Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France Stage 17

Jens the Barbarian descends on a loaner bike with toe clips; Photo: Fyxomatosis

At one point [Conan the Barbarian], and his other old warrior friends capture this village, but then they find that they are surrounded by an army of tens of thousands, and his only reaction is, “Oh man, it’s going to take days to kill all these people!” – Jens Voigt

This (paraphrased) passage from Terry Pratchett’s parody of the famous character helped Jens struggle through a stage that would have seen weaker men climb into the broom wagon.  But struggle through he did, and he should swing his leg over the top tube of his (own) bike again at the start line of Stage 17.

I look at this photo and realize that I’m a sick man.  I see his blood-soaked clothes and body, and the first thing I say to myself is, “How did he get his Speedplay cleats to stay in those old pedals?  And check out those sweet old Campy Chorus alu Ergos!  I’ve been looking for a pair of those!”

But I digress.  The inaugural Velominati Super Prestige launches it’s third VSP Sub-Competition with Stage 17 of the Tour de France.  The competition will allow contestants the opportunity to win bonus points in the VSP Tour de France by choosing the top three finishers of the stage for a chance to win 3 points for first place, 2 for second, and 1 for third.

Stage 17 should prove to be the most decisive stage of the race, providing Brother Grimpeur the Younger his final legitimate opportunity to win this Tour de France while – in theory at least – Bertie YouTube needs to do little more than defend his position to be almost assured of taking his third crown. Schleck said during the rest day that the first man to reach La Mongie atop the Tourmalet will win this Tour; will Grimpito set off the Guns of Navarone and take enough time in order to stave off the inevitable surge from Contador in the final time trial on Saturday?  Or will the Climbing Paella launch a surprise attack to prove he is the strongest climber in this years Tour, taking time out of Schleck before the time trial?

Make your picks for the top three of the day by the time tomorrow’s stage starts, regular VSP Rules apply.  Good luck!

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72 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France Stage 17”

  1. @Velomihottie

    Borat Mankini were up there again this year

    I saw a dude in assless chaps. Jesus. What happened to just watching the bike race?

    Sanchez looked fucking awful. Then he ended up taking time out! Amazing!

    I’ve ridden the Tourmalet many times; I’ve never seen it NOT in mist like that. WTF?

    Ha! Marcus should love that! I’ve been impressed with J-Rod…unfortunately, he has the air about him of a rider about to return a positive test?

    Do you credit Katusha with loppin’ off the Rug Salesmen’s mullet? If so, I’m a fan, too.

  2. How good was the look that the Grimplet gave Berti. That one is going to be stored away in the memory back for a while to come. Perhaps that came from a force deep down in his stomach ‘full of anger’.

  3. @Velomihottie
    I gotta say, though, that Bertie has behaved in quite a classy way post Chaingate – eg:

    “Asked what the pair had spoken about after Schleck had closed down that attack and the pair continued on towards the finish, the Spaniard said: “Things that are said in the race have to stay within the race.”


    He denied that his form has not been as good as last year, saying that this year’s Tour has been far harder….After a moment, he joked about his suggested drop in performance: “Also, I’m getting older.”

    The prospect of Good Bertie and Good Grimpito spending the next 5 years engaged in a sporting rivalry of extreme intensity but untarnished by personal invective and undignified outbursts is a superb one.

  4. @Geof
    Bertie has been classy post chaingate I agree. It did look to me last night that he handed the stage win to the Grimplet – probably his way of saying sorry. Why oh why are there no more mountain stages left to do battle on. I’m starting to feel the same way about this tour as I did about the Giro – why can’t it go on for another month!

  5. @frank
    I absolutely agree with you. Little Grimp looked like an animal today, I can’t wait to see the kinda fire he brings to the Tour next year. Today’s stage was probably the most epic I’ve ever seen. Intense battle of wills, each rival matching and countering the other’s efforts. Historic, even.

  6. @Omar
    I agree. (Phil Liggett got quite excited on the whole “historic day” angle. You’re not Phil, are you?)

  7. @Geof
    Haha, sadly I’m not Phil. I would love his job, but since I don’t have a British accent, I think I would fail.

  8. @Geof – spot on. I think Bertie found his form yesterday a little, he never looked in any danger of dropping off. Once in the alps and once at chaingate that was maybe a different story….liked the little grin and wink at the finish too. In fact I’m beginning to like the guy again….altogether weird.

  9. @frank
    I think Andy did make the mistake of not countering. As Stephen Roche said afterwards, you’re not going to just ride Contador off your wheel… (but didn’t Raschicken do that?)

  10. I’ve been impressed with J-Rod…unfortunately, he has the air about him of a rider about to return a positive test?

    Bah! How dare you! Actually I just love the dude’s steady climb to the top – check his CQRanking. PRO for 10 years and slowly getting better.

  11. @harminator
    What can I say? Misery loves company? As it happens, my sabbatical is unofficially underway; while I still have some administrative responsibilities until the end of June, I won’t teach again until September 2012. In my leave application, I refrained from asserting that I would spend a lot more time on my bike and playing around on cycling websites, but I think that is going to be the de facto research plan…

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