Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de Suisse

AP Photo/Keystone/Karl Mathis

The inaugural Velominati Super Prestige makes an unscheduled stop this week at the Tour de Suisse.  Originally left off the VSP roster, it was decided among the Keepers that the ‘fourth Grand Tour’ is indeed worthy of inclusion in our humble tipping competition. As one of the final hit-outs for many Tour de France contenders, the Swiss race shows who might be ready to step up in July, who’s needing to pull their finger out, and who might be targeting this race as a worthy addition to their palmares.  With a couple of  TT’s, stages that could go to the sprinters or a daring breakaway, and some of the most picturesque mountain passes in Europe, it has something for everyone, and anyone could win.

Can Motorcus find an ‘extra gear’ and back up his 09 victory?  Will the EgoTesticle show signs of his old self on the bike, or just behave like his old self off it?  And are the Brothers Grimpeur finally going to do something, anything?

Let us know your thoughts, and make your picks to pick up a sweet Obey The Rules bumper sticker, in the posts section on this page.  For a full rundown on the competition scoring etc, visit our VSP Schedule, Rules and Results page.

Good luck!

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239 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de Suisse”

  1. @Cyclops Heh. You’re right. I don’t doubt I might have a different attitude were it so. Then, again, I might be married and still believe what I said is true. ;-)

  2. @Guy
    Helmets off to you! Thats a seriously competative, poular score! There was a great write up about it recently – think in one of the UK mags… or maybe Ride…?

  3. crossy :Schleck (A)RogersKlodenCancellaraKreuziger

    Need to change my tips! – not sure that is Kosher at this time… but here goes anyway!
    Schleck (A) OUT Schleck (F) IN
    Rogers OUT Martin IN


  4. @crossy
    Mate, you might want to reconsider the Schleck change, because that will cost you 4 points. Whereas Martin for Rogers is free because Rogers pulled out, so no penalty.

  5. @brett, @crossy
    Actually, changing of picks is only allowed on rest days, and we don’t have any in this race, so only DNF-substitutions go. Technically, you have to do those within 24 hours, but we’ll give you a passer on this one. Kind of like with Geof and his socks.

  6. Jeebus. I go on a road trip for a few days and look what happens. This place is so full of comments I’ll never catch up, the whole peloton protests Cav (has that ever happened), and we find out Geof wears ankle socks (which I’ve been known to do). I’ve been doing some fun riding, ride report on Beartooth Pass to come and tour de blast on Saturday. Keep up the solid work all.

  7. Alright! Now we come to it! The climb up the Albulapass! Will young Tony Martin hang on? Will Faboo turn on the motor? Will Armstrong show us he’s taking the TdF seriously. Will Frank attack? <– That seems very likely. Too exciting!

  8. C.F. Pelkey, commenting on the TdS on Velonews: “Indeed, he has. [Cavendish] is reportedly off riding some high mountain roads today. So we’re going to gamble and say that he opted to just keep a low profile after that tumble on Tuesday. Seriously, even if he did act like a jerk – if the spitting rumor is true – after the crash, anyone with a conscience has to feel pretty bad for causing that crash. While I’ve seen several folks try to apply some of the blame to Haussler – he did have his head down – I have to agree with the race jury and place responsibility for that one squarely on the shoulders of “the Manx Missile.”

    There are two sorts of blame or guilt that many are confusing. In a way, the jury is not blaming Cavendish. They are only determining whether or not he violated UCI Rule #2.3.036.

    Riders shall be strictly forbidden to deviate from the lane they selected when launching into the sprint and, in so doing, endangering others.

    And he did. But now aside from that, is he blameworthy? Did he sprint poorly? Was he negligent or reckless? That’s hardly clear. The race jury has not the competence to make that assessment. The rules and conventions governing the common practice of sprinters determines that. And, according to those unofficial rules, moving into the lanes of others is not itself negligent or reckless. It happens all the time. And, as Jarvis has pointed out, it’s not like C Diddy drove Haussler into the barricades. C Diddy’s lane change is fairly smooth and nothing radical. (I would add here that the course finish is highly irregular. The barricades are not parallel at points, and the lines on the street were all whacky. C Diddy may well have thought he was in the right lane) But now let’s look at Haussler. Even though the UCI Rule says everyone is to maintain their lane, common practice says you do not get to bury your head in your lap for 100 meters and then cry foul when someone comes into your lane unseen. Lane shifts occur all the time in final 300 meters of a sprint, and you have to be ready for them. That’s competent sprinting. Further, you do not get to lose control of your bike, excessively leaning it back and forth, so that your front wheel is wildly swinging left and right, and then complain that someone got too close to you and drove into your wheel. It’s expected, common practice, that sprinters will be so close as to touch. That’s why young Mark is saying he’s not totally to blame. He’s saying he’s to blame for violating UCI Rules, but that he’s not to blame for violating the rules and conventions of competent sprinting. Haussler is not to blame for violating UCI rules, but he is to blame for violating the unofficial rules of competent sprinting. If McEwen, despite what he’s recently said, were in Haussler’s position, they just would have bumped each other with no harm done. Or, McEwen would have head butted Cavendish–which would have been too fucking cool.

