Vuelta a España Stage 13 Preview

The rain in Spain hasn’t fallen on the plains. Or at least today promises a scorching hot stage across the plains and a likely sprint finish.

Stage 12 Review: the day began with someone putting the arse in arson by setting the Aqua Blue team bus on fire and gutting it but the team races on. The travel is easy to replace – they got a bus from a local coach company – but a team bus is like a giant Swiss army knife on wheels, it’s so much more than transport. They’ll miss things like the washing machines or the onboard showers.

Back to the race and there was a second stage win for Tomasz Marczyński, the most Spanish of Polish cyclists and this time he was almost on home roads. The Spanish might want to claim him, there’s still no home stage win and this hasn’t happened since 1996. The Pole is clearly back to the level shown in the past and took his chance by going solo and leaving J-J Rojas to another near miss but allowing Movistar to consolidate their position in the team classification.

Alberto Contador tried another attack and it looked like a popularity bid but he hooked up with team mate Edward Theuns which helped relay him to the finish. Behind Chris Froome had crashed twice and had to change bikes meaning he was chasing just to get back to the group of contenders. He’d lose 42 seconds and 22 to the likes of Vincenzo Nibali. The move helped Contador move up the GC but only by a few seconds but helped spice the finish.

The Route: almost 200km and some rolling terrain to start with, the opening climb is a good place for the breakaway to go clear as they head for Tomares, a suburb of Seville.

The Finish: it’s hilly. There’s a good ramp between 3km and 2km to go, the kind that will sap the legs of some pure sprinters. Then the rises and falls continue before a slight uphill drag to the line.

The Contenders: Matteo Trentin. The problem is that this is a perfect stage for him, he’s good in an uphill sprint all year and the field here in the Vuelta only gives him more of an advantage while Julian Alaphilippe is a punchy Plan B. So will other teams with house sprinters bother trying to set up a sprint? Lotto-Jumbo’s J-J Lobato is a good pick too because he’s versatile and in good shape while a year ago Magnus Cort Nielsen was on fire but his form seems to be extinguished by now although this kind of finish suits him. Sunweb’s Søren Kragh Andersen is worth a mention again as is FDJ’s Anthony Roux.

Matteo Trentin
J-J Lobato
Alaphilippe, MCN, SKA, Roux

Weather: hot and sunny with a top temperature of 35°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: Every time the race visits Seville (KM 183) there are lots of things to say. Spain’s fourth largest city is where Marta del Castillo disappeared in 2009. This 17 year old girl went to see some friends and never came back. The main suspects, some of the most hated people in Spain, have been fooling the police ever since, and Marta’s body hasn’t been found yet. Seville is also the birthplace of Alberto Rodríguez, the director of some of the most interesting Spanish films in the last years, such as Grupo 7 and La isla mínima. Watch one of them if you have the chance. Finally, in a city with so many ancient buildings (Roman, Islamic, Gothic, et cetera ) there is a 21st century construction everybody is talking about: Metropol Parasol (2005-2011), by Jürgen Mayer. Some like it, some don’t, but most people agree it was too expensive (100 million €, twice what was initially estimated).

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

54 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Stage 13 Preview”

  1. I think the GC – Nibali group kinda eased off a bit initially upon the Froome-crash. Only a bit later did they press on, and from the looks of it, they werent a very cohesive unit in putting time on. Not sure why, there were quite a few teams with 2 rides in that group.
    Also, from reviewing the crash video of Froome, it was worse than it originally appears. He might have sore legs for the next few days, he is lucky today is not a GC kind of day, although you cant rule out Bertie trying something.
    At the very least, it spiced up an otherwise boring stage ,-)

  2. Can some mad scientist please clone Alberto Contador and raise the clone up on super-steroids so that we have a replacement unit ready by next year? Loathe him all you want for his 0 0 0 0 0 0 0, but the guy has more character than all other riders combined! (Well, except from Froome perhaps, but his racing style means we will never really find out…)

