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Vuelta a España Stage 12 Preview

A day for breakaway but a short stage at just 160km.

Stage 11 Review: a wet day with cold conditions at altitude which might explain plenty. The stage had one winner and plenty of losers, notably Orica-Scott and BMC Racing. The day’s breakaway contained veteran Igor Anton who was not far down on GC so Sky kept the move in check which spoilt the day for Romain Bardet, also in the break. Then Orica-Scott took up the pace as if they had a plan in mind and later fired Simon Yates up the road but Esteban Chaves would lose two minutes and Adam Yates nine. Meanwhile Tejay van Garderen lost of three minutes and Nicolas Roche lost four. The result is Esteban Chaves is third overall while BMC’s riders dropped out of the top-10.

Miguel Ángel López won the stage. He’s called “Superman” but not because he has a cape nor because he tucks his shirt into his underwear neither because he flies through the air in pantyhose. Instead thieves tried to take his bike off him once and stabbed him in the leg but he fought them off. So rain and cold conditions probably don’t worry him. Another winner was Vincenzo Nibali who finished third and on the same time as Chris Froome, he was in charge of the race at times and he’ll take comfort from this. Wilco Kelderman impressed too.

The Route: 16okm, first along the coast and then inland for the climbs. The first climb of the Puerto de Leon is 17.4km at 4.9% but includes a downhill section and the mode gradient is more like 6-7% and there’s a 10% section. Next comes El Torcal, 7.6km at 7% which includes the intermediate sprint but it’s 8-10% through the “sprint” and only eases towards the top.

The Finish: the route circles Antequera on flat roads but final kilometre is uphill, not a climb but a pronounced gradient between the 800m to go point and 300m.

The Contenders: another breakaway, another lottery? Perhaps but as a rule once riders start to show in the breakaways they continue to do so during a grand tour. So Julian Alaphilippe is an obvious pick, at ease on the climbs and he packs a powerful sprint. L-L Sanchez is another breakaway specialist and Astana team mate Alexey Lutsenko is a powerful type for today. Otherwise Matteo Trentin is the safe pick but his win two days ago was a surprise and to repeat this over more mountains would be even more of a shock especially as everyone is now aware of his polyvalence.

Julian Alaphilippe, Alexey Lutsenko
Sanchez, Marzcynski, Trentin, Roux, De Gendt, Geniez

Weather: dry, there will be a mix of sunshine and clouds with a top temperature of 26°C.

TV: It’s on La1 in Spain and Eurosport around much of the world and often on the same broadcaster you watch the Tour de France on. The finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.

Daily Díaz: Protohistory is a period between prehistory and history, during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing but other cultures have already noted its existence in their own writings. Today’s stage covers a couple of protohistoric issues. The first 75 km run along the coast. The Phoenicians (inventors of the alphabet), in the 1st millennium BC, sailed the Mediterranean sea, establishing contact with less developed peoples. That’s how Almuñécar (KM14) was born, as a trade point between the Eastern traders and the local miners. Even more ancient are the monuments of the Antequera Dolmens Site. Megaliths are found in many places around Europe, and these are some of the best preserved of Spain. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016.

Thanks to cycling podcaster and history teacher Manuel Pérez Díaz for the local information. You can follow him on Twitter as perezdiazmanuel

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymouse Thursday, 31 August 2017, 7:44 am

    Nice punt at Anthony Roux – he’s been doing surprisingly well in the mountains (for a big guy) and if he could hang on, the slight uphill finish would suit his fast strong legs.

    Meanwhile, my man Jungels showed very poor form yesterday, but Superman Lopez made more than up for that!

    Today will probably see Quick Step add to their tally, but I’m expecting another dig by Nibali for GC as well, and maybe the Yateses trying to get into the breakaway? Btw, don’t underestimate that opening stretch along the coast, it has some “capi” in it with slopes of up to 10 %!

    • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:40 am

      Lopez might be Superman, but Trentin has the power of polyvalence! Who can say which one is stronger?

  • jc Thursday, 31 August 2017, 7:50 am

    Yesterday was a strange stage, the sudden weather change seemed to affect most of the riders. Chris Froome battled through it all to take time on all his rivals. As so often he seemed to beat them all by sheer force of willpower. His team were strong too, some of them seemingly unaffected by the climatic conditions, at one point Mikel Nieve even appeared to be trying for stage victory. It will be interesting to see if Miguel Lopez can continue to impress, more performances like yesterday and he will be Astana’s main threat (such that it is) on GC. Vincenzo Nibali is the only realistic competition to CF for the title, though for him to win, there would probably have to be some sort of incident or accident (Giro 2016??). Wilko Kelderman did well perhaps an outside bet for the podium and Alberto Contador ‘s farewell tour continued to be reasonably successful without ever threatening a win.

