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14 Apr 17 19:41
Date Joined: 11 Jul 11
| Topic/replies: 5,589 | Blogger: SwingingPick's blog
*** Tim Wellens 10th here last year, his best result. He countered Kreuziger's attack on the Bemelerberg and got away with a nice gap to the foot of the Cauberg for the last time, before plugging away in resolute fashion until being re-absorbed by the selecting peloton, but importantly, not dropped.

Already a three-time winner this season albeit at PCT level, his most impressive showing actually coming in Strade Bianche when on debut he finished on the podium behind GVA and winner Kwiatkowski, whilst holding off Stybar. Finished with the peloton in MSR for an 18th-place finish. Last start in the Brabant Arrow, he showed very good power when with some 4.5kms to-go he drew out Vakoc and a flailing Gilbert with an attack which saw him bridge across to the race-winning breakaway after covering a decent gap in short order. Looked to be full-of-riding on the Schavei and got mugged a little by following Vakoc who seemed to go way too early, which stung him. Then was a little unlucky to get checked by Lindeman just prior to the final turn which saw him lose some speed, however he fought doggedly for a 4th-place finish behind teammate Benoot.

Opened-up at 16/1 with B365 and has been improving steadly, currently 20/1 best with a few. Good E/W value.

Expect him to go with an attack or animate the peloton with one of his own as has become his style. Classy type. Will make his presence felt. Top pick.

** Sonny Colbrelli Got his chance to ride on the WT this season when TBM signed him on a two-year contract out of PCT team BAR. Has already paid-off a fair portion of his signing bonus, with a win in stage 2 of Paris-Nice at 200kms against the best-in-the-business sprinters, and also took an effortless win when drawing away from defending champion Vakoc and some six other handy riders, in his last start ride in the Brabant Arrow, also at 200kms. Other notable rides recently showed him finish with the peloton in MSR for 13th, 7th in E3 at some 50secs down, 13th in GWinFF when finishing with the peloton a few secs down, and again finishing with the peloton at some 50secs down for a top-10 finish in RVV, two starts ago.

Finished on the podium here last year when sprinting better than a host of fancied names.

Opened-up as an 8/1 second favourite with B365 and has maintained support, best. Acceptable price at W/O terms, however at E/W should be 11/1. That being the present situation and with things unlikely to change, would therefore advise getting matched on here, W/O.

Suited by the course change and lines up with solid form. Has very strong claims. Respect.

** Greg Van Avermaet Coming into this brimming with confidence for a podium performance on the back of his first monument -- last start in Roubaix -- and indeed a superlative season. Didn't race here last year, but sprinted for a 5th-place finish in 2015 in the selective peloton.

Much better suited by the course this year, and it will not be surprising to see him attack the peloton or follow an attack to set-up the race-winning breakaway late in proceedings. Has the strong team required to do well, and the "buzz" in the team is strong for another devoted ride for their prized-principal. 

Opened-up with B365 as the 6th favourite at 12/1 and has found good support, coming in into 9/1, but still available at 11/1 with StanJames. E/W terms best given his expectations for a podium result. Some value at SP.

Flying. Needs no introduction. One of the main contenders. Watch closely.

1/16* Lilian Calmejane 24yo FRA rider for PCT team DEN who showed his potential when winning stage 4 of the Vuelta, last year. On debut here, however he has had some good results so far this year, opening his season with a podium finish to Vichot and Bouet in GP Marseillaise, then next claiming a stage win and the GC in Besseges, claiming the MC in Paris-Nice, then another stage win and the GC in Coppi e Bartali, and then again claiming a stage at near 200kms and the GC in Sarthe. Finished with the peloton in 18th-place in Pairs-Camembert two starts ago. Overlook his disappointing last start ride around Denain for 97th.

100/1 pop. E/W.

Is excited to have some freedom from supporting Coquard, and has the characteristics to try his hand with an attack, however the distance is a big question mark at this point of his fledgling career. Unproven over the distance. Place claims best. Take on trust.
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Report SwingingPick April 15, 2017 3:07 PM BST
Forecast looks like the race might get some rain on the roads and wind.

Just looking ahead to LBL, which is Kwiatkowski's main goal of the season, so much so that he missed his E3 defence to rest up for his Ardennes campaign in building form for this monument. Currently at 12/1, it might pay to build a position in him with the Books should he come out with a strong ride here straight out of the start. Looks ideally suited for LBL this year, and would expect him to shorten down to 5/1 ahead of the start were things to go as expected.
Report Raggetty April 16, 2017 11:59 AM BST
Can see where you are coming from with Kwia SP but I have marked this week down as Valverde's. Rides for form today at Amstel wins on Wednesday La Fleche Wallonne up the Mur and then avenges a rare tactical error in last year's LBL to win it for the 4th time. He seems impervious to the ravages of time and arrives in the Ardennes in the form of his life at the tender age of 37 next week. Take the 9/4 now for LBL before Wednesday's 5th Fleche.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 1:38 PM BST
Interesting thoughts Raggety, thanks for contributing mate. I have formed the opinion that age, especially amongst quality riders, is just not a negative issue. Riders in their mid to late 30s in the peloton nowadays are expert in measuring their energy reserves, so I look at it as a positive with such riders like Valverde and Gilbert, as tipped to win Flanders on this forum. Having said that, I certainly agree with you that Valverde will only look to build form here today, ahead of La Flèche Wallone.

