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. Oh frank… you’ve kept me waiting ALL day for this (it’s 6pm here)…

    My fantasy picks would be
    1. Grimpito
    2. Twiggo losing 20s in the last km
    3. Roman showing his true colours
    Bertie YouTube losing 5 minutes when Grimpito launches his first attack on the Soulor

    But sadly reality will have to take hold (I have yet to get ANY points in any VSP yet… so)
    1. Grimpito
    2. Bertie
    3. Munchoff

  2. 1. Andy – seriously, gotta go if he wants to win this tour. has got to show bertie who is boss and attack until he drops himself. otherwise he’ll become a super skinny jan ullrich and be second place for the next 10 years
    2. The silent assassin
    3. Bertie

  3. Oh yeah, Jens is truly the hardest of all modern era hardmen. my hero. Kinda want to get his (blood covered) face tattooed on my back

  4. What the #@$%& I am just going to say its going to be a cluster fry and one of the no hopers will take a shot at it… not exactly no hopers but the Schlong-Cuntador show is so expected and since they are young and not on the same drugs as the old, I mean young, Pharmweak. This may be the edge I need now that my #1 pick (yes I took a chance on Lance after the tour de Swiss when he just tired himself out and did not have the good juice of old) is showing that he is just mortal. So some sentimental picks…
    A. Kloeden
    Gesink
    Horner

  5. My first question was what on earth was that bike doing in the truck in the first place??

    1. Grimpito
    2. Bad Boy Bertie
    3. Rodriguez

    Hoping that Moreau is in the breakaway and collects points to steal the dotted jumper. That would be a very cool way to ride into the sunset.

  6. Contador because he’s just better
    Grimp the Gimp because he’s just not
    Van Den Broek because he’s too dumb to know he shouldn’t be going with these two freaks of nature.

  7. Well I’m a long time lurker and thought it was about time I made a comment or two.

    Oh Jens…what an absolute bloody legend! I don’t think Rule #5 goes far enough to describe him. Perhaps there needs to be an addition to the rules just called Jens – nothing more needs to be elaborated on! He is the ultimate hardman and his analogy with Conan the Barbarian was another pearler to add to his long list of quotable quotes.

    No point in this velomihottie putting in her tips for the super prestige given I’m not in the competition. I”d hoped Cadelephant would come out of his pain barrier and smash it in the Pyrenees but I think there is as much chance of that happening as Jens acting like a sissy girl and getting in the broomwagon tomorrow. I’m putting a curler out there and saying Martinez will take it out for the carrot warriors of Euskadi – other than Sanchez they have been a little bit too quiet for the pyrenees stage up to date. Taking out 2nd and 3rd will be Grimpito and Bertie.

    What are the chances of Jens going up front in a breakaway! Broken ribs are overrated afterall!

  8. 1. Grimp (but not by enough)
    2. Contador @ 0:27
    3. Gesink @ 1:42

    Its gonna be a showdown that the grimp will finally win and regain the lead. But only by 19 seconds. Contador then beats him in the time trial by about 45 seconds to take the GC by about 26 secs. Less than the time gained at Chaingate and thus it becomes an issue for the ages.

  9. @Velomihottie
    Welcome. Love the idea of a Rule which just said “Jens”. Worth serious consideration. A possible argument against it, though, is that there would then need to be a Rule which just says “Eddy”. And then it’s almost certain that some wanker would insist on one that just says “Lance”. At which point we’d be honour bound to go Conan-the-Barbarian on them and beat them to death with specially hardened copies of “It’s Not About the Bike (Because It’s All About Me)”. And that would threaten to disturb the calm, refined ambience of this site. Maybe instead there should be a Rule #5A – “No matter how much you obey Rule #5, you’ll never be even remotely close to Jens or Eddy (but that shouldn’t stop you trying.)”?

