Velominati Super Prestige: The Men’s Elite Road Race

He will have to rediscover The V.
He will have to rediscover The V. Photo: Tim Kölln

You can only spend so much time with the Schlecks before you start talking like them, and the fabulous Fabs seems to have crossed the threshold. I’ve heard more complaining from him this season than I have talk about pushing harder on the pedals or going steady up with more speed or going full gas like everyone else, but just doing it for longer – his Flanders win notwithstanding. Instead, he’s making ridiculous suggestions along the lines that wet muddy cobblestones don’t belong in the Tour de France. That’s crazy talk, yo. Of course cobbles belong in the Tour, just like being able to eat an energy bar without crashing out. Being able to eat without falling off should be a requirement for completing any race just the same as having some bike handling skills and making sure you have overdraft protection at the V-Bank, that’s basic bike racing.

But despite his recent whingings, I still love my Fabs, which means he’s got absolutely no chance of winning the Worlds. But this is a man who would do the bands some honor, provided he sign a contract with the Style Police (Velominati) that he “Shant Wear Le Knicker Blanche”. Seeing the bands crushing the cobbles during the Cobbled Classics is something we’ve been deprived of for too long. Speaking of which, I fancy my other man-crush Boonen has a shot. I’ll be happy if either one wins. Maybe Boonen will show us his tattoo when he puts on the jersey.

So what do we have? We have a 20km loop with 300 meters of climbing per. That 300 meters is similar to my favorite gravel climb in Cle Elum, and while it’s spread over two climbs, we all know the “easier” climbs are sometimes harder. It reminds one of the Chambery Worlds when LeMond won a few years back; a solid climb a few km from the finish with a technical (wet) descent and lumpy run-in to the line. I don’t think this is a finish for a final-ramp attack specialist like Gilbert; this is a course for a true rouleur with some tactical sense, like LeMond. I’m not sure I know which rider that might be these days, but Fabs is probably pretty close.

In 1989, LeMond won on a similar route riding a 54/42. Sean Kelly rode a 53/39 so as not to burn out the guns on the many repeats of the climb. He also chose a 13-26 over LeMond’s 12-23 which tells you a thing or two about why we call him LeMan around here. He got over the climbs and when it came to the sprint the massive 54×12 he was turning was no match for Kelly’s 53×13. From what I understand, this singular moment is the Ghost of Lost Opportunity that comes to knock at Kelly’s door at 2am most often.

So who is going to win? I don’t know, so don’t ask me. I’m just here to provide some bad writing you can skip over on your way down to the Picks Entry form. All the interesting stuff will be in the posts, as usual.

Good luck, and remember there are some serious prizes on offer for the overall. Go get em, cowboys and cowgirls.

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180 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: The Men’s Elite Road Race”

  1. He was worthy because he threw the dice and the others were too busy thinking they would get him, rather than working together to actually get it back for a bunch sprint.

    Say what you want, in an era when all the teams are against releasing top secret ride data because it ‘gives the opposition too much information on how to attack us’ or some such, the fucking world champion decides to release his strava file.

    Have at it calculator heads!

    http://www.strava.com/activities/200661439

  2. @Mikael Liddy

     

    At least he had the stones to try & attack the race, if you want to talk about an uninspiring win, have a look at Gerrans or Malmerde (as much as I’d have cheered an Aussie win) both taking half pulls while their group was chasing Kwiatkowski so that they’d have more left for the sprint. Tactical racing it may be, but the V it ain’t.

    +1

  3. @frank

    Our kits are made there as well. I’m not being funny about Eastern Europe; I’m being funny about countries who are suddenly showing amazing Cycling prowess.

    Really? Will it be available in shops to buy or will there be Eastern Europe style queues and empty shelves?

  4. @Beers

    He was worthy because he threw the dice and the others were too busy thinking they would get him, rather than working together to actually get it back for a bunch sprint.

    Say what you want, in an era when all the teams are against releasing top secret ride data because it ‘gives the opposition too much information on how to attack us’ or some such, the fucking world champion decides to release his strava file.

    Have at it calculator heads!

    http://www.strava.com/activities/200661439

    Yes I had a look at that. Really interesting.

    About 8 minutes at 370 watts and a maximum of about 900 win him the rainbow bands – even I can do that, though I might struggle after 240km.

    It shows how much bike racing is about timing and opportunity.

    It’s about making the winning move, not always being the strongest or fastest.