    About today. That final might look too difficult for the few sprinters left, but most of them are well able to power up a short, steep hill. It would take a full-breed puncheur to go harder uphill, of which there’s not a lot of them present in this peloton either. If he found some form in the mountains, Modolo is probably the fastest guy that can blast up a hill, and he could take it to Trentin more than anyone else. Quick Step being Quick Step, it wouldn’t be surprizing though if they tried to launch Alaphilippe, Lampaert or Terpstra on one of the final slopes. At FDJ, it’ll be interesting to see whether they go for Roux (the stronger one) or Manzin (faster leg speed). Also, I hope for him that Cort Nielsen finally is allowed to sprint, instead of having to work for Chaves and the have-been twins. Or will this be the day of Tom Van Asbroeck?

    • Contador’s attack was great for show but until Froome’s problems its likely that “show” is all it would have been. He hadn’t got much time even at its greatest and they were beginning to bring him back when the cycling gods sprinkled a little chaos. I’ve seen many observers who thought they would have caught him in a parallel universe where Froome never crashed. But, of course, that’s not what happened and all’s fair in love and cycling. The GC group certainly didn’t seem to be gunning it all the way into town and some members of it, David de la Cruz, for example, I’ve seen saying afterwards that they were not convinced they should have been attacking the red jersey. I don’t agree. If you have an incident in the last 20kms of any stage you’re basically asking to be attacked. Its bad luck and move on. Froome hasn’t expressed any displeasure at it, of course. Shit happens, as they say.

      So what does the incident mean overall? Probably not very much, I think. Twenty seconds from two and a half minutes to most GC riders isn’t a lot. You’d need lots of those to get very close to Froome. Nibali got 25% of his deficit back but it will take The Shark biting out a much bigger chunk than that to make it really interesting. And then there’s Alberto who, in Froome’s own words in a post-stage interview last night, is still “over 3 minutes behind”. In simple terms, this means there is no way for Alberto to win bar huge gains on the proper mountain stages, the ones that finish on “especial” mountain peaks. And those gains will need to be over everyone because he will be chased. I expect him to crack before Froome does and if its true, as I’ve read from Froome’s critics, that “Froome did the TdF and so must tire” well then so did Contador and so he must tire too. That’s partly why I look at his attack yesterday and wonder why it happened. Energy spent has to be paid for somewhere down the line. Wouldn’t that have been better spent on La Pandera or Hoya de la Mora at the weekend? I will be VERY interested to see where Contador finishes on Saturday and Sunday, the hardest back to back days of the race, and Monday morning’s standings will tell us if Contador is here for show or not.

        • You don’t know that. Would have should have could have. Maybe instead of stomach he would have crashed? Maybe froome would go even faster? Maybe…

      • You don’t take into account that Froome might have crashed because he was flustered by Contador attacking, or at least uncomfortable with the increased pace it needed. Also will he now be a bit wary on descents. Nibali puts pressure on during descents and it’s worked in the past with other gangly riders with an unusual style on the bike (Kruijswijk). It’s only something to consider at the moment but I think you are being a bit dismissive of its importance.

        I agree that there was no need for anyone to wait. Froome crashed of his own accord. If he was taken down by an outside influence or a mechanical then fine, wait.

        • No I don’t take that into account Richard. That’s true. Because I don’t believe it. Froome is long enough in the tooth now for him to forget and move on. In fact, with today’s stage being so seemingly benign that will help a lot. This race will be decided by legs on roads that go up not down.

        • Seems unlikely that was the cause. Nibali basically said that the roads were dangerous and there but for the grace of God… And Sky appeared to be closing down the Contador move before Froome came down, so there wasn’t any need to be flustered by it.

          • They were going quicker to close down Contador, it was a dangerous descent. There is your cause, flustered or not. F Contador hadn’t gone they’d have sauntered safely down as they weren’t chasing the break. They can’t put the pressure on Froome uphill or in the TT, so they may as well try downhill.

          • But they’d closed Contador down enough, and he’s far enough behind on GC, that they didn’t need to be pushing too hard. The roads were slippery, and Lady Luck struck – there (in my opinion) is your cause.

