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.

[vsp_results id=”31132″/]

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

  1. @Pedale.Forchetta

    If you like the front photo of Fabian Cancellara, the author is Timm Koelln, the book is The Peloton.

    A book that every cyclist should have.

    Thank you for pointing out my oversight of not crediting him – corrected!

    And yes, Peloton is book that every Cyclist should have!

  2. @girl

    Pedal, boys, pedal.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellera
    3. Sagan
    4. Valverde
    5. Thomas

    I’m thinking this is about as close as anyone will get to getting it right. Gerro will ride wheels like his life depends on it and get his first taste of the wind about 20m from the line.

    Of course, even as I say this, I know Faboo has gotten himself some “tactical” sense which means now he’s perfectly happy to let a race go up the road if people are riding his wheel.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Degenkolb
    2. Thomas
    3. Billions and Billions
    4. Van Avemaet
    5. Faboo

  3. I don’t care the result, all that I want is that la Squadra play a good race.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Sonny Colbrelli
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Simon Gerrans
    4. Ben Swift
    5. Peter Sagan

  4. I would love to see a rider like Ciolek win this. He isn’t in my picks. Actually I have no idea if he is riding.

  5. VSP PICKS:

    1. Simon Gerrans
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Michael Matthews
    4. Ben Swift
    5. Peter Sagan

  6. Miraculously Valverde clings to Cancellara’s wheel. Cancellara starts to whine (as he is liable to do lately), forgets to sprint from the drops, sprints from the hoods, and Valverde nips him at the line.  Selective bunch sprint immediately behind on their heels.

    Don’t mind my picks. They are always wrong lately.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Valverde
    2. Cancellara
    3. Degenkolb
    4. Sagan
    5. Gerrans

  7. A bit melancholy, this and then Lombardia and we’ll have to get by with Rule #5 rides and some cross riding until next spring…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Degenkolb
    3. Cancellara
    4. Greg van Avarmaet
    5. Valverde

  8. Brits for the RR as well as the TT stripes.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Ben Swift
    2. Simon Gerrans
    3. Greg Van Avermaet
    4. Peter Sagan
    5. Michal Kwiatowski

  9. VSP PICKS:

    1. Fabian Cancellara
    2. Simon Gerrans
    3. Alejandro Valverde
    4. Tom Dumoulin
    5. Lars Petter Nordhaug

  10. Gerro is a beast right now, and deserves to be the favorite. He’s as tactical a rider as there is, and while some may consider his many achievements panacheless, at the end of the day he is there to win – and win he does. He’s on a tear reminiscent of Philbert’s 2011 campaign and if the season was a little longer who knows how many victories he’d collect.

    I just don’t see it happening tomorrow though… he’s been too good lately and the rest of the world will have their eyes (and wheels) on him. It might not matter the way he’s been riding, but I think things might open up for some other cheeky moves that can stick, and I could see a chap like Danny Boy making it happen over the last ascent to Mirador.

    So out on a limb I go, in the hopes that Irish eye’s will be crying and the Guiness flowing deep come Sunday afternoon.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan O’Martin
    2. Gerrans
    3. Sagan
    4. AL Kristoff
    5. Philbert

  11. See?? See what this has come to? My head, my heart, my soul all say Spartacus has been preparing for this all year, and you don’t get between this man and destiny. But the peloton eyeing my VSP podium spot all goes with Gerrans. So to play it safe, I follow wheels. I hate myself.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. S. Gerrans
    2. F. Cancellara
    3. A. Valverde
    4. M. Matthews
    5. P. Sagan

  12. The Worlds is the only race all year to make me tip with my heart instead of my head. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Navardauskas win.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Greg van Avermaet
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Alexander Kristoff
    4. Simon Gerrans
    5. Ramunas Navardauskas

  13. VSP PICKS:

    1. gerrans
    2. spartacus
    3. van avermaet
    4. sagan
    5. mathews

  14. @frank

    @girl

    Pedal, boys, pedal.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellera
    3. Sagan
    4. Valverde
    5. Thomas

    I’m thinking this is about as close as anyone will get to getting it right. Gerro will ride wheels like his life depends on it and get his first taste of the wind about 20m from the line.

