Buds Fuller [BF] (3rd place)
Dane Cash [DC] (4th place)
Keith Wong [KW] (5th place)
Andrew Irwin [AI] (8th place)
Nick Lothian [NL] (6th place)
Brett Mckenzie [BM] (14th place)
Jonathan Bertram [JB] (16th place)
Marthijs Heuperman [MH] (20th place)
[VT]: Talk us through the critical breaks that have gone your way this tour.
[BF]: I had Boasson Hagan the day he broke his collarbone, luckily he got up and finished and got the bunch time. Super lucky to have Fuglsang on the day the crosswinds blew the race apart.
[DC]: Focus. I wanted to do well in the points classification this year, but one too many second place tips ruined my quest for green. I was quick to adjust my strategy, and instead of picking a sprinter who would have lost me time on stage 13, I went with the indefatigable Mick Rogers, who jumped ahead in that breakaway and nabbed a minute for me in my quest for yellow.
[NL]: I missed tipping stage 8 in this tipping competition. Got the default pick, which just happened to be Froome who went & won the stage.
[JB]: Made a late change to replace Pinot with Quintana up Ventoux.
[VT]: Have you used a routine? What’s been your overarching strategy?
[KW]: There is no shortage of quality tips for all 21 days if you really look around. I think I have some left, but I’m keeping my cards close for now.
[DC]: I spend about 30 minutes on the trainer warming up for the day’s tipping, and then I dive into the nitty-gritty of looking at profiles and past performances. I complement my own initial opinions by reading stage previews and checking the day’s betting odds. It’s really important to me to have a strong sense of what is likely to happen, because in addition to tipping competitions and fantasy cycling, I publish my thoughts and predictions for the whole Internet to see over at my website, www.VeloHuman.com. That means that every day, I’m putting my street cred on the line.
[AI]: Re-watch the stage in the morning (highlights package), use the body language of the riders, how the teams are working together, what trains are formed etc and base an educated guess on who will finish in the top ten. I don’t necessarily look for the outright winner, but who is best placed not to loose chunks of time. If they come first, that is a bonus.
[BF]: Mainly picking GC riders, even on sprint days. Sometimes hard to resist. [laughs] I haven’t picked Cav yet.
[KW]: That is the challenge, isn’t it? The tactics of tipping add another layer on top of the already complicated tactics of bike racing. You have to get in the mind of the racers—and fellow tippers—to know where you can pull out an advantage!
[NL]: Partly checking very carefully the results to see who is contesting sprints on flat stages, but also lots of dumb luck. Eg, I picked Kwiatkowski for stage 13, the windy stage, assuming that his team has GC & Young Rider ambitions for him, and those ambitions align well with getting Cav the stage win on that stage. I could have easily picked Valverde — GC contenders are always safe bets on flat stages — or someone from the Lotto sprint train. I was very lucky!
[BM]: I reach out to all my mates ask them for their tips, listen to them wax lyrical then dismiss them all as bafoons and go with gut feel. I have a couple of aces left in the hole – problem is those “Aces” are riding like they are on morpheine based sedatives!
[JB]: Plan them all before the tour, then change them on the day of the stage. Use the secret, make it work for you, one of the best books I’ve never read – I reference it all the time. Give it to the universe, and the universe will give back.
[MH]: [At this point, Marthijs actually dipped his finger into his coffee and then held it in the air][laughter]
[VT]: What’s your earliest tipping experience? When did you join the tipping peloton?
[BF]: I won a very prestigious tipping comp last year on a local website called ‘Vorb’. After 5 years trying. That was the pinnacle!
[AI]: Probably my Grandfather playing Keno at the local Hotel when I was ten or so… I used to place the bets for him just off to the side of the bar because that was allowed but I wasn’t able to get him a beer at the same time, much to his displeasure. I enjoyed it, so did he. He never won.
[JB]: Around 2001, I entered the Erik TKS TdF comp and picked riders based on their names – Michael Boogerd was a favourite, cause I thought that’s probably how they all felt by the end.
[MH]: Betting on yabbie races as a country kid!! The most aggressive beast with the biggest claws would not always be the winner.
[VT]: Any tipping related injuries?
[BM]: My current state ain’t flash – knee reconstruction surgery 4 weeks ago, was supposed to be climbing Ventoux today.. Instead I’m stuck at home doing this damn tipping comp! Looking out for my mates following TDF over last 2 weeks
[AI]: My brother and I had a biffo at the end of the preliminary final in ’99 when my Blues beat his Bombers by a point – he ended up with a broken hand and I had a fracture to the eye socket… serious business.
[JB]: 2013 Stage 13, awesome racing, excitement, I fell asleep with 2km to go….. I picked Kristoff, and he wasn’t in the break, so…. Who cares who wins.
[VT]: Have you ever tipped a French rider and won?
[AI]: Has anyone?
[KW]: Is that possible?
[DC]: Jean-Christophe Peraud did me a favor by not losing any time on pancake-esque Stage 11, so I have to respect the French for that. I guess. On the flipside, Sylvain Chavanel didn’t get into the break on Stage 14 and now I’ve played that card.
[NL]: Don’t be silly – Of course not! The real secret is to avoid French teams as well.
[JB]: Hopefully I can say yes after Chavanel dominates LIKE A BOSS on Stage 16.
[MH]: Are you serious? This is the tour we are talking here right? Although I must confess to liking Voeckler for some of the early stages but just didn’t come good.
[VT]: Can you talk briefly about allegations of blood doping in the tipping peloton?
[DC]: Since the introduction of the biological passport, the tipping peloton has gotten a lot cleaner. In fact, I’ve never even heard of any doping going on within my team.”
[KW]: [laughs] It’s all tipping “paniagua” ’round here. The sport has changed.
[AI]: I presume you mean the sport of tipping? As it doesn’t get any more serious and heart pounding than betting without having any money on the table (pun intended), the only thing keeping me going are Affogatos and the iternal glory only offered by the internet.
[BM]: It’s still rife with legal substance abuse – Caffeine mixed with gin and blue cheese late at night post that nights stage all seem to be working well as a cocktail of tipping prowess.
[MH]: You could say tipping is in my blood, digital EPO so to speak….[but] always question the rider in yellow unless of course it happens to be me. I’m clean as Wiggo’s chamois after a long, fast, wet scary descent.
[VT]: Any advice for the masses?
[AI]: That’s easy, anyone in their right mind would have to agree with me that Tom Waterhouse is a guiding light.
[AI]: It should be a great final week, I thought Sky was faltering (like so many others) but last night showed serious dominance (I have a man crush on Porte). I’ve used one rider out of the current top ten in GC.
[AI]: Try not to pick the outright winner but to pick a rider that you think will concede the least time to the winner, keeping some big names for the last week may prove pointless, we will see.
[BM]: The French riders are the equivalent of an Italian Car – often looks good, rarely runs well!
[KW]: If it’s a flat stage, grow a beard reminiscent of Brian Holm’s, and then the course profile will read like a book. If there are mountains, shave your head like Brailsford or Riis (maybe put on a few extra kilos too), and the day’s tactics will become crystal clear.
[MH]: Stay out front and you won’t get injured when the wheel suckers go down!! No injuries to date but still a week to go. Follow CyclingTips, my friends, and you will find the pot of gold that is cycling knowledge.
There you have it — hopefully you have found it as beneficial as we did. For the record, we at VT are planning to make up some 400 to 900 places in the last week. The look on the faces of the entire tipping peloton will be exactly like Contador’s grimace up Ventoux when the Froome-cycle started spinning out of control and tumbled out a 100m gap in some 10 seconds.
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