    The peloton will welcome a return to warmer dryer conditions and will probably be happy to let breaks go today and tomorrow before the long climbs at the weekend

  • Richard S Thursday, 31 August 2017, 8:36 am

    I’ve watched Froome for years now and seen him do his there where he gets distanced and comes back a ton of times, seemingly especially in the Vuelta. But still I was convinced watching yesterday’s stage that he was struggling. On the first climb he looked like he was struggling to hold his team mates wheels and then again on the second, then he drifted to the back and Nieve seemed to be going too quick for him. Then hey presto he drops just about everyone! I think Nibali thought he was struggling too hence putting his team on the front and at one point seeming to go and have a look at Froome. Maybe Froome was struggling but he can just dig it out and knows he can distance people if he sucks up the pain. Or I just read it wrong more likely.

    • Frank Carbo Thursday, 31 August 2017, 9:04 am

      I got the impression yesterday that Froome wasn’t enjoying the weather — he enjoys warm and hot — but that he was pedaling to Watts to make sure he didn’t crack at any stage (“I know I can consume l continue to pedal at X Watts for X time, so I will.”) As soon as the finish was in sight, he went. Given what he will take off everybody at the time trail, Nibali seems good only key rival, and as I’m sure RonDe will tell us in just a moment, Nibali never beats Froome in a GT

      • Michael B Thursday, 31 August 2017, 12:59 pm

        Yeah, that’s always my impression, that he’s riding to watts. If he was truly bluffing he’d have to call back the domestiques too, which I don’t think he did, as he’s happy for Nibali and others to push that little too hard while he sticks to his numbers.

        • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:28 pm

          Hurrah for technology. It would be hateful to see riders having to use their own brains.

          • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:03 pm

            As far as I’m aware technology doesn’t ride for you or tell you what to do about what you’re seeing.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:46 pm

            The latter is the DS’s job. Riding is a legs-only endeavour now.

    • Gian Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:01 am

      I was like you and thought Nibali had him but Froome does seem to just pull out a big effort when needed. Froome’s style on the bike also makes him look like he’s struggling more than he his.

    • Matt C Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:38 am

      David Millar, commentating on UK TV, put it well. He pointed out that Froome does have a bluff, where he drops to the back to give the impression he is struggling, then will surge later. He’s used that tactic before… but due to his riding style you can never tell if Froome is doing the bluff, or if he is actually struggling.

    • Ray McGillicuddy Friday, 1 September 2017, 2:01 am

      From what I’ve seen Froome’s ‘tell’ is getting out of the saddle when climbing at tempo. He often gets out of the saddle to attack or to counter, but almost never when riding uphill in a group. An example of this was the stage in the Tour which finished at the altiport (sorry I forget the name of the place); as the group was getting to the top of the climb prior to the start of the runway he got out of the saddle at least three times while riding on Landa’s wheel, and was (for Froome at least) turning a big gear, then sure enough he cracked climbing up the runway. I wondered at the time why nobody attacked him, since he was clearly tiring (I say this from the comfort of my armchair…). I think that if Froome is sitting and pedaling, even if he’s drifting back slightly, he’s comfortable. If he gets out of the saddle just to hold the wheel- then you know he’s on the ropes.

  • Peter Thursday, 31 August 2017, 8:58 am

    Kelderman could be on track for a podium if he keeps climbing like this (knowing he has a relatively good TT).

    • Anonymouse Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:02 am

      History would have us believe he’ll crack at some point, but he’s actually looking to get in better shape as the race goes on. As a Belgian, I can only be envious of our Dutch neighbors and their wave of GC riders.

  • Oracle Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:17 am

    Nice to see that Kelderman delivers after the situation with Barguil.

    The Netherlands has indeed great GC riders, but almost none serious contender in the spring classics. It’s perhaps a culture thing. Young Dutch talents want to become the next Gesink, young Belgium talents want to become the new Boonen.

    For today I am 99% sure that we see no GC contender in the top-10. A big break away with a Polish guy in the top-3. Also Pauwels, Roux and Polanc are strong enough to win. And what about (again) Soler?

    • Anonymouse Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:35 am

      It depends. If someone like the Yateses or Roche decide to join the break to hunt for a stage and claw some time back, we could once again see Sky control the gap to ~ 3 min, and Bahrein/QS/Sunweb/Orico hunt down the escapees to defend their podiums. Everything screams breakaway, but this is the Vuelta, where everything can happen…

    • Peter Friday, 1 September 2017, 9:38 am

      It is curious indeed. We have Terpstra of course, who really is a classics rider. And van Baarle with a lot of potential (or not even just potential anymore with a 4th place in Flanders). But the likes of Mollema, Poels, Gesink (used to be at least) and others seem to focus on GC and stage races mostly while they are capable of winning classics like Liege, Amstel, Fleche, Lombardy, … (or already have, San Sebas/Liege).

