Vuelta a España Stage 20 Preview

Saturday, 9 September 2017

A short and sharp stage, just 117.5km and packed with climbing including the Angliru, the reference point to which other climbs in Spain and beyond are compared.

Stage 19 Review: the breakaway had its day and breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt had his. A large move went clear and it swelled further when others including Romain Bardet bridged across. The group was large bordering on chaotic, a peloton in its own right rather than a bunch of fugitives. The late climbs thinned things down and on the final climb for a moment Bardet seemed to be in the best position but he and local Ivan Garcia of Bahrain-Merida were caught on the descent by others and in turn caught again by more riders including De Gendt. This was anti-De Gendt, in the breakaway yet not surging up the road out of brute force. This time he surfed the wheels and timed his surf and sprinted to the stage win.

Behind Alberto Contador attacked and quickly gained mucho time but even with relays from Edward Theuns who sat up from the breakaway he couldn’t stay away. Contador is pure pepper and salt, a nutritionist might scan the race result and not notice his contribution but he adds spice to the race. He may be racing his last Vuelta like there’s no tomorrow but there is, or at least today is his stage only now he might have wooden legs.

The Route: uphill from the start, there’s no marked climb but the road up to La Reigada certainly climbs, a launchpad for a breakaway… and a chance to taste breakfast again for others. Otherwise it’s a quick procession south towards the mountains of Cantabria.

The first climb is the Alto de la Cobertoria, 8.1km at 8.6% and on a regular road but with several sections of double-digit gradient. It’s followed by a reciprocal descent straight into the next climb.

The Alto de El Cordal is 5.7km at 8.6%, short but with little recovery time before or after and this is an irregular climb with frequently changing gradients. The descent is more steady to La Vega.

The Finish: the Angliru isn’t as famous as Alpe d’Huez, Mont Ventoux or Mortirolo but it’s arguably harder. Included for the first time in the Vuelta in 1999 it’s proved a tough contest for each of the five editions. We saw Bradley Wiggins surrender his lead to Juajo Cobo in 2011, the race winning moment and in 2013 race leader Chris Horner pulled away from Vincenzo Nibali to seal the race.

It’s true pro riders have the ability to level any mountain with a click of a gear or the installation of a compact chainset but the Angliru is a real challenge for its irregularity. No more so than the Cueña Les Cabres section that is illustrated by the box above in the profile.

The Contenders: Alberto Contador should be the prime pick but his efforts yesterday mean he spent a lot of energy for no reward and so it’ll be harder to dance away for that essential Spanish stage win. He’s still the default pick.

Chris Froome is next. He’s taken stage wins already and can take one again, to triumph on the Angliru would avenge the shetani he’s lived with ever since playing second fiddle to Bradley Wiggins in the 2011 Vuelta and the 2012 Tour de France.

Miguel Ángel López is better suited to diesel climbs like the Sierra Nevada finish but all the same the Angliru is a long slog and he can win.

Vincenzo Nibali returns to the mountain where he surrendered the Vuelta to Chris Horner. A stage win seems hard especially as he can consolidate his second place overall.

Michael Woods is great on steep slopes but winning is his problem, to actually take the stage win is a big ask, especially since the steep slopes go on and on here.

Alberto Contador
 Chris Froome, Miguel Angel Lopez
Woods, Nibali, Majka, Denifl, Moreno

Weather: sunshine at times but often cloudy and a top temperature of 21°C with a rain shower possible at altitude.

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. It’s live on TV from start to finish and the first of the three climbs begins at 4.20pm CEST and finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.

Daily Díaz: Today’s stage is 117,5 km long, and the riders are expected to race between 3h26’ and 3h49’. Does the Vuelta favor the shortest stages of the grand tours? In 2017, the average length of the regular stages (excluding TTs) was 186,3 km (Giro), 184,4 km (Tour) and 172,1 km (Vuelta). It seems so. My next question is: does this make the Vuelta harder or softer than the other grand tours? Let’s have a look at the time gaps. In the Giro the 10th rider was 15’17” slower than Dumoulin, the 25th 1h26’41”, and the 50th 2h25’08”. In the Tour the 10th rider was 9’25” slower than Froome, the 25th 1h04’22”, and the 50th 2h04’53”. With only two stages left, will the Vuelta confirm the trend (the shorter the stages, the smaller the gaps)? Put it in other words: are the Vuelta organisers favoring narrower gaps by shortening the stages?