    Which is why riders like Gerrans, Costa etc should be shown a little more respect. More so in some ways than the Froomes and Quintanas – for them it’s simply a matter of power to weight, not racing.

  5. And that tees us up nicely for 2015 – I think we’ll be seeing plenty of the Rainbow Bands nest season

  6. @Chris

    @frank

    Our kits are made there as well. I’m not being funny about Eastern Europe; I’m being funny about countries who are suddenly showing amazing Cycling prowess.

    Really? Will it be available in shops to buy or will there be Eastern Europe style queues and empty shelves?

    Your name has been taken and will show up at some future point in Frank’s Eastern-style Stasi files.

  7. @ChrisO

    @Chris

    @frank

    Our kits are made there as well. I’m not being funny about Eastern Europe; I’m being funny about countries who are suddenly showing amazing Cycling prowess.

    Really? Will it be available in shops to buy or will there be Eastern Europe style queues and empty shelves?

    Your name has been taken and will show up at some future point in Frank’s Eastern-style Stasi files.

    I suspect my name is already on file from when I broke the internet a few months back by posting a .gif thingy of infinite shifting mini phinneys.

    Jokes aside, I really, really, really would like some new V-Kit. I may not be able to ride with groups much longer for fear of damaging anyone taking my wheel.

  8. I like Kwiatkowski. What he did to Sagan at Strada Bianchi was awesome.

    He hardly came from nowhere, either. He medaled in the european and world junior championships in 2007 and 2008.

  9. @frank

    Our kits are made there as well. I’m not being funny about Eastern Europe; I’m being funny about countries who are suddenly showing amazing Cycling prowess.

    Are you sure? Seems like the designs went there but to date nothing has come back. Are they trying decode your designs or worse, trying to find the right sewing machine?

    I’m mainly joking, but seriously, when can we order some kit?

    David

  10. @frank

    @Steampunk

    You know enought to know not to go measuring everyone by the same stick, my friend. We’re fans, not doctors for fucks sake. If we can’t be irrational about bike racing, all hope for humanity is lost.

    Actually I think I figured out why I don’t like him. He’s too short. His bike looks stupid. Case closed.

    Uh oh. I love the way my 53 cm frames look and 60 cm bikes looks weird to me. Either way, after spending most of my life competing in sports where height/size were major factors, I’m fucking thrilled to be onto cycling. I can draft you big fucks, you can draft me if you want, but it ain’t gonna help much, and it’s much easier to tow myself up the hills.

    Gerrans. YUP! I’m exactly the same height/weight, which makes me dig him more than his largely ugly kit. 171 cms and 65 kgs, whooo boy. I’ve found the sport for me. American football was painful. Try blocking someone weighing 50 more kilos. It fucking blows.

  11. I also hope Kwiatkowski gets home to Poland and eats as many pirohies and drinks as much piwo as his lil’ skinny frame can fuggin’ handle. Beer and dumplings all around, my friends.

  12. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank or it’s because he was Twenty-Fucking-Two before that, cycling isn’t a sport where you’re winning things of any consequence in your late teens. Interestingly, have a look at the breakout year your man Tom had when he was 24 compared to the previous 3…

     

    HEY NOW!  No one is allowed to talk about Tommeke!!!  Of course he has always been squeeky clean for fuck’s sake!  Who cares that he dumped dopers off his wheel left and right throught he golden years of doping (and even left the biggest ass dopeyDoper George in the ditch).  And I am sure that it had NOTHING to do with the fact that he went under Museeuw’s tutelage right when he hit it big, b/c we all know that Museeuw only doped AFTER he started to suck, right?

    Fuckin great ride with pure panache at the end.  But mostly I am just glad that the whiney bitch Sparty and fuckin Malmerde (relative to what I feared he would do) did not do well. 

    Now to add some more gas to the fire I will say that the Women’s “Race” (if you can call it that) SUCKED amazingly.  Fuck, I wasted the few minutes I wasted looking at that shit.  I am sorry but soooooooo fuckin much of women’s racing is just sitting in for 150 k’s and then someone sprints.  I cannot STAND to watch it and will not watch it anymore.  And I am not sexist, the sport just SUCKS!  Sell it all you want but it’s pure shite!  And Vos and Longo were dopers, too!

    So there!

  13. @frank

    @RedRanger

    @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    @RedRanger

    Have we jumped the doping shark already? merckx almighty! the new womens champ is 22 and french national champ in 4 disciplines. is she doping also?

    or dare we ask, the woman who has won the bands in 3 separate disciplines & seems to simply win every race she puts her mind to?