      • Yes please clone Kontador!!! Without him it would have been a boring stage. As said above, We should not underestimate the pressure put on Froome with this kind of attacks. Formigal is surely still haunting his mind (at least a little).

      • Comments like these is what ruins this once great site more and more. In the past we had great discussions about races and riders, commentators were informed and didn’t look at everything just in their filterbubble world.
        Now everyday I come here, I have to read the world according to RonDe, everything is about and around Froome, he’s the best, he’s doing everything right, he will win more GT than any other . The other riders are just staffage, what they do, what they achieved is not important, A Nibali, a Contador, a Valverde doesn’t count. If a Contador shows real racing guts, it’s just show, if he opens the race on a stage which would have been a dull ride otherwise, and Froome crashes twice, he has to downplay the rest of the bunch to avoid that any sign of weakness taint the hero. This is boring and predictable, after every stage I know what I ‘ll read the other day.

        • James, I’d have been happy to read your thoughts to my initial post (not really about the Contador clone part, but about today’s finish). In the end, it’s quite easy to neglect a particular poster you don’t enjoy, and focus on the positives!

        • Last time I looked James you were free to either pass by my comments OR rebut them. As it is you seem to be reading things I haven’t said. So I suggest you re-read them. You might be happy for Contador to animate a stage. I remember when he used to win them (and the overall). If its so heinous to point this out then I guess you’ll have to ignore me.

        • Try to question anything about Sky/Froome and the filterbubble shout and complain at you en masse. And they insult in their outrage: we have even descended to someone who questions Team Sky being repeatedly called a ‘troll’. It seems they’ve taken over the comments on this site – a shame, this is very much not how it used to be (ironic that they so frequently tell others to go to cyclingnews, so certain are they of their superiority). Too many small-minded Anglophiles, it would seem – we are not allowed to question the extreme performance of Moscon and we must ignore or forget what we have learned about Sky (just as others constantly told us to do about US Postal, etc. and, similarly, if you cannot prove it in a court of law it is not happening). Is it time to change the comments section to ‘RonDe and friends’ (I’m amazed anyone still reads his comments – anyone who loses any time to Froome is immediately denounced as being no good; or replies – how many times to you want a rude, overbearing man to belittle you despite his own lack of knowledge?)? And they’re so overwhelming in quantity.

          • Wowzers. This is nuts.

            Please just calm down Anonymous. Two days of anger.

            Most people yesterday and in general didn’t/do not disagree with you, they just know the deal and are happy to watch in possession of the facts as we have them currently until more come that’ll either prove or disprove the accusations.

            It’s the tone of your posts more than the content people are finding difficult.

            No one’s trying to impede your free speech or points of view, they just want you to calm down.
            Please take a breath before hitting the keyboard.

            & realise there’s a phalanx of opinions here, many who agree with you and just because people don’t speak up everyday about possible drug issues doesn’t mean they are not aware.

            Some posters are aggressive (Larry T can get a bit much) but vast majority here a nice and not looking to shout you down, more just inform you they understand your points and would prefer if you just took the anger down a few notches.

            RonDe makes some great points, as do Gabriele as do other long term users and posters of long comments, please just don’t read them if you don’t like. It’s just a Grand Tour and usually one poster takes over the board a little too much during, Gabriele has before and received backlash – doesn’t mean there aren’t great opinions in what he says still and those around. It’s ebb and flow, this blog is still as great as always, let’s just not descend into a shouting match.

          • As has been said, certain posters are not allowed to write what they like without what you call a ‘backlash’ – you mention Gabriele and Larry T. And you think this is justified.
            What do these people have in common? They post views that the Anglophile majority – or noisy minority, I don’t know which – don’t like.
            BTW, your accusations of anger are non-factual: I was just making my points – the anger is in your head.
            Also, I was not the only person posting as ‘Anonymous’ yesterday or today, so I’m not a minority of one.

          • Questioning Sky is fine, but the lack of balance isn’t. For example, if you doubt Froome you have to doubt Dumoulin too. He won the Giro so easily he could afford to stop to take a poo. He won more stages in that Giro than Froome has won all year. He outclimbed Quintana on occasions. And all this without having a team anywhere near as strong as Froome does.