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

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Sean September 9, 2017 at 6:40 am

Looks like a stage made for someone who rides with panache 🙂

By the way, is there an objective measure of panache, or is it just another way off saying I really like this cyclist?

Al Pacing September 9, 2017 at 7:54 am

Panache =( (solo breakaway wins) × (highest ever place on GT GC) + (entries to RVV + Tro Bro Leon + Tour of Potugal) ) /(no of teams raced for during career)

This then has to be adjusted to take account of the haircut coefficient, a number I am unworthy of calculating…

David September 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

But where does facial hair fit in?

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

That’s a damn good post.

ZigaK September 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

DeGendt would win hands down were it not for this damn giro third place. 🙂

nortonpdj September 9, 2017 at 8:40 am

If Contador wins today after his efforts yesterday I’ll eat my hat. I’ve already prepared a very tasty sauce just in case!
I’ll be watching today in the (vain) hope of one last hurrah.

jc September 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

Carlton Kirby is already one hat down 🙂

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 8:57 am

So it’s time to up the ante – if Contador wins today, I’ll eat a horse’s heart Dothraki style!

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

Dothraki?

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 10:44 am

Googled.

hoh September 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

It would be great if u can post video evidence.

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

That’s a deal, hoh! At least, if I can convince my sister to give up one of her two horses…

ZigaK September 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Harkonnen style would be even better.

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I need a horse… Yeehah!!!

MikeA September 9, 2017 at 10:49 am

I can’t see him doing it either although I would love him to. With a Spanish contingent in my household they are crying out for a Spanish one…and who better to get it?

I’m very excited. It’s like Cup Final day.

ZigaK September 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm

If Contador wins today I’ll eat 2l o ice cream.
Am I doing it right?

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

You’ll just turn fat, whereas I’ll become strong as a horse!

Kevin September 9, 2017 at 7:03 am

Whilst there will be a big GC battle, they have looked tired in the last few stages. More likely that one of the other good climbers will win, like Majka, Atapuma or Bardet? Maybe even a youngster like Soler.

Tomski September 9, 2017 at 7:22 am

I was thinking of Atapuma and perhaps Pantano too.

I haven’t managed to follow the Vuelta as much as I would have liked to this year, but should the ‘could do better’ award be shared by Orica and Movistar?

I’m wondering if, in Orica’s case, rather than that they left too much on the slopes of France, they are using the Vuelta as an opportunity to prepare for a Chavez, Yates and Yates attack on next year’s Tour. Best to make mistakes now with tired legs than be found wanting in the Alps.

As for Movistar failing to find any sort of success in their home tour, answers on a postcard. Mikel Landa must be supremely confident of his prospects next year.

Michael September 9, 2017 at 7:20 am

Here is my prediction:
Contador will win this stage! One last hurrah from the old master – he will probably go full rampage today as this is practically his last day as a racer, possibly even attackine before the Angliru.
There will be big time differences today and I predict that both Kelderman and Zakarin will lose time to Alberto so he will just be able to jump to the final podium.

Next prediction: Froome will crack again today but will just hold onto his GC lead – by about 20-30 seconds. Nibali will be strong but his current time loss will prove too much to be erased on the day.

