Stage 6 Wrap: a solo win for Belkin’s Stef Clement after he jumped away from his breakaway companions with two kilometres to go. A fine win for a rider with a big engine but few wins.
Stage 7 Preview: first a loop to the countryside and then the race is all about the eight laps of the Montjuic circuit with its steep climb and twisting descent. After ski station summit finishes this is nothing in comparison but eight laps of 125m of vertical gain = 1,000m. It’s more like a structured session for the Ardennes classics with the 2km climb that reaches 8% and averages 5.8%. As such it’s perfect for Joaquim Rodriguez who might find offence the best form of defence as he seeks to contain Alberto Contador, just four seconds behind on GC but in a winning position if he can win the stage. Here’s the GC:
1 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 27:03:13
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:04
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:07
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:10
5 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:17
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 0:00:18
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:26
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:42
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:48
Time bonus + countback = Contador win: If Alberto Contador wins the stage and Joaquim Rodriguez finishes in second place on equal time then Contador wins the 10 second time bonus and Rodriguez takes six, which puts them on equal time. As there are no fractions of a second the rules state it is done by “the sum of places won in each stage”:
|Stage||Joaquim Rodriguez||Alberto Contador|
As the table shows it’s advantage Contador. However the probability of this 1-2 is low: others want the stage win, in a straight sprint you’d back Rodriguez and even if they did finish 1-2 there could well be a time gap too. But there are others in range two, Ag2r La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet is an outsider assuming his hands have defrosted, he seems the punchiest among Tejay van Garderen, Nairo Quintana and Andrew Talansky.
As for Chris Froome, if he doesn’t up his overall position this will be his “worst” GC performance since the 2012 Tour de Romandie when he finished 123rd overall riding (and crashing) in the service of Bradley Wiggins. Of course this is more testimony to his selective race programme and consistency than the wheels coming off this week.
Weather: cold, wet and windy. Nothing apocalyptic with 15ºC but even a few rain showers make the Montjuic circuit much harder. If the conditions are dangerous the race has said it might shorten the final stage, previous visits here in the rain have seen riders use terms like “skating rink”.
TV: 90 minutes starting from 3.30pm to 5.00pm Euro time. It’s on TV in Spain and Eurosport around the world but if you can’t find it on TV cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv are the go-to sites for TV schedules and feeds.
Daily Diaz on culture: Besides the economic factor, Catalan nationalism can be explained by the cultural element. With an own language (Catalan, a Romance language the same way as Spanish, Portuguese, French or Italian) and deeplyrooted traditions, many Catalans feel different from the rest of Spanish people. For example, some years ago bullfighting was forbid, but other traditions involving bulls have been maintained.
Gràcies to cycling podcaster and history teacher Manuel Pérez Díaz for the local information. You can follow him on Twitter as perezdiazmanuel and he is also covering the race in Catalan for the Només Ciclisme blog