The Spin: Vuelta Stage 7

Friday, 24 August 2012

Vuelta Stage 7 profile

Yes the show must go on and there’s a stage of the Vuelta on today. However it’s one of those stages that can’t compete with the summit finish excitement, in fact it finishes on a motor racing circuit that’s ideal for the sprinters but less so for TV viewers.

The Route: a trip across the Aragon region of Spain.

The Finish: described by the race as the “high-speed circuit of Alcañiz” in fact these roads should prove slow. Corners that challenge a supercharged Moto GP bike at 220km/h are wide avenues for a peloton of cyclists at 50km/h.

The Scenario: a sprint finish seems likely. Given the wider road and lack of obstacles on the finishing circuit we can expect a more open sprint with riders and teams able to occupy the space as they wish, instead of finding a sharp corner or inflatable sign at the last moment. That said the final kilometre has a sweeping bend around to the left.

John Degenkolb has done well and has a team proving useful with lead outs, Koen de Kort has been dropping him in just the right place. But others have come close and maybe the wide open finish suits the pure speed of Elia Viviani? Talking of speed in the last sprint on Stage 5 Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni started his sprint from 20th place and made fourth place by the line.

Weather: a storm away from the race but hot with only a light breeze. Sunny skies will heat things to a max of 35ºC.

TV: the usual, two hours of live coverage but the action comes in the sprint at the end, expected from 5.30-5.50pm Euro time.

History: races have finished on motor racing circuits before and despite the connotations of speed, race and excitement the opposite often holds true. A sharp corner for a Formula 1 car is not the same for a bike. Imagine the tension of the Indy 500 on the banked track? Put 50  cyclists on the same track and nothing happens, there’s a reason the velodromes for track cycling are 250 metres long and often even shorter.

The Ladder August 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

The point about cycling races venturing onto motor racing circuits is a good one, also made during one of the Velocast podcasts recently. When you’ve seen motorsport on these tracks, with motorcycles and sports cars reaching speeds of around 300kmh, 60-70kmh just doesn’t look as impressive.

Bundle August 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Let’s hope some gusts will blow. Otherwise, this race through the desert will at least play its part in generating attrition for the next days.

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