Final podium:
1. Froome
2. Nibali
3. Contador

MikeA September 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

I think that sums up what I’m thinking too…though something in me doesn’t see Contador doing after yesterday’s effort. While he didn’t empty the tank, in hindsight he should have saved it for today. Ahhh, hindsight…

He’ll make the podium though. Lopez to win the stage.

osbk67 September 9, 2017 at 8:11 am

I just can’t see Contador winning tonight’s stage. If he goes clear on an earlier climb he won’t stay away, Sky or other contenders will bring him back on the last climb. If Froome struggles on the last climb I expect others will be with Contador at the time, in which case I pick another to beat him to the stage win.
To me Contador’s best chance is if other contenders attack the earlier climbs and put Froome in difficulty. I think both are unlikely – others placed two through seven on GC won’t go early, they’ll wait, and Froome won’t struggle early. Which means I don’t think Contador will be able to help himself from attacking early. At least he won’t die wondering and we still have a race on, for all the premature talk Froome wrapped this up in week one.
Personally, I’d sooner see Froome win than Nibali or Contador, but if he does I hope it’s after a head to head battle to the end, rather than by his team suffocating the race again. However effective a tactic that may be!

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Don’t know what is going on tonight’s stage, but today he won.

Pax September 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

I see Dombrowski giving it a try – long shot !

Kavan September 9, 2017 at 9:11 am

I hope Thomas of Ghent receives due recognition for being the most entertaining rider of both the Tour and Vuelta. I present him with a poem:-
http://www.englishverse.com/poems/how_they_brought_the_good_news_from_ghent_to_aix

Mattgc September 9, 2017 at 9:24 am

Always liked that one. And also the “version” by Sellar and Yeatman http://jeremynicholas.com/2013/07/months-parody-july-13-how-brought-good-news-ghent-aix/

Ecky Thump September 9, 2017 at 11:09 am

Very Daily Diaz. Chapeau sir.

GrahamG September 9, 2017 at 9:24 am

See both Yates brothers finished in the laughing group yesterday – wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the mix today

Mattgc September 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

Talking of Orica, does anyone know what their status is for next season? I thought Orica was only signed to the end of 2017??

Anon September 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

They’ve got nieve and trentin for next year, so I guess they are continuing

The Inner Ring September 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

They continue but Orica are supposed to be stopping sponsorship. No news on a replacement yet. The arrival of Trentin and Nieve signifies more spending too so either there’s a sponsor or Gerry Ryan is just enjoying this team more than ever.

Mattgc September 9, 2017 at 11:50 am

Thanks.
Just seen that Dan Jones is retiring from the BSP. No word yet if Lucy Martin or the other guy who stands in sometimes will take over full time.

jc September 9, 2017 at 9:25 am

There will bit a lot of tired legs in the peloton. However much various riders want to attack up the final climb few are likely to have much left in the proverbial tank to power such exploits. There must be a significant question mark over how much energy Vincenzo Nibali can muster. He does have a reputation for still being strong late into three week tours but he did not manage to overhaul Chris Horner on this very climb a few years back (though there were questions over Chris Horner which have never been answered one way or the other).

Unless he is forced into chasing I cant see Chris Froome doing anything other than riding tempo and avoiding pushing himself into an unsustainable pace. This might be boring but it is the most sensible strategy, the race is his to loose so he does not need to take risks.

Alberto Contador will inevitably try to go out with a famous ride, as much as this might appeal the boring reality is that he is likely to be pulled back by the lead group and will pedal in a little way back to much applause.

I doubt we will see any significant breakaway, Sky will want to ride at a strong pace to discourage any long range attacks. Maybe better for those hoping for a stage win (Rafal Majka?) to sit in with the main contenders and try to clip away on the final climb. One to watch might be Ilnur Zakarin who is only 12 seconds off a podium place.

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

It’s here!

The final mountain stage, the toughest of ’em all, with no more excuses of “saving energy” for the days to come. As soon as we start climbing, it’s every man and every boy for himself. Who will remain the boys, and who will become The Man? These climbs are steep enough that dragging behind a teammate doesn’t give *that* much of an advantage. Even better, there’s no flat sections in between the climbs!! Twenty-two k’s of tough climbing interspersed with two tricky, probably wet descents. Bring. It. On!!!

