I think The Worlds showed why Vaughters wanted Thor, at least he is guaranteed results. Don’t be surprised to see Corn-fed winning lot’s in July, it just won’t be in France

  6. @Jarvis
    Shit small races? It will be interesting to see how Thor and Corn-fed co-exist. My fear is that they Garmin-Cervelo will bolster the speed demons and leave their GC candidates to twist in the wind. Hesjedal has probably peaked, but couldn’t he have used a little help?

  7. @Kiwicyclist
    Nice set of photos! For the readers, Flikr doesn’t like our newfangled page viewer, so just click the “View Full Version” button at the bottom of the popup window to get over to the Flikr page.

  8. @Steampunk
    I have the same worry, but I suspect that THHHHOOOOOORRRRR! will be glad to be rid of the pressure to contest the bunch sprints and happily leave it to T-Bone and the other reckless youngsters. My bigger worry would be that while Thor is good for a stage win or two, if Garmin doesn’t resolve their identity crisis, they’ll stay off the top of the charts in any category.

    The GC riders don’t have enough support, and neither do the sprinters. Thor doesn’t fit into the leadout train picture, nor the domestique drilling it on the front for 8 hours picture. If Garmin goes for stage wins and has no other organized and committed aspirations, Thor has a solid place in the roster. If they focus and build out a plan to focus on one or the other, they may have to choose between the two fastmen and it would be likely they’d put Tyler on the roster and not Thor.

  9. @frank
    Yup. They’re going to need to determine their priorities for the coming season. I liked Cervelo’s rock-n-roll attitude in the grand tours with guys like Haussler (2009) and Thor (just about every year) busting a gut for a stage victory somewhere. I suspect the Turtleneck will take a careful look at the parcours for the various grand tours and try to work out where a Corn-fed train (even if it’s only Julian Dean) is better suited and when a Classics-type rider is the better chance for the odd stage victory. Thor might still end up with the TdF and Corn-fed doing the Giro and Vuelta if his chances of securing a sprint jersey are better there.

    All that said, April is going to be hella fun watching the kind of monster team Garmin-Cervelo are going to be able to put out for Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. That twinkle in Thor’s eye when he said Paris-Roubaix was his goal for 2011 was very cool…

  10. @frank
    you’re talking nonsense. Vaughters knows that an on-form Cavendish is almost unbeatable and t thaa Green Jersey is far more valuable than a stage win. Admittedly, Thor and Corn-fed being in the same Grand Tour team is about as likely as Cavendish & Gripewater being in the same team.

    Vaughters wold have to be mad to have paid out for hushovd only to leave him at home in July, especially now he has the Rainbow Jersey. How much more visable do you want your team to be? I know you’re a big fan of Tubby Ullrich’s little brother, but Corn-fed Farrar just hasn’t proven himself enough to push Thor out of a Tour team. He is unlikely to beat Cavendish for a stage and isn’t consistent enough to be a better bet for the Green than Tour. That’s why Farrar will be at the Giro and possibly the Vuelta and not in France in July.

    Next year’s Tour team for Garmin almost picks itself. Lose Corn-fed and you don’t need the heavies to control a bunch on the run-in, you just accept that Hushovd might not win, but give him one or two riders to look after him and he will be thereabouts and will pick up points. That lets you have six riders to help the GC contenders VDV & Ryder who will have mountain support from Martin and le Mevel. Lose a couple from these 11:
    Thor, Dean, Miller, VDV, Ryder, Martin, Vansummeren, DZ, Le Mevel, Lloyd, Haussler

  11. @Jarvis
    That seems like a logical analysis. Additionally, put Corn-fed in Paris-Roubaix to learn from one of the current masters. I was gonna say support Thor in P-R too but I don’t think Corn-fed could do it. I also have to wonder about Thor in the Ardennes next year too. Seems he has a promising spring campaign.

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