Velominati Super Prestige: Strade Bianche 2012

The stones of Italy

The Monte Paschi Strade Bianchi is happening this Saturday and it is such an interesting race we are putting it into the VSP.  The route is a mix of pavement and white marble sectors that roam through the hilly Tuscan country and finishes in the middle of beautiful Sienna. It seems early to me but that is because the Giro had an epic stage on the Strade Bianche in May 2010.  The word epic is overused but the wet, grimy Giro stage was compelling, awesome, everything you would want in a race. It was epic.

This race grew out of the immensely popular Eroica retro-sportive. Goggles, mustaches, heavy old bikes, I don’t understand it. It must be like the Civil War enactments in the USA: people are compelled to recreate something, and participate in it to understand it. I’m never going to participate in the Eroica sportive, so I’m never going to understand it. Sweet Merckx a mighty, I’m old enough to never want to ride a bike with a five speed Regina cluster again. Give me Campa 11 with electronic shifting if you must, I’m riding into the future.

Phillipe Gilbert started his reign of terror in 2011 by winning the Strade Bianche and he never stopped. I would not want to bet against him and yet, perhaps he is saving himself for a month from now. His team is stacked with possible winners (a phrase we are going to be over-using this year). Judging from past results the Italians have not had any home road advantage but if Vinny “da shark” Nibali can ride away from everyone in Oman, surely he can do it here. This year’s incomplete start list includes past winners, potential Spring Classic stars and Mark Cavendish. Did I imagine this, the World Champion on the crushed marble roads of Tuscany? Please stay tuned for a more accurate start list.

I will stop further skewing the odds at Lotto, they are all winners aren’t they? Put on your aluminum foil thinking caps, consult the awesome countdown timer which will stop on Saturday morning and be thankful there is not a women’s edition of this race to show the world how little you all know about women’s racing (@cyclops excluded somehow).

I just can’t stop myself from including a bit of wet strade from the Giro.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0jCHawi9II[/youtube]

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331 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Strade Bianche 2012”

  1. @Netraam

    @paolo
    Do you know that Maaskant used to be not only a good cobblestone rider, but also a good sprinter and someone who could ride on hills? Because if you did know that, than you’re late to the party: he hasn’t been training that for a solid 2 years.

    What, pray tell, has he been training? Since he pulled out that amazing ride at Roubaix (which I think he also didn’t train for specifically) he hasn’t done much? Or have I been asleep?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Billions and billions
    2. Kreutziger
    3. Ballan
    4. Moser
    5. Hope of a Nation

  2. @paolo

    @frank
    It’s not even a real nation…

    Careful. We have some Canadians here and if we don’t appreciate them fully, they’ll go on strike and write a special striking song.

  3. My faith in Maaskant has been rewarded by him pulling out. Much like his father should have done some 28 years ago!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Giblets
    2. Sagan
    3. Hesjedal
    4. Cuddles
    5. Fabs

  4. @snoov

    My friends, where can I stream this from? sporza.be ?

    Subscribe to Eurosportplayer.com online – SB and P-N both on in heaps – Eurosport Player is £4 per month, though I think you have to watch it when it is on, and can’t record it (assuming you have as limited IT skills as I have…)

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. Gilbert
    3. Nibali
    4. Spartacus
    5. Visconte

  5. @Dr C
    That’s the correct assumption to make. I have friends though that can help me find out if it’s possible to record.

    Thanks for the help, I hadn’t even imagined I could pay to stream from Eurosport rather than go back to cable TV.

  6. I’m also new here but I always check Cycling Fans for streaming – there’s nothing quite like listening to the local broadcast

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Spartacus
    2. Van Avermaet
    3. Sagan
    4. Hesjedal
    5. Ballan

  7. VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara
    2. Gilbert
    3. Hesjedal
    4. Sagan
    5. Evans

  8. So wait, Maaskant pulled out? Who’s right now, eh?

    (OK I can’t help it)

  9. @paolo
    How am I supposed to know that. I got up like 30 minutes ago and haven’t had coffee yet.

  10. @Netraam

    Good greif man it’s way past noon where you are. You should have been up 6 hrs ago and done a 100Km ride already. It must be true about “that stuff” taking ones motivation away.

  11. @paolo
    I did a 50 km ride yesterday and the day before that, zevenheuvelenweg, and I returned from those before 6. In the morning. I am a bit tired now.

  12. Should be an exciting race and time for Sagan’s big breakthrough.
    No Ali should light it up on the descents though but I think he will support Peter.
    BMC, well Ballan seems to be in the hotseat with GVA there or thereabouts. I think Cadel is prepping for Tirreno-Adriaticoso won’t feature this time and Gilly is still finding form me thinks…we’ll see soon enough!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sagan
    2. Ballan
    3. Cancellara
    4. Nibali
    5. Van Avermaet

  13. @Gianni

    @paolo

    @Bill

    You don’t win much then Bill…

    +1, well played

    Bill hasn’t won since the 2009 US National Championships. And I thought I had it rough with my ex-wife (although she apparently was watching Eddy Merckx at the time).

  14. Just to prove my powers of prediction are as poor as in previous years

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Iglinksy
    2. Ballan
    3. Sagan
    4. Vansummeren
    5. Cancellara

  15. @frank
    @frank

    @paolo

    @frank
    It’s not even a real nation…

    Careful. We have some Canadians here and if we don’t appreciate them fully, they’ll go on strike and write a special striking song.

    Here’s what I get every freaking time you post that link.

    I’d call it ironic, but you’d just cite Alanis Morissette or something (proving once again that Americans””and at least one Canadian””don’t understand irony).

  16. @Gianni

    Happy to have made you gulp.

    I assume your avatar is you, and you are a lovely pup.

  17. Strade Bianche on the desktop, Liverpool-Arsenal on the i-Pad. I haven’t seen this many live streams since I last needed a visit to an airport men’s room.

  18. Watching the Sporza feed. Wish I got the Eurosport 2 one but can’t find it. Ballan took a wrong turn a minute ago. Gatto is wheel sucking hard.

  19. bit late now but its on MeGom.TV eurosport…Faboo 52 seconds, c’mon

  20. Well at least I’m on the board now with a few points. Spartacus looked amazing.

  21. Got Gatto third and bonus points for Ballan and Cancellara.

    Slow and steady.

  22. Well, Gilbert and Nibali sure disappointed me. Cancellara classy as always, watch him for Flanders!

  23. Lots to like in the Spartacus move. BMC seemed to be playing it right, except for the fact that Cancellara destroyed Van Avermaet’s move. Bennati’s move earlier””I assume to make the others chase and give Cancellara a break””was brutal. So half-hearted. Van Avermaet’s looked much stronger until the Swiss just ripped his legs off. Absolutely brilliant. Nice wrong turn from Ballan, too…

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