Vuelta a España Stage 13 Preview

A summit finish at La Camperona, notionally 8km at 7.5% which would be hard enough but it’s got sections above 15% and moments above 20%.

The Colossus of Rodez: another day, another maxi-breakaway, this time 18 riders going clear with Jesus Herrada of Cofidis only five minutes down on GC. Unlike Pinot yesterday he’s not got the pedigree of a GC contender so was given more room, so much that he’s now the overall leader with three minutes. Generous? Yes but he’s unlikely to “do a Walkowiak” because if he’s shown ability to make the top-10 in races like the Tour de Romandie before when he’s had a chance rather than working for others, it’s still a leap to extrapolate from that to an overall win, even with a three minute head start. Still Cofidis are having a great Vuelta, a stage win for Bouhanni and Maté has worn the mountains jersey since the start and has 60 points to Ben King on 33.

Geniez’s win was a crafty one. He and Dries Devenyns had made the split when the group shrunk but the pair were hanging back as riders attacked and others chased them down, at one point looked to be out of it until Geniez surged across to form a move of six, the last man across. In the finishing straight Dylan van Baarle got on the wrong wheel and had to take the long way around Davide Formolo. Geniez launched his sprint and looked to have gone too early, the finally a mistake but he was well away, the Frenchman packs a strong sprint for a climber and has won several times from a group. No sooner had he finished his victory celebration he collided with an errant member of the race staff and van Baarle crashed hard.

The Route: 175km and with an uphill start over the Alto de la Madera to help the breakaway form, plenty of riders will have been warming up before the start today. Then it’s across flatter roads to reach the Puerto de Tarna, a long climb at 13km and at 5.8% and solid 6-7% for the upper eight kilometres before a more gentle descent.

La Camperona profile

The Finish: 8km at 7.5%, as you can see there’s 2.5km of false flat then 1.5km at a selective 7.3%, more false flat and then the wall section for the final two kilometres where signs warn of 24% slope and it’s consistently above 15% but irregular, the slope keeps changing.

The Contenders: a good day for a breakaway. Today’s winner has to be able to cope with the final climb so Ben King (Dimension Data), Pierre Rolland (EF-Drapac) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) all come to mind, especially Mollema, thanks to recent performances but Rolland’s team mate Michael Woods is a pick for a steep finish like this too. There are many others down on GC now who can aim for the stage, old hands Igor Anton (Dimension Data) and Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural) could try, at the other end of the age scale Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal) is a promising climber. Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) looks to be climbing very well but could be on duty for Emmanuel Buchmann.

Among the GC contenders Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) look the most able for a climb like this and George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo) is looking punchy.

Mollema, Rolland
King, Majka, Woods, Yates, Quintana, Valverde

Weather: sunshine and clouds, a cool 21°C.

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

35 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Stage 13 Preview”

  1. Thanks once again Inrng.

    What a nice conundrum for Cofidis: send Mate up the road to hoover up mountain points, or all in to protect Herrada?

    Hopefully Van Baarle makes it to the start line this morning.

    • Not sure that Cofidis have the strength to control the peloton, but it’s a pleasure to see a real outsider in red.
      As for van Baarle (and the other fallers) I wonder how negligent the organisers can be without being prosecuted. It looked on TV as if this issue could easily have been foreseen (can anyone who was actually there confirm?) and, if that is so, there is a case to answer.

  2. Great finish to the stage – Teuns was absolutely hammering it at 1km to go. Thought van Baarle and Geniez were done for. Another French stage win – bet they wish this was the Tour.

    After Herrada (agreed, great race for Cofidis!) – top 10 are within a minute of each other. So even if a breakaway wins today, the shake-up will start. No idea who’ll win.

    It’s great for the race. I appreciate Yates’ comments about wanting the jersey in Madrid, not now. But he could’ve been more silver-tongued. Sounding a little bit big for his boots.

  3. Who are the teams who can maintain support for thier GC contenders for the rest of the race? Can the 1st cat climb at 100kms be used to isolate GC riders, and will this expose teams who, despite the eight rider limit, have attempted to bring and support a sprinter too? MTS are an example with sprinter Trentin and specific support Mezgec and Edmondson. We could see some lonely favourites in the remainder of the race, and without the traditional Sky train, we should have more surprises.

  4. Finishing line was a disgrace yesterday. I know it’s important to get those all finish line shots but there was a cadre of photographers taking up at least 80% of the width of the road. Just where are the riders supposed to go? You can see from the picture above that van Baarle is on the brakes already as he can see what’s coming…

  5. We all have a pop at Richie Porte and TVG on here for their regular failures to put in a decent GC challenge but seeing his name on there reminded me of the existence of Rafal Majka. He seems to have slipped from promising GC and hilly classic contender, to KOM winner to a guy who occasionally gets in the break on hilly days and doesn’t win. What happened?!

