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. Blind guesses. Yay.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Cav
    3. Thor
    4. Voeckler
    5. Jens? Jens. Jens!

  2. Completely unrelated note to the wise: Don’t go on e-bay when you’re REALLY drunk. Thank GOD someone outbid me today on the Merckx frame that I bid on last night while spinning on Grand Marnier. My VMH would have KILLED me had I won the auction and had to pay over $1000 for the frame and fork (in her words, “WHAT? How MUCH? It doesn’t even have WHEELS!” But, in all fairness, I still think the frame is worth over a grand :)

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavendouche
    2. Goss
    3. PhilGil
    4. Thor
    5. Freire

  3. @Buck Rogers

    Completely unrelated note to the wise: Don’t go on e-bay when you’re REALLY drunk. Thank GOD someone outbid me today on the Merckx frame that I bid on last night while spinning on Grand Marnier. My VMH would have KILLED me had I won the auction and had to pay over $1000 for the frame and fork (in her words, “WHAT? How MUCH? It doesn’t even have WHEELS!” But, in all fairness, I still think the frame is worth over a grand :)
    VSP PICKS:
    1. Cavendouche
    2. Goss
    3. PhilGil
    4. Thor
    5. Freire

    If it was OK to use an emoticon, mine would be smiling…….

  4. You’re all welcome at my place to watch it on Eurosport. Tour of Beijing before that for pre-race drinks.

  5. Cav’ll want this one. It’s better he starts now before coming into the 2012 season out of shape.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cav
    2. Petacchi
    3. Freire
    4. Arashiro
    5. Gilbert

  6. Just because I think JH should have something else to be remembered for this season.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Jonny Hooligan
    2. R Feillu
    3. Goss
    4. Spaticus
    5. Gilbert

  7. I’m increasingly concerned that the race isn’t happening, or it’s deliberately being under publicized because Pat McQuaid has some agenda to make the Tour of Beijing a big deal. But, it is finally up on CyclingNews, so that’s good.

    On to the race, I think I’m finally going to bet on Gobbles, because now I want him to carry on with his amazing streak. Sadly for him, that should pretty much seal the deal for him and ensure that it doesn’t happen.

    As a cruel joke, Petacchi squeaks over the line before Cav and the poor guy doesn’t get to show off his new bands.

    As for what actually happens now that I made my prediction, HTC close down the break within sight of the line and FedEx delivers his package on time.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gobbles
    2. Ale-Jest
    3. Cavendouche
    4. Freire
    5. Steegemans

  8. Few of the riders have been trying to get people talking about it on twitter but it does seem to be being under sold but have the sky+ set for it on eurosport.

  9. If everyone was not picking Cav I might have been tricked into going for him but no, I won’t.
    As Sgt says “Curse of the Rainbow Bands starts here, I’m afraid…”
    Nor Gilbert. Somehow Flecha redeems his season, winning ahead of the field out of a crumbling break.
    Dr C, never doubt your first pick.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Flecha
    2. R. Hammond
    3. B. Cooke
    4. Cav
    5. Freire

  10. @frank
    IP-T is an ASO race. Seems odd ASO isn’t pushing it more, with UCI coming in and running Tour of Beijing at the same time.

  11. Tour of Beijing seems very dull, apart from great scenery – Eurosport has no sound other than Dave Harmon and some other guy with a rather uninspiring input – really miss the rumble of the tyres on Tarmac, the chopper blades, the camera bikes….. Hopefully P-T highlights will be better

    Poor BMC guy who got whacked by advertising board blown off its mounting by low flying chopper!

  12. Switching out Goss and Thor as I do not see them on the official start list. I wonder if maybe I am looking at an old list, though?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavendouche
    2. McEwen
    3. PhilGil
    4. Bennati
    5. Freire

  13. @Dr C

    Tour of Beijing seems very dull, apart from great scenery – Eurosport has no sound other than Dave Harmon and some other guy with a rather uninspiring input – really miss the rumble of the tyres on Tarmac, the chopper blades, the camera bikes….. Hopefully P-T highlights will be better
    Poor BMC guy who got whacked by advertising board blown off its mounting by low flying chopper!

