Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2012

Rule #22 Compliant, in spades.

We are proud to announce a change to the Velominati Super Prestige moving forward: sponsorship. We are delighted (if a little surprised) at the interest our partners showed in this endeavor, despite the short notice we gave them. Four sponsors will be gracing the sides of our team bus for this year’s race: fi’zi:k is our Super Domestique Sponsor (think Big George without the shoe covers because who’d want to cover those beauties up), while the leadout train is being rounded out by DeFeet, Pavé Cycling Classics, and Malteni Beer. As we all know, fizik gets a lot of love around here as the Contact Point Supplier, and for good reason. So we thought now is as good a time as any to announce that DeFeet has agreed to come on board as Flandrian Best Supplier, the Pavé boys, our trusted guides over the stones and bergs, and Malteni Biere which fills our bidon and keeps us making bad decisions like teaming up with the Pavé boys.

So what does Super Domestique Sponsor mean? Free shoes to the winners – that’s what it means, dillwhips. Free R3’s, yup the Aristocrats, to the three winners of the VSP: TdF GC Winner and the two Stage VSP’s. As you watch this year’s race, look for the likes of Jeremy Roy and Richie Porte riding the R3’s in complete Rule Compliance. As Leadout Sponsor, Defeet is providing a full Flandrian Best Kit including a base layer, ArmskinsKneekers, and Slipstream Belgian booties for the VSP: Tdf GC second place as well plus two pairs of D-Logo socks to each runner-up of the Stage VSP’s. The Pavé boys (also Leadout Sponsors) are putting up a limited Pavé Cycling Classics wool jersey awarded to third place. We can’t ship Malteni (also Leadout Sponsors) legally, so you’ll just have to wait until you’re in Belgium to guzzle some of that lovely nectar or join the Pavé boys for their Worlds Weekend tour with Johan Museeuw where they’ll get you stupid(er) on the stuff.

Gianni’s Ruminations

Finally, the date has arrived. We have all done our training through the winter, contested the Spring Classics, The Ardennes Races, Romandie, Oh the Giro, The Dauphine, Tour de Swiss. Not all were in the VSP schedule but I know most of you wrote down your picks for the others and tucked them under your pillows. It’s training. There has been time to taper down before Saturday’s prologue start in Liége, Belgium. A young neo-pro, The Fish, is leading in points. The hardened veterans have seen these youth come and go, the season is long. A touch of wheels, a moment of youthful idealism, Vladimir Karpets is picked to podium, The Fish goes down, he panics and by the time he is back up he will never see the front again. Or he will continue to mock us all with his astute choices and lead all the way to Lombardy.

I have staked my claim on the yellow kit ownership some time ago and still see this as an epic Cadel-Wiggo battle to the death and if not death, until one of them sits up. But this year might be the time the youth start to fill up the other three places in the top five.

The Shack’s team car has been crashing into every static object all spring and now Bruyneel has been yanked out of the driver’s seat. The ride can only get smoother but with the reluctant leader Frank Schleck staring at over 100km of prologue and time trialing, as was said in the bunker, they are going stage hunting. I could go on for hours about the 2012 TdF but we have other Keepers who need to vent.

Please check the VSP page for the rules, keep an eye on the awesome VSP countdown timer, don’t Delgado your picks. Here is the start list.

I have to give a shout out to a brave group of Velominati who are heading to the Vermont/Canadian border to draft behind a massive dump truck full of Awesome all the way to the Massachusetts state line. It’s a Cogal only deranged people would attempt and as luck would have it, we supply them here. I hope they get their picks in soon as they may be in no kind of shape on Friday to think about such important things.

Brett’s Misconceptions

It’s all about Fränk. It’s perfect. All the pressure’s off. No lil bro to hold him back. Deliberately sucking all year so far, crashing and quitting, a hint of form, Bruyneel slinks off to deflect attention (and suspicion), Fränk suddenly can time trial and a couple of Pharmy style attacks later he wins in Paris by two minutes, taking the sprint on the Champs Elysees for good measure. Maybe not the last bit. Fränk will, however, finish in lil bro’s favourite position. Or suddenly leave with a stomach bug.

Cadel will take this. It’s perfect. All the pressure’s off. No lil bro to worry about in the mountains. Deliberately almost sucking so far, but not. Hints of form, staying low, deflecting attention. Look after the time trials and command the mountains. Safe, not exciting. Or he’ll step on someone else’s dog, breaking his elbow and decapitating the dog.

Wiggo could take this. It’s perfect. A lot of form. A lot of km’s against the clock. Not too many big hills. Too tall socks. Cav left to fight alone. One bad day is waiting there though, the sort of bad day that not even winning the final TT by 2 minutes can alleviate. Or he’ll crash in the first week, breaking both elbows after getting a sideburn caught in his crazy bio pace chainrings.