My take on proceedings: at the start of the race, we’ll see a big group of hopefuls take off. These will include some ‘barroudeurs’ like Gougeard, KOM Vilella, 3 riders from Movistar, some failed climbers like Navarro and Roson, and some heavier guys looking to start the climbing with an advantage. They won’t matter. If there’s team mates of GC contenders involved, they don’t matter either because they won’t be much help come the climbing. The only riders that matter today will be hiding in the bunch. Until the first slopes show themselves. There we’ll see a doomed attack (or two) by the Orica boys, followed by a stinging attack by Contador and Majka, who join forces and raise panic in the ever-reducing bunch behind. Katusha and Astana take over from Sky to deny Contador, but their domestiques won’t last long. By the time there’s none of ’em left, Froome still has Nieve, Rosa, Lopez and Poels to reinstate their dominance. Rosa and Lopez start pulling at the pace they can maintain, but Contador and Majka keep pulling further ahead. During the first descent, Nibali and Aru start to pressure Froome. The roads are wet, and Froome looses contact with some riders. As soon as it starts climbing again, Rosa and Lopez shed their last bit of strength to bridge that gap. Nieve takes over and rides the rest of the 2nd climb at the front of the tiny little bunch. The gap to AC-RM remains stable at 2 min. Just before the top, Nibali places his first real attack, gets Kelderman, Aru and M.A. Lopez in his wheel, and they drop like condors over the top towards the bottom of the last climb. Froome loses some time again, but starts the last climb only a handful of seconds behind, and Nieve bridges the gap with his dying breath. This increase of pace is too much for Poels, though, and with 11.5 km to go, it’s a fight of individuals. Contador and Majka increase their lead again as there’s a silence before the storm, as Froome, Nibali, and six others are taxing their opponents, and what is left in their own tank as well. Then… all hell breaks loose!

(PS: I know how this ends, but I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I’ll stop here)

MikeA September 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

It’s like reading a crime book and finding the last page where they name the murderer is missing.

Excellent read though!

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Thanks Mike 🙂

Dominique September 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm

This is daft?

Who will become a man? Considering C, F, N have won multiple Grand Tours between them they’re doing pretty well on that front? Unless you mean Kelderman?

And multiple climbs of killer gradients usually equal boring racing – see last few Zoncolan’s – so there’s no guarantee of fireworks, definitely nothing in the Froome Pierre St Martin/Ventoux, Contador Verbier category. More likely punch drunk gear mashing…

Hopefully Contador sets it alight, although I would like to see Froome win, if only to bug Larry T.

Froome in the wet is a worry energy-wise, but one crash and renewed scepticism over his descending ability is frustrating to read… the man’s been descending like a demon the last few years and yet everyone’s to blow any perceived weakness out of proportion… I’ve seen Nibali fall descending wet roads more times than I have Froome (see Giro 2013).

Also increase of the pace too much for Poels? He was 2nd on the Angliru in 2011 and has been waiting for this (re cycling podcast last night)… I can see him out climbing Nibali given the chance.

agh… all hell breaks loose? What does that mean? Every man for himself? Or slow-motion mini-attacks a la stage 14 2012 Giro with Rodriguez/Hesjedal? Neither really feel like all hell breaking loose to me…

I know this is a bit of fun but it’s silly and uninformed.

Maybe it’ll come true, C will likely attack early and Froome may suffer, but I have a feeling we’re just as likely to see a tame stage and the main competitors finishing together… either way I’ll take INRNG’s preview over this garbage any day.

RonDe September 9, 2017 at 9:49 am

2011. The Angliru. Chris Froome, dragging the converted GC contender, Bradley Wiggins, behind him is seeing Juan José Cobo pull further and further in front. Cobo, 55 seconds down on leader Wiggins and 48 behind Froome at the start of the day, wins the stage. Froome, having dropped Wiggins and been released (too late) from babysitting duties, finishes in the second group on the road at 48 seconds (along with a certain younger rider by the name of Wout Poels). Wiggins finishes 1.21 down.

Cobo goes on to win the Vuelta by 13 seconds from Froome with Wiggins 1.39 back.

Its payback time.

