Vuelta a España Preview

It’s time to get your rampón, the Vuelta starts this weekend. We’re into the back end of the season but the Vuelta is back in its August slot and the perfect way to prolong summer. It’s easy to follow, this is tapas cycling with a daily diet of lively stages.

Route summary: 21 stages, bookended by a 7km opening TT and a final 34km TT in Santiago de Compostela. In between there are seven summit finishes, more mountain stages and six likely sprint stages, of which some of these are hilly or have finishes with gradients. There are time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds on the finish line and designated intermediate points offer 3-2-1 seconds.

The Contenders: Primož Roglič won last year, doubling up on his second place in the Tour. He’s made for the Vuelta, the sharp climbs suit and he’s got a finishing kick that allows him to gather time bonuses better than the rest. As ever the third week is a concern and if he had a wobble on La Covatilla last year, the route then was more gentle whereas this year’s course is stacked with summit finishes in the final week. Still he’s got something to look forward to in the final time trial as he’s got an advantage over the rest of the field here. Jumbo-Visma bring a strong team with no sprinters, the only side goals are to see if climbers like Sep Kuss and Steven Kruijswijk can take a mountain stage along the way.

Ineos were supposed to go into the Tour de France with multiple riders capable of attacking only this never happened and after an internal enquiry they’re back with more of this ¿Who to pick? Adam Yates was always down to target the Vuelta since his move to Ineos was announced and was a convincing winner of the Volta a Catalunya this year amid a solid early part to the season but grand tour win would be a big leap up. Egan Bernal feels the easiest pick, doubling up after his Giro where he rode away with the maglia rosa and, apart from that crash, looked good in the recent Vuelta a Burgos. Richard Carapaz is back for more, the runner-up last year, third in the Tour, Olympic champion, can he keep the form across three weeks now? Probably yes, he is a tenacious, scrappy rider and an opportunist but this plays well with Ineos’s tactics, he can jump just when everyone is desperate for a breather. Pavel Sivakov is a GC contender but a work-in-progress while Tom Pidcock should be lively for some of the uphill finishes in his grand tour debut but he’s got his eye on the road worlds. Altogether it’ll be interesting to see if the team can take risks, big risks but they needn’t do this every day, first they’ll want to get the measure of their rivals.

Mikel Landa is an attacking climber whose romantic style travels further than his palmarès, he can win a grand tour but a lot has to go right for him for a change and seeing off the riders named above is a big ask, he’d have to keep outclimbing them and go into the final time trial with well over a minute’s lead. Still the Bahrain squad is very strong with Jack Haig back after his Tour crash, speed climber Mark Padun will hope to replicate those Dauphiné wins, although he’s a marked rider now. Damiano Caruso is a luxury gregario, Wout Poels has plenty of experience and Gino Mäder’s gone from promising to victorious this season. So far so good but Jan Tratnik and Yukiya Arashiro are the keys to the team, Landa will count on them to close gaps.

Hugh Carthy is consistent, the Landa antithesis. He’s also what we might call a third week time triallist, he won’t win any rainbow jerseys in this field but late into a grand tour he seems good at holding his ground for a lanky climber. EF Education-Nippo come with a decent support squad for him too.

Sixth in the last Tour, fifth in the last Vuelta, Enric Mas is riding steady but I can’t find a decent photo of him in Movistar kit in my library which might say something, he is still short of repeating his second place in the 2018 Vuelta but should be in the mix. The same for Movistar team mate Miguel Angel Lopez who was once touted as a grand tour winner but converting podium promise into more is the hard part.

Romain Bardet has staked a lot on this Vuelta. A stage winner in Burgos last week, he could have taken the race overall but a crash while in the lead left him too sore for the final summit finish. But this was his first win in over a thousand days and the plan is to aim for stages here and see what happens. On his good days he can win stages and place high on GC but he’s likely to crawl in the Compostela time trial. At DSM Thymen Arensmen is one to watch too, a Dutch Miguel Indurain in the making.

Aleksandr Vlasov seems to have the ingredients of a grand tour contender but having burst onto the scene a year ago isn’t sizzling as much any more. We know he can place, but how to win? With a deal to move to Bora-Hansgrohe he doesn’t have to grind out a result and might prefer a stage win and the rest of his Astana team look like stage hunters rather than GC defenders.

