Vuelta Stage 13 Preview

Neither sprint nor summit finish today’s stage offers a good chance of a breakaway sticking to the end… where a tough finish awaits.

Stage 12 Wrap: Alberto Contador defended his jersey after Cannondale’s Matthias Krizek launched an audacious bid to overcome his 1h32 minute deficit on the red jersey. Ok, nothing else happened but well done to Krizek for doing something. As predicted the action was saved for end and as well as a sprint finish there was a crash that split the field and took out several riders. John Degenkolb won to get three wins and to repeat an identical win in 2012.

The Route: north and almost to the coast. 188km and a route for a breakaway although with no obvious climb or other selective features getting up the road early will require strength and good luck. Later on the three categorised climbs have their moments but there’s nothing fierce. The Alto Estacas de Trueba is gradual and gentle at 3-4% most of the way while the Puerto de la Braguía is steeper but still not much to suit the climbers. The Alto del Caracol – more of which below – is a touch harder but it’s still far from the finish to provide a launchpad to the finish line.

The Finish: more irregular than the lumpy profile above already suggests, the final kilometres rise and fall at with some steep gradients at times. It’s all in a park… but the Parque de Cabárceno is a former iron mine and now hosts wild animals.

The Scenario: a breakaway seems most likely if not certain. It’s a course that’s neither sprint not summit finish and the main GC teams will be happy to let a non-threatening group go up the road.

Even if a break is clear watch to see if any of the GC contenders take a flyer in the final moments to gain time. Maybe Chris Froome spots a hippo and feels at home?

The Contenders: Philippe Gilbert is the default pick because he’s coming into form and could win from the breakaway or a “bunch sprint” from a reduced group. A similar story for John Degenkolb, I think he’s chances are more reduced as he’s less likely to break clear but he could clean up in a sprint. But trying to pick a rider today is a lottery, enjoy the unpredictability of it all.

Philippe Gilbert
Alessandro de Marchi, Ryder Hesjedal
Haas, L-L Sanchez, Sicard, Degenkolb, Domont, Matthews

TV: As usual the finish is expected for 5.40pm Euro time.

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 last categorised climb is Alto del Caracol (km 151,5) which has featured several times in the Vuelta. About 10 kilometers long at an average 5,5%, it is far from being the hardest of the race, but it has a funny name for a mountain pass. Why funny? Caracol means “snail”. Hopefully riders will not resemble caracoles on their way to the top, but one thing you may not know is that snails are often eaten in Spain. In Valencia, where I come from, you can have them on their own (with tomato sauce), or mixed with rice (what many people know as paella). By the way, if you feel like eating a “paella”, I hope you have strong teeth: paella is the pan where you cook the rice, not the dish itself. Anyway, if you order a “paella” for lunch, no one will misunderstand you.

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 13 Preview”

  1. Thanks for the peview, certainly a very open stage. I like Dan Martin’s chances, if the breakaway doesn’t make it.

    The graphic at the bottom with the top 10 needs to be updated, it is a bit out of date.

  2. Maybe a day for Cadel Evans? He’s been losing some time so is no GC threat and could jump away on (what looks to be) a non-GC day. He also has a fast finish as he proved in Utah with his 2 stage wins.

  3. I wonder weather Cancellara might make a fist of the sprint if he gets into a small group in front… He has the finish and Trek don’t seem to be riding for anything other than an Arredondo stage win otherwise.

  4. For Chris Froome to pull a Contador on Contador? That would be interesting, though it’s a bit of a fat chance for that to happen. But then again Sky had sent Cataldo & Kiryienka into the brakes this Vuelta. I’m wondering between J-Rod, Chris Froome & Uran, who’s more likely to give it a go.

    I hope Millar got his final stage win.

  5. > Alberto Contador defended his jersey after Cannondale’s Matthias Krizek launched
    > an audacious bid to overcome his 1h32 minute deficit on the red jersey.

    Not a native speaker, but as you like to play with words I find it interesting you’d call it deficit. Surplus maybe?

    • I think calling it a deficit is normal in English, even though Krizek has “more” time. It’s because in this context having more means being behind, and if you are behind you are facing a deficit (even if the actual scoring system is oriented so that “less is good” like racing or golf). Paul Sherwen might have said he was “looking for 1h32” when he set out, but it would be equally (or more) correct to say that he was “looking to shed 1h32.” Amusing to imagine him trying for a gap that size….

  6. Not commenting on this thread…just can’t wait until tomorrow’s stage and the two following! Now that we’re roughly two-thirds into this race, we should be seeing who really has their form and who doesn’t.
    Tomorrow’s finish should be decisive as it kicks up to a max of 19.5%! The last two kilometers will be one of attrition, no doubt. Expecting the GC to look a bit different after tomorrow. The true contenders will appear through this performance.

  7. Yeah VDM, Paychecks are earned over the next few days. look to see who the last domestiques are? always interesting especially those on the teams which are “under performing”.

    • Yes, paychecks will certainly be earned now.

      As domestiques go, I was just thinking about a couple of Lance Armstrong’s super domestiques during those many doping years. Yaroslav Popovych (Trek), who’s now 34 years old, and Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff-Saxo), who’s also 34. These two riders were indispensable to Lance back when he was cheating to win. Of course they were all juiced, I have no doubt.

      I don’t have TV, nor do I get to watch online (bandwidth issues, so can only read cyclingnews live text updates). I have two questions: 1) Haimar Zubeldia (37 y/o) is the highest place rider (35th) for Trek @ +28:54; can anyone tell me if Popovych is working for Zubeldia and if he’s still a strong domestique? [Popo and Pauli worked their asses off for Lance up countless climbs, and they were super (juiced) domestiques in their heyday].

      2) Is Paulinho a consistent domestique for Contador in this Vuelta, or are other teammates doing more work?

      • 1. Who knows? Does it matter? Does anyone need help protecting a high30’s GC finish? Trek is just filling the numbers in this Vuelta, with no intention of doing anything of consequence.

      • The two riders you speak of are pretty average guys nowadays. Probably only riding cause they will take minimum and can still pull at the front early in a race. Or are fairly handy at gophering food and water.

        Ii interesting to note riders who juiced back in the day are very average now that they have been clean for 3 – 4 years. The PED’s have been fully flushed out of their systems and whatever benefits they offered have also dissipated.

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