    Anyway – my (not very imaginative) picks:

    1. The Grimpster. (He and PistolError are so closely matched, but PistolError will assume that he doesn’t need to win the stage in order to win the GC so will not bury himself as much as Grimpito.)

    2. PistolError.

    3. J-Rod.

  10. @Geof
    Damn! Those are good picks.

    Am also hoping against hope that Ryder Hesjedal holds onto his top ten GC standing and that the Bull from Grimstad takes off to pick up some more intermediate sprint points. It might have been a lot quieter, but his tenth-place finish on Stage 16 is just as impressive as his classic solo from last year.

    @Velomihottie
    Do we really need a Jens rule? The beauty of Jens is that he just is.

  11. @Kermitpunk

    “Do we really need a Jens rule? The beauty of Jens is that he just is.”

    Good point. Maybe ANY Jens Rule would be disrespectful.

    Agree entirely re Ryder and Thor.

  12. Am I missing out on some secret internet meeting that teaches everyone what snazzy and sarcastic names to call the riders by instead of their actual names? I’m a bit confussled by a few of them… :(

  13. @wvcycling
    We pretty much make them up, but the good ones that stick get cataloged over in the Lexicon. Some of them are perhaps a bit harsh, but here at the Velominati, we try to be harsh, but fair. We never set “tasteful” as one of our goals. Perhaps we should consider it.

  14. @Kermitpunk, @Geof
    You both make good points. Eddy plays an entirely different role in the Rules, which is to be revealed at a later time.

    Jens, however, is embodiment of the Rules. It’s more of an axiom. See what you think; we will consider all options, but I think, as it stands, it is pretty good.

  15. After deep introspection, I have made my picks.
    Andy:

    There’s only one way (to win) and that’s on the climb of the Tourmalet. If you go before you won’t succeed.”

    Ryder GivesitHell just read that and said, “Ah, I just told Andy that he attacked and dropped his sword, eh? Might as well keep contradicting him.”

    He goes early, and makes it, staying several minutes clear to take the Queen stage. Grimpito goes at the base ala Sastre to take a 47 second gain over YouTube. Bertie follows, goes into the red, and gets passed by a surging Phramstrong.

    1. GivesitHell
    2. Grimpeur the Younger
    3. Pharmy

  16. @frank
    Gee Frank thanks I feel honoured!

    Apparently the rain is coming down hard up at the Tourmalet at the moment. Looks like the epic battle to come in the next few hours will be done in the cold soaking wet conditions. Here’s hoping for a battle of monumental proportions and one to knock into the memory banks for years to come. I’m over all the chaingate saga. The Grimplet needs to start doing his talking on the bike.

  17. “Grimplet”! Love it.

    Likewise “YouTube”.

    Also “GivesitHell”. Have been looking for an alternative to “Hesjedal” because, to those of us in the Antipodes, “Hesjedal” sounds far too much like the way a stout matronly blue-rinsed West Sydney fishwife would approvingly (and possibly lustfully) say “He’s a darl”, and I don’t want to think of Ryder as “darl”. (Marcus / Brett – leap in here if I am being overly sensitive to Strine.)

  18. Bah…I’m shamelessly going for the points here:

    1.Bring out the Grimp (hopefully he’s not sleeping)
    2.C-Odor
    3. Denis The Mensch

    Grimp will beat Bertie by just under a minute, Bertie will stick a minute and a half on him in the TT, win by a hair and get booed all the way to Paris.

  19. I know I’m too late, but:

    1. Grimpito
    2. JENS! on your MOMS! bike
    3. Nick Roche powered by Non Gadret’s still-beating heart, which he plucked from his chest while chanting KAH-LI-MAH, and promptly ate with a nice chianti.

    And for a bonus point: Grimpito celebrates with two CATS!-like claw scrapes to the sky followed by jazz hands.