Among the others, Bike Exchange have Lucas Hamilton and Nick Schultz for a top-10, with Bora-Hansgrohe it’ll be interesting to see if Max Schachmann can get a top-10 too with Felix Großschartner alongside. Deceuninck-Quickstep’s Andrea Bagioli and Mauri Vansevenant can feature, Lotto-Soudal’s Harm Vanhoucke is improving as a GC contender as in he’s steady rather than spectacular. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) just needs a win more than a GC placing although his team might want the UCI points. Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) made the leap from Zwift to the real world and is climbing well. Giulio Ciccone leads Trek-Segafredo but this is a learning mission before the Giro next year. There won’t be a next year for Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash), he was back in the results in Burgos but he did just this in Burgos last year too, translating this into three weeks is the harder part but it’d be a great comeback story in the race he won in 2015… only whatever happens he’s just announced he’ll retire at the end of the Vuelta.

Lastly UAE have David de la Cruz who is a strong rider but this says much about the team and why they are busy recruiting this summer because they might have the Tour winner in Pogačar but unlike rivals Jumbo and Ineos, they can’t yet spare a rider who could win the race.

Primož Roglič
Egan Bernal
Richard Carapaz, Hugh Carthy, Adam Yates
Mikel Landa
Lopez, Mas, Padun, Sivakov, Kuss, Vlasov

103 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Preview”

  1. Thank you for the summary. I’m really looking forward to seeing Bernal and Roglič square off, they’re both great riders to watch and seem to have a lot of motivation for this race. The rest of the contenders seem like the usual “they’re going to surprise the hell out of you at some point in the race” crowd, though the surprises are slightly more likely to be negative than positive. That is, a fantastic finish, followed immediately by a collapse. As you said, Carthy is the least likely to be a surprise, while Carapaz has the best chance of a win aside from Roglič and Bernal.

    Unfortunately I think you’re being extremely generous to give Kuss a chain ring. I love watching him, and I expect him to sparkle in several stages, but only if Roglič has a big lead (or flames out). And I’d love to see Bardet put together enough good road stages that his ITT at the end has some meaning, though I’d be just as happy to see him contesting for some mountain top stage wins.

  2. Oh, and I forgot about Aru. This is the first I’ve seen that he’s retiring. Your tweet sums his palmares up perfectly. He didn’t win much, but when he won it was really something. I can’t imagine the pressure he’s operated under as a promising Italian grand tour rider who accomplished so much in his mid-twenties and then never found that level again.

    • Exactly, I can only imagine the external and internal pressure Aru faced over the last few years.

      Chapeau to him, he had some brilliant rides, has a palmares that 99.99% of cyclists could only dream of. I hope he can find peace in retirement and look back on his career remembering he beat some amazing riders in their primes. His 2015 Vuelta win in the same year he came second at the Giro – epic.

      Thanks Inrng for a great preview, looking forward to another exciting race!

      • Sorry, one more point about Aru – maybe with his retirement announcement he can just go out and enjoy his last race, shaking off all his internal pressure. And you never know, he might perform better than he has in years because of it.

        • Chapeau to him. He’s always been exceptionally open about his struggles and health problems. Still seems to love cycling and wonder if he could join the ex-pro’s who go over to gravel riding what with his background in MTB and Cyclo-cross. That’d be lovely to see.

          • That’s an awful shame about Aru retiring.
            At his fittest and best he was great to watch, an expressive rider in all respects.
            That Giro battle with Tom Dumoulin was a real highlight.
            Whilst I was rooting for the Dutchman, Aru had to be the nicest ‘bad guy’ in the contest there was.
            Very best wishes for success and good health to Aru in the future.

  3. I hadn’t picked up Aru’s plan to retire. Just 31 but his best years are four or more away. At his best exciting and almost unbeatable. What went wrong: injury, illness, loss of confidence…? A sad end.

    IR picks Pidcock for a mountain finish, but why not for the stage 1 TT too. It’s short, a bit technical, and in the Amstel he rode almost all the field off his wheel on the flat and had Van Aert gasping. I know Roglic is the obvious pick for the stage, but maybe Pidcock can rival him over such a distance?

