Vuelta a España Stage 2 Preview

Stage 2 and already the race heads for the hills and an uphill finish by the Caminito del Rey.

Juan Dennis: a stage win and the leader’s jersey for Rohan Dennis, just like last year. The short course meant the time gaps were limited, for example Rigoberto Uràn, David de la Cruz and Richie Porte fared worse among the obvious GC contenders but if they were 80th, 81st and 97th it was only at 45 and 51s seconds to Dennis and 20-25 seconds to the other GC names.

The Route: 163km and 2,425 vertical metres. They cross the finish line after 91km and then go for a large loop before returning for the finish. If the name of “Caminto del Rey” is familiar you may be a hiker keen to walk the path… but readers here should remember the name from 2015 when Esteban Chaves surged for the stage win, his breakthrough performance. However then the stage finished on the Alto de la Mesa, today’s road sticks to the main road below, it’s a drag up rather than a spiky climb.

The Finish: 7km at 2% average but with 3km to go there’s a kilometre of 6-7% and then it levels out before a final kilometre with moments just above 7% and then there’s a right turn and 140m to the finish line.

The Contenders: Peter Sagan could win this but how is his form? He’s not raced much of late, was ill in the European championships in Glasgow and finished 58th yesterday, beaten by his team mate Rafał Majka which suggests he’s far from his best. Bora-Hansgrohe’s best chance might be Jay McCarthy although his win rate is very low.

Alejandro Valverde is a safe pick, Movistar’s leader is versatile but all the same if he’s showing few signs of ageing he’s not as quick in the sprint.

Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Elia Viviani (Quick Step) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) are the sprinters with an outside chance today. Trentin’s in form, Viviani too and his win in the Italian championships was his capolavoro, a masterpiece for the way he coped with the climbs while Bouhanni is weighing in as lean as he’s ever been. Still today is a big ask for all three, they need to hope the bunch hesitates.

Michał Kwiatkowski is in form and able to take the race lead today, especially if Team Sky can make the race hard for the sprinters. Dan Martin (UAE Emirates) is punchy for an uphill finish like this too and if you cast your mind back to early March Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) just lost out to Arnaud Démare in the opening stage of Paris-Nice. Michael Albasini is good for an uphill sprint but can he win outside of the Ardennes and Romandie or will Mitchelton-Scott back the Yates brothers instead?

Michał Kwiatkowski
Alejandro Valverde, Gorka Izagirre
Martin, McCarthy, Teuns, Felline, Consonni

Weather: sunny and 25°C.

Tune in: the finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.

14 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Stage 2 Preview”

    • Yes, time bonuses are available. A typically informative quote from the inrng race preview here:
      “… a pure climber can hope to win this (Vuelta) by opening a few gaps and collecting some time bonuses of which 10-6-4 seconds await at the finish line and 3-2-1 for the intermediate sprints.”

  1. I can only agree with our esteemed host: Valverde or Kwiato for me. Am I right in thinking that Kwiato would take red provided Dennis gets no bonus seconds and he finishes in the top two? The gap was given in whole seconds as 6 seconds but when you get down to the fractions it was less.

  2. I hope that Simon Yates is not going to do a repeat of the Giro here. In May this was the kind of stage he would have gone after. It looked great but, ultimately, it wasn’t smart if the pink jumper was the real target. I’d prefer Yates to be anonymous for at least the first half of the race just rolling in with the GC boys. The second half and especially week 3 is where you do the damage. Keep your powder dry Yatesy!

  3. Camino or caminito (pathway or small pathway respectively). Not caminto. Also famous among rock climbers. Too long since I have been there (2004). Beautiful area.

  4. I’m going for Trentin today or perhaps Sagan – if it’s good enough for Thomas de Gent, it’s good enough for me. I think Kwiatkowski is playing the longer game but he could go into red.

  5. sounds like Porte and Dennis just got dropped…?!? No wind, nor a crash, nor a real hill? Did Sky and Movi decide to put Porte out the race? Why an earth couldn’t Dennis follow, I don’t get it….?

    Some big names losing time today, Meitjnes and Lopez lost 20secs, but Zakarin lost 1min, Dan Martin 1min15, Carapaz (from Giro) lost 2mins… Adam Yates 13mins… weird…?

    Is Kwiat really going for this?

    I was bemused at the Tour at so many good racers seemingly coming in far from prepared/best form, and likewise quite surprised by today…

    • Kwiat is their leader. There should b no ? how Sky is going to approach this, -giving it everything. & this is K’s opportunity, bet He’s stoked. And then there’s the record of how many Grand’s in a row to boast…

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