            I know, let’s throw stuff at Quintana too. What medication was he taking to overcome his allergies and win the Vuelta last year? What’s Movistar’s TUE history? What’s Trek’s TUE history?

            I love 6-year old jiffy bag stories, I really do. But where were the journalists when Cardoso received his EPO jiffy bag a few months ago?

            Maybe Sky are doping. I don’t know because I can’t prove a negative. But let’s be balanced eh?

          • Anonymous, Are Moscon’s performances really “extreme”? I suspect that’s why people “object”. Do you expect to throw allegations around unchallenged? I write many things. Some read them, some don’t. But what I always try to do is say why I think what I think and try to back it up with examples. If someone thinks what I’m saying is wrong that’s fine. If they reply and say why even better. THis has happened in the past with myself and gabriele and I’m very grateful he took the time and had the courtesy to engage in mini debates with me. But I don’t require everyone to agree with me and not challenge it. That would be silly.

          • David Millar – I can’t remember the last time I saw a guy being the last man in the mountains and coming second in a sprint.

            But question nothing.

  3. Metropol Parasol is constructed from laminated veneer lumber. It allows for building of arbitrary shapes, much like carbon fiber does with bikes.
    Sorry, my pet peeve.

  4. You guys keep talking about Magnus Cort’s form. The fact that he is not making results in the sprints of the Vuelta has nothing to do with his form. He is in brilliant form, but he has to work for Chaves and Adam Yates and stay with them all the way to the finish line. He will not go for the victory before arriving to Madrid (he said to danish television at a interview at first stage).

    • I wouldn’t rule out Van Asbroeck – he basically grew up on Flemish hills, and allegedly shed some weight the past months in prep for the Vuelta.

      No idea how Blythe fares on such terrain…

    • Roux is good for these harder uphill finishes, eg Quebec last year. Manzin is still looking for a big result and is better in a flat finish. Would like to be wrong, it’d be a small first to see a rider from the Indian Ocean triumph.

      • Roux was very good also at last month’s Clásica San Sebastian, outsprinting Van Avermaet and the rest of the bunch. I guess FDJ will go for Manzin if he can hang on until the final straight, and if not Roux will get his chance.

      • FDJ just tweeted they’ll support Manzin and Hoelgaard in the sprint. Could be keeping their cards close to their chest though, and in the end it’s the legs in the finale that will decide.

  5. Interesting that they pulled out the team cars when it looked like Froome would get back to the chavez nibali group. They don’t normally do that following a crash. Only when the rider dropped. They also warned the sky car before they did anything which again is unusual compared to the usual ‘help’ that is given to the riders.

    Froome’s crash certainly spices up the next few stages. It was exciting already but with a clear favourite. Now we wait to see if Froome suffers from the crash.

    • In fact they didn’t warn the Sky car “before they did anything” – they told them to leave more distance, as being so close behind creates a ‘push wind’ advantage similar to drafting.

      That said, usually the commisaires are more lenient indeed. Maybe they ruled that Froome’s crashes were a result of the pressure applied by Contador and the other riders, so a part of racing and not a mechanical/race incident? I kinda agree with that.

  6. All said and done, this finale was made for the punchers (Trentin, Moscon, Kragh) and the in-form sprinters (Schwarzmann and Van Asbroeck).

    Unlike last year, Magnus Cort isn’t in good enough shape to battle through a hilly sprint, and the likes of Modolo, Lobato, Manzin (who got well positioned by Roux) and Blythe where nowhere at all. Neither was Theuns, but he can be excused after yesterday’s effort.

  7. Wow. Moscon 2nd on the day. Clearly there is some conspiracy afoot… Is Kirby in the pay of Team Sky? He mentioned Moscon’s 2nd more than Trentin’s win.

    • Not so much a conspiracy as a commentator talking to an English speaking audience rather than a Belgian one. If you’re in Britain, I recommend the ITV4 coverage over Eurosport. It has commentators who know what they’re talking about and don’t believe their job is to be a cheerleader.

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