    And welcome back IR. A GT wouldn’t be the same without you.

    • Aru had surgery for arterial illiac fibrosis, the condition seems to have been the source of his problems but hard to be sure and while some make a quick recovery, others never get back to their old levels.

      No daily previews here but will be dipping in and out to look at moments and some themes around the race.

  4. Just wanted to say thanks for all the coverage – it’s always a pleasure to see something new from INRNG pop up on my RSS feed, and it’s a great excuse to put a coffee on and read. Chapeau!

  5. Although it makes me sad, I think it is a good thing for Aru to retire. At some point there is too much painmemory, physically and psychologically to overcome. The burden he carried now for so many years with expectations, that he could never quite fulfill, must have been very heavy.

    I always was and am a fan of him. For some reason I love the way he rides (aesthetically) so much. It pleases me immensely.

    He has a palmares many, many others can only dream about and it shows what could have been, that he is seen and feels as a failure with that palmares. Plus he talks well and seems to be thoughtful. Hopefully he finds a good second career. I just hope he isnˋt too scarred from the last years. Often this comes to the fore once you let go.

  6. Quite an interesting and varied route by Vuelta standards. It even ventures out of Asturias. The southern stages could be unpleasantly hot for the riders though. It’s hard to look past Roglic, Bernal and Carapaz as a Big 3. A hat trick for Roglic would be an impressive achievement. The racing at the Vuelta always seems a bit wild, I’m looking forward to it.

      • Recorrido! 🙂
        I’m a man of simple pleasures and cheap jokes and I never fail to be amused by the strange penchant of the English-speaking cycling fans for French terms. “Peloton” I’ve learned to accept but “parcours” still makes me giggle – especially when we are not talking about the Tour.
        But I must agree: the course looks quite promising.

  7. I wonder about a) INEOS – sure, they have Bernal but not much of the “kitchen help” he enjoyed during his Giro win. Looks like way-too-many generals and not enough infantry IMHO b) Roglic. Can he not fall off for three weeks? If so it would seem he’s got a good team to support him. c) What stage will Landa fall out of GC contention on? d) How many more riders will UAE announce the purchase of during the three weeks? Seems way-past-time for some sort of salary/budget cap.

      • +1 I’m waiting for the screaming to start. Massive advantages are always good when you have them, not so much when others get ’em. I doubt the Vuelta will be the start as UAE’s team doesn’t look so formidable, but next year things might be very different, though Saronni and Co could end up with a “too many generals..” situation IMHO.

        • Well, I have a GB passport, support INEOS, am in the market for club level sponsors so maybe I can reply!

          As far as I am concerned the more money that enters our sport the better – for everyone. A cap is a hapless lid on the sports financial expansion, openness and well being. It will simply see money passing in brown envelopes, with the unregulated chaos that entails.

          Be careful for what you wish.

          • +1. In addition, I assume the side-sponsor deals (i.e., deals that are for individual riders, not for the team) wouldn’t be covered, so the salary money could easily just shift over to a different pot. The same star riders would be getting the big paychecks (which the richly deserve).

            Another factor that a salary cap wouldn’t touch is the vastly different tax situations based on country of registration (not sure if ‘registration’ is the word I should use, but I think it’s clear enough).

          • A wealth disparity doesn’t mean more exciting racing, even if it’s good for you. Sky, then Jumbo made the Tour dull. Caps work in other sports; after they’d faced the same complaints that it wouldn’t work. Money isn’t the basis of good sport.

          • There are no British teams any more , so I don’t know what the ‘Brits’ should be ‘Screaming ‘ about. Ineos is funded by a tax exile who has moved his manufacturing out of the UK ( after attracting quite a lot of government money for promising not too). Nothing much to choose between him and the Sheiks , in my book.

          • No one has suggested that wealth disparity means more exciting racing, anon, so you can keep that straw man to yourself. Salary caps exist, AFAIK, only in wealthy, stadium-based sports with TV deals (rugby is the most prominent exception, though there may be more money in rugby than I know). I believe all such cap systems are exclusive to a given country, or at most between US and Canada. Implementing a cap system on a global sport like cycling would seem to be problematic.

            As our host has pointed out multiple times in the yearly post about team budgets, estimated or known team budgets do not correlate well with team success.

