Velominati Super Prestige: Ronde van Vlaanderen

Awesome? You bet!

Ok, ok, settle down now people. Take your seats please. You’re all a little bit on edge, like some cycling Gamblers Anonymous group that’s been let out for the weekend with a pocket full of bills and the name of the nearest bookie. But in your excitement, you managed to crash our server, delaying the fix you so desperately crave.

But wait no more. You’ve warmed up on the gateway races, now it’s time for the hard stuff, as grimy, rough and unadulterated as the roads of Flanders themselves.

You see, there’s this bloke I know who knows a bloke, hangs around the Velominati bike sheds, seems to know a bit about the racing game. Reckons he’s got a sure bet for the weekend. A cert. A dead-set shoo-in. Number 1 in Race 3 of the VSP at Flanders. Fella reckons you could put your left one on it.  Absolutely Faboolous or something he’s called. He’s got form (and, judging by the way he shelled the nags on last week’s card, possibly a motor). But word is there could be a late plunge on the other fella, Boom Boom Boy, so maybe a bob each way might be the way to go. I’d watch out for those not-so-roughies though, the likes of Gilbert, Devolder, Ballan and Thor will be waiting to pick up any leftover chaff and could steal away the win, leaving you as frustrated as a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.

So what’s it gonna be then? Take the sure thing, or the other sure thing, or throw a dart at the board and hope it sticks? It’s time to study the form guide, search the dark recesses of your soul, throw out any logic, and pencil in your picks on the ticket provided at the bottom of the comments. Whether you’re canny, savvy or just plain tinny, the coveted Obey The Rules bumper sticker is waiting. Is your bumper worthy?

The only thing for certain is that bicycle racing will be the winner on the day.

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322 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Ronde van Vlaanderen”

  1. Is it just me or does Nuyens not look fully PRO? His glasses look to big for him, making him look like a kid with adult shades on.

    Some guys just look good in their kit and others don’t, I suppose.

  2. Garmin made a tactical error as well.

    Unlike BMC, who were all there w/about 80k to go, JV was telling Garmin to just sit, not to ride…sit, not to ride! over and over

    He had resigned to let the break go, when things really started, and that was a mistake.

    BMC however organized, and if it weren’t for their huge effort, Cancellara and Chav would have been loners, but they swept them back. And Garmin was splintered up, Thor made the break and one other but not as a team, they wheelsucked it.

    Now, if Garmin had worked w/BMC (eh hemm…is there a problema w/big george still?), they could have perhaps…had a podium spot but JV relinquished it away and now we will never know.

    Flanders is a race that you must hammer to stay up front, and if you ever soft pedal it, you will not podium.

    Kudo’s to Spartacus on a valiant fight, classy all day
    Chav too, but a day that he learned a great deal about
    and Nuyen is a stud-mobile

    best of all, big george may make a paris-roubaix yet as he was freakin there yesterday

  3. @Souleur
    Great point about Garmin/BMC possible conflict. Just read on cyclingnews where Och’ has the following to say:
    “If BMC’s red jerseys were a sizeable and forceful presence on the head of the chasing group, a number of other teams were notable by their absence, chief among them Garmin-Cervélo, a squad widely-expected to make a collective impact at De Ronde.

    “I was a little surprised Garmin didn’t come up, they still had Tyler Farrar, Hushovd and Haussler, but if you don’t make the race, you don’t have a chance to win the race,” Ochowicz said. “We don’t want to race for second or third. We don’t win that many races, but at least we try.”

    Although neither Alessandro Ballan nor George Hincapie was able to cap BMC’s stint of at the front by taking victory, Ochowicz was pleased that his charges had contributed so generously to the racing on Sunday.

    “The outcome didn’t give us a win, but it looks good and it feels good,” he said. “The morale on the team is working and if we keep doing that, we’re bound to get one of these races in our pockets some day I hope.”

    Ouch. Ol’ JV is taking a BEATING!