Sagan will win the first twelve stages, then leave with a stomach bug. Gossy will gratefully step into the vacant green in the greatest heist since Gerro won San Remo. And the Rug Salesman will be all spotty, due to getting in a long break and not sucking as much as even he expected. That’ll help him to 5th and Zubeldia level evanescence.

None of this may actually come close to happening, but whatever does I hope it’s an exciting race. Good luck to those battling hard for three weeks in the VSP race too, it could just turn out to be the main point of interest a couple of weeks from now.

Marko’s Reckoning

The Fish loses two spots on the G.C. but manages to eek out a pair of R3s in a sub-VSP as G’phant peaks in le Grande Boucle and walks away with le Grande Bouprize. Sad thing is, G’phant is legend but nobody remembers him because he only shows for races, not group rides anymore. Fausto rides a calculated, if not boring, race to move up a spot but just misses out. Gianni gets a glimpse of the podium going into the 16th stage and the Tourmalet but drowns in a lactic acid and caffeine soaked bath in that stage’s VSP. Marko Delgados virtually the entire event while he continues building his family a house in direct violation of Rule #11, which is more than we can say for Brett and Frank who were last seen going in the opposite direction with Bruyneel in a Radiotreksanshack team car dragging a muffler through Liege on its way to a USADA hearing near Austin.

In the meantime, two dudes from the Commonwealth – one with sideburns approaching muttonchops and another with an ass on his chin – duel it out in France. There will be some Italian, Spanish, and Russian dudes there too in an epic the likes of which hasn’t been seen in years. Fuck Yeah people, Vive le Tour.

Frank’s Delusions

It happens every single time. I get all weepy-eyed about the Giro and how it’s the Velominatus’ choice for a Grand Tour. Less crazy, better terrain, a comparatively weaker field usually yielding a closer race. But come the Tour, I get all starstruck as the big names line up in the best form they could muster for the season.

I also had decided to pick Twiggo for the big win, but now I’m not so sure. I love that the guy is tall and can get over a mountain, but there is one irrefutable fact that I can’t get over. He looks much too much like Gianni’s avatar, only not as well-kept. The sardonic look on his face along with those whispy sideburns are just too much for me to take. I’m back to rolling with my heart and my questionable sensibilities to favor Grimpelder this time round, now that he’s out of the shadow of his little brother and will be able to put the swivelnecking energy into the pedals instead of looking behind him.

The good news is that the racing always winds up being awesome. And that’s what its about: panache. So long as Wiggo doesn’t pull an Indurain and take 6 minutes on an early TT, I’ll be happy.

Epilogue

Pick carefully, don’t Delgado, and think twice about those rest day swaps; they come at a heavy price and there are some nice prizes on the line which make the Velominati Shop Apron look like a Schleck’s chamois during the descent of the Peyresourde.

The Fine Print: each contestant is of course encouraged to enter all VSP events, but everyone is eligible to take the prizes on only one VSP. If a contestant takes more than one VSP event (GC or Stage) the prize for that VSP will then be awarded to the player with the next highest score. In the event of a tie we’ll do our best to find the fairest way to break the tie. If something doesn’t make sense, please ask; we’re making this up as we go along.

Get your picks in by the time the countdown clock goes to zero, and good luck. Vive le Tour.

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2,258 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2012”

  1. @Ron

    I like to be shocked, so any chance you can find a pic of that Sam Jackson Astana had so I too can be completely appalled?

  2. @Dr C

    @snoov

    I never realised Flower of Scotland and Scotland the Brave were also Scottish National Anthems

    Don’t get me started…this is like all the stuff about Kilts being invented by an Englishmen in Edinburgh which is of course complete rubbish.  True the modern day 13yds of woven wool that makes up a full mans kilt today was invented by an Englishman, however this was never the true kilt, most lowlanders around this time wore Trews (Trousers) but the kilt was a highland invention (my family background is from the Isle of Lewis)…specific to the Wester Ross (the west coast) and the islands excluding the Orkney Isles where kilts have never been worn (quite low lying).  The original Highlanders Kilt was a large oblong pieces of wool much like a thick version of a modern day Indian Sari.  The Highlander wore it during the day in a similar fashion wrapped and pinned at the shoulder (hence the modern day fashion for Broaches in clan crests and strips of tartan running over the shoulder and bound at the waist).  Then at night the Highlander would sleep under his kilt using it as a blanket.  But I digress…yes we have vast quantities of anthems including Roamin in the Gloamin and some absolute stunners by Runrig such at Banks of Lock Lomond..however if you are in the mood for a couple of stirring tunes I recommend a trip in to You Tube and look up Runrigs “The Cutter” and Eddie Readers “Wild Mountainside” which is in fact a Robert Burns poem set to music….stunning!

