Vuelta Guide

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Just like the Tour de France there’s now link at the top of the page for a Vuelta a Espana guide. You will find stage summaries, information on time bonuses and mountain classifications plus plenty more, including a start list that will appear once the definitive version is available.

If you are browsing via the normal site then you will see the “Vuelta a España” link permanently at the top of the page. If you are on a mobile device then there is the drop-down menu on the top right of the screen.

I confess that normally at this point in the season the Vuelta seems long, almost too long as even watching bike races can be tiring. But I’m really looking forward to this year’s edition. It’s become a revenge race, the last chance saloon for stage racers to salvage the season, whether they’ve flopped, crashed or, in Contador’s case, been banned. On a more positive note it’s got an open and international field, arguably broader than the Giro. Jurgen Van den Broeck, Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema take part, we get several Colombians and Team Sky want to win with Chris Froome. That said the obvious contenders are locals like Alberto Contador, Igor Anton and Joaquim Rodriguez. Indeed some say it’s merely about the margin of victory for Contador.

Cuitu Nigru

Ex-pro Abraham Olano on the Cuitu Nigru two months ago

As the guide explains, the route has 10 “summit finishes” although these vary from a seaside lookout to a broad highway to a ski station to infamous climbs like the Cuitu Nigru and Bola Del Mundo where wild gradients and rough roads await. It all makes for an exciting race and close to the start I’ll look at a more detailed preview of the contenders and there will be daily stage previews during the race.

In the meantime there’s the overview at inrng.com/vuelta

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{ 21 comments }

InTheGC August 15, 2012 at 11:34 am

Cannot wait.

Looking forward to seeing Tekleheimanot and Quintana tackle the climbs. Looking forward to seeing what form Contador is in.

Disapointed that Colombia-Coldeportes didn’t get an invite though, would have been the perfect Grand Tour for them. Unfortunately they missed out on all three this year.

steppings August 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

With post Olympic blues, I am counting on a classic Vuelta and I think it may well be.

Adi August 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Everyone is expecting Contador to come back as strong as he was before. The history of past dopers returning though suggests that is far from certain. Should be an interesting race.

Will Contador be strong? How tired will Froome be after the TDF and Olympics?

Can’t wait.

rhys August 16, 2012 at 3:10 am

If Wiggins has taught us anything, it’s that Sky riders somehow seem to be able to maintain top form for many months on end.

Ian August 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Can’t wait – I am expecting Contador to feature but even in last years Tour his form was patchy so I don’t think he is dead certain winner.

While I would dearly love Froome to win I can’t help feeling that he maybe just too tired by the end. Though his TT form at Olympics was still good (about the same gap to Wiggins) and a good month of recovery should be enough. Talking him up now must stop

Anonymous August 16, 2012 at 7:00 am

Contador faded at the TdF but blew apart the Giro.

Bundle August 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm

And where on earth is Andy Schleck??? Doing some umpteenth rate French or American race, when it’s the Vuelta where he would have the chance of his life of really making something worth remembering, by beating Contador on his own turf, and with the other best climbers of the season (Froome, Rodríguez) also around? Whatever happens, if Andy really misses out on the Vuelta, there’s no return, the facts are established: this guy doesn’t like his sport and doesn’t really feel the urge to shine and crash his rivals.

Chrisman August 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Andy Who?

Josh August 16, 2012 at 12:33 am

The doper’s brother.

Adrian August 16, 2012 at 3:24 am

He”s still injured. Out for the rest of the season if I recall.

rhys August 16, 2012 at 4:22 am

Rumours are that next season he’s moving to Saxo-Tinkoff, where his mother is being hired as part of the staff in a “re-assurance” type role. It’s quite possible he will excel under these conditions.

Steve August 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Schleck’s are “laughing all the way to the Bank”, as they read this blog and some of the comments.

But seriously, have you all not heard the expression “one must pick his battles”?
If you are given the opportunity to wait, then Andy will wait. Then the question will be will he perhaps
try next year to race in the La fem’ Tour de France!

I do like rhy’s Mom comment.

Chrisman August 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Sky – Froome, Porte, Uran, Henao, Zandio, Flecha, Stannard, Pate, and erm….Swift. That’s a pretty solid unit. Contador has Team Saxo. Their best domestique is Porte. You work it out. Contador will, at best, do a plucky Nibali-esque ride for 3rd. He’s too long out, and the last time he was in he wasn’t exactly on fire (TDF 2011). I feel VDB is a more realistic shot, his form in the TDF was decent.