  4. Ouch. Ol’ JV is taking a BEATING!

    Well, when he’s caught on TV telling his bunch to sit in, over and over, and they make as poor a showing at the end as they did, I’d say he deserves it. If anything, maybe he’ll be less willing to let Versus listen in on team radio in the future, since as my granddaddy used to say, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

    And on that topic, any feelings on the quality of racing with radios versus MSR / Strade Bianche (no radios IIRC)? I gotta say yesterday was pretty good stuff, and certainly not the “predictable” kind of racing that many (me included) have complained that race radios encourage… Discuss.

  5. Ron:
    Is it just me or does Nuyens not look fully PRO? His glasses look to big for him, making him look like a kid with adult shades on.
    Some guys just look good in their kit and others don’t, I suppose.

    It’s just you. Dude just won RVV””his second spring classic of the year””that makes him very, very PRO. He can wear whatever he likes. However he likes. End of.

  6. @sgt
    If it gets better than that, I’m dying to see it!!! I think the radios made the race yesterday, without communication back to the teams I think it’d have been much more likely Chav & Fabo would’ve stayed away. The chase would’ve been less organized and I think that, in this case at least, the radios actually added to the confusion for Chav. I think without radios, when Fabo arrived solo he would’ve had to assume that Booned got dropped along the way and that it was a two man race instead of sitting in the whole time waiting for Booner.

    @ Ron
    I kind of agree… Kudos to Nuyens for the win but he seems to lack a style that the others have. He also doesn’t seem to have quite the same class either, his wins are more sneaky than studly… but hey, a win’s a win however you get it.

  7. @sgt @souleur @Buck Rogers

    not wanting to seem like I’m a Vaughters-whore, but I’m not understanding this current fashion of “Vaughters-bashing”. The Garmin “bunch” consisted of Farrar (the best sprinter in that group) and an off-colour SMASH. BMC had seven (SEVEN) riders in that group, Team Sky had also missed the move, Gilbert has said he was happy to wait. If all I had was one rider who could pretty much guarantee third, then I wouldn’t want him working to benefit teams with many more riders.

    Ochowicz was employing Armstrong/Bruyneel levels of spin in that quote, Haussler was way off that group

    @steampunk
    you can’t call Dwars Door Vlanderan a “classic”. It’s a “semi” at best and I think in reality it’s a third-tier classic. Nuyens has never looked Pro, in fact it’s not possible to look PRO in that Saxo kit

    @Frank @steampunk
    Quick-step is Boonen’s team. Belgian hero, Belgian team, De Ronde: Mimo doesn’t get a say whether he’s on form or not. Roubaix will give him a chance as tactics mean less than strength. Don’t know how it could change for him there, can’t see him leaving either.

  8. @Jarvis
    Not disagreeing… it was a tactic that didn’t work in this case. My point is that I for one don’t really give a shit what the team cars are saying to the riders; I’d just as soon be blissfully unaware. And if race radio is so critical to team success, I’d assume the DS’s would want to maintain a little more confidentiality vis a vis what they are saying to their riders.

    @Leroy
    I tend to agree in this case; radios made the race more interesting. In this case. I am going to withold judgement on whether race radios make racing as a whole, over a season or even a Grand Tour more interesting.

    I do think Faboo could’ve used F. Grimpeur’s Camelbak yesterday tho…

  9. @xyxax

    Ha, that picture is fantastic. Thanks for the link.

    I was quite displeased with Garmin’s performance yesterday. I was expecting better out of Tyler as well, since he lives in that part of the world part-time. Ah well..

  10. @xyxax
    Fucking Brilliant! Frank, you need to make that kid an honorary Keeper or something! (Wish I could read the article but I’m not even sure which language it is in!)

  11. @xyxax
    Beautiful! Nice find. I don’t know if that kid has ever ridden a bike himself and I don’t need to know. Is there an expression that better embodies the V? Patron saint of the Velominati in the flesh.