  • ZigaK Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:45 am

    Nothing against Gesink, but if he is really the best Dutch cycling has to offer, that’s just sad.
    How about Dumoulin?

    • Oracle Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:05 am

      Zoetemelk > Breukink > Gesink > Dumoulin > Oomen

      • StevhanTI Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:32 pm

        Floris Gerts is one to watch as well, although he may be more of a hilly classics type guy

  • Big Ringer Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:03 am

    AG2R Are not in the top ten, and Romain Bardet is over 20 minutes back – could be a day for him to have some fun; couple of decent lumps to get up and down. I note he is not mentioned though. I’d have thought on his showing so far, that big mountain stages may be out of his reach as the GC will take those on, so perhaps today is a decent chance for a stage win – terrain suitable and GC may not be that interested.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 31 August 2017, 12:32 pm

      Bardet had a good go yesterday. I think he’ll try to recover today and try again soon.

    • Frank Carbo Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:46 pm

      Did anybody expect Bardet to actually have a realistic chance at the GC? I had thought that he was here mainly to get some serious riding into his legs — two GTs in a season — to harden him up for the eventual attempt to be the first French Tour winner since Hinault? Given that, surely he’s here to have a pop on some stages and that’s it? A fine lineup addition, and with plenty of stages for which he’s dangerous, but no more than a single stage contender.

  • Wakey Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:51 am

    As I wrote last night.

    No doubting the favourites for today but I think Nibali may upset the apple cart. He tried to break Froome for a while yesterday and failed…but came quite close. This is one of only two stages when he may fancy trying again because he was so close yesterday and see if he can do him on the descent.

    Maybe a forlorn hope as he will simply drag Froome to the line but he may well take the option if he thinks he can’t break him on the summit finishes. to come.

    I notice this morning that Nibali’s odds have shortened to 20/1 btw…

    • bertjefred Thursday, 31 August 2017, 12:49 pm

      Well it is good that he tries. As we saw in the Tour there are days that Froome was struggeling a bit and not the best rider on the road. But since nobody attacked, nobody knew. You have got to test him a bit every day and not just ride to the top in his wheel, then there will be days that you can take some time. So Nibali has to keep trying.

    • Anonymouse Thursday, 31 August 2017, 12:52 pm

      That’s the good thing about Nibali and Contador (unlike other people in the top-10) – no matter what, they will keep on trying to cause an upset to Froome. Sky know this from experience though, so unfortunately I can’t see another Formigal unfold.

      • Big Ringer Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:06 pm

        I agree. I had half expected a Froome/Contador alliance to emerge as both would have something to gain from it, and it would be amusing to see the two great rivals working together. Nibali has to vary the point of attack as has already been intimated to get one over Froome, but AC must be playing for different reasons and I think his actions/tactics are even harder to predict. Makes things exciting. I hope that all three racers get to the finish without incident as, aside from anything else, it will be interesting to see how it pans-out. Big shuffle of the GC yesterday.

        I thought the rest day interview with CF was interesting in respect to his approach to the Vuelta in contrast to the TdF.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:39 pm

      I don’t think Froome was anywhere near cracking. Barring sickness or falling off, he has this in the bag. The others cannot take time on the climbs – and are lucky if they manage to equal them – and he’ll slaughter them in the time trial.

  • Oreos Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:06 pm

    Terrible news of the Aqua Blue bus. Does anyone have a theory of the possible motivations of the crim?

    • BenW Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:44 pm

      They’ve arrested a bloke suspected of starting 4 fires in the city. Seems like it could be random.

  • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:09 pm

    We now have what I’d consider a more realistic GC classification. Froome at least two and a half minutes better than everyone with Nibali floating somewhere in between. Its a case of sit on Nibali for the Tour winner now, surely? It was interesting to read the comments on Froome’s style that some made above. Was he in trouble or wasn’t he? I don’t have anymore information than anyone else but I do note he seems prepared to suffer like a dog and go very deep to survive. The efforts yesterday seemed solely aimed at staying with Nibali and it was telling that once he clawed his way to the Italian’s wheel he sat up and looked at The Shark as if to say “I don’t need to chase Lopez and I don’t need to drop you. You need to drop me”. Nibali looked genuinely tired crossing the line so I don’t buy the comments that I see doing the rounds on message boards where they post sarcastic memes that “Someone needs to go all in to attack Froome” as if, somehow, Nibali (and earlier Contador) weren’t trying. This isn’t Pro-Cycling Manager. We’re dealing with human beings with physical limitations here. Nibali himself has already pointed out the riders are flying and its not as if challenging Froome won’t hurt you too!