RonDe September 9, 2017 at 9:54 am

Meanwhile, defending champion Vincenzo Nibali finishes the stage 2.37 down and ends the race in 7th.

Augie March September 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

“Payback” is an interesting term. If you’re talking about Cobo or Wiggins, I think Froome exorcised those ghosts with his first Tour de France win, and if you’re talking about the Vuelta I’m not sure that would be his attitude as it’s clear Froome loves this race for reasons we all know. I don’t think revenge will be his focus, I think it will be more riding within himself and retaining red.

RonDe September 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

I’m talking about the Angliru. That was where Froome lost it in 2011. Cobo gained no significant time after that stage. Although, of course, in the Vuelta 2o11 Froome went into the race as a nobody.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Thanks. I had no idea that this had happened.
And now I know how rotten a rider Vincenzo Nibali is – no-one had told me.

Foulmouthed September 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Bugger off Anonymous.

stuie September 9, 2017 at 9:50 am

Bet Froome has had a sleepless night thinking of gear ratios, 2011 will be haunting him. I expect attacks on every climb. Half of Trek will be up the road from the off. Can’t pick a winner, Contador put unnecessary effort in yesterday in my opinion. He should of kept all his bullets for today. Froome will TT his way up to limit losses.

AP September 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

Sounds like the terrible weather predicted a few days ago probably won’t materialise then? If Froome is to be overthrown it will be on a slippy downhill, I think the climbs alone won’t be enough.

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

Don’t worry, they’re still predicting 100% rain probabilities and a sea-level temperature of 18°C. Translated from meteoasturias.es:

(I give much more weight to the forecast of a local service than that of some generic service like AccuWeather)

“Throughout the Saturday is expected abundant rainfall throughout the Principality. They will be more abundant especially on the eastern seaboard. Also, temperatures will drop.

This Saturday we expect from the first hours of the day the passage of a cold front that will leave widespread rainfall throughout the Principality of Asturias. These rains will be much more abundant in areas of the eastern coast. In this sector will be activated the yellow warning by the State Meteorological Agency for the possibility of accumulations of up to 40 liters per square meter in 12 hours. Temperatures, in addition, will descend throughout the region.”

The Angliru lies in the West of Asturia, so not in the “alert” region, but with that much moist air around, the rain clouds will stick to the summits and keep the roads wet all day.

AP September 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

Sounds like British weather! Thanks.

jc September 9, 2017 at 10:41 am

Having had a look at the current weather radar it does seem as if it will be a fairly dry if somewhat misty afternoon, maybe the occasional shower which is more likely at altitude.

Ecky Thump September 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

If that sea level temperature of 18C is correct, though, you’re looking at around 10C on the upper reaches of the Angliru, perhaps even cooler if there’s a bit of wind chill as well.

Ferdi September 9, 2017 at 10:36 am

So the story goes:
1) They increased the speed climbing 8% slopes, through improved material (lighter wheels, expanded gearing, etc…). They found that those slopes didn’t suffice to create gaps, because the new speeds increased the benefit of drafting.
2) They had to find much steeper slopes, where drafting ceased to be an advantage. But in so doing they so penalised heavier riders, that GTs became reserved to ultra-thin small-chested riders.
In the meantime, the epitomic image of riders pushing bigger gears, very slowly, with their lumbar muscles (Hinault muscles), in prolonged, leaden-footed, never-ending toil and agony, the image that caught the imagination of generations of followers, was starting to be considered a thing of the past. Or wasn’t it? Some were defending limiting the gearing to re-capture those images. Others replied that it would be dangerous, and could cause tendonitis, only to be told to learn to stretch properly before and after riding. Eventually, there was a split: some organisers, fearing for the survival of their decades-old races, tried to limit the equipment that could be use (“if Wimbledon forces tennismen to wear white, I can impose whatever limitations I fancy”). From then on, fans could choose the kind of races they preferred: “old-style”, or “contemporary”.

Mark September 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm

What ??

Oracle September 9, 2017 at 10:38 am

Majka and Kruijswijk will both get some room and have the shape in the 3rd week.