  20. Nice ride. I loved the look Grimplet gave Bad Boy Bertie after Bertie tried to break away at 3.5km. “Do that again and I’ll rip your legs off.” But little from Grimpito to try to shed Bertie apart from pushing a hard climb. Nice to see Hesjedal hang in there for fourth. Was hoping for a strong finish, but would never have tipped him for top five. Big chapeau there.

  21. Quality day!

    Ride of the day was Hesjedal for mine. Seeing that lanky bugger emerge out of the mist behind Rodriguez was dead cool. Total legend. The big Canadian diesel just went to another level.

  22. @Nathan

    Does anybody else think this was a little like the Puy de Dome in ’64… Apart from Grimpito didn’t drop him. Does that mean he’ll be the new eternal second.

    Indeed. I think YouTube’s attack was a masterful bluff; I think he was moments from cracking and decided to attack. His head was rolling and really looked like he was on the ropes. I was really hoping for Andy to take it, but those guys are matched so damn closely, it’s unreal. I’m hoping for some TT fireworks.

  23. @Marko

    Hesjedal seems to be the Twiggo of 2010. Maybe Vaughters has something to do with it.

    It’s the Mischievous Turtleneck Sweater that is the real genius in that team.

  24. I love that Phil and Paul were going at it over whether or not they would be finishing in the clouds.
    Phil: They’ll break through and finish in the sunshine!
    Paul: I’m not so sure they will, Phil.
    Phil: Oh, they will, I assure you of that!
    Paul (later): …and these two men are climbing through the cloulds like to two shadows…
    Phil: But they’ll break through and finish in the sunshine!

  25. Hawkeye :Quality day!
    Ride of the day was Hesjedal for mine. Seeing that lanky bugger emerge out of the mist behind Rodriguez was dead cool. Total legend. The big Canadian diesel just went to another level.

    Big Diesel: nice nickname.

    Marko :Hesjedal seems to be the Twiggo of 2010. Maybe Vaughters has something to do with it.

    Yes and no. He’s a pretty humble guy (which I like), and I think he has better lasting power. I think he’s still more of a classics rider and he knows it.

  26. @frank
    I wish now I had continued above with Grimpito, but with Bertie on his wheel; Rodriquez will follow at the head of the rest. It doesn’t sound quite so impressive now…

  27. What an exciting stage to watch! Had my heart racing over the last few kms watching the Grimplet stare down Bertie… The crowds up the top of the Tourmalet were amazing. The Borat Mankini men were up there again this year. Would have been interesting if the mountain sheep had taken the front running Astana guys out! Sanchez finishing in 5th – I think? – was a great effort given he looked like he crashed out of the tour early on as well.

  28. This season I have become a big fan of the Katusha team – and not just because they have the best kit in the peloton and their hats were on sale at Nashbar-oh no!- but for exciting riders like Ivanov and J-Rod, not to mention Robbie McEwen. Solid rides from all today, including McEwen:

  29. One last thing: WTF happened to Levi today? Sitting in 7th before the stage, I noticed he didn’t say a thing about moving up on the GC, but instead talked about this B.S. team competition. Last I checked, a top-10 spot in Le Tour is something you defend. So, instead he dropped 9 minutes today, landing at 13th and Horner leapfrogged him up to 10th. What a mess!

    @omar My favorite part of that article is when Sastre refers to the peloton as a “baby’s playpen”. SNAP!

  30. He has to win first. Then, at all attempts of reclaiming glory, he will be the eternal second ala Ulle.

    Nathan :Does anybody else think this was a little like the Puy de Dome in ’64… Apart from Grimpito didn’t drop him. Does that mean he’ll be the new eternal second.
    @Cyclops
    Oh My!

  31. @Omar
    I think the big difference between Ulli and Grimpito is the killer instinct. The confidence, the attitude, the intimidating looks he was giving Contador…What made Pou-pou, Zoetemelk, and Ulli eternal seconds was that they never had the upper hand mentally. Even on good form, they lost the race psychologically. Not Grimp; he is a force to be reckoned with.

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