    • Anonymouse Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:25 pm

      Nibali certainly went all-in yesterday. That attack on the part before the final bend was grueling due to the incline, the head-wind, and the length of the effort. Due to Froome’s particular style, it’s impossible to say how close he was to breaking, but I’m sure he was relieved he made it back to Nibali’s wheel.

    • Cranks Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:21 pm

      Agree! Infact the general trend you see in the last couple of GTs, most of the young-guns have still to notch up a podium and they are happy to fight for it. Very few contenders willing to go all out for the win. On Stage 11, there was none for Nibali to collaborate on upsetting Froome. Bertie looked like it in the initial attack, but subsequently he wasnt following through his turns to pull. And there was none else to try, everyone else (Lopez, Wilco were happy to track wheels, fair enough for them).
      With a weaker team this year (Bahrain-Merida versus Astana), Nibali lacks the support to make the race harder. Although to be fair, Pelizzotti and others surprised in their work yesterday.
      However, I still see some hope for a contest. With Froome probably accumulating fatigue from Le Tour, he might eventually crack in one of these long stages to even out the contest.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:35 pm

      Stage 12 – We now have what I’d consider a more realistic GC classification.
      Stage 8 – About as pointless, in fact, as backing Wilco Kelderman, the Dutch Tejay, in the first place.

      • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:04 pm

        Glad you’re paying attention.

  • Big Ringer Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:25 pm

    Will Dimension Data still have a team member to ride into Madrid?

    • Mattgc Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:02 pm

      They are down to 4 now, not as bad as Orica in the Giro in 2014, but they are only halfway through the race

  • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:43 pm

    Truly incredible riding by Moscon. A rider with no grand tour experience and who isn’t known as a climber going up big mountains better than some of the best climbers in the world. (And Nieve seems even stronger than he was in the Tour, unlike the riders on other teams.) Take that Chaves, Aru, Yates. And watch in awe as Moscon brings back Nibali and Contador.
    Astonishing how Sky have such a knack of always having one rider other than their leader who is just on exceptional form in grand tours – they almost always have at least one rider who can stay with all the other best riders in the world until the final few km.

    • Big Ringer Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:57 pm

      Assuming you are not suggesting *something*, I’d assumed that he’d been to the Kwiatkowski training camp. It’ll be interesting to follow Landa and see how he delivers once out of the Sky system.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:07 pm

        Yes, both of them achieved incredible form whilst ‘out of competition’.
        We know it’s not down to doping – those huge numbers of corticosteroid doses Sky’s doctor had were for non-riding staff plus those are not illegal out of competition anyway, and the testosterone patches were delivered accidentally.

        • Anon. Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:30 pm

          Numerous staff/riders seem to have left British Cycling/Sky with some kind of resentment and perhaps even desire of payback. At this point, I’d imagine any ex-employee who blows the whistle on routine doping could make a lot of money too. Yet for all that, “go and have a baby” is where it’s at.

        • BenW Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:50 pm

          Save it for The Clinic.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:55 pm

            Is it mandatory to be credulously unquestioning here then?

          • BenW Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:59 pm

            No, it’s just f*cking boring reading the same old stuff about Sky (and only Sky) race after race after race.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 3:11 pm

            You don’t think there are justified reasons to question Sky then? Everyone should just silently watch this happen?

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 3:13 pm

            BenW, no need to bring RonDe into it.

          • Anon. Thursday, 31 August 2017, 3:38 pm

            I suppose The Clinic is a giant ugly circlejerk. That’s a click I’ll never make.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 4:13 pm

            msybe people talk about it after they see Moscon – strange and worse if they do not

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 4:54 pm

            “(and only Sky)”
            What a whny zthing to say.
            You can’t mention the name Contador without some loony bloke says steak, no ex-SU rider who rides well without someone raising eyebrwows and questions. Spaniards are all guilty of Fuente, Italians of Ferrari. but only the cleanest riders of the world come from Great Britain, the old cycling nation best known for great historic GT riders. How can anyone raise his eyebrows then when they say the drugs are for staff, not riders? Brits never lie, says Tony Blair….

          • Anon. Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:50 pm

            When people start bringing national identity into arguments I think it’s time to stop.

          • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:09 pm

            I love a bit of resentment in the afternoon. Still, double crash. Back to the “Froome is a bad bike handler” meme.

