Vuelta Stage 8 Preview

A day for the sprinters. The first week’s felt like it’s been reserved for the sprinters and rightly so as there’s no point fixing the overall classification from the start. All this is set to change but for now a flat stage with a high speed finish.

Stage 7 Wrap: if at first you don’t succeed, try again. That could have been Jens Voigt’s motto but it applies to others in the peloton and Alessandro de Marchi is this year’s breakaway specialist. Perhaps others have been up the road for longer or more often but De Marchi’s been visible in the big races this summer, a prime time escape artist. His win was helped after Ryder Hesjedal slipped out on a corner but that’s the cruelty of racing, De Marchi just kept riding while others were delayed.

Another faller was Chris Froome who had to chase hard to get back to the bunch early in the stage but come the finish and he sprinted for the line to distance his GC rivals for a small time gain. Clever… or nervous?

There was also a big crash mid-stage that took out three riders from the race, the first abandons of the race. Other victims included John Degenkolb.

The Route: no climbs, just a long procession across the plains of Spain.

The Finish: flat and fast for the sprinters. The road is narrowed as the race rides into town A right-hander just after the 1km to go sign and then it’s one long straight line to the finish.

The Scenario: a sprint finish and with greater certainty than the previous day.

The Contenders: Nacer Bouhanni is the prime pick but he’s tired and finished Thursday’s stage above La Zubia. John Degenkolb’s lost skin a crash too but these two are still the fastest in the bunch. Moreno Hofland and Andrea Guardini have the speed too but Guardini’s been bandaged up too so Hofland could get the nod. Remember his riding in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne? If the crosswinds get up he could be the one to profit.

Roberto Ferrari’s been close but tends to profit from messy sprints and today’s straight finish could be orderly. If you think unemployment’s a motivator Ag2r aren’t keeping Yahueni Hutarovich, the Belarussian has won in the Vuelta before.

Nacer Bouhanni
John Degenkolb
Moreno Hofland
Andrea Guardini, Roberto Ferrari

TV: As usual the finish is expected for 5.40pm Euro time. If you have to ration your viewing this weekend, save the time for tomorrow’s stage although tune in for today’s sprint.

It’s live on Eurosport, Universal Sports and more. If not cyclingfans and both have links to pirate feeds with the latter also listing where you can view the race properly too.

Daily Díaz: Today’s first part of the stage takes place in los cerros de Úbeda (Úbeda’s hills). A Spanish saying (andarse por los cerros de Úbeda, “walk around Úbeda’s hills”) means talking and talking without saying much, avoiding the main question and focusing on useless details. Many a cyclist or DS walks around Úbeda’s hills after a race, am I right? Anyway, this part of Andalusia (province of Jaén) marks the transition to the inner plateau. This is a land where the Mediterranean agriculture has been present for millennia: vineyards, wheat, and olive. Population density is low and some Spanish kings supported colonization projects inside their own country during the 18th century.

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

15 thoughts on “Vuelta Stage 8 Preview”

  1. I’d give Michael Matthews a decent chance in this stage. While he has a reputation for getting most of his victories in uphill sprints, he did win the final stage into Madrid last year so can cut it on the flat as well.

    “Andarse por los cerros de Úbeda” – brilliant, I think we’ve all known people like that. Enjoying the Daily Diaz.

  2. Chris Froome ‘s marginal time gains has now wiped out the half minute he lost to Quintana in the TTT. Clever riding – he just needs to remember to stay upright as well.

  3. Impey cleared after Probenecid positive! (sorry, didn’t know any better place than INRNG to start a meaningful discussion on this topic)

    If Impey was tested with an amount of Probenecid close to a dose with pharmacological activity, I would have a very hard time believing this story. From the below, I conclude that a cross-contamination with more than 1/100 of the recommended daily dosage is highly unlikely! Most drugs don’t have any measurable effect at doses below 1/100 of recommended.

    The regular daily dosage of Probenecid is 0.5 to 1g active ingredient plus the excipients (usually multiple amount of active) required for forming tablets. The half-life of Probenecid is 2-6h, i.e. after 12 h about 9/10 is cleared from the body.

    So if traces equivalent to a regular dosage were detected, the pharmacist would have needed to contaminate Impey’s capsules with several grams of Probenicid powder. Considering Impey bought multiple capsules and probably didn’t take all on the day of the doping test, you would need to multiply this.

    Reasons to make story that highly unlikely:
    1) We would be talking of teaspoons full of powder – it is very difficult not to detect that!
    2) It would be gross negligence by the pharmacist! Imagine your pharmacist would cross-contaminate your drugs with grams of other drugs that could be a lot more potent than Probenecid and easily kill you. I can’t imagine that such a pharmacist wouldn’t be severely reprimanded and might even lose his license.
    3) Big gelatine capsules (2.5 cm or 1 inch long) take about 0.5 to 1g of powder. Considering that the recommended daily dosage for Probenecid is 0.5 to 1g active (and more including excipients), I have a hard time to envision how you can cross-contaminate a capsule with a pharmacologically meaningful amount of Probenecid.

    Does anyone have information on the amounts detected in Impey’s case and how they relate to a pharmacologically meaningful dose?

    To me this sounds very suspicious (I’m a biochemist developing drugs in my regular job)!

  4. Isn’t it ridiculous that Wiggo hasn’t done a single GT this year? Even though the current trend is very extreme in the sense of favouring climbers against TTists, Brad could have easily made the podium in Italy and France, and would have made a tremendously dangerous dark horse in the Vuelta, if only he belonged to Cofidis, Lampre, Garmin, or Caja Rural. Sky should have brought him around, or else let him go to another team. I don’t think it’s fair to cycling to deprive the biggest races of one of its biggest stars.

    • Not sure he would actually like to go for GC in a GT. Said he was done with it.
      (Not that he never changed his mind after sweeping statements in the past)

      • I think he may have been far happier this year riding for a team such as Orica GE. Leaving behind the marginal gains squad and their stem focused crash dummies.

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