  9. So the TdS is over right now, right? We can cancel the final stages and just leave Gesink in yellow? Because that would be good for me. Before he tumbles tomorrow. Not a good salute by any stretch of the imagination””and a nasty wobble to boot. He looked very good on the climb, though. Hint of what he could do if he wasn’t so busy breaking wrists, etc.

  10. @Steampunk
    Dude, I love that guy. Tall, Dutch. Shit, that’s enough right there, but aside from his generally poor skill at staying upright, he has some serious grinta. I have been unable to find the footage of it, but there was a mountain top finish in the Vuelta last year where he attacked soooooooo hard, head down, just powered and keep sprinting until everyone was off his wheel. Coolest attack I’ve ever seen in a bike race in recent memory.


  11. @frank
    I’d love to see him have a good Tour. He’s one of those guys who could be in the mix and make it more interesting if he didn’t crash out early all the time. Unfortunately, the early stages seem tougher than usual, and I don’t see him hanging in long enough…

  12. …and we’re probably flogging a dead horse with the C-Douche stuff, but reports today say the protest was a result of him spitting on Haussler immediately after the crash. I missed that part of the story and thought they were just protesting his unsafe riding.

  13. @ben
    He’s going to have to straight carve up some dudes BIG TIME on the TT. 23 minutes down, it almost seems not an impossible gap for him.

  14. @Steampunk
    He’s exactly the kind of rider I love to love. I just keep on hopin’ that little guy can get the girl in the end. Even just the tension of hoping he keeps from falling off is enough to make any race exciting! Reading the live report, I was thinking, “don’t crash – don’t crash!”

  15. @frank
    Yep: and each turn on the descent had me worried. He lost close to a minute from the top, but he got there in one piece.

  16. Gesink is a freakin stud!

    With that form, I think he moves up the TdF consideration list as not a dark horse, but a worthy rider. Wow, even the brothers Grimpeur were human today.

    I suppose the real question is was Andy in it for a training ride today, or was he trying to make time on Martin and podium?? To me, he looked either to comfy or he didn’t have it but it was hard to tell.

  17. oh, and yes, I thought Gesink over-cooked it on a couple of those corners, he is no El Falco by any standard

  18. @Souleur
    Rabobank could be interesting with both Gesink and Menchov showing good form. But I refuse to get too excited yet. Both seem to spend way too much time falling over.

  19. @Steampunk The real interesting question is A. Schleck. He did not look impressive in CA. He did not look impressive today. Is he really a Contador contender? Can he train himself into TdF form? Did he do so last year? I don’t recall.

  20. @david
    I can only imagine he’s just sitting in and working himself into form, but today was a little untidy, wasn’t it? Goodness knows he’s too good and too young to be losing the thread like this. I’d feel better about this, though, if Saxo Bank already had a sponsor lined up. Hope it’s not riding on the Tour. My instinct is that he’s okay, or else we might have heard something at some point already. He had a rough winter/spring, but he seems to be coming along.

  21. @steampunk: we hope so….

    I will give him this, he may be holding his cards close to his chest which does a few things
    -it takes pressure off his team/teammates and himself…ok fair enough
    -however, it also can be a distraction in that no mention of a ‘good’ effort was made in preparation of the prom and the ‘quietness’ of spring can be distacting, in that the domestiques want to KNOW they are riding for the man who will win

    or he may indeed be sucking hind tit here and bluffing

  22. @Guy congrats for being at Letape this year…last year when I was in Champs Elysses on the final day of the Tour I really thought about participating on this year Letape…but I kind of gave up after I saw the profile of the stage and how many Euros I was going to spend…even with my wife “allowing” me to go Rule #11 (in fact she was focusing on shopping in Paris)…

    Regarding this TdS looks like it can be the first VSP without a winner!

  23. I am liking Rodriguez’ chances In these last few stages. He beat Gesink at Pais Vasco in a hilly 22km TT by 33’… And I also think Armstrong might make a showing, what with all this rage (and Rage Against the Machine) he’s been all a-twittering as of late. But know who I’m really rooting for? Morabito. Swiss dude, Swiss bike, swiss race. You know he’s all out.

    Meanwhile, Faboo could give a hoot. Dude got his druthers in the spring, and I respect that. I assume he’ll be focusing on the Worlds double he missed out on…

  24. @Ben
    Dammit, I was going to put J-Rod in my original selection, and again when Dodger pulled out. I had doubts about Martin hanging in the mountains, should’ve gone with my instincts there. It’s a tough game, this VSP!

  25. I can only hope that Lofkvist and Martin can pull something special out in the TT. Going off the Prologue times, then they’re in with a chance of the top-5, but it will be a long-shot and they might end up 6th & 7th.

  26. Hmmm – a tall skinny Rabobank rider who slays ’em in the mountains. Have we heard this story before … ? Eck – mouth washed out. Om – bad thoughts banished.

  27. @Souleur
    This from A. Schleck: “If I compare myself to this time last year, I am ahead…I am better than I was then.” Good news?

