[ Rouleur Derby ]

Rouleur Derby Report No. 12

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In this Rouleur Derby Report:

1. Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of the Gila

2. Giro d'Italia!

3. Also in play this week

4. Coming soon



Were you surprised that Alexander Vinokourov won at Liege-Bastogne-Liege? At 37.5:1 it resulted in the biggest payout in Rouleur Derby history, netting a tidy 182.5 points -- plus a 46-point monument bonus -- for Abarnes. She now boasts a 180-point lead, and with only one bet in play, she appears content to rest on her laurels.

Less surprising was Levi Leipheimer's victory at the Tour of the Gila on behalf of Team Mellow Johnny's, but it still paid out at 1.5:1. LaForce had put 40 points on that outcome, bolstering his position high on the leaderboard.

Six of you have doubled your points so far, and two of you have had to ask for a bailout in order to continue -- an ignominious fate that I may experience myself if the Giro doesn't go my way.

And speaking of the Giro ...


The first grand tour of 2010 begins Saturday, and I'm sure I won't be the only one whose productivity will be in the granny gear over the next week as we keep one eye on the CyclingNews ticker and another eye on our Rouleur Derby investments.

As befits a race of this stature, there's a full range of scoring opportunities. First and foremost is to pick the winner. There's a tight bunch of favorites -- Ivan Basso, Carlos Sastre, Cadel Evans, Vinokourov -- but there are plenty of others who could surprise. Keep in mind that picking the winner earns you a 50 percent bonus. Indeed, you cannot afford not to attempt to pick a winner.


Feeling a little less certain about who will win? Make your predictions for who will podium. Thrice the chances to win, although only a third of the reward.


The points competition will work a little differently. Since the Giro's points structure rewards climbers as much as sprinters, I've put together a list of top sprinters, and the bet is who among them will score the most points. (There will be no "Other" option.) To produce a payout, the rider must finish the entire Giro, but he does not have to win the points jersey itself.


There are two head-to-head match-ups. The first pits two riders coming back from doping suspensions: Basso vs. Vinokourov. Vino is flying, but Basso has home field advantage. The second pits two Tour contenders and former teammates: Bradley Wiggins vs. Chicago's own Christian Vande Velde.


Speaking of hot teammate-vs-teammate action, I've cast HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish against malcontent Andrew Greipel. Cavendish is not in the Giro, of course, but he'll be doing the Tour of California a week later. So the question is, Who will win more stages: Greipel in the first week of the Giro, or Cavendish in Cali? I've tried to weigh the contest evenly, so for Greipel this includes the first nine stages of the Giro, excluding the team time trial.


And about that team time trial: Who will win? You have until midnight Monday to make your selection.


It breaks my heart to do this, but finally there is a bet as to whether a doping scandal will force a rider out of the Giro. This refers only to riders who start the Giro, so Pellizotti's exclusion this week does not count, and it will conclude on the final day, so any suspicious blood that turns up the following week will not affect the bet. ("No" is currently a favorite at 1.8:1, and that gives me some hope for humanity -- or it just proves that we cycling fans continue to delude ourselves.)


Most of these bets have a deadline of midnight Friday, so don't delay!

That's it for now, but there may be some intermediary contests over the next three weeks. Stay tuned! I'll also be building a tracker to recognize the people who have done the best during the Giro. (It will be based on return on investment, not total points earned, so that the Goliaths don't have an unfair advantage over all the Davids.)


The Joe Martin Stage Race started this afternoon and had some surprising results, especially on the men's side, which was won by young Andrew Talansky of California Giant, a team that after careful consideration and meditation I chose not to include amongst the options, meaning it falls under "Other" -- but nobody cast any points toward "Other," so if Talansky wins, none of us will earn any points. However, even though Cal Giant has a full squad in Fayetteville, it will be a tough job to defend its lead against the big boys like UnitedHealthcare and OUCH-Bahati Foundation.

On the women's side, Katheryn Curi Mattis won the time trial on behalf of Webcor, which is an 80-1 long shot, but that will be a challenge to defend, too. Indeed, favorite Tibco is well-positioned to ride aggressively with riders sitting in 3rd, 4th and 6th place.

Friday and Saturday are road races, and Saturday is a criterium.


I hope you saved some points for the Tour of California, which starts May 16. There are two propositions out there now -- whether will Levi win, and who between Boonen and Cavendish will win the most stages -- but I'll also have "win" and "show" once full start lists are available, plus any fun head-to-head match-ups that come to mind.

Play well, have fun, tell a friend,