          • I guess that means you wouldn’t care if pro cycling went the way of football or F1? IMHO there are already too many petro-sheiks involved showering petro-dollars on those sports and with UAE I fear it’s happening to another sport, one I really like and hate to see changed (I would say ruined, but I understand you might not agree) in this way.

          • Not sure if your comment is aimed at me, Larry, but if it is, you have once again made straw man assumptions and attributions that exist only in your mind. I have only made two points, neither of which relate to an affinity for petro-sheiks and American football. One, a salary cap would not be simple to implement in pro cycling and would likely have some unintended consequences, and two, top level pro cyclists deserve to be fairly compensated as the elite athletes they are. I hope that meaning is clear enough for you.

          • KevinK – It’s NOT all about you my friend. My comment contained no reference to you as it was BC who wrote: “As far as I am concerned the more money that enters our sport the better – for everyone”
            So save your fauxtrage for another day 🙂

        • Yes. (Not that I am anti-British, being both British and someone who believes that our arbitrary borders are meaningless.)

          And also – to counter another (more relevant) point made by someone else – a cap could be based on budgets/salaries post-tax.

    • ineous are i presume behind the scenes all in for bernal.
      Carapaz has just finished his tour and the others are probably not 3 week tour GC riders.

      This being the case Bernal has the 4 mentioned above plus whoever else is on the team as domestiques which will be very strong team indeed.
      But i will be interested in seeing if bernal has further improved his form to that of old since the Giro. He road a good Giro but didn’t really look across the 3 weeks to be strong enough to challenge Pog or Roglic assuming they all stayed upright.
      Also will Jumbo finally be able to commit to winning a 3 week race or will they continue to waste there energy chasing stage wins and break aways.

      • Heard some podcast pundit (Ronan on Cycling tips?) suggest there were rumours Bernal’s back issue still hasn’t been resolved, in which case Ineos are hedging their bets with the multiple leaders plan.

    • It seems to me that if Bernal doesn’t win, then we can forget about the idea of seeing years of fabulous battles for yellow/ pink/ red between him and Pogačar. He needs to be at the level to beat a fit Roglic.

    • I tend to agree on both accounts, though Roglic has a good shot too (which means I’m just being wishy washy, I suppose). As always, I am hoping Landa has an absence of bad luck (I think it’s too much to ask for good luck for him), and somehow lands on the podium. I’m curious about Carapaz working for a teammate- – has he ever actually done that before? I believe in the 2020 Tour, the plan was for him to work for Bernal, but circumstances ruled that out. I just have a hard time seeing Carapaz working for anyone other than Carapaz.

  8. I’m interested in seeing how well the “kids” fair ( Pidcock and Simmons) perhaps a stressful
    first grand tour, maybe a bridge too far. Although they will not lack for enthusiasm.

    • They’ll definitely be interesting to watch, and I’ll be surprised if at least one of them doesn’t take a stage. I don’t think they’ll be under that much stress, since the mark for success for both of them I suspect is bagging a stage, not finishing the race in a decent GC position.

  9. It always surprises me given the number of cyclists that base themselves in Girona that the Vuelta so seldom visits that part of the world. I can’t recall many stages at all that take in the celebrated local climbs.

    • The Vuelta route is the most unusual of the three grand tours, it can stick to corners of the country more than the Giro or Tour, although always all the national tours get cries of “it doesn’t visit my region” from fans. Still the Vuelta’s gone to Catalunya a few times in recent years, Lleida and Tarragona come to mind. Girona probably doesn’t need the publicity and the region is proud of its own “Volta”.

      • Yes, it’s an interesting one. I know a lot of pros have a base at the altitude training facility on Pico Veleta as well, and that’s another climb that is used very often either (certainly nothing like similarly long and high climbs such as the Stelvio or Galibier). You do feel that the Vuelta misses some of the “superstar” climbs that the Giro and Tour have. The kind that club riders could reel off at the drop of a hat. Even the Quebrantahuesos granfondo has two French climbs as the most recognisable on the route. It just seems strange that more isn’t done to build on what reputation already exists.