  3. @Deakus

    I’ll wait until I am in the mood for those Youtube clips methinks – do you ever wear your kilt when you are riding in the mountains?

  4. Banks of Lock Lomond, now there’s an Anti-V anthem if ever I heard one

    O ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road,
    And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

    Completely counter to Rule #5 and Rule #10 and @frank‘s eloquent musings on optimism and the importance of treading the harder road.

    If, as I point my bicycle towards the hills instead of the plains, I had a clear memory of the suffering it caused me previously, I might never become a better climber; it is my optimism that I can overcome my size and weight to master the terrain I love the most and am comprehensively il-suited to travel.

  5. @Chris

    You spelt the word Loch incorrectly just to upset the Scot didn’t you, you just can’t let it lie (insert smiley)

  6. @Dr C No, I’m not quite that malicious. Put it down to fuckwitted spelling and lack of proof reading skills.

    I’ve nothing against the Scots, went to school there and lived there for quite a while afterwards. Flower of Scotland is a great song once you get over the fact that they’re still quite cut up about events that took place 698 years ago.

  7. @Chris Ooh, unnecessary little dig at the end there. I’m not remotely Scottish (Mum from Yorkshire, Dad a Kiwi) but I think celebrating a pivotal military victory in a stirring manner is totally worthy of being a National Anthem even if it’s hundreds of years later – should it be updated? To what? It’s a lot better than many anthems, and certainly better than what we had to endure in Paris on Sunday!

  8. @Oli I’m not suggesting for a moment that it’s a bad anthem or that it should be updated. I’m all for celebration of great military triumphs (Rule Britannia would serve us much better as an anthem) no matter how jingoistic they might sound. The gentle dig was that events from that long ago still get cited by the Scots as the reason behind supporting anyone other than the English.

    I rather like “God save the Queen” although I can see why quite a few people don’t but it was the execution rather than the content that was the problem on Sunday.

  9. @Chris I guess citing it to this day says something about how the Scots haven’t been able to wrest independence until recently. Nothing like being an oppressed people to make you resent your conquerors, and I guess it depends on what side of the Border you live on as to whether or not you feel the resentment is still justified…

  10. I don’t know what it’s about but I do like the French national anthem, it’s pretty stirring too.

    Back to Le Tour – one thing that disappointed me a little was that Le Gentleman (though he speaks French) didn’t say thank you to the many French fans in French.  That would have been classy.

  11. @Oli

    @Chris I guess citing it to this day says something about how the Scots haven’t been able to wrest independence until recently. Nothing like being an oppressed people to make you resent your conquerors, and I guess it depends on what side of the Border you live on as to whether or not you feel the resentment is still justified…

    Never conquered, we signed up for this union.

  12. @Dr C Only when walking…I don’t bother with all those bright buttoned jackets either…charcoal Harris Tweed is the only way to go ;)

  13. @Chris I see your point but for us “Clydesdales” out there, climbing holds specific V sapping terrors.  I have been know to blub like a whipped child at the mere sight of the road ahead tipping up above 5% gradient…I guess you could say, I climb like  a sprinter making thorough use of diaphramatic breathing but I do descend like a scalded rhino!

  14. @Chris

    @Oli I’m not suggesting for a moment that it’s a bad anthem or that it should be updated. I’m all for celebration of great military triumphs (Rule Britannia would serve us much better as an anthem) no matter how jingoistic they might sound. The gentle dig was that events from that long ago still get cited by the Scots as the reason behind supporting anyone other than the English.

    I rather like “God save the Queen” although I can see why quite a few people don’t but it was the execution rather than the content that was the problem on Sunday.

    She is a bit of a Diva and on Sunday she particularly annoyed by waving to the crowd (seeking cheers) at the end as if to day “Look at me, I’m famous”.  The beauty was that noone was watching her or took a blind bit of notice…Quality!

  15. @Deakus I’m not appropriately shaped for climbing and I don’t do it at all well but I do love it. Although living in pan flat Cambridgeshire, it could just be a case of absence make the heart grow fonder. I guess I’ll find out in a couple of weeks in France.

  16. @G’phant

    @Buck Rogers  The whole mod thing doesn’t do it for me – all a bit too tryhard, or something.  But – and it is a very big but – “Sound Affects” by the Jam is one of the all time great albums.