        • Richard S Thursday, 31 August 2017, 4:49 pm

          If they were smashing corticosteroids you’d see loads of Sky riders going down with knee injuries as it strengthens your muscles whilst weakening the tendons. Hence both Hinault and Fignon going down with the dodgy knees in the mid 80’s at the height of the cortico era.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:12 pm

            Maybe they’ve worked out better dosage regimes.
            Cortico’s also make you skinny and lower your immune system. Any skinny, sickly riders on Sky?

          • Richard S Thursday, 31 August 2017, 8:39 pm

            So does cycling.

          • Anon. Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:08 pm

            @Anonymous
            “Better dosage regimes.” FFS, not everything is an international rabbit hole of conspiracy.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:41 pm

            Anon. – yes, medicine never improves.

          • Mike A Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:03 pm

            It must be depressing watching the grand tours not trusting anybody.

          • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:15 pm

            In amongst all this, great post Richard S – I never knew that.

          • Enfacho Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:24 pm

            Over 50 doses of triamcinolone. You’d have to be a conspiracy theory whack job to believe that this many doses of this relatively dangerous drug was for non-riding staff. You’d also have to be severely lacking in the most basic knowledge of how science works to believe that if they gave you these drugs in the 80s and it resulted in dodgy knees, they didn’t learn in the intervening 30 years better ways of giving the drugs.

    • Richard S Thursday, 31 August 2017, 4:47 pm

      I think with Kwiatkowski and Moscon, and any other slightly heavier power rider, when you see them drilling it on a climb for 70% of the way you have to remember that they are only doing it for 70% (or whatever) of the climb and then more or less grinding to a halt and rolling in chatting to their mates. I’d also take into consideration that Kwiatkowski is pretty small himself, weighing no more than most GC men, so why shouldn’t he go fast up hill and has finished 11th on the Tour himself anyway so clearly is no duffer.

      • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:12 pm

        Kwiato and Moscon are the time trial champions of their respective countries. The former has been world champion and that long before he pulled on the Sky jersey. They’re not also rans. The Internet conspiracists with spittle flecked lips and wild eyes always act as if these people were guys off the street who suddenly became champions. Far from it.

        • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:45 pm

          Moscon is Italian time trial champ.
          Which goes precisely no way to explaining why he’s suddenly climbing so well, even if he doesn’t do all of the climbs.

          After all we’ve learned about Sky’s methods, you’re still denouncing anyone who questions them as ‘wild-eyed conspiracists’.
          Despite Moscon having gone from zero history in mountains to what we see now.

          • Richard S Thursday, 31 August 2017, 8:36 pm

            Moscon is a second year pro in his first Grand Tour so what history in the mountains are you envisaging? He’s won the junior Giro di Lombardia.

          • Enfacho Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:27 pm

            And as we all know, if someone has won the junior Giro di Lombardia and is a second year pro in his first Grand Tour you would expect them to be pulling back multiple grand tour winners in the last ~12km of a stage of long climbs.
            Anyone questioning that is a tin foil hat-wearing loon.

          • RonDe Friday, 1 September 2017, 9:49 am

            What previous opportunity has Moscon had to show his mountain chops? You’re effectively saying no rider is allowed to develop, improve or get better in areas they had formerly not excelled. Yes, that’s wild-eyed conspiracy in my view.

    • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 4:51 pm

      Please chill.
      Accept most people here know their stuff when it comes to cycling and are able to make up their own minds or are happy to wait for further proof before doing so. If you have some great, if not this isn’t the place for backwash chat. We’re all nice here, not the ignorant fools you take us for.

      • Mattgc Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:13 pm

        I’ll second that DAVE. Sums it up very well I think

      • Bundle Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:14 pm

        It’s just as boring and infuriating to see Sky’s domestiques reel back the other leaders as it is to read the comments this logically raises.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:15 pm

        I disagree. I think it’s a fair point to bring up. I’m also a fan of freedom of speech. As for everyone here being nice… whenever someone, e.g. Ferdi or Larry T, puts forward an opinion that does not conform to the majority on here your assertion is rapidly and thoroughly disproved. And you yourself are trying to stop the discussion of others.

        • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:55 pm

          🙁

          Cool thanks for everything Anon. Think you may have missed the spirit of my post.
          Keep on trolling, sure you’ll get bored soon.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:59 pm

            When someone disagrees with you, call them a troll.
            That’s the ‘spirit’.
            Nice.

          • Enfacho Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:19 pm

            Why do you continually insist on telling others what to do? And why do you think it is your place to do so?

      • Brian Friday, 1 September 2017, 2:43 am

        Thanks Dave, name calling is unwelcome. Well constructed arguments presented in a respectful manner are greatly appreciated.