I can understand your confidence level for Valverde in LBL on the back of his superlative season so far this year, however I cannot take that price seriously at all, and I cannot figure how much shorter it can possibly go were he to win next week. That is just a prime example of prohibitive odds, nevertheless even short odds are best when they're landed, so certainly will not attempt talk you out of it. It's actually a nice long-range showdown between Kwiatkowski and Valverde -- imagine they're both involved!?

12-man breakaway have 4mins, pictures just now appearing, should be an attacking race and as such exciting.

What a marvellous win by van der Breggen in the woman's race.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 1:48 PM BST
...btw Raggety, have you put on any bets here, mate?
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:12 PM BST
That's what happens when you change the route dynamic -- you get some great attacking and aggressive racing -- thrilling stuff!
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:27 PM BST
Wow, Kwiatkowski looks so strong, I might have underestimated just how fresh he comes into races after a spell. Race feelings can change during the course of a race and a rider going well can suddenly find he is spent, but Kwiatkowski is going to be very hard to beat, I think.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:34 PM BST
You've got a bloody quality chase group here which is combining very well, and when Kwiatkowski bridged across to the leaders he made short work of it, and yet this GVA chase group are losing time to Gilbert group. As soon as the leaders slow down, I would expect Kwiatkowski to just ride away to victory. Looks super strong and is adding the pace to the leaders which the chasers are struggling with!
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:41 PM BST
Wellens looks cooked. GVA and Valverde the only two working in the chase group.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:43 PM BST
...with any real measure.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:45 PM BST
10kms to-go and I'm calling it for the breakaway.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:47 PM BST
Forget about 12/1 Kwiatkowski for LBL after the conclusion of this race. Grin
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:49 PM BST
Bemlerberg is going to be the staging ground, I think.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:52 PM BST
Kwiatkowski is laying on the hurt...
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:56 PM BST
Gilbert looked to be struggling earlier, but Kwiatkowski will still need to go hard to beat him here...
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:57 PM BST
Kwiatkowski is so smart, so experienced already.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 3:58 PM BST
Lol, maybe not that smart, he has run out gas there!
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 4:02 PM BST
Kwiatkowski 6/1 all-of-a-sudden for LBL.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 5:00 PM BST
Well, another missed result at AGR for me. Actually saw the dynamics of the race pretty-much developing as they did, but am still scratching my head over BMC's tactics. When punishing the peloton with around 60kms to-go, and LTS being capable of matching them, I thought their only reason for this was to cause an early split or eject the versatile sprinters like Colbrelli and Bling, and launch GVA long-range with Oss, a bit like in Roubaix, but it gave GVA a really hard ride and he was caught napping when things caught fire with Benoot's attack at the Kruisberg with some 40kms to-go, forming the race-winning 6-man breakaway. And to confirm the pain BMC had spread just prior to the breakaway forming, the peloton had thinned right down and GVA was essentially isolated in terms of a big and aggressive peloton chase group organising to bring the Gilbert group back. BMC screwed this one up in royal fashion, but to be fair that chase disintegrated much later and I don't think any one of them had the goods. Including Valverde, who must think his Ardennes campaign is looking pretty weak at this point.

Wellens wasn't going great guns either, so even if he had the made bridge with Kwiatkowski, I don't think he could have been involved in any great manner. Didn't hear Calmejane's name even mentioned once. Colbrelli beat home Bling and let's just consider how overrated Bling is becoming.

Happy to get something out of the race with Kwiatkowski's sharp drop in price for LBL from -- as mentioned -- 12/1 into 6/1 with SB, however I think I've missed a trick there with Kwiatkowski for this race. He was 8/1 at SP, and had moved out to 9/1 best, which was fair E/W value to land a strong place. Would've hurt to have seen him lose though, I think the headwind cost him for going so early, and with Gilbert working away and catching his slipstream, he came past at good speed.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 5:15 PM BST
SB are asleep for Wednesday, Albasini still being accepted at 33/1, whilst the rest have trimmed him into 16/1 and 25/1. Got a 3rd in 2015 and a 2nd in 2012 at LFW and has finished off AGR very nicely to get the podium, from pretty-much nowhere. 33/1 is very good price after such a good result. Get on.
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 5:17 PM BST
...and he is a 36yo. Grin
Report SwingingPick April 16, 2017 5:20 PM BST
SB's virtual-AI working nicely there I guess, after accepting my bet on Albasini, price drops to 20/1. Sorry.
Report BIG CAT LEON LETT April 16, 2017 9:24 PM BST
That was worse than What's up Boys.How low did MK go please SP.Just finished watching taped live feed as working.
Report SwingingPick April 17, 2017 4:28 AM BST
Was being matched at 13/25, by that stage I was more interested in LBL prices so he definitely went 1/2, but not sure if it was being matched.
Report BIG CAT LEON LETT April 18, 2017 9:51 PM BST
thanks for that
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