        • I think that plays in the Vuelta’s favour. In France and Italy they always have to have the “mythical” climbs every couple of years or people moan, whereas in Spain, because they don’t really have a Tourmalet or Stelvio there’s more freedom to change regions and climbs.

          • It’s an odd thing, most big races have their mythical places but the Vuelta does away with this, there’s a lot less returning to mythical places and some of the historical references are niche at best, eg this year’s final TT to Santiago de Compostella is a nod to 1993’s final time trial won by Tony Rominger.

          • But La Vuelta seems also to have way-too-much droning along multi-lane highways compared to the other two GTs IMHO. Hard to believe there aren’t more interesting roads there that could be used.

          • I suspect that’s why they spend more time up north now. More interesting rural roads/climbs to explore. I seem to remember reading somewhere that all those stages on the “autopistas” were a kind of “look at our shiny new road” event.

          • Regarding Larry T’s point about the use of major highways; it subjectively feels like there are less crashes at La Vuelta and perhaps this is one of the better outcomes from that?

          • Ecky- Interesting argument. I won’t argue there are less crashes at La Vuelta ( I tried to look up racer deaths and could find 4 each over the history of LeTour and Il Giro, but nothing on La Vuelta, though Spanish-speakers here might be better able to find the details?) since that’s hard to prove either way but I will argue the idea that wider roads somehow result in fewer crashes is just wishful thinking, kind of like how radio earpieces improve safety. No matter how wide or narrow the road is, there’s always that +1 guy trying get in at the front unless the wind is blowing. You can see this every time the road widens in an overhead TV shot of the peloton. Come to think of it, that +1 guy is probably being yelled at to “Get to the front!” in his earpiece 🙂

          • You’re certainly right that the DS’s want their teams at the front but accommodating that with wider routes in the first week of TdF, for instance, may be a way of cutting back on that initial carnage that so often seems to occur when everyone is super nervous.
            What you lose in scenery, you make up for in keeping the GC contenders hopefully fit and well.
            Thinking of those wide routes over the Tour’s Pyrenees stages, I can’t recall a crash?
            It was different dynamics by then, obviously, but still an idea?

    • I was under the impression that Girona first came to be a cycling destination for a certain number of foreign pros based on it’s pharmaceutical/medical charms more than cycling topography?

      • In the late 90s France criminalised doping and so several US Postal riders coincidentally fled their base in Nice to set up residence in Girona. But people go now because of the weather, roads etc… hopefully.

        • Yeah, that’s what I was thinking about, remembering when people would ask us about Girona. I’d say WTF would you want to go there, it’s a big “cycling destination” for BigTex and his cronies for reasons other than great cycling, but at the same time I can remember when people asked us about riding in gawdawful places like Bergamo too, solely because so much of the Italian cycle racing BUSINESS was based there….had nothing to do with enjoyable cycling opportunities.

  10. I think I like the Vuelta best … for whatever reason. This year I will be looking to see how Bahrain go. They have a team full of people who haven’t done anything yet (including Landa) but look as thought they are on the cusp.
    If they can hold it together they should at least create some interest

      • Apparently his collar bone break was a very bad one requiring a piece of donor bone. Don’t know how that effects recovery, but the glimpse of his form we saw in the Tour looked good

  11. When you say “tapas cycling”, I assume it’s about shortish stages, never too packed with climbing, with no monster mountain passes or mountain-top finishes.

    • It’s lots of small dishes, none of the climbs create huge time gaps and rather than one feast at the weekend and then days of fasting, aka sprint stages, there’s a lot going on all the time.

        • Only one stage over 200km. Is this ASO trying to ensure that the Vuelta in no way competes with the TDF? Can’t see how they could be worried about this, but what other explanation is there for consistently making the Vuelta the grand tour lite?

          • I don’t think it’s ASO, I think it’s Guillen himself who believes in this “short and furiously steep” concept, and is afraid of long stages looking like “siesta-fests” in the late Spanish summer. I think the inevitable reversal of the trend towards shorter stages will come from the Tour and the Giro, first. The Vuelta will continue to try and slow speeds and limit drafting through gradient more than through mileage.

  12. Quite a lot of sprint stages in this Vuelta, I’ve no idea who the strongest sprinter will be though. Demare in 2020 Giro form would clean up, but not sure he’s there.

