Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France Stage 19

Looking back on this year’s Tour, it occurs to me it’s been one of the best Tours I’ve seen.  The 2003 Tour will forever go down as my favorite, but mostly because we were there that year, my boy Jan Ullrich nearly won, and I got to sit on Ullrich’s TT bike right before he stomped all over Armstrong.  I never said I wasn’t biased.

This year has seen a battle between two riders so closely matched that neither has been able to decisively take the upper hand, although the scales appear to be tipped in the favor of the defending Champion as we enter final time trial.  As I look to tomorrow’s stage, I take inspiration in the closest-ever Tour: 1989.  I take inspiration for three reasons.  The first and most obvious is that in that year we saw a similarly close pairing between Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon.  The second is that the underdog was behind and had little chance of stepping onto the top step of the podium in Paris – but there was a chance.  The third reason is that the final winning margin by LeMan over Le Professeur was 8 seconds – the same amount of time that separates Bertie and the Grimp as we enter the stage.  Coincidence?  No, it is more likely to be a prophesy, methinks.

In all likelihood, however, the stage win will not be fought out between the top two men overall; tomorrow will be the domain of the TT specialists who managed to drag themselves over the bumps, hills, and mountains to get this far.  Spartacus, Millar, Syrup, Martin; these are the men who will fight for stage glory.

So, without further ado, we continue with the inaugural Velominati Super Prestige’s final Tour de France VSP Sub-Competition for Stage 19.  Usual game; contestants have the opportunity to win bonus points in the VSP Tour de France by choosing the top three finishers of the final time trial for a chance to win 3 points for first place, 2 for second, and 1 for third.

New for this competition: An additional bonus point goes to anyone who identifies the most egregious Rule Violation of the day.

Make your picks by the time the stage starts, regular VSP Rules apply.  Good luck!

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31 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France Stage 19”

  1. 1. Sparty
    2. Menchy
    3. Bertie

    My prediction for rule violation: Grimpy rolls into the start house with a basket on his handlebars to accomodate his huge balls which he’ll need for going all out in and effort to make 9 seconds on Bertie. But alas, they can’t TT for shit in Luxemburg because the country is too small and by the time they get up to speed they have to turn around and ride back to the other side.

  2. Getting in early again.
    1. Twiggo – the guy has let me down all tour, so I’m gonna give him one last chance.
    2. Tony Martin – still got legs, did well in the prologue (and yes I know that’s about 6 months and several thousand kms ago, but it’s all we got to use as a judgement). Reckon he’s smarting that he’s not had the tour he could have had and will be aiming for a win
    3. Bertie – Kinda only needs to cruise his way round this course, but wants some winning action (but is not going to have the guns to do it)

  3. 1. Twiggo
    2. Millartime (I do love that guy)
    3. Spartacus

    Ale-jet with his green jersey and shorts that don’t quite match has to be the most egregious rule violation.

  4. 1. Spartacus will straight carve dudes up
    2. Bertie will narrowly loose, reversing last year’s upset
    3. Millar will be the brides maid.

    What I hope happens is
    1. Millar
    2. Spartacus
    3. Schleck, beating Bertie by 8 minutes

  5. 1. Spartacus, because he straight carves dudes up. Always.
    2. The love child of Tony Curtis and Dean Martin (maybe we should just call him RatPack).
    3. Lance (last hurrah and this is flat, flat, flat).

    Millar’s broken, Syrup’s a lost soul, and Bertie will make this closer and more exciting than it ought to be (but will beat Schleck). Am hoping that Grimplet borrows Cancellara’s special bike and pulls out a win for the ages.

  6. 1. RatPack. (The lad is STRONG.)
    2. Bertie. (He’s got the MJ, but he hasn’t got a stage and he’ll go all out for one.)
    3. Spartacus. (The man has looked increasingly buggered, and so will have to endure a brief period of being human – but not too human.)

    What I hope happens: Spartacus re-stamps his authority on the uppity youngsters, RatPack confirms himself as heir apparent but not yet ready to foot it with the master, and Grimplet smacks it out of the park coming in exactly eight seconds ahead of fourth placed Bertie, so that when they both finish in the bunch the next day (behind a flying AleJet who knows he’s about to be banned and so takes the opportunity to cream the Manxgina one last time) they are tied on time and the Schlecklet takes the MJ on a stage-win countback.

    And yes, Frank, I agree entirely – this has been one helluva Tour. (I am almost as buggered as the riders, seeing as how I have to stay up until 4am to watch the stages live.)

  7. Sigh. Will be on the road tomorrow morning, driving down to Ithaca, NY. I’ll likely miss the entire day. And to make matters even worse: this aesthete thing is starting to get to me. I re-taped my handlebars with black tape and now my silver saddle (which went with the silver tape) needs to be changed out. So now I need a black saddle. Curse you, Velominati! The world was good, simple, and right when the rule of the Cognoscenti dictated my everyday.

  8. @Geof
    Got that covered: last week I took off the long-ass, shaggy hair; down to a tight, combless cut. Went from mountain-man-hippy-douche to fast-as-fuck (kept the Thor-esque beard””without that, I look 19 again and nobody wants that) and lost about a kg of hair. All this in preparation for the receipt of one pretty swank Velominati kit (it was one of the requirements of my order).