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Would like Kruijswijk to win today.

Ecky Thump September 9, 2017 at 10:38 am

Wow, I can almost taste the excitement and anticipation just reading the piece and everyone’s posts!
Unfortunately I haven’t seen as much of La Vuelta’s last couple of weeks as I’d have liked either but, please Lord, let’s have a Contador win.

Who chooses the music to close out ITV4′ shows – shake that person by the hand, love it? Could I request ACDC’s “Let There Be Rock” for tonight please. Here’s hoping!

The Inner Ring September 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

All the ingredients are there for an exciting race but we’ll see if it happens, the riders could huddle a bit and leave the fireworks for late. The Angliru is such a hard climb that any efforts on the two previous climbs can be paid for on the final ascent.

Ecky Thump September 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Alberto Contador – “Who’s the Man? I’m The Man. I don’t give a damn”.
LOVE IT.

Dominique September 9, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Agh, the above INRNG comment is kinda what I was thinking below, should have checked this first…

MikeA September 9, 2017 at 11:08 am

Great to hear Cannondale getting a new sponsor for next season (will be announced today?). A good showing from Woods and Villella surely helped push that through….and not forgetting Uran in the Tour.

The Inner Ring September 9, 2017 at 11:13 am

The announcement is due out today. With a million dollars in crowdfunding, the wage saving from Talansky (presumably a high six figure sum), the gap is narrower. But with luck they can unveil a new sponsor who is committing to a longer period and so they can start spending/hiring for 2019 and 2020 once the next season begins.

Stuie September 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

Part of me wants Froome to beat Contador to the line, just so I can see the hypocritical and crazy accusations from the legions of Contador fans.
😈

hoh September 9, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Contador was being cheeky during the Tour, but I think his exploit this Vuelta deserves some respect.

It’s unlikely now, but I hope CF & AC can work together and dance away from the rest as they did in 2014. 2014 was a redemption race for both to save their season. Today Froome will likely make History with AC shine the last time.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm

can you make a selfie of yours wheeping later this afternoon? Our legion will enjoy it

Wakey September 9, 2017 at 11:44 am

Cycling doesn’t get any better than today. Enjoy it folks.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Had Contador not had one bad day, who knows? He’d most probably be 2nd (maybe 3rd). But he might have challenged Froome. No-one else looks anything like able to do so: other than Contador, only Lopez has looked the equal or better than Froome on some mountains, other than Froome’s one bad day. I certainly don’t see Froome losing 1.5 minutes today, other than the small possibility of him losing that much to Contador or Lopez.

nick September 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm

And if Contador hadn’t had that bad day, Sky would have had to do more work shutting down his moves (assuming he still made them) rather than leaving them to Katusha and Sunweb. More tired domestiques might have left Froome isolated more often and then….

I think Clinton beat Trump in that world too.

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Yep. If this is the usual Anonymous he/she doesn’t have a clue on all this cycling malarkey…

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Contador has won the race’s popular vote already.

Wackynonymouse September 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

If, Froome loses this Vuelta by say 20sec because of something happening today, poor form, bad legs, crash etc he will be the morale victor. So down on paper as thee actual victor or the moral one? In my mind he is the winner and I am not even a “fan” of his.

hoh September 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm

That two crushes he suffered were purely bad luck. Could have happened. But then in cycling, one make do with whatever luck one has.

Even as a Froome fan, I wouldn’t want to go down the tedious moral winner business. Surly Contador can claim his moral winner/podium of sort regarding his bad day.

Dominique September 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

@Anonymouse

This is daft?

Who will become a man? Considering C, F, N have won multiple Grand Tours between them they’re doing pretty well on that front? Unless you mean Kelderman?

And multiple climbs of killer gradients usually equal boring racing – see last few Zoncolan’s – so there’s no guarantee of fireworks, definitely nothing in the Froome Pierre St Martin/Ventoux, Contador Verbier category. More likely punch drunk gear mashing…

Hopefully Contador sets it alight, although I would like to see Froome win, if only to bug Larry T.