    We dare ask and we should, absolutely. I was relieved to see her get dropped in the TTT and barely get a top 10 in the RR.

    For the record, she falls into the Ulli/Pantani category for me though, so I wouldn’t stop loving her either way.

    do you mean TT?

    No, one doesn’t get dropped in a TT. I mean the TTT.

    Watching that, maybe Vos didn’t get dropped, maybe she’s psychic.

  14. @Ccos

    Vos was dropped well before that crash. If you watch a longer version she rolls through the mess about 30 seconds later. Lucinda Brand (bib 11) is the psychic.

  15. @Harminator  Exactly my point. Vos rolled through safely after the crash. Brand was just lucky. Never underestimate the blessings of the V.

  16. @Harminator

    @Buck Rogers

    Tommeke has jumped the shark. Exhibit A:

     

    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, God truly is dead.  Cancel the rest of my clinic, it is time to go and cry in the corner by meself for the rest of the afternoon.

  17. @Buck Rogers

    @Harminator

    @Buck Rogers

    Tommeke has jumped the shark. Exhibit A:

    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, God truly is dead. Cancel the rest of my clinic, it is time to go and cry in the corner by meself for the rest of the afternoon.

    That photo does the man no justice, but it does look like he’s on the path to slimming down for a GT or two.

  18. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank speaking of kits, did I see green on the Swiss kit? Whiskey.Tango.Foxtrot?

    @Gianni here you go, last 15mins in HD

    Yes. Green patch bewilderment here too. Way to take an iconic symbol and fuck it up.

    Maybe Switzerland is planning to annexe a third of Italy. (You heard it here first.)

    Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint. Worst commentary ever. Uncle Phil has lost his marbles completely. He’s so far behind the action it’s like he’s watching a delayed telecast without his spectacles. Missed MK slip away on the descent, didn’t notice he’d latched onto the break then didn’t notice his big launch off the front until he was 50 metres up the road. Then some generic drivel, a couple of cliched phrases. Tries to create tension where none exists. Misses the actual tension. Suggests MK sat up to celebrate too early. Oops. Got that wrong too. Jose Been not much better.

  19. @Harminator Sadly I think Phil’s going a bit senile. He consistently misidentifies riders, with Paul Sherwin doing his best to cover for him. Just a matter of time…

    Tangent concerning the lead photo: I know it was taken apres Roubaix (post nad kicking), but the dirt smudge makes Cancelara look a little hitlerish.

  20. @Buck Rogers

    @Harminator

    @Buck Rogers

    Tommeke has jumped the shark. Exhibit A:

    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, God truly is dead. Cancel the rest of my clinic, it is time to go and cry in the corner by meself for the rest of the afternoon.

    I’m just hoping Tommeke’s getting ready for the dark winter months and kicking back a bit. A tad early, IMHO, but who am I to question his shaving habits?

    A lot of MK haters here, but fair play to the kid: took a shot and it paid off – exactly the same tactics Nibbles used on state 2 of the tour – you’re with a mixed bag of riders, you take a chance that they won’t get organized until it’s too late and . . . rainbow jersey here he comes.

  21. @wiscot

    Agreed. If not MK then who? Who was more worthy on the day?

    Best response from Giblets:

    “I saw Kwiatkowski going away on the descent and I didn’t really think he’d stay away, but he was clearly very strong,” Gilbert said, later musing: “The winner is always right.”

  22. @Harminator I thought the woman commentator was good, she was trying to let us know what was going on, but even the cameras didn’t catch MK’s attack down to the dam. ‘ a bit senile ‘ fucker don’t even know what day it is let alone time…

  23. @Buck Rogers

    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, God truly is dead. Cancel the rest of my clinic, it is time to go and cry in the corner by meself for the rest of the afternoon.

    Heheeee, best laugh of a Monday morning. Boonen is no Paolo.

     

  24. I think the Prophet needs to have a “wee chat” with Tommeke. First of all it was the tats, now the beard. C’mon Tommeke, don’t spend the last couple of years of a stellar career looking like a fucking hipster. Someone, ideally the Prophet, needs to say “tommeke, drop the hipster shite, it’s over.” Maybe he’ll listen . . .

  25. I don’t get the extreme aggression you have towards fabian @Buck Rogers. Whining aside (which is getting annoying as of late.)Maybe lay off the cocaine with tommeke.

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