Vuelta a España Stage 10 Preview

A sprint stage awaits.

The Route: 177km to Bermillo de Sayago, population 1,057 says Wikiedia, 1,025 according to the race roadbook and this might be the smallest town ever visited by a grand tour, barring deserted summer ski resorts which swell in winter. It’s even smaller than the Tour de France’s visit to Corrèze in 1998, population 1,117 although at the time this included Jacques and Bernadette Chirac, then France’s Presidential couple which might have explained something.

After a quick ride in the “wrong” direction the race loops back to the start in Salamanca and then heads for the Duero river valley, the frontier between Spain and Portugal and wine country. The difficulty of the day is the climb to Fermoselle, 4.9km at 5.3% according to the roadbook which is about right this time, give or take a few hundred metres. It’s not new, this climb should be familiar to those who’ve done the Vuelta Castilla y León and in 2016 Alejandro Valverde – who else? – won the stage to Fermoselle. Either way it’s tricky little climb out of a canyon and just enough to spice up another sprint stage.

The Finish: fast, flat and featureless. This is a small town and so there’s little of the urban street furniture.

The Contenders: Elia Viviani is still the fastest sprinter in the race and he can cope with a climb or two. It’s been said before here but his ride in the Italian championships this June was a capolavoro, a masterpiece as he coped with the climbing and dispatched two Bahrain-Merida riders.

Nacer Bouhanni lost one sprint after unshipping his chain with 500m to go and there was an element of coulda, woulda, shoulda to his complaints only he delivered a sprint win in the next chance and if anyone makes a mistake he’ll profit today.

Danny van Poppel is looking more and more versatile but still not a regular winner. Matteo Trentin has been playing gregario and so less of a pick while Giacomo Nizzolo should be close but can he get the cigar? Finally Peter Sagan is fast-improving but he’ll need to be 100% to take on Viviani and Bouhanni; still the fact that he’s close means his team could commit to the chase which should reduce the chances of a breakaway while those with an eye on an escape move will probably find tomorrow suits them more.

Elia Viviani
Nacer Bouhanni
Sagan, van Poppel, Nizzolo

Weather: sunshine but not the hairdryer temperatures, just 27°C.

Tune in: the climb out of the canyon is forecast for 4.50pm and the finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.

58 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Stage 10 Preview”

  1. It’s interesting what you say, INRNG, about the size of towns, because I thought that there was an element of bidding to host a stage start or finish. While the selection of Corrèze can be explained by the Chiracs, surely a very small town like Bermillo has neither the means nor the pull to land a stage finish? Or do the organizers simply decide to pick a point for purely organizational, non-mercenary reasons?

    Also, no wrap-up of Sunday’s stage?

    • The stage start here seems to have involved the regional government rather than the town bidding for this. The going rate for a Tour de France stage finish is typically €80,000 but varies (as well as the hosting fee add costs like fixing the roads, hiring crowd barriers etc, can be €250,000) but I imagine it’s a lot less for the Vuelta and so not that expensive, even for small places with help from their region.

      • It is actually the provincial authority of Zamora (the “Diputación Provincial”, which is a council of municipalities, that provides services that municipalities alone could not afford or make cost-beneficial) that has negotiated with the Vuelta this and the next stage. Tomorrow showcases one touristic highlight (Sanabria area) and today takes the race to the quite remote Sáyago, a “comarca” (a county-sized piece of territory with some geographical identity) of which Bermillo is the capital. The Sáyago is quite unknown even to Spaniards, so I can conceive a certain interest in promoting the area, whose only known feature is perhaps to meat-lovers, as it gives its name to a cattle-breed, the “Sayaguesa”. Which is funny, after having had last year another stage finishing at a monument to another cattle-breed, the “Pasiega” (you know, the stage where Froome looked under the weather before perking up again the following day).

    • I find, that most of the times there is an interesting angle to find in any stage. The peloton is an own microcosm and there happens something all of the time.

      What I love is to watch the race on the Eurosport channel without commentary. The great thing about that is, that they leave the roadside mic open. Suddenly the race gets a whole new dimension. You hear the wind swish or howl, you hear the wheels singing or rasping on the street, you hear the shouts of the riders, their labored breath, the breaking.

      And it is fascinating and almost therapeutic to watch tv in silence.

      • +1 for this, however another thing I enjoy is muting the TV altogether and listening to music. Watching the peloton slink through endless countryside accompanied by music is a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

        • I tried that, too. But I can‘t really listen to music without catching the vibe. And so I found myself really, really sad, when the cyclists finished on Namur (one of the most beautiful finishes in cycling!) and elated as they slogged along an empty, barren road. So I decided I better stop that…

  2. I’m guessing there will be an intermediate sprint with bonus seconds on offer so it’ll be interesting to see if Valverde tries to grab some to move into the red jersey and if not whether he tries to claim some at the finish. Might be his only chance to wear it because he won’t keep up with the best climbers in the high mountains.