  9. @Kermitpunk
    Ah…headed over to Cornell? My big brother rowed for those guys. I stole his crew cap, and now when I wear it people ask me questions I don’t understand, but answer confidently.

  10. @Kermitpunk
    Ha! Your other post came through while I was typing the other on my phone.

    (Anyone ever watch the old Clouseau movies? I always pronounce “phone” as “phee-own”.)

    The “Hippy-Douche” clause was indeed the item that got you through the intense screening process.

    @all who ordered kits:
    They are here!! I will do what I can to get them all packed and shipped tomorrow and the rest will go out Monday. Cheers!

  11. @frank
    Great news! I’m doing my first master’s race on August 2 (holiday up here); it would be great to fly to the colors for that one. Still missing the Samson hair, but the BFGs look huge and ripped with less hair on top (go figure).

    Ithaca is actually the middle point between us and my sister’s family in New Jersey. To boot, my father went there, so it’s a bigger meeting of the clans, although””by the sounds of it””I think I’d rather be going for work. I’ve been told the bike has to stay at home, which caused a riff, but we come back and then I have a week on my own to rack up some kilometers before a trip to Norway. Any good riding in Trondheim?

  12. @Geof

    fi’zi:k antares? i’m a fan. i know what you mean about the family gathering. good times but it eats way into the training. i’m heading to Kalamazoo next week for my so’s reunion and am hating the idea of missing rides. too bad, i’ve heard Ithica has some great places to ride.

  13. @Marko
    Was actually considering the Aliante, which is on sale at my LBS (and maybe a better indication of my “animal” than the Antares””frankly, I’m somewhere in between the two). That, or the Selle Italia Prolink.

  14. @Kermitpunk

    I’ve been told the bike has to stay at home, which caused a riff

    Worst crash ever in my life was missing a turn on a road in Ithaca. Slid over/off retaining walls, through a barbed wire fence, and over all kinds of glass and gravel. Leave the bike.

  15. @frank
    You never cease to amaze me: I really thought this was the one place on the whole interwebs that I would get some encouragement/sympathy. Ithaca is the most dangerous cycling region on the continent? (sorry about your crash, mind).

  16. 1. T-Mart (why not?)

    2. Sir Not-Necessarily-Appearing-in-This-Tour Wiggins

    3. Chrono Schleck – didja notice that Frankie came out and torched the TT in the TdS? Did you really think that Le Brothers Grimpeur (notice: not Grimpito anymore, the Pyrenees are gone) would just write off TT training knowing that ChronoBerto was out there, just waiting? I say Andy rides the shit out of the TT and slams Bert. Luxembourg’s SportCenter has it’s new opening title sequence for the next quarter century.

    It pains me to say, but I don’t think Faboo has a chance – he and the rest of those sour-faced Saxo boys have been run ragged JENS!ing themselves for Andy. Twice – TWICE – now I’ve seen JENS! and Faboo ride themselves to the LIMIT on a climb to the point where they can’t even pedal and damn near stop on the climb. Can’t be good for the overall constitution.

  17. @Kermitpunk
    Freshly groomed, the proud owner of some sharp new kit – and then cruelly denied the perfect opportunity to proudly come out as an aesthete. I feel for you, Brother.

  18. Geof :@Kermitpunk
    Freshly groomed, the proud owner of some sharp new kit – and then cruelly denied the perfect opportunity to proudly come out as an aesthete. I feel for you, Brother.

    See? Would that have been so hard?

    Thank you. Now, technically, I don’t actually have the sharp new kit, so that’s a bit of a moot point, but the spirit of the issue remains the same.

  19. I’ve got a wedding to go to today… :( (well… I’m happy that my friend is getting married… but on the day of the final TT… come on!)

  20. See the way Bertie keeps hopping around on his saddle? He doesn’t seem comfortable.

  21. He didn’t look comfortable, but he did an amazing ride.

    Look out next year, though; le Petit Frère Grimpeur can ride a TT now!

  22. That was a damned exciting stage. I was anxious for Schleck for the first twenty minutes or so until hope was lost. :(

    Anyone confirm why he had that hiccup on the road? SRAM has received a lot of bad PR this tour, I’m hoping it wasn’t drivetrain again.

  23. @frank the big difference between the ’89 and the ’10 editions of the Tour is that the ’89 Tour was exciting. Fignon & Lemond actually attacked each other whenever they got the chance.

  24. @Jarvis
    I think to say that this Tour wasn’t exciting is to cut it a little bit short; not since ’89 have we seen two riders more equally matched. That said, in retrospect I agree that we should have seen a lot more attacking, that’s for sure.

    I would imagine that after narrowly loosing this Tour, Andy is rethinking his strategy a bit in terms of gaining time at any opportunity, rather that building your strategy with no contingency.

    Seems that’s the Riis approach, though, and it worked with Sastre in ’08: stake everything on the final mountain-top finish. It’s a risky way to race a three-week race.

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