    • I’m not sorry to see that Majka isn’t winning. Can’t stand how he sits on in groups so much, a real limpet.

      I agree with the above that Simon Yates could be doing a little better with the press, I don’t think he is, but he’s starting to sound a touch arrogant.

      Fingers crossed Uran is getting stronger. I’d love to see him win it.

      • Im not sure, I think it is a strange set of circumstances for Simon Yates he didnt attack so wasnt like the team took the Jersey on purpose plus the complications of his question marks possibly self doubt over his own form and what happened in the Giro, it was litterally the worst thing that could of happened for him and the team. All the teams are pretty weak and he seems to be taking the flack for this for having the Jersey by 1 second from 2 riders in a stronger team.
        The other serious GC teams should be pulling their weight to bring back dangerous riders in the break not just ones that happen to have riders in the top 3, Astana and EF drapac seem to have gone under the radar just because their riders dropped so much time in the Stage 1 TT.

        • Yates/Mitchelton didn’t want the jersey, by the looks of it – it seems gaining that chunk of time last week came back to bite.

          INRNG, what’s your reading of the polemica between Mitchelton and Movistar (well, Valverde) regarding chasing?

          Mitchelton claimed they controlled the peloton for 130km or so before the cameras were on, then got bored of controlling the attacks and stuck Haig in the break. Movistar claimed to then have done all the work for the remaining 80km or so, which seems to be the case, but apparently this is poor form.

          What’s going on here, why is it supposedly still Mitchelton’s job when they’ve got both the jersey and a decently-placed man (in Haig) up the road?

          • On the matter of chasing it’s all part of the game, each team wants another to chase. The other day Mitchelton-Scott filtered the early move and got Haig in it, Movistar didn’t have any kind of GC threat so it was more down to them to chase. Perhaps both could have but “I think you ought to have chased” isn’t too venomous for now.

        • Agreed. This was the GT opportunity for Astana and Movistar to show their class and ability to control a race. The reality is they’re both a poor second to Sky in terms of organisation. It looks like both have sat on Sky’s wheels for so long they’ve forgotten how to “lead” a race. I was actually looking forward to a GT with Sky being docile and down beat – turning up with Kwiat at GC contender was so hopeful it’s almost disrespectful. While they’ve offered little, it hardly seems their dominance is genuinely being challenged by two teams who should be offering their sponsors more in return.

          • Mitchelton-Scott had the red jersey and are very vocal about wanting to win the race. Vocal in a way, which is not very respectful towards the race and other teams. So then they should not be lazy and put their legs to work. If a team/rider, that want to win a race, disrespect it in that way, that they aren’t even willing to work for it, it isn‘t very nice to watch.

            The whole Vuelta a fight is going on with other teams getting the teams having the jersey to honor it and work for it. Ben King could twice profit from that. During his first win sky had the jersey and rode for it. Then they were burned up and stopped and the breakaway got through. Then exactly the same happened with Groupama-FDJ. They had the jersey, defended it as long as they could, then stopped and the break away got through and King won. It was totally similar.

            It is not very nice, if a team refuses to work in a race and act, as if a stage win or a day in the leader‘s jersey is worth nothing and it is in their grace to give this to others. I also don‘t think, that such arrogant behaviour is simply forgotten at the end, even, if that team should win the race. Which I don‘t hope they do.

      • Movistar putting riders in the break, so they don’t have to chase or control the race is their MO. It’s often described as giving their leaders some help up the road for when they attack, which it does, just very rarely and often only for a few seconds or minutes.

        So for them to complain about others using the same tactics seems a little hypocritical. But maybe they know that and just want to pressure Mitchleton Scott into working more and burning their riders up.

        • Everybody, including Mitchelton, knows that Mitchelton cracked when they tried to defend the leader’s jersey in the Giro. So of course Movistar are criticising them for failing to defend the Jersey properly – They want to remind them of this failure – and naturally Yates is sounding defensive under criticism.

          It reminds me of Cav’s early days, when his rivals couldn’t beat him in a sprint, but they could wind him up to self-destruction. So they kept going on about all the crashes he caused.

    • I think the difference is, that Majka never was touted as being the next best hope to win the Tour? Bora Hansgrohe say they target a top 10 GC place in GTs with him, which I think is an achievable goal. The question is, if both (team and rider) wouldn‘t be served better with him going for the mountain yersey?