  12. I really, really love thinking about that dude sitting in a lawn chair at the spot for 364 days of every year, keeping his place.

    Then, when the Sunday arrives…he goes bonkers, loses his mind, and cheers like mad.

    Then, back to his chair.

    Awesomeness!

  13. @xyxax
    What a great series of photos!!

    I can imagine that kid, having been raised by trolls, living underneath some bridge close to that corner in Flanders… back bent, hips and knees flexed to assume the “natureturd” dump stance, mouth wide open, double fist pump position… just waiting for his one annual moment of human interaction.

    Brilliant

  14. It’s worth noting that his buddy in the green hoodie that says “something Tom” on it is with him in those pics as well. Typical for a sidekick, doesn’t get any cred. His facial hair has improved over the years though.

  15. @Marko
    Immaterial! That’s like saying Jens Voigt’s little brother Marvin also happens to be in the race. Green hoodie boy lacks his mate’s capacity, voracity, and felicity with the V.

  16. @Steampunk
    I’m giving the guys on the Quick Step team the benefit of the doubt–the art director and the photographer were scorching Velomihotties who had the boys doing whatever they asked. Of course, after everyone sobered up, there were some seriously heinous photographs left all over the intertubes. Beware the VMH with the camera phone at the party.

  17. Steampunk :
    Cancellara on RVV:

    “I’m very happy: there were fifty of them behind a gladiator”

    Panache!

    Damn straight. As one commentator said – Cancellara was the strongest but not the first.

    I’m still a learner when it comes to race strategy but surely it was Cancellara’s ride that dictated all the big moves on the day. Chavanel going up the road was the only proactive move and all the rest were reactive. In the end Chav was maxing just to hold his wheel. Boonen, Gilbert and Ballan made big efforts they were unable to sustain. Only Faboo was able to keep the hammer down long term.
    If you’re not strong enough to win in a break you have to be the best wheelsucker.
    Fabian didn’t ride the smartest race. When he went with 40k to go he panicked the field but it was 15k too early. And he clearly had a fuel problem.
    I don’t get why Chav gets all the praise for ride of the day. He avoided work and then had no sprint…

  18. Dear Fabian –

    You are amazing. We all know this. We love you for it. And every time you get on a bike you remind us of it.

    So, when you get off the bike, do you need to remind us of it again?

    Thing is, people find it easier to love the underdog. When you’re the top dog, people can admire you, fear you, be amazed at/by you – but for some reason a lot of us find it just that little bit harder to love you.

    What usually keeps the love flowing is the old grace and humility bit. Even if it is more for the sake of form than anything else, it sends the right message. You know the kind of thing – “I rode my own race and thought I could do it, but full credit to the peloton, and Nick in particular, for making such an exciting race.” And maybe: “I will try hard in PR, but there’s a lot of strong guys out there, any number of who could win on the day.” And perhaps a bit less of the “I am the only one who can attack like that” / “I lost by trying to win, the others rode only to make me lose” / “I dread the thought that I might never win the world road champs”? They all may be true – but do they need to be said?

    Hugs,

    -Fanboy

    P.S. Good luck for P-R.

  19. Oh. I see now.
    You wan’t to like him but he needs to give you a little more to work with…

  20. harminator:
    @Oli Brooke-White
    Yes. I can see Chav had a great race. But I can’t see why Cancellara’s ride gets so little praise or no comment.

    He did have a fantastic ride. If he hadn’t stuffed up his hydration/nutrition he would have won at a canter, I reckon. He’s bloody good, although I agree with G’phant that he’s been getting a bit Cavendish of late.

  21. @Oli Brooke-White
    Really? I’ll have to think about what the distinction is exactly””and Cancellara tweeted this morning that something very definitely got lost in translation (although this is a guy who claimed at the TdF in 2009 that he “rode like a lion” to defend yellow and his TT was like a precision Swiss watch)””but there’s something wildly entertaining about his comments that is totally absent when Cavendish spouts forth. It’s more than extreme confidence and arrogance.