    Of course, even as I say this, I know Faboo has gotten himself some “tactical” sense which means now he’s perfectly happy to let a race go up the road if people are riding his wheel.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Degenkolb
    2. Thomas
    3. Billions and Billions
    4. Van Avemaet
    5. Faboo

    Did you just jinx me? And if only you knew the oh so tactical way I make my picks.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellera
    3. Sagan
    4. Valverde
    5. Thomas

  15. This is a long race with lots of vertical gain. It will probably rain. I’ve got a mixed bag of recent good performances, climbing, experience, a Belgian and Sagan. The last climb and descent will be interesting.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Valverde
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Cancellara
    5. Sagan

  16. VSP PICKS:

    1. VAN AVERMAET Greg
    2. MATTHEWS Michael
    3. DEGENKOLB John
    4. KWIATKOWSKI Michal
    5. COLBRELLI Sonny

  17. VSP PICKS:

    1. Heinrich Haussler
    2. Heiny H
    3. Saucler
    4. German Heinrich
    5. Heinrich’s barber

  18. @Steampunk

    Remember when picks were as simple as a childs plush toy?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellara
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Valverde
    5. Matthews, Bling

  19. @xyxax

    @Steampunk

    Remember when picks were as simple as a childs plush toy?

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellara
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Valverde
    5. Matthews, Bling

    @xyxax the first year I was top10, now it’s mind bendingly hard and I suck. But dam you and Steamy (no matter that he is folding like a cheap tent to peer pressure) are hot! Good luck, if you are on the top step Veloforma will be cursing the day he offered up a frame because yours will be a double!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara
    2. Garrans
    3. Vanmarcke
    4. Matthews
    5. Kolobnev

  20. @Steampunk Well, I guess I am in the same boat as you. I have this sense that Cancellara is going to take it, but I suppose it would be unwise to go against the crowd at this stage in the game.

    No sense in going on the attack with the Maillot V on my shoulders and a nice cushion and risk cracking on the final climb.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellara
    3. Valverde
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Kristoff

  21. Jack Bauer is still angry about stage 15 of the TdF..

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Peter Sagan
    2. Simon Gerrans
    3. Fabian Cancelllara
    4. Michal Kwiatkowski
    5. Jack Bauer

  22. VSP PICKS:

    1. Tony Gallopin
    2. Greg Van Avermaet
    3. Fabian Cancellara
    4. Alexander Kristoff
    5. Simon Gerrans

  23. Ride like hell for leather, boys!

    As much as I’d love to see Fabs do the arc-en-ciel justice in the Classics, I think he’s going to suffer from Schleckitis – not enough training, too much whinging, or an unfortunate mechanical.  Gerro has had an inspired year, and Sagan has had one to forget.  Gerrans rides away from Cancellara and Sagan, who are too busy looking at everyone else to chase.  Degenkolb and Chava hold onto some stellar form to round out the top five.  

    Went with my heart and not my head when I picked Chava for fifth instead of Alexander Kristoff.  I don’t know why I’m such a giggly schoolgirl about him, but I love to see Chavanel ride well.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Simon Gerrans
    2. Fabian Cancellara
    3. Peter Sagan
    4. John Degenkolb
    5. Sylvain Chavanel

  24. VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Joaquim Rodriguez
    3. Allesandro De Marchi
    4. Michal Kwiatkowski
    5. Jack Bauer

  25. Going with the Old Man and his dream!

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Cancellara
    2. Gerrans
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Valverde
    5. Kristoff

  26. @il muro di manayunk

    @Steampunk Well, I guess I am in the same boat as you. I have this sense that Cancellara is going to take it, but I suppose it would be unwise to go against the crowd at this stage in the game.

    No sense in going on the attack with the Maillot V on my shoulders and a nice cushion and risk cracking on the final climb.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Gerrans
    2. Cancellara
    3. Valverde
    4. Van Avermaet
    5. Kristoff

    Exactly why I have to go against the crowd, it’s math (a net gain of 10 pts), and have the luxury of picking Cancellara to win. Attack off the front, cross over to the top 5, or explode and get spit out the back!

  27. Dan Martin does like Sven Erik Bystrom while the sprinters look at each other and move too late.

    I could go with Cancellara and Gerrans but I’m floating a Hail Mary.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Dan Martin
    2. Alexander Kristoff
    3. Simon Gerrans
    4. Fabian Cancellara
    5. Ben Swift

  28. This man will turn the race…

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Kristoff
    2. Gerro
    3. Degenkolb
    4. Cancellara
    5. Valverde

  29. Fuck Gerrans. He is a crafty buggah but I’m hoping he does not get in a small group to the final. May teh Italians cause chaos. And I hope the Espana work so badly together that they don’t put anyone in the top five. It’s all Spartacus all the time.

    What time do I have to wake up to watch this 11 or 12 time zones away? Answer, too early or I just stay up. Espresso and ‘bucca

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Spartacus
    2. Dan Martin
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Alex Howes
    5. Fabio Aru

  30. @Harminator

    You are wise. If the Italians want chaos, a red bearded Italian is a good one to start it up.

    VSP PICKS:

    1. Spartacus
    2. Dan Martin
    3. Van Avermaet
    4. Alex Howes
    5. Fabio Aru

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