    • Curiously, for a Vuelta with lots of sprint stages and a points jersey skewed towards sprinters, almost none of the top sprinters are going. I’d go so far to say there the field is missing every single top tier sprinter along with almost all second tier sprinters. If Demare and Matthews don’t clean up they should hide their heads in shame. I know there are some young sprinters who are considered to have great potential, but I wouldn’t be surprised if old hands like Trentin are back to winning sprints against this bunch.

      • There’s Jakobsen too, back to winning ways a year after that horror crash too. Démare in good form could do well, he’s fine on the uphill finishes when in good shape, but form and confidence unknown, his problem this year has looked as much about positioning/nerves in the final as condition. Ewan wanted to ride and it was a close call but he’s out.

        • It may become Jasper Philipsens’s big breakthrough race. He’s fast, gets over a few hills fairly comfortably, has a lot of team support this time and claims to have finished the tour relatively freshly.

        • Yes, I was well aware of Jakobsen being in the race. He was arguably on the cusp of becoming a top tier sprinter before his crash, and he seems to be progressing well, but we still have no evidence that he’s even back to his old level, and with his old confidence. I expect him to be challenging for wins, along with Philipsen, but neither can be considered top tier sprinters. If Ewan had made the Lotto team I could easily see him taking 4 or 5 stages, but there’s no one at his level on this start list.

          I suppose this is normal for a Vuelta. In recent years there has either been no dominant sprinter, or ‘sprinters’ who can win selective sprints and climb well like Cort and Trentin.

          • Hodeg has been the designated sprinter for QS, but that doesn’t mean he’s a top tier sprinter. You reach that level when you beat the best sprinters – Ewan, Bennett, Groenewegen, Ackermann (though not consistently), maybe Demare, Merlier (this year), Van Aert (when he’s interested). I agree that being the designated sprinter for QS makes Jakobsen one of the favorites, and given Demare’s inconsistencies Jakobsen is a good bet to take several sprint stages and the points jersey. But that also says as much about how the points jersey scoring has been changed as much as it says about Jakobsen as a sprinter.

  13. It’s absolutely baking here in Spain at the moment! It’ll be interesting to see how riders handle the heat or if any extreme weather protocol gets called in.

    • Absolutely. Much of Southern Europe has been scorchio for weeks now.
      The temperature is forecast at 37 degrees in Burgos tomorrow and looks set to remain hot across Spain for the foreseeable.
      I don’t fancy Yates in that weather. Roglic is okay in heat, not sure of Carapaz though?
      It looks a tough tour ahead.

    • Thanks for the heads up about Quest.

      Put it on this evening & they are showing Border Control: Poland instead, even had the cheek to advertise the Eurosport coverage just before.

    • I can’t even gloat about the race being on Italian broadcast TV 🙁
      It’s Eurosport or nothing for us, but OTOH we end up there most of the time even when RAI is showing a bike race, not for their reputed poor picture quality in inclement weather but mostly for general incompetence when it comes to the on-air talent, Francesco Pancani and Alessandra DiStefano being the rare exceptions. Too many people on RAI who seem to be there based on something other than their actual talents..and it’s getting worse, not better. Auro Bulbarelli is probably to blame IMHO.

  14. Is it too early to say the Vuelta is over?

    Just kidding, but whenever a Slovenian gets an insuperable lead early in a grand tour it seems the thing to say!

    That said, Roglic does have a good lead on some of his major rivals. And he didn’t crash, so that’s encouraging.

  15. I look forward to all cycling races that I can follow but the experience is improved so much by the race getting the full INRNG treatment. Let the good times roll.

  16. Trying to enjoy a Grand Tour without inrng’s morning stage reviews/previews is a bit like listening to football on the radio or having sex with the lights off. It’s ok, it’s better than nothing, but it’s just not the same.

  17. Claims those Vuelta roads are so much safer the ones used in the other GT’s took a big hit after today’s fiasco IMHO. The way these plastic bikes break into pieces in a crash is downright scary. I know they’re built to race, not to crash, but..

      • Uh, yeah, sure, I just knew there had to be a safety (spelled M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G) angle as something had to be done about all the devastating injuries and deaths caused by those steel frames back-in-the-day which pretty much never shattered into pieces.
        One of my bike builder