    Agreed, as I would about any Jam album, or The Who, or Small Faces etc. The best book on mod culture I have seen (not looked for 20 years tho) is

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mods-Richard-Barnes/dp/0859651738

    It is/was a bit try hard, cliquey and elitist, but you can get past that and enjoy the style and the music. I was a second generation mod circa 1978/79 and still love the culture, but not a dedicated follower of fashion as Ray Davies of The Kinks would say.

  17. @Marcus

    @meursault @wiscot @frank @Cyclops
    Spare a thought for us. Up until 1984, God Save the Queen was Australia’s national anthem too! Can you imagine?

    Unfortunately, I can imagine only too well how awful it must have been. It was vitally important for the “colonials” to be reminded who heir “betters” were. If by “better” you mean adulterous, lazy, feckless, spoilt fuckwits.

  18. @Ron

    I’m not all that familiar with the British anthem but did hear it on Sunday and thought, “Huh, God save the Queen?”

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks it’s kind of an odd one.

    An American (studying history no less) surprised about the overlap of church and state? Are you the kettle or the pot? Or is it the monarchy that’s galling you?

  19. I don’t know if this was posted already. Here is the best reason yet to like Tommy Voeckler. No one calls him that, they call him Francis, a reference to one of the best movie characters, Francis Begbie in Trainspotting! I learned this all from the Inner RIng. Francis, a man who used the c word like a real pro. I don’t think TV talks like him, but maybe he is crazy like him. Why didn’t I know about this years ago? Oh right, because I don’t do research.

  20. @Gianni

    I don’t know if this was posted already. Here is the best reason yet to like Tommy Voeckler. No one calls him that, they call him Francis, a reference to one of the best movie characters, Francis Begbie in Trainspotting! I learned this all from the Inner RIng. Francis, a man who used the c word like a real pro. I don’t think TV talks like him, but maybe he is crazy like him. Why didn’t I know about this years ago? Oh right, because I don’t do research.

    Classic.

  21. Don’t think has been posted… saw the link on Cycling Tips to a doco about Wiggins, which seems to have been made just before the end of the Tour.

    Interesting stuff about his background and ambition (for those who say he came from nowhere) but probably more interesting for the comments of other people. Good insight into the psychology and training at Sky and Shane Sutton is particularly brilliant and totally honest in his assessments.

  22. Just a thought:  I’m thinking that Wiggo might become the next Lance Armstrong.  What with the way that the British cycling federation and Team Sky has approached training and meticulous preparation I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to see the Mod Squad put Wiggins up on the podium in Paris multiple times in a row.

  23. @Cyclops

    Just a thought:  I’m thinking that Wiggo might become the next Lance Armstrong.  What with the way that the British cycling federation and Team Sky has approached training and meticulous preparation I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to see the Mod Squad put Wiggins up on the podium in Paris multiple times in a row.

    Maybe – but Syrup’s not quite in the first flush of youth and if C*ntador’s back it might spoil next year’s party. He won’t give a fuck about team Sky’s reputation.

  24. @Buck Rogers

    @Deakus

    No surprise here…I sense Wiggins wants all 3 Grand Tours and cares less about winning multiple TdF titles….Froomedog may get his crack at it….

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/wiggins-to-giro-froome-for-tour-de-france-says-brailsford

    Apparently not so fast: Wiggo had somehting to day about it last night during a radio interview:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/20709842

    The Giro and Tour in a year would be a big deal – not done since Pantani in ’98 and (probably more importantly) not done by C*ntador. Win the Giro and see if you have the legs for the Tour. Sky don’t lose either way because Froomedog could win the TdF if Wiggo blows up.

    Fuck I’m bored…

  25. @the Engine You gotta think this will wear on Froome as he knows he could’ve won the TDF once already but played his roll.  Now his window for 2013 is closing somewhat…might be hard dragging Wiggo up the mountains again for another year?

  26. @Tobin

    At a tactical level I think The Engine is right, but…

    Reading between the lines there  really seems to be some friction. Whatever show of unity they put on publicly the journalists pick it up from the people around the camp who hear what is really going on day-to-day.

    So it is rather undiplomatic of Wiggins. Taking a charitable view it might be just to boost his chances in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year voting – makes sure he stays in public view, and what better way than to declare he wants to win another Tour.

  27. @ChrisO Totally makes sense from Sky’s perspective too.  They have more options for exposure via press and potential multiple grand tour wins plus the rivalry keeps the team motivated.

  28. Holy crap I’ve said something worthy of further discussion about pro cycling.

    Whilst I’m on a roll – if Wiggo gets the Giro obviously they’re on for the double and that’s the way to bet on Sky’s emphasis. If not then every Froome Dog has it’s day.

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