Froome in the wet is a worry energy-wise, but one crash and renewed scepticism over his descending ability is frustrating to read… the man’s been descending like a demon the last few years and yet everyone’s to blow any perceived weakness out of proportion… I’ve seen Nibali fall descending wet roads more times than I have Froome (see Giro 2013).

Also increase of the pace too much for Poels? He was 2nd on the Angliru in 2011 and has been waiting for this (re cycling podcast last night)… I can see him out climbing Nibali given the chance.

agh… all hell breaks loose? What does that mean? Every man for himself? Or slow-motion mini-attacks a la stage 14 2012 Giro with Rodriguez/Hesjedal? Neither really feel like all hell breaking loose to me…

I know this is a bit of fun but it’s silly and uninformed.

Maybe it’ll come true, C will likely attack early and Froome may suffer, but I have a feeling we’re just as likely to see a tame stage and the main competitors finishing together… either way I’ll take INRNG’s preview over this garbage any day.

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

I had not expected someone to take my little essay this seriously and dissect all that was written. Not sure if I should feel honoured, or a mild bout of pity…

Foulmouthed September 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Do one Anonymouse, and shove that pity up your arse while you’re at it.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm

You’re the least welcomed person this site needs

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Although it was a response to an obnoxious post.
The people who post obnoxious things in the first place have to take some responsibility.

Junker September 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

You may have pity on Dominique… but she made a good point on Nibali… he did come off as well…

Anonymouse September 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm

My cheeky “preview” above was not at all meant to be taken literally, as I’m sure most people got from the style and the ridiculous amount of detail. It was, in fact, a mockery of the daily predictions many of us have been making the past weeks. Obviously, one could be oblivious of this, dissect the text line-by-line and say what they don’t agree with, scoring some points along the way with how how the race eventually played out. That would entirely go against the spirit of satire, though, and I do pity the general lack of understanding in many of today’s over-polarized online communications.

Foulmouthed September 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm

The bloke’s an f’ing moron.

hoh September 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Of all the days, Eurosport player elect to go down today.

A different J Evans September 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm

So not just me with the Eurosport Player. FFS.

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm

It’s playing via Steep Hill…..

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Catalan spam. Nice

Cochisecito September 9, 2017 at 5:59 pm

It’s Portuguese

RonDe September 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

No one would accuse anonymous of knowing anything.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:26 pm

Depends on the anonymous, PR clown

RonDe September 9, 2017 at 5:57 pm

YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

You do realise that you didn’t win anything, right?

RonDe September 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Go play with yourself son. Leave commenting to the people who contribute something.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I imagine you are playing with yourself after that.
As for ‘people who contribute something’, have you somehow managed to miss the sheer volume of people asking you to give it a rest? Even the people who agree with you/like your posts have been saying it.
And this obnoxiousness of your comments is summed up with your post here.
I remember this site before you came along and never once did I think ‘What we need is a fanboy “contributing” the same comments relentlessly’.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm

You don’t even seem to realise that there are many different people who post as Anonymous.

DAVE September 9, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Oh lordy. This conversation.
Please Anonymous, people want you to give it a rest far more than RonDe.
(And great for being so clever to post under a moniker used by many people but not seeming to realise it’s quite clear to everyone which of the Anonymi is you.)

Fantastic victory for Froome. What a rider, playing the percentages and going defensive is fair enough if your deep into a potential double, incredible achievement to be the first rider to do the double. Great from Contador, Kirby doing my head in a bit on eurosport, and it’s a shame on these steep climbs you sometimes lose the coverage to really feel involved, it wasn’t an easy watch, guess getting cameras on thin roads, in the rain, in amongst people ain’t easy. Zakarin deserves 3rd, great ride, I’m happy to forgive and forget past issues, especially as we may be seeing him winning a Grand Tour before long. All in all glad Contador got a good send off on home soil even if I’m not the greatest fan. Not a brilliant stage, not sure if Nibali’s crash (or unclip?) affected him but no challenge really (I for one think he’s a level below Froome)… not really a great Vuelta but time to move on, and Froome moves further into the echelon on greats alongside the Contadors, Indurains, Lemonds of this world – someway to go before hitting the gods, but a few more Tours and a Giro might get him not too far off the Hinault, Merckx, Anquetil platform (even if in the modern sport he’ll never win what they did).