    I’m with you there @Dr C.
    We have it on SBS with Uncle Phil commentating, but he’s by himself. The dynamic conversation we usually get with Paul Sherwin isn’t there. It could be worse I suppose.
    We’re getting a delayed telecast so I can at least watch it in the evening rather than 11pm until 1am.
    You are bang on about the coverage though. They have helicopters, but the cameramen on the bikes seem not to have the same skills as the TdF gents. You just don’t get the same sense of being IN the action somehow.
    Never mind. Really, considering that I’m whingeing about the quality of coverage of a bike race that’s never been televised before and where even 2 years ago would not have been brought to my screen, I should just be happy that I have the opportunity.

  14. @Dr C

    Tour of Beijing seems very dull, apart from great scenery – Eurosport has no sound other than Dave Harmon and some other guy with a rather uninspiring input – really miss the rumble of the tyres on Tarmac, the chopper blades, the camera bikes….. Hopefully P-T highlights will be better
    Poor BMC guy who got whacked by advertising board blown off its mounting by low flying chopper!

    BMC Racing Team’s Yannick Eijssen suffered facial injuries, including fracture above his teeth

    that’s from BMC tweeter feed, whilst it’s nice that Beijing have tried to put on a big event beating le tour by taking out a rider with a helicopter is kind of rash…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Jonny Hooligan
    2. R Feillu
    3. Goss
    4. Spaticus
    5. Gilbert

  15. Changes made to include riders actually on the start list!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Freire
    2. Cooke
    3. McEwen
    4. Henderson
    5. Roman Feillu

  16. I was going to go with Cav, but he doesn’t have his usual train. Although it would be nice to see the stripes take the win. Hmmmmm. I guess I’m going with McEwen because this year it will end in a sprint.

    Unless it doesn’t.

    And I just wanted to guess Phinney, just because I enjoy his Twitter feed.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Robbie McEwen
    2. Oscar Freire
    3. Alessandro Petacchi
    4. Taylor Phinney
    5. Mark Cavendish

  17. VSP PICKS:

    1. Man Cav
    2. McUN
    3. Freire Tuck
    4. C’est Phinney
    5. Hayman she’s a total blamblam

  18. VSP PICKS:

    1. Mark Cavendish
    2. Oscar Freire
    3. Alessandro Petacchi
    4. Robbie Mcewen
    5. Philippe Gilbert

  19. @King Clydesdale

    VSP PICKS:
    1. Mark Cavendish
    2. Oscar Freire
    3. Alessandro Petacchi
    4. Robbie Mcewen
    5. Philippe Gilbert

    Submitted this change due to Thor not showing up on the start list on cycling news.

  20. VSP PICKS:

    1. M Cavenbandsdish
    2. R Feillu
    3. Greg HeNZderson
    4. Robber McEwan
    5. Oscarito

  21. will be fun to watch especially if it really does rain. Got a feeling if Cav doesn’t win old Robbie might score a biggie or CJ Sutton might break through for a classic win. Will be watching either way!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cavendish
    2. McEwan
    3. Sutton
    4. Cooke
    5. Freire

  22. On second thought…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Philbert
    2. Ballan
    3. Cav
    4. Greipel
    5. Steegmans

  23. VSP PICKS:

    1. Gilbert
    2. Chavanel
    3. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni
    4. Ballan
    5. Voeckler

  24. VSP PICKS:

    1. Mark Cavendish
    2. Philip Gilbert
    3. Andre Greipel
    4. Alessandro Petacchi
    5. Robbie McEwen

  25. @Chris

    @pakratHas anyone picked up any points?

    I definitely didn’t! But so psyched to see Ian Stannard coming to form. That dude is for real. Played a big part in the World Championship and in at the kill again today. Dude won my respect with that post-K-B-K interview a few years ago.

    Trying to upload the link but totally do not know how. Here it is in cut-and-paste. Watch it if you haven’t before. Sooooo worth the 52 seconds!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vq7LbOHZbs

  26. Wow, one whopping point for three contestants, and donuts for the rest.
    [vsp_results id=”9864″]
    [/vsp_results]
    [vsp_gc]
    [/vsp_gc]

  27. @frank

    Collective fail! And we like to think of ourselves as cognoscenti of the sport! Mass hill rep cogal is in order!

    @Buck Rogers

    Stannard is turning into a legend. Big lad on a bike as well. I get the kids in bed then watch the youtube clip

  28. Got to see the race, got to work on my Flemish.

    Wow, only Lombardia remains, then it’s winter training & life after the 2011 VSP.

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