Vuelta Stage 17 Preview

With the rest day done the Vuelta enters the final phase towards its conclusion in Madrid this Sunday. A hilly stage awaits with an early opening climb and a tricky uphill finish.

The Route: 177.5km and 3,640m of vertical gain. After a brief parade along the coast the road turns inland at Benicasim and tackles the Alto del Desierto de las Palmas, 7km at 5.1% before open inland roads and the next two climbs average 3-4% but have their steeper sections of 5-6%. Both are far from the finish which make them unlikely ambush country.

The Finish: less than 4km but another steep finish, this time reportedly with a cement-paved track and so a hard climb.

The Contenders: there’s a good chance a breakaway stays away after using the early climb as a launchpad but that “good chance” means half the field will want to be in the move. With a finish like this Astana’s Andrei Zeits, BMC Racing’s Ben Hermans and Lotto-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink all have their chances if they can make the move but so do many others. What about Caja Rural? Normally a lively presence in this race they’ve been discreet but surely they’ll have to flood the breakaway and if so Sergio Pardilla is the pick. The GC candidates could have a go and Chris Froome is the one who needs to take time but this short climb offers seconds rather than minutes.

Zeits, Gesink
Brambilla, Froome, Quintana, Hermans, Bennett

Weather: sunshine and a few clouds, 29°C.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.40pm. It’s on Eurosport and you can rely on Cyclingfans and for links to feeds and streams.

41 thoughts on “Vuelta Stage 17 Preview”

  1. It will be interesting to see how the GC favorites contend with such a hard stage after the rest day. Any guesses on who might suffer the dreaded jour sans?

  2. What about Contador? He’s talking up this stage as dangerous for GC. I would expect him to attack Quintana today, with Froome and others to hang on or lose more time

  3. This Vuelta feels like it’s over–unless something catastrophic happens to Quintana, like with Kruijswik in the late stage of the Giro. And it wasn’t some big mountain showdown or any dramatic mano-a-mano kicker between him and Froome, but the support team of Froome missing out on the split in the early part of an ordinary stage that clinched the deal for him. More like an opportunistic win for Quintana rather than a truly champion ride for the mighty little Colombian. Who knows–the TT on Thursday might throw up some interesting results, for sure?

    • That’s harsh on Quintana on what could be an excellent all-round win.
      I’m not his biggest fan but the move on stage 15, whether planned or unplanned (doesn’t matter when all is said and done), was audacious and probably race-winning and he still had the strength to go away from the group on the climb.

    • Blimey, some people are never happy. When all the riders are together it’s boring, when one gets in the break it’s opportunism. When someone rides away from the pack solo they’re doping, when they don’t they’re not champions. I can’t keep up!

    • Quintana deserves to be wearing the red jersey, and same if he carries it to Madrid. No question.

      He was leading Froome by almost a minute going into stage 15, and he and MOV were ready, smart and daring where Froome and Sky were not.

      Nothing opportunistic about the position in which he is in.

      • Is opportunistic even a bad Word. To me, it simply means taking the opportunity when it presents itself and making the most of it. Can’t fault Quintana for that.

    • We had Quintanna v Froome on Saturday where Froome decided to mark him rather than attack based on the comfort Froome had at that point that he could make up his deficit in the TT. The sky train used a lot of energy on Saturday and that effort plus poor tactics cost them on Sunday. The move by Contador/Quintanna was great to watch unfold and I think it is unfair to undermine Quintanna’s achievement

    • Joe K. – That’s ridiculous. Quintana is winning because he’s the best rider right now. If Froome can’t contend without 8 guys in the same jersey sitting in front of him, what does that say about him?

          • Vitus – you’re a pro, obviously you’re faster and better than all these guys… where did you finish today? I didn’t see your name on the standings.

          • Yes, because team mates are the answer to everything aren’t they. A magic tow who do all the work when the Big Man wins, and a boat anchor when he doesn’t.

            Presumably his teammates have been cooked doing other races – Sky’s squad don’t just sit around doing nothing all year except for three weeks each squad – it looks to have been a tough season for all concerned, not just Froome. In any case, the Grand Tours are too close together and the elite riders too evenly matched for anyone to do a double these days, I think.

          • Vitus – your comments on this topic are not serious – questioning how/why Froome’s teammates are cooked shows a pretty low level of insight into the cycling racing season.

            Your other posts elsewhere on Inrng’s site indicate you do know what you’re talking about, so obviously you understand that by September most pro’s are hanging onto their form by a thread, most are nursing injuries and each day is a struggle just to get through the neutral zone.

            Let’s end this spat. I think we should both focus on work today, haha.

    • Wasn’t Froome opportunistic in the TdF when he took off on that final downhill section, catching Quintana drinking from his water bottle? Wasn’t he opportunistic when he took off with Sagan? Froome was lauded for his opportunism then, and rightfully so. It made the race more exciting. Why should it be any different with Quintana?

      • Righht.
        “opportunistic” is absolute nonsense reproach. Cycling is all about catching an opportunity to gain time on rivals.
        Whre trolling is all about catching an opportunity to establish weird talking points

      • I was thinking the same thing regarding the TdF & Froome. There seems to be some unwritten rule on this comments section, that winning from a break away is not winning. Quite odd.

  4. The pressure is all on Quintana now to do well in the TT, he has peformed really well of late in TT’s but has been known to 50p the corners when it gets technical 😉

    I think Quintan may well try to gain time on Froome again today on the steeper sections

    • Only in the way that the pressure is on any GC contender to do well in any TT. He has a big enough lead to not have to worry unduly, as long as he keeps hold of it all til then of course. As you say Quintana is a decent tester and I can’t imagine this TT being a pan flat drag strip, it is the Vuelta after all.

    • I disagree. I expect Quintana to mark Froome today, and Movistar won’t worry about anyone else. Qunitana has enough time, so doesn’t need to push himself.

      re TT, as the cycling podcast stated Froome needs to be 6 seconds a km faster, which is highly unlikely.

  5. I was just wondering… just about each stage preview has stated the amount of vertical gain (even the ‘flat’ ones).
    How do the 3 GTs compare with overall vertical gain this year?
    (Basically I’m just being lazy and hoping someone else has done the maths!)

  6. Sadly, if Quintana manages to win this race, he’ll be derided as an opportunist in the same way many pundits described his Giro victory. When the guy you predicted (or the guy you liked best) doesn’t win the “coulda, woulda and shoulda’s” start raining down. Same as it ever was.

  7. I couldn’t give a flying fig! I want Quintana to win and if he does that will be great. Thank you very much Internet keyboard experts. (not you Larry Theobald).

  8. Excellent race so far, what a battle, and today is no exception. Quintana is proving to be a very strong leader and has been proving he can ride with the best in the world.

    It’s really exciting to think of future battles between Quintana, Froome and Chavez. I wonder if Chavez will truly make the next leap to challenge Quintana and Froome at the TdF in 2017 or 2018.

    • If Nairo wins, would this be the first time he defeats CF head-to-head in a GT that both finished? (I believe it is but I’ve only followed the sport a short time so I could be mistaken.) If this IS his first such victory over CF, then I’d have to imagine it would be a big boost to Nairo’s confidence going into the off-season and leading into next year.

      • This would be the first time quintana beats froome in GT (they have only ever both finished the tour against one another). Quintana has beaten froome in other stage races before. Romandie this year immediately comes to mind.

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