    Schleck claims he wanted to try an attack early on the final climb. If he had stuck on the wheels, he would have finished with his brother, but he wanted to see how he could go. He also said that the false flat at the top gave him trouble.

  28. We went to an Etape evening at the Rapha Cycle Club in London last night. Looks like the hardest climb is the first (Col de Marie Blanque) so get over that and you’re ok.

    I was quite surprised by how unprepared some of the other attendees were in terms of riding and awareness of the route. Remember the ride is 1 month today.

    3 sample questions, all genuine:

    1. The Marie Blanque is the first climb. How many are there. (Answer, after that you have the Col du Soulor and Col du Tourmalet)?

    2. With gearing, when you’re talking about 34×27, is the 34 the big one on the front?

    3. What’s should my heart rate be on a climb?

  29. keep us updated Guy. How did you go about getting a ticket for that? I assume based on the questions, there were no qualifiers to get in.

  30. Andy Schleck on Levi Leipheimer yesterday: “Levi was, for me, also pretty okay.” Poor Levi. His career summed up in three words: “also pretty okay.”

  31. @Guy
    What’s the rapha cycle club like? I keep meaning to go in there everytime I’m in London and drool on stuff I can’t afford. I also keep meaning to go to look mum no hands, I might make a special effort to go to watch the Tourmalet stage.
    As for qu2., 34 is on the front and it would be the small ring on a compact (50/34) chainset

  32. @Guy
    Couple things:

    We went to an Etape evening at the Rapha Cycle Club in London last night..

    I cannot believe you get to go to the Rapha Cycling club. As a devout Rouleur fan, Rapha is kind of Zues to me.

    Looks like the hardest climb is the first (Col de Marie Blanque) so get over that and you’re ok.

    Having ridden in the region quite a bit, Marie Blanque is very steep, but not long. The second climb, the Soulor you will feel, and the Tourmalet is brutishly long but not that steep. The notion that “you’re ok” after the first climb and with two big ones to come is a tad optimistic, I’m afraid.

    When we did L’Etape in ’03, there were 8000 starters and 3000 finishers. Brutal. And taht’s just another stage for the boys doing the Tour. They’ll have done it the day before and they’ll do it again the next day.

  33. @frank It’s a very nice place indeed.and I walked out with their new ltd edition Tourmalet jersey which was nice.

    I’m well aware that the other 2 aren’t a walk in the park, but the 5 doing the talk have all ridden the last 5 etapes so have some basis. What they were getting at was that the toughest climb is the first, so mentally you know you can do the other two if you feed and drink well. I’m a useless climber so if I go there expecting to get beaten I may as well stay home. I’m trying to be a little positive.

    @Andy. I know that some people think Rapha is pretentious but the people running it just love cycling and their attention to detail is amazing. The club is a great place, albeit only open for 3 months. Those questions weren’t mine by the way!

  34. @Guy

    I’m a useless climber so if I go there expecting to get beaten I may as well stay home. I’m trying to be a little positive.

    HA! That is brilliant. Good tactic. Stay positive. Well done.

    Man, I’m jealous – such a cool experience!

    In ’03, looking at the profile, we thought it was 80km downhill to the finish from the top of the last pass; turned out it was 50km of riding over undulating farm roads, with another 1km of vertical covered on steep climbs. Started to rain at the end, and as we entered the town, those steep climbs turned into cobbled climbs. Epic.

  35. 3. What’s should my heart rate be on a climb?

    That’s easy: (220 – (Your Age) – (Rear Cog)) * (1 + % gradient)

    (220 – 32 – 27) * (1.10) = 177 BPM for a 10% gradient. SOLVED!

  36. @guy: the Etape, how do you get around to doing one and qualifying?

    or better yet, being from the USA and having to go through the difficulty of travel, which event would you recommend for a travel/destination. I know its off topic, but something I have considered doing.


  37. @frank. It’s the only way I’ll finish ;)

    @Ben do you think I’ll be able to calculate that on the Tourmalet :D

    @souleur. Most of the places go to French riders. My folks have a place out there so we had an address to use but the friend Im riding it with runs a Trek dealership. He emailed the MD of Trek UK to see if he had any contacts and the next thing we knew he’d got us places, a hotel, free Trek kit and access to the Trek Travel feed zones (that could be a huge benefit on the day as we can avoid the bedlam in the public ones). We fly out on the 14th (I’m shooting a wedding in Paris on the 10th so its a busier weekend than I’d like). We meet up with the Trek lads in Lourdes on the 17th and stay together that night, then ride and back to the hotel on the 18th, flying home on the 20th.

    in the UK you can only enter through a company like Sporting Tours otherwise. Quite costly. I hear the Italian Gran Fondos can be easier to get into.

  38. @Souleur, @Guy
    You can only get the entry form in the French Velo magazine, I think. It used to be you could get it online and enter, which is what we did. But it’s a mess now, unfortunately.

    There are other cool Cyclosportives in Europe and I can’t encourage you strongly enough to do one, it is a life’s memory. I did LBL one year, and there is one for Flanders, too. I’m sure there are more.

    The Keepers are doing a week in Belgium next year around the cobbled classics – so you could always join us there, too!

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