Monday, February 28, 2011
In this Rouleur Derby Report:
1. Opening weekend
2. New features
3. Coming up next
1. OPENING WEEKEND
Can I confess I got a little emotional Saturday morning? Watching the year's first live racing in Belgium, riders bouncing off the cobbles and hopping onto the sidewalks of Gent, it was like a reunion with a long-lost friend.
The only problem was deciding what to drink: My soul said a strong dark ale, but at 7:30 a.m. my body said strong, dark coffee.
Coffee won this round, but I expect rematches to come.
Sebastian Langeveld may have been the big winner in Het Nieuwsblad, but in the world of Rouleur Derby it was Hons enjoying victory's umami. The rookie from Montreal had 10 points on Langeveld at 276.9:1 odds, giving him a monster pay day to start the season.
Fussy also had a good weekend: He picked winners in all three of the weekend's propositions, putting himself in 2nd overall, almost 1,000 pounts ahead of 3rd.
Remarkably, Hons came very close to another boffo win. He had 20 points on Française des Jeux to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. If Yauheni Hutarovich had eked out that sprint, it would have paid out at 74:1.
Although Hons and Fussy have significant leads, do not be intimidated. It's a long season. Slow and steady wins this race, and it's never too late to make up ground.
One final note from the weekend: As an experiment I tied Saturday's race to picking the individual winner, while Sunday went by team. The former attracted nearly twice as much action. Surely some of that is due to players hedging their bets, but it tells me that that's the more popular option. I'll keep this in mind moving forward.
2. NEW FEATURES
This week I created a mobile-friendly design that should show up when you visit the site on your smart phone. This should make it easier to make those last-minute bets when you're out clubbing on a Friday night.
This is my first time designing for mobile and I have only my iPhone to test it on, so please feel free to report any bugs.
Also new: Upcoming races that you have wagered on will now show you your potential loss or gain, given current payouts and the total points you've pumped into a given proposition.
And: Verified races will display the 20 biggest winners and losers. I hope this encourages people to rib the losers, as well as herald and exalt the winners. (While betting is open, however, your bets will always remain secret.)
3. COMING UP NEXT
Sunday brings the start of our first stage race, Paris-Nice. Already we have a few fun side bets available.
Will Garmin-Cervélo, Leopard Trek or Sky -- otherwise known as "That team in black with the white and blue stripes -- win? Current crowdsourcing says "No."
And of these young Americans -- Tejay van Garderen, Taylor Phinney, Andrew Talansky, Matt Busche, Ted King and Brent Bookwalter -- who will finish highest? I'd expected Phinney to be the favorite, but right now van Garderen is running away with it at 1.8:1.
In the next day or two I will open book on the overall Paris-Nice winner, as will as the next one-day classic, this one Italy's Montepaschi Strade Bianche.
Finally, please note that Friday night is the deadline to predict whether Alberto Contador will start the Tour de France.
Have fun, play well, tell a friend,