      • Yes, stage START of the GIRO d’ITALIA. Might just be my rosa colored glasses but I think now and then RCS does things just for sporting/passion reasons rather than pure profit.
        OTOH I can remember a few Giro stage starts at gawdawful outlet shopping centers!

    • Yeah, I‘m sure they invent cycling new there and the majority of the riders are not there for commercial reasons and to train. Good luck and have fun.

      • What a horrible anonymous attitude… I think anyway. What does inventing cycling new even mean?

        I was also going to watch the ToB as it visits my local area, but now you’ve pointed out that some people might get paid to be there I’ll just stay at home and watch cycling on TV instead.

        • I am just tired of people pitting races against each other for no real reason, instead of being happy, that we have them. That is all.

          I am sorry, if you really thought the riders outside the british conti and pro conti teams are really there for the race itself. They are just doing their job. There are only a few races, that riders target, because they personally want to really ride them or win them. Those are for example a few monuments, the Grand Tours, the world championships and the home race of a rider and certain special races like Tro Bro Leon, Strade Bianchi etc.. The rest of the racing is just going to work, like we all do. It is which country is right now paying the most or is an important market for bike sponsors/sponsors.

          That is why you see big names racing in uk, usa, Germany, australia, china, japan for example, in races, that they neither target, nor really care about nor can do anything in. It is also why froome rode the giro and why the giro went to israel. And this is, why many teams try to have at least one american, one british, one australian and one german rider. It are commercial interests, to have riders for a market, not necessarily, that they are the best sporting choice. This way van garderen is still in the wt and targeting Grand Tours. Which doesn‘t mean, that the riders have no fun at those races, when the atmosphere at a race is nice. And in the end for the tv, they always say anyway: „It was great to race here, the people were awesome“, and so all are happy. Or something like that.

          Anyway, it isn‘t as bad as this might sound, it is simply human and the logical result of doing sport for living on a daily basis The service the riders/teams sell is: coming to your race and riding it. And they get paid to do that. Sometimes these races mean something for a rider personally or in a sporting sense, but most of the time they just go to the office (as they call it). What is important is to know how to judge, evaluate all this in the sporting sense. I would love to see cycling be again more a sport and less professional, but that is not where we are right now.

          But anyway, I think/hope, you were just sarcastic and knew all this, because if not, you are in for a really rude awakening concerning professional cycling.

          • „You really are joyless“

            Nah, I just prefer my joy being from reality. That isn‘t so bad. I am from Germany, yet I don‘t think a minute, that the non german riders racing the Deutschland-Tour raced the race, because of undying sporting passion or because a win there gives a huge boost to their palmares. This doesn‘t mean I can‘t enjoy the race, riders or anything. It just means, that I don‘t take the sporting merit of it or of big names riding it, as serious as I take it with races, that the riders really want to have in their palmares.

            And as this is the case, I prefer to look for fun and joy elsewhere, for example the scenery, the joy of the german riders, the joy of the fans and so on.

          • You do realise anon that there’s a twofold aspect to the ‘smaller’ races as far as effort is concerned? Firstly, that they’re often a chance for the domestiques and/or younger riders to race for the win whilst giving the usual leaders a chance to repay the work done for them. Even then, as Ala has shown at the ToB, stars of the sport still aim to do well. Froome and Thomas might be riding for Poels but Roglic is trying to win.

          • Absolutely. Nils Politt had his very first professional win at the Deutschland Tour. He probably would have not got that under any other circumstances. And not even I have heard the name Tonselli very often.

            But I don‘t think, it renders my point obsolete, I think it strengthens it? It is one of these other „joys from reality“ to see riders get a chance they would never get any other way, because they simply are not strong enough to get that chance in big races. But it also means we must be realistic and evaluate their win under these circumstances. And Alaphilippe? You are right, there are riders like Valverde, Merckx, Alaphilippe, who always want to win. But I would bet money, that Alaphilippe didn‘t say at the start of the year to his ds: „I want to make the tour of britain my goal and train for it.“

            A win is a win, nobody would say no to that, but it is a difference if you ride in a peloton at the Tour, at Roubaix or at the Deutschland-Tour/ Tour of britain. The overall level, the motivation, the work put in especially for these races are totally different to riding Deutschland-Tour/ Tour of britain. And I think every new fan of cycling should understand that or they will never understand the worth of a win/palmares. Don‘t you think?

          • You’ve posted that you want the comments here disabled for good (unless it was a different anonymous fun-sponge). Here’s a solution: Don’t read them and don’t post in them. I think everyone would be happier.

          • If you have read that (that I think this comment section should be closed), you also have read, why I think that. Don‘t see how your „solution“ helps with that.

            I could write a lot about democracy (a concept similar to this open comment section, where different people have to get along) and how this is about respecting others, getting along, having to deal with points of view we don‘t like without constantly attacking them and the „ultimate“ solution of those, who are not up to that, which is „they have to go, I want them out here“. But I think I don‘t.

          • Please get yourself a name so I don’t have to waste so much time reading your poorly punctuated, rambling, self-indulgent and joyless missives.