        • spicelab Friday, 1 September 2017, 4:12 am

          It’s disappointing to see people claiming DAVE is somehow trying to ‘silence’ their contributions.

          What DAVE is taking issue with is that virtually all doping related commentary tends to be cheap, lowest common denominator innuendo that brings absolutely nothing new to the conversation. It gets old very quickly hearing the same tired wisecracks over and over.

          This has absolutely nothing to do with turning a blind eye to doping. Anyone who frequents this site knows the sport is far from clean.

          Of course people can and should be able to say what they want. But don’t be surprised if you make a garbage contribution and it’s called out.

      • BenW Friday, 1 September 2017, 3:13 pm

        Thanks for this DAVE – expressing the sentiment my “save it for The Clinic” comment came from but my tired and irritable mind couldn’t be bothered to express. We can all make our own minds up with evidence, and as there is nothing new regarding Sky it gets remarkably boring for me to wade through. Rumour and innuendo sours an otherwise typically excellent comments section. It’s not only here in the comments though – The Guardian are terrible for regurgitating the Sky/British Cycling controversy in practically every article re: Froome or cycling in general, almost as if they think “oh, it’s a potential new person to the sport, we must tell them and make sure it doesn’t get swept under the rug”. Same goes for Mo Farah/Salazar.

  • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 1:55 pm

    In my daily browse through the various classifications I note that Froome is highly placed in all of them (1st in two and 2nd in the other two). Since the overall winner is often odds on to win the “combined” jersey they have at this race it seems likely Froome might win several of the jerseys on offer. He’s currently second on the points jersey (by 3 pts) but with stages where he will certainly score more than Matteo Trentin to come. In the KOM jersey Villella has a 17 point lead but will he contest the big mountain days that Froome will be forced to? I always regarded it is frivolous talk to suggest that Froome might win all the jerseys here but it seems there is a rerasonable possibility.

    • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:13 pm

      This would be a shame. Wish cycling had a little more consistency, the Vuelta jersey’s are silly, as was Rodriguez nicking the Red off Cav at the Giro a few years back, T

  • Big Ringer Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:07 pm

    INRNG, thanks for the excellent blog, I’d be interested to learn your thoughts on what is behind the repeated fast starts to the stages / the apparent trouble involved in forming the days break. I don’t seem to recall this being such a prevalent feature of the Giro or TdF this year

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:09 pm

      It’s because these stages suit breakaways, they are too hilly for the sprinters and their teams to control. So if a breakaway is going to win the day then the competition to get in the move is intense and riders and teams who miss a move going clear will chase so they can get in the next move, this is repeated until a strong move finally outpowers the chasers behind.

      • Big Ringer Thursday, 31 August 2017, 2:25 pm

        Makes sense. Thank you.

  • Ferdi Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:29 pm

    Anyone seriously still missing sprints, sprinters, their teams, Sagan and Van Avermaet?

    • STS Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:36 pm

      Not me 🙂 as I stated before.

    • David Friday, 1 September 2017, 8:13 am

      Well, no, but that’s because we had a cavalcade of them in the Tour to sate the appetite. And this is the Vuelta – you don’t expect large amounts of sprinting here – it’s part of the character of the race, just as a significant proportion of sprints is part of the character of the Tour, and other races.

      Would I like to see sprint stages squeezed out of the other Grand Tours? Absolutely not – the sport would be much the poorer for it.

  • Lee Woodhead Thursday, 31 August 2017, 5:49 pm

    Pretty pissed off with the racing today, it is in danger of turning into WWE; main contenders seemed to knock off when Froome fell. Surely this is part of racing, all this respect for the Jersey is ruining the whole spectacle.

    • RonDe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:16 pm

      If they did, and if they did it was only briefly, then I can’t wait for the people who will say it was Froome’s fault they did… despite there being no evidence at all that Froome even expected them to wait. You’re right Lee that this is part of racing and certainly I had no problem with them riding on as fast as they liked.

      • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:12 pm

        Yeah… I straight up didn’t see this Lee, Nibali even stated as much – and Nibbers ain’t gonna wait for no one… think you have it wrong to be honest. Your eyes are deceiving you. I’m on the fence on the subject, when the race is on it’s fair game, but when not much is going down I like the gentleman’s agreements so we avoid someone losing for the wrong reasons. Today was all fine.

