Velominati Super Prestige: Paris-Tours

Gilbert wins in Tours Photo: Corvos

One of the most wonderful things about living in a climate with four distinct seasons is that each one comes as a welcome change, and with each season I find a period of time where I find myself thinking this one is my favorite. But regardless of the weather outside my window, I know Fall is here when our attention falls to the last major road races of the season; Paris-Tour and the Giro di Lomardia.

To say I’m not a fan of bunch sprints is a bit of an inaccurate statement. What I’m not a fan of is a forgone conclusion in a bike race, be it a Grand Tour, a sprint, or mountains prize. At the end of the day, I watch a bike race because I love not knowing how it’s going to unfold; I love fireworks and suspense. Given that, I don’t much care who wins the race – a good win is a good win, no matter who runs away with it. (That said, if it goes down to a sprint between a rider I like and one I don’t and the win falls to the douche, I’ll be inconsolable.)

And that’s why Paris-Tours is one of my favorite races of the year. It’s flat enough to give the sprinters a chance, while it’s run into Tours is windy and hilly enough to allow for opportunists to steal the glory. Sprinters, Rouleurs, and Grimpeurs have won here; Gilbert, Dekker, Friere, Virenque. Before that, Van Looy, de Roo, Van Springel, Maertens, Raas, Zoetemelk, Kelly, Anderson all rolled across the line first. Paris-Tours also holds the distinction of being the only Classic the Prophet failed to win.

But this isn’t the sixties, and this isn’t about Merckx. This is about another Belgian. Is Gilbert a forgone conclusion? Perhaps, but his form almost has to be wearing a bit thin. At this point, though, I’d love to see him pull it off, which means he won’t. He’s been racing at the front since de Ronde (if not before that), and has been winning since the Ardennes. Cav, assuming he’s racing, will likely want to show off his new bands at the head of the field; I can’t imagine the motivation to win a classic in the most revered jersey our Sport has.

So, get your picks in by 5am Pacific on Sunday morning; we’re giving a little bit of extra time this time round since I’m a little concerned that people might have forgotten we’re not done with the season yet.

Good luck.

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104 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Paris-Tours”

  1. No idea how many of these guys are riding. Btw, I like Cav… I’m a Brit, so I loved the British team’s ride in the worlds. Brad’s turn on the front just didn’t let anyone attack… epic.


    1. Gibblets
    2. Cav
    3. Chav
    4. Cuddles
    5. Summer’s-gone

  2. It’s snowing outside – it was 81F five days ago.


    1. Thor
    2. Gilbert
    3. Pierre Rolland
    4. Goss
    5. Roman Kreuziger

  3. No clue. Guessing on a break that sticks, as I normally do.


    1. T. Voeckler
    2. M. Tjallingii
    3. S. Chavanel
    4. S. O’Grady
    5. L Bak


    1. Shut up Legs
    2. Oscar Fries
    3. Giblets
    4. Phinney Jr.
    5. Vockler


    1. Rainbow Brite
    2. Gilbert
    3. McEwen
    4. Sutton
    5. Bennati

  6. Who the frack (or should that be strack) knows? All I can think of is that Cav will still be drunk from the Worlds, and will help the HTC guys rather than go for it himself. And Gilbert has to crap out at some stage.


    1. Goss
    2. Cooke
    3. Freire
    4. Bennatti
    5. Degenkolb


    1. Thorminator
    2. Gilber Grapes
    3. Cavtastico
    4. Jens
    5. Goss


    1. Mark Cavendish
    2. Oscar Freire
    3. Thor Hushovd
    4. Robbie Mcewen
    5. Philippe Gilbert

  9. Just trying to get enough points to peel myself off the bottom of the pile with my late start to the season. Getting some form for next year…

  10. Stayed just outside Tours after the TDF so I’m particularly interested to catch this race (for the first time). Its flat countryside thereabouts so I’m picking a sprintfest.