It will also be good to see J-Rod back, with so many summit finishes maybe this is the time for him. However I can see him losing out valiantly to Froome, in a not dissimilar way to Hesejdal in the Giro. And although I’m a big Froome/Sky fan these days I would not begrudge J-Rod the win – he’s one of my favourite Cyclists because he’s an entertainer.

There is a gaggle of top-10 possibles – Gadret, Roche, Seeldreyers, De Weert, Anton, Cataldo, Mollema, Gessink….I’d personally like to see Ten Dam given a chance to ride for himself for once. De Gent is someone I’ll have a very close eye on, of all the Mid-Majors I’m expecting the most from him. And no Nieve? Dissappointing. He’s always fun. From the one occasion I’ve seen Quintana he may well be an adequate replacement. A lot of teams phoning it in with their selections though.

Should be a great race, lots of stages for high-end breakaways and contenders taking vital seconds. Has to be Sky all the way. If anyone can topple them, fair play (I hope).

diamondjim August 16, 2012 at 5:47 am

I agree that Sky looks to have a pretty solid unit, but compared to Le Tour, there’s more climbing and the team will be less able to control the race with brutal tempo riding. Should make for an exciting race!

Sim August 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

‘Their (Saxo Tinkki) best domestique is Porte…” No, Porte moved to Sky this year:) Agree with the sentiment that Sky have the stronger team.

Quintana good for a stage win or two, I hope.

And please, Sky, no screwing up the TTT this year – last but one to Geox last year….painful beyond belief….

Chromatic Dramatic August 16, 2012 at 2:33 am

Great!

I love how you’ve written these previews. Better than anything else I’ve seen. During the Tour I’d be checking out the previews daily, together with the detailed preview that was posted on the morning of each stage. Being in Australia, and not capable of staying up each night to watch a stage it meant I could cherry pick the unmissible stages, but also have a great idea what was likely / possible to happen in the stage, and put that in context of when I read / watched the highlights of the stage afterwards.

Keep up the fantastic work.

Bundle August 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

Funny how no one, including myself, mentions the incumbent champion, with arguably the strongest team behind him, as one of the contenders.
By the way, all this scramble for ever steeper gradients makes sense, as some of the formerly decisive climbs are no longer that decisive, and do not cause riders to contort their backs, in agony, pushing with their lumbar muscles, which is what we like see, anymore. The question is what has changed to devalue the traditional climbs. Many things, of course, but especially the development of gearing and low-weight frames. Which begs the question: why, instead of looking for ever steeper routes (but not with many kilometers before, please, as that would spoil the party by tiring the peloton… please), why don’t we just limit gearing ad increase the minimum allowed weight?

The Inner Ring August 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

Denying riders equipment seems harsh, especially as it could cause injury.

Wallace August 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Also pointless as they will still most likely be making the same power at or around their aerobic limits.

450w is 450w whether you make it at 50 or 150 rpm.

Bundle August 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Well, this sport is harsh by nature, climbing 22% gradients with 39*27 can cause as much injury as climbing 11% with 42*23, and denying riders equipment is probably the most effective way to taylor the sport. There will always be riders who will pretext health and safety issues, whether it’s radios, heartrate monitors, the bike, or the route. But it’s hardship they are actually seeking to avoid, so we shoulnd’t listen.
I think a race organiser has the right to define what kind of bikes and equipment cannot be used in his race, and I think it’s foolish of them not to take more advantage of this right. The first organiser of pro races with retro equipment will be very sucessful, even if cyclists try to boycott him.

Avec pas de casque August 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

I agree with this comment.
I do think the cycling equipement has become over the top. Limiting the “progress” in equipment like they did in Formula 1 a while back, and like the UCI is also doing, we should say, I think is a good thing.
All we see now is autralian blogs where amateur racers discuss about the extreme importance of having 3000$ carbon wheels like it matters to their performance. It’s all illusion. It’s all marketing. It’s all consumerism at its most extreme.

And in some ways, I even really doubt it makes a difference at the pro level. It would be fun to see tests with a scientific methodology being done of same riders riding old wheels and new carbon wheels.

Anyway, sorry for my rant in bad english. But I leave it here anyway!
Vive le vélo! And I am so looking forward to this Vuelta!
!Vamos! Contador !Vamos!

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