        • Lee Woodhead Friday, 1 September 2017, 12:18 pm

          Nothing wrong with my eyes, I am convinced they slowed, Cycling Podcast seemed to back this up so if I am wrong then so be it. I find it difficult to believe that Froome would have clawed back that amount of time without those ahead easing up. On a wider point I think this ‘respect for the jersey’ is ruining grand tours as a spectacle; surely staying upright & selecting the right equipment to avoid punctures is part of racing? Froome is the strongest rider so his peers will need to seize all opportunities

    • David Friday, 1 September 2017, 8:04 am

      I don’t think they slowed because they were thinking about waiting for Froome. Looked more like they were all trying to get each other to work. In the end, Nibali bluffed Astana into going on the front.

      It did seem like a tactical error though – had Bahrain come straight to the front and worked they would probably have closed down Contador in fairly short order, and then everyone would have worked to pour a more significant gap into Froome.

      • Chuffy Friday, 1 September 2017, 3:08 pm

        Yes, it looked like a bit of disorganisation and confusion rather than any attempt to slow down. Contador was up the road and threatening them all, so no-one would expect them to wait. I did think it was telling that when Daniel Friebe asked about the pause/delay Nibali’s response was distinctly defensive and narky. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to suggest that even if waiting was appropriate (Contador in the group & no GC threats up the road) that the ever charming Mr Nibbles would have dropped the hammer anyway and done his best to take advantage.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:45 pm

    The best way to shut down any criticism or suspicion is to claim that the people who say these things have ulterior motives or are crazy.
    Works for politicians.

    Another things politicians do: make sure you stamp down on opinions you disagree with whenever they happen.

    • BC Thursday, 31 August 2017, 7:43 pm

      Anonymous. Discussion is one thing. Bringing up endless and unfounded accusations about one team becomes pretty boring for most here. If you don’t have any evidence, and you don’t, it’s probably best to give it a rest, or go over to cyclingnews where the comments might be more to your liking.

      It’s not about freedom of speech, it’s about slandering a group of riders and officials from one team without the first shred of evidence for the accusations you are making. Give it a rest.

      • Mark Thursday, 31 August 2017, 9:25 pm

        I agree , people taking about freedom of speech never seem to understand responsibility

        Don’t turn this into cyclingnews

      • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 9:58 pm

        “unfounded” with a U like in UKAD?

        • BC Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:30 pm

          Anonymous. The team and individuals you appear to be obsessional with have NOT been found guilty of any wrong doing. Do you know who instigated the UK anti -doping enquiry, has it published a conclusion ? You probably don’t know the answer to either, so stop trolling and boring everybody without showing some understanding of the actuality and procedures.

          Most come here for interesting views and insight from our host and other posters. Not uninformed trolling.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:12 pm

            Different anonymous – there seem to be a few of us.
            But we are not allowed to share our opinions.
            We are trolls.
            And the people who fling around the accusations of ‘troll’ to those who they disagree with are much the same ones who claim that they are looking after inrng, they don’t want this to turn into cyclingnews, they have been here for ages, not like these newcomers.
            They are the ones who object to critical thinking or anything that goes against the conservative norm.
            They are the ones who make personal comments (always whilst trying to obtain the moral high ground).
            They have no idea how long people have been reading/posting here.
            More importantly, they are the ones who, over the years, seem to have dissuaded more interesting posters who used to comment here from bothering to do so. Because if you post anything that goes against their imposed ideas of what is ok to post, you get personal insults.

      • Rod Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:48 pm

        Another option – exercise the freedom to ignore unfounded allegations and BS.

        One of the unfortunate effects of the growth of the INRNG family is the frequency of the unfounded doping allegations and veiled references. Goes with the territory. Sure, they are free to write their suspicions in these online forums – as others are free to contradict them or ignore them.

        No one is going t0 jail – no one’s freedom of speech is being curtailed; amazing how misunderstood that term is.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:07 pm

        ‘Bringing up endless and unfounded accusations’ – or ‘asking questions’.
        It’s perfectly valid to look at Moscon’s performances and ask ‘Are they credible?’ This is cycling, after all: a sport with a very tainted history.
        It’s also a sport where the public and media have been almost as involved in the omerta as the riders have.
        As someone points out above, it’s not always about one team. Mention the name Valverde and see how long it takes for the phrase ‘unrepentant doper’ to crop up.
        The usual, tired nonsense about ‘go to cyclingnews’ aimed at anyone who doesn’t toe the line of what the self-appointed guardians of inrng have decided can and cannot be said. I.e. very little about Sky; whatever you like about Astana/Katusha/Italians/Spaniards/anyone non-Anglo really.
        I won’t bother to list the evidence of Sky’s behaviour – but it’s a lot more than a shred.
        Many on this site wish to be blind to anything that suggests cycling has any kind of doping problem. I have no problem with that: I do have a problem with these people trying to force those who don’t share that view off this site.

        • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:10 pm

          Let’s chill an let Anon run out of breath.
          He or she is probably enjoying this, and probably better informed than the posts suggest.
          Shame they’ve ruined the chat for everyone else today.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:14 pm

            More than one Anon. Keep it nice DAVE.

        • RonDe Friday, 1 September 2017, 10:05 am

          You know what Anonymous? That’s rubbish. If Sky are cheats then prove it. I want to know they are and I want to know how they’ve been doing it. Because if they are and if Froome’s success is hollow then I’ve been duped and I don’t like being duped.

          But this is what people like you never do. Instead your posts go something like this; innuendo, innuendo, innuendo. Innuendo, innuendo, innuendo. Jiffy bag, dodgy doctor from the past, TUE, innuendo.

          Now who reading an informed cycling blog like this is UNAWARE of this? No one. Oh, maybe add in a video of Froome climbing Ventoux with numbers on it. This proves… well nothing really. Its just more innuendo.

          I will be very happy if someone can prove Sky are cheats. Because it will be the truth. But all I see is hate masquerading as concern. But its concern that ever only goes one way. And that, as others say, is just boring. Its boring innuendo and not fact. Contador and steak is fact. Valverde the “unrepentant doper” is fact. Russian links to doping is fact. Astana have had multiple dope cases. Fact. Even Wiggins and his “hay fever” cure is fact (so he’s fair game and this reflects badly on Sky). But Sky the systematic dopers is not yet fact. It may be. But it also may not. Let’s see the smoking gun and not just the smoke from all the haters rubbing themselves to a frenzy.

          • Anonymous Friday, 1 September 2017, 1:18 pm

            Very hard to get proof of doping – and at no point did anyone here claim that they definitely knew.
            There are many questions and cycling should not ignore them, as they did so many times in the past.
            Over 55 doses of corticosteroid = fact.
            No doctor would hand injections of these out so much in normal medical practice = fact.
            Testosterone patches delivered = fact.
            Delivery of drugs by mistake very unusual = fact.
            Multiple accusations of tram@dol use = fact.
            Many riders showing very rapid improvement at Sky as compared with the norm at other teams = fact.
            Fans, media and UCI desperate to look the other way and not ask questions = fact.

          • Anonymous Friday, 1 September 2017, 1:21 pm

            dodgy doctor from the past – does Freeman no longer work for them?
            Delivery of product from UK to France when it was available over the counter in France = fact, if it was that product.
            Delivery boy never asked what was in it = fact if he’s telling the truth; what did he tell customs?
            Team boss said he had no knowledge of corticosteroids = fact
            Few weeks later he tells us he had them injected into his leg = fact.
            There are a lot of facts and they don’t look good.

  • Niobe Thursday, 31 August 2017, 9:58 pm

    Is it my imagination, Or does Froome seem to have more mechanicals than most GC riders? Can this be connected to his unusual riding style?
    I would like someone sensible to reply please, not a Froome hater or other lunatic . Just an honest enquiry from an ignoramus!

    • Michael B Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:13 pm

      I don’t have any stats to hand but my instinct is that it’s just more noticeable with Froome because of his profile. Wikipedia tells me this is his 14th GT and he’s crashed out of two. Is one in seven a bad ratio? I don’t know. The likes of Indurain, Armstrong and Nibali never seem(ed) to crash out of GTs so I don’t think Froome’s ability in that department is up there with them, but it’s pretty common for GC riders to crash out. Contador, Quintana, Kruiswijck, Zakarin, Porte and Valverde all spring to mind in recent years at various GTs.

      • DAVE Thursday, 31 August 2017, 11:08 pm

        This came up during tour – Michael B is correct, it’s just because he’s more noticeable, all other GC contenders have hand them – maybe Nibali a little less so from recent memory – also Froome’s mechanical today was caused by a crash so not actually his mechanics fault. Don’t think Froome’s style has anything to do with any mechanicals, it’s not that weird. Osymetric chainrings used to have a rep, but Froome chain has rarely slipped.

    • RonDe Friday, 1 September 2017, 10:08 am

      A technical reason for it is the chain rings he uses which are more prone to mechanicals. If you check out the GCN video of his Pinarello F10 Xlight you’ll see the detail on this.

  • Danny Thursday, 31 August 2017, 10:52 pm
  • Wakey Friday, 1 September 2017, 2:13 am

    Fantastic days racing today. Two very distinct races going on for both the stage and the GC and done on a course that was perfect for it.

    Good stuff.

  • Adam Friday, 1 September 2017, 6:17 am

    The Vuelta delivers again. The comments section here has always been high quality, and a refuge from Cycling News, so let’s not ruin for everyone. Thanks.