            I understand you have a right to shower us with a supercillious rain of patronising waffle but please facilitate my ability to avoid you by identifying yourself at the head of your posts, I think you may save others some time as well.

            Thanks in advance.

          • Well anonymous German, it seems you’re managing to collect more negative comments than I ever did. But so great is your ego that you carry on anyway. I think people in general would take you more seriously if you followed your own advice to others.

            Not holding my breath though. self-awareness seems to escape you.

          • RonDe, you are fare more criticized here than AnonGerman. No need to bring your other alias accounts as proof that AnonGerman is wrong. I think he’s damned right. but you and other dudes here don’t want to be criticized and you just fear for your regular top dog dominance here, if users who disagree with you argument better than your pathetic friends, who complain about punctuation . Get an English taecher job if that’s your hobby, but it has no place on an INTERNATIONAL website.

          • If you are tangentially referring to me I can assure you I have no idea who RonDe is and I certainly have no association with him or her.

            I was merely asking “AnonGerman” to do me the courtesy of adopting an identifier so that I don’t have to waste so much time navigating the comma-rich, content-poor diatribes that they seem to produce on such a regular basis.

            I struggle to understand why people feel it is their duty to try and educate other readers of this blog regarding the “correct” way to view cycling and its minutiae but I would appreciate the courtesy of a heads-up when they step up to the pulpit to pronounce the sermon.

          • @DAVE

            I post in this name alone. I don’t need to engage in games. I own my views and couldn’t care less who agrees with them or not. I hope that’s clear.

          • Whhooaaa – RoneDe – the above DAVE is not the DAVE/DUNCAN you’ve commented alongside the last few years…

            Someone has taken me name and is getting fruity with my opinions…

  3. Just to pick up on a point you made regarding roadbook as heard an interview with a rider other day who made reference to the profile in the roadbook not matching what it was out on the road. Also comment I heard on the cycling podcast about some of the climbs not been highlighted in road book.

    What’s the story here? Do they do this on purpose or just simply an admin error?

    • I think it’s too much to be an admin error, eg the vertical gain numbers are just plain wrong each time. In the old days they did include deliberate mistakes or more correctly omissions in order to allow riders who’ve studied the course properly to exploit it better.

      • I suppose it is probably a bigger issue at the Vuelta, in terms of catching riders out as I would guess a lot of riders won’t recon the stages in the same way they would do for the Giro or the Tour.

  4. Thanks for the preview INRNG (the only time I’ll use shouty style capitals).

    I enjoy most of the comments btl on this page. Sadly, trolling will always happen. If people want to hide behind ‘Anon’, it’s up to them, just don’t expect to be fed by me!

  5. I might have missed the discussion somewhere. I read that Dan Martin left early. Not even before mountain stages? Any comments discussions I missed perhaps?

    • I saw that too, again not sure where. I understand his wife is expecting twins so he was riding until the need to be at her bedside, wish I’d known that before I picked my fantasy team for Velogames! Apparently he’s going to the Worlds though, so it was training after coming back from the TDf crashes.

      • Didn’t mean to be inconsiderate. Surprised to see why the team would let him go in the middle of a big race. Over the years I read the unfortunate news of passing away of close relatives or dear friends … and still managed to finish the whole event. Aiming at Worlds for now more than any I guess. (Again please I am not speaking in any disrespectful sense)

    • Tommy W, A+ Love Inner Ring; GOOD PEOPLE.

      Congratulations to Dan Martin and their twins.

      Today’s flat stage is part of the game. Viv’s strong.

      An option (that may not be possible) is to make it so that all “Anonymous” posts are allowed but shown only half size for various benefits.

      Looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

  6. Another observation from the past few days – Anonymous and his family are winding up a lot of you for no good reason. I skip past his and his family’s comments but I do read responses from those with the cojones to put their own name on theirs. Why let these morons bother you? It’s up to Mr. Inrng to ban them if he chooses..and it could be said this excellent forum is at risk of becoming yet another “You suck!”, “NO, YOU suck!” wasteland like the others, but it’s his call.
    Meanwhile, just scroll past them – once they learn nobody is paying them any attention they’ll move on to more fertile ground – perhaps BigTex is planning a blog soon? Might be a good place for them.

  7. George W. Bush’s famous expression “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Not sure if we have to do likewise. Personally a fan of Voltaire and the many freedom of speech upholders, I think we all have a choice that includes everyone of us here. Imagine Cycling sport itself can reach even further with all your wild ideas… I suppose English-speaking world owe you all a big thank you for every bit of criticisms you boldly put forward. I myself a non-English speaker, a nobody from HK loves to see forums as such to live not just for the sake of killing off persons welcome or hated. So my limited vocabulary would only do me thus far as to appeal a forgiving mind of appeasement to those wrongly accused or even not content with the existing rulings. True it has been decades after the War ended (in fact genocides never stopped elsewhere) but can’t we all keep calm as much as we like to see bike rides flourish all over the world. Good deeds never too far away if I may point out. To be or not to be a cliche, but weighs alot.

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