    1. cav
    2. goss
    3. phinny
    4. Hushvod
    5. gilbert

  11. Backing a break, Gilbert will be there but won’t have the form to finish it. The God of Thunder just pipping the God of Drinking.


    1. Thor
    2. Stuey O
    3. Gilbert the Croc
    4. Tommy V
    5. Der Jensie

  12. VSP PICKS:

    1. L’ours des ardennes
    2. Le Feillu fou
    3. Voeckler
    4. Flecha
    5. Voigt

  13. I’d Pick hoogerland for all 5 places if he was in the race. I am picking Frank’s server for the lantern rouge. dude.


    1. McQN
    2. Gilbear
    3. StueyO
    4. Jens
    5. Chavanel

  14. Hopeless selection – more of a “Most Loved 2011”


    1. Jens Fuct – rreeesppect
    2. Johnny Hooooooooooooooooogerland
    3. Phast Fil
    4. Tingalingi
    5. Tommy Rule #5

  15. Just finished reading McEwen’s book so he must win. Highly recommend this book for the Works. Gives some great insights into racing – including buying results and trade team collusion at the Worlds – plus being a great read.

    Of course I am biased towards my favorite little Aussie bogan.

    Alley Robbie!


    1. McEwen
    2. Cooke
    3. Cav
    4. Gilbert
    5. Hushovd

  16. Oh yeah.
    Forgot about Robbie.
    Go you old fucker. Sorry @theb…


    1. Tommy Fuckin V ([email protected])
    2. Baden Cooke
    3. Giblets
    4. Robbie McEwen
    5. Sylvan Chavanel

  17. VSP PICKS:

    1. Cav
    2. Robbie McEwan
    3. Baden Cooke
    4. Stuart O’Grady
    5. Matt Goss

  18. Touch of the randoms as I can’t find a start list anywhere….These picks will be subject to change without notice etc. Speaking of changing seasons, got out the turbo for the first time in ages yesterday instead of my regular ride after work. Sweaty.Ugly.


    1. Cav
    2. Goss
    3. Boaaaaasen-Hagen
    4. Thor
    5. Cancellara

  19. VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavennextrainbowturddish
    2. Thorpedo
    3. Friere’s my next year’s contract
    4. Some Ausshole – Goss maybe?
    5. PhilGil pipped at the line

  20. Cheers King C. Better not be any brutal headwinds or I’m mullered.


    1. Cav
    2. Petattackerast.
    3. Goss
    4. Thor
    5. Shut up legs!

  21. Reckon Gilbert is warming up for the ROTFL but still hard not to back him.

    And McEwen seems finally to have found some form.


    1. Cavendeeeesh
    2. Gilberrrrr
    3. McEwen
    4. Sutton
    5. Hushovd

  22. VSP PICKS:

    1. Henderson
    2. Cavendish
    3. Cooke
    4. Gilbert
    5. Voeckler

  23. Total crap shoot, hope Cav wants it badly enough, no lead out train for him.


    1. Cavendish
    2. Petacchi
    3. Gilbert
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Flecha

  24. Since it looks like Jens isn’t starting.


    1. Gilbert
    2. Cav
    3. Thor
    4. Chavanel
    5. Mini Phinney

  25. VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavendish
    2. Bennati
    3. Feillu
    4. McEwen
    5. Freire

  26. Some more obvious and some not so, i recon hayman will be pumped after P-B win & his new contract and Fiellu has been there of there abouts all season


    1. Cav
    2. Goss
    3. Gilbert
    4. R Feillu
    5. M Hayman

  27. Curse of the Rainbow Bands starts here, I’m afraid…


    1. Romain Feillu-tuce
    2. Cav
    3. Goss
    4. Baden Cooke
    5. Freire

  28. VSP PICKS:

    1. Andre the Giant
    2. GVA
    3. Cav
    4. Gilbert
    5. Petacchi

  29. Hmm, I normally find a link to watch online through They aren’t mentioning it right now.

    Anyone know a place to watch online?

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