  22. Not sure where to throw this one out but it seems Gent-Wevelgem’s original date has been replaced by Scheldeprijs and all the big guys are showing up today. Should be a great race. Wonder if Cancellara will try to lay down the law in order to establish some fear for Sunday.

  23. @Steampunk
    I didn’t mean the quality of the words so much as the up himself lippyness. No matter how well or poorly it’s expressed, it’s a quality I admire when it can be backed up. And they both certainly can back up their mouths with their legs…

  24. @Oli Brooke-White
    Its a fine line. These guys have to have to have supreme self belief to get where they are. If they don’t believe they’re the best they lose their edge. I enjoy the arrogance as long as it stays in the arena.

  25. cancellara’s ride was great, but for me he did look human. I think he was 2nd strongest of the day.

    I mentioned JV’s backing off and soft pedaling Garmin, and I really respect JV, he’s brilliant and for the life of me I don’t know what was going down when he said it, but it seems a mistake. now, let me also say, i am no PRO and never have so let me leave it respectfully there, he knows more than i his team.

    however, quickstep made a mistake too, i think. has anyone heard if Tom-Tom was held back, or if Chav was held back? Seems to me they were all on board for Tom-Tom, and Chav looked to be the one held back, he sat on Spartacus like a bad smell after a bad date. I think Chav was definitely the strongest rider and he will regret not taking 1st for the rest of his life. But nobody seems to know what was going down within the team, if Boonen had the green light and couldn’t or if Chav really did ride and couldn’t.

    anyway, its all water under the bridge for now
    now the Queen is upon us

  26. ok, sometimes i ask questions, think and wonder, then find answers.

    perhaps i should do it the other way around

    here is Chav’ comment: “When Cancellara joined me, I found it a pity that I couldn’t work with him,” Chavanel told Belgian news agency Belga. “But I defended the team’s tactics as Tom was behind and he could perhaps take the victory in the sprint.”

    so it came down to the race, the race dictated an outcome, not so much tactic.

  27. Buck Rogers :
    Not sure where to throw this one out but it seems Gent-Wevelgem’s original date has been replaced by Scheldeprijs and all the big guys are showing up today. Should be a great race. Wonder if Cancellara will try to lay down the law in order to establish some fear for Sunday.

    Once again, not really the right place to post this (maybe we could have a thread just for current race going on to comment about it) but report out of Scheldeprijs is that Farrar crashed HARD and that Boonen also went down. Uhhgg!

  28. Steampunk :
    @Buck RogersBoonen went down twice. EBH broken rib? Not the best prep for Paris-Roubaix.

    Shit! Man, I have not seen the full fall out on it yet.

  29. Steampunk :
    @Oli Brooke-WhiteReally? I’ll have to think about what the distinction is exactly””and Cancellara tweeted this morning that something very definitely got lost in translation (although this is a guy who claimed at the TdF in 2009 that he “Rode Like a Lion” to defend yellow and his TT was like a precision Swiss watch)””but there’s something wildly entertaining about his comments that is totally absent when Cavendish spouts forth. It’s more than extreme confidence and arrogance.

    I, for one, LOVE the comments from Fabian. As far as braggadocio goes, Fabian’s is always classy and well put… and let’s be honest, he’s dead on. 19 teams rode so hard to beat him they all forgot to try and win the race, only a wily move from Nuyens kept Fabo off the top spot. If Nuyens hadn’t gone when he did Chav probably would’ve just kept sitting on Fab’s wheel waiting for Tom to decide whether or not he had the legs. I think Chavanel had the legs to get the win if his team would’ve given him the green light in the last 10k instead of leaving him so obviously confused in the closing k. Nuyens may not have had the legs or done the work that the others did but he deserves his kudos for brilliant tactical awareness at the end and recognizing the decisive move when it went.

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