      I think, amongst other things, the short attention span in news today, help to make anything and anybody else than the winner quasi worthless. Winning the mountain competition in a GT is something the hardcore cycling fans talk about -sometimes -,but it surely doesn‘t get any airtime elsewhere. So the incentive to go and work for that competition is severly diminished. The teams rather say „We were 14th of the Tour last year“, as this means something so the wider public, than say „we won the mountains competition of the Tour last year“, which will lead the people to put on one of those polite smiles and say „that is interesting/that is great“, which translates in truth to „Eh?“.

      As always, it is on the teams and in their hands to change that. If two teams would say next year: „We want to win the mountain yersey“, then this competition would come alive and would become valuable in the eyes of the public, as teams fight for it. Which then would lead to more teams targeting that. I often don‘t understand the lethargic and conservative ways of the teams. There are many teams, that have no goal in the Tour, that would fill the whole Tour – so why not go for something instead of trying to not lose too much.

      Thinking about it, it maybe is not natural for a wt-cycling mind to think like that (without them even realising this)? Their whole existence these days, helped by electric tools, is trying not to use energy or use energy only, when it guarantees a shot at the win. And through their wt licence, they don’t have to fight to get race invites, so there is no need to have ambitions, when you can’t win. You just tag along, the next race will come anyway. So maybe it is easier for them to think defensive, than offensive? I wish this would change.

  6. A great end to the stage with an excellent last few KM (ignoring the shambles after the finish line). Geniez rode a really clever final 100m, as the road narrowed he held his line but this narrowed the gap for Van Barle. In addition he shoved his elbows out and made himself really wide to (fairly) block DVB. If the road was a metre wider DVB would’ve won, and he knew it, but that’s racing. Cracking stage.

  7. Is today the day Astana will finally show their strength in numbers? Some at Movistar en Mi-Sco must start to have sore legs. Astana have showed very little so far (except for closing that gap the other day, that was a rather unsung but exceptional effort) but if you look at the squad they may well be the strongest team in the high mountains and with Lopéz’ propensity to strike in the final week à la Nibali, maybe today is a good day to start denting the resistance of the other strong teams?

  8. Uran bless you. Ride up with team Astana, you might earn your stage win today. Weighing at 56kg myself I still find anything steeper than 12% intolerable riding 11/28T. Fingers crossed and thank you for the event preamble. Nicely put if I may humbly say.

  9. Re: Toby, Mark and Steven Choi’s comments about Uran etc.

    Hope Rolland and Woods have nothing to do with the win and ride with Uran for the overall. EF been under the radar, to their advantage and the Stage 1 TT doesn’t suit Uran like the upcoming longer TT. EF may not have been pulling their weight up to their chances today. We’ll see.
    Finally, a block of more exciting race days.

  10. Excited for today.

    Thank you for great write up. Hoping the Vuelta catches fire today.

    Also – just to note someone who is not me is posting under my old moniker DAVE – and wanted to mention. RonDe this alternate Dave got into an argument with you the other day and I wanted to highlight this was not me. I don’t know how long this has been going on for but maybe this explains why I was blocked for posting as myself a while ago. I’m all peace and love and will remain Duncan.

  11. These previews are being posted later than before so I have to wait until EST morning to read! It’s intolerable to not end my night reading the preview to dream of the stage ahead 🙂

    Quintana has been uncharacteristically vocal about his form, and it’s making me think he’s feeling good.

    I think MALopez with Astana have a great chance too, he’s endlessly impressive and they have the power to pull back the breakaway.

    But I think it’s 50/50 if the breakaway doesn’t get it. Excited.

    • So the finish was illustrating of GC strength, as large gaps weren’t expected, but Yates and Quintana showed they are the goats of the pack at the moment (mountain goats, not G.O.A.T.s), and I still think Lopez is up there – can’t count a mechanical against his form.

      Next two stages should be crackers. I think Quintana is going to make a huge statement on one of these days, probably covadonga as it’s the setpiece style for a strong team to setup. Yates is so inscrutable (more or less than Q? haha), but my take is that he’ll show his strength any time he has it, so having Q gap him at the finish says to me he didn’t have a kick left.

      Great to see a Euskadi rider get the win, and so young! and Herrada stays in red another day, that’s great too.

      • I expect Kelderman to do very well on the upcoming long climbs. He was right up there yesterday on a very steep climb to the finish, which really isn’t his thing. If he can get to within 1,5 minutes from Quintana and Yates before the time trial, he will be the favourite to win GC for me.

  12. I looked at results this morning. With Marcus Burghardt @57th (7’) a very impressive performance indeed as opposed to many trained climbers who generally rode +4’ . Think they are aiming something bigger later on. Uran I think he rode according to his plan moving up closer each day so does Quintana. I had an Orbea alu frame many years ago and love the signature orange decal more than ever.

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