Time to celebrate him and Contador together. Let’s all hold hands and cheer them together.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:39 pm

My last post today, but just a point of fact, DAVE: many people don’t know which Anonymous is which or how many there are. (Example, the person who called RonDe a PR clown – quite beautifully – is not me. Nor is the person who said ‘master class of boredom and trolling’. Just to give two instances.) People have replied to me before about something I haven’t said, and people have replied to others thinking they are me. It’s happened on this page. So, you don’t know – not important, but just so you know.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm

What do you contribute? Lections for master class of boredom and trolling?

Manuela September 9, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Congratulations to you Ron De. Both on winning the race – you seem to beleive that this was your victory – and on your real achievenent of this Vuelta. That is annoying so many people so much that the thoughts of many here are full of abuse and anger. Bravo my friend.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Take Contador out of today’s race and you have the future of grand tours – a procession up some hills with nothing until the final few km. Nothing against anyone or any team (best rider won overall, although he was dragged almost everywhere by a teammate other than in the ITT, as was Nibali on many days) – just ennui-inducing. Time to do something about it.
One example of the lack of courage in riders these days: Zakarin is dropped on 2nd last climb; Kelderman does nothing to pressure him – then loses his podium on final climb.

E_Pi September 9, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Contador’s cycled like Barguil. It’s entertaining and I’m happy for him. However it’s notable that this stuff doesn’t get on the podium.

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm

But without the one bad day when he was sick (we’re told)?

Claude September 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Goodness gracious, you haven’t watched cycling for very long have you?
I hope you’re education is quick and your posts become a little more informed quickly…

Seem to remember Spain’s own Banesto, Indurain et al leading a few processions…
& most climbs are nothing until the last few kms?
Especially one with a 22% section at it’s close…

Also the arrogance of your post… you reckon in Kelderman’s shoes you’d have ridden Zakarin off your wheel… in case you didn’t realise these climbs are pretty difficult, best laid plans sometimes go amiss…

It’s very sad to see you being so rude to RonDe and then clearly have a fraction of the knowledge he has. And now the anger seems to have let some real venom lose on this board. Very very sad.
🙁

Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Saw Indurain lead many processions, but also saw people challenge him from distance – one example, Chiappucci.
The comments on here have become far more ‘you don’t know about cycling’ and far more ‘my guy’s great, your guy’s rubbish’.
People can make up their own minds where that stems from.
As for ‘you being so rude to RonDe’, as he said ‘Go play with yourself son. Leave commenting to the people who contribute something.’

Really nice guy September 9, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Does anyone else find it amazing how much dislike gets directed at Froome?

He genuinely seems a nice person, pretty humble considering and at particular moments can be both sportsmanlike and exciting. It seems clear to me he is a real racer in the mould of a Contador and even what we’ve seen of Dumoulin so far (there are countless examples that bear this out), but in becoming a little more streetwise tactically recently this has been forgotten.

Is the hate just because he’s winning?
Is it because of Sky?
Or a hang over from Wiggins needing the Sky train in that first year that established the ‘boring’ moniker?

Maybe a mix?

If he is doping, then you assume many are doping, but he seems to get more hate than those who’ve been caught and suspended and we know doped?

Just think he’s pretty unlucky as he doesn’t really seem like a bad guy (and neither does Contador) but gets a lot of hate even here, an english language blog where you’d expect he’d be loved.

At least he has RonDe!

I can’t really see what any of the current top riders have done to deserve any hate? Not seen any do a Rivaldo from a corner kick or an Ashley Young dive…

The Inner Ring September 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Comments are closing on here now, the stage is done and people seem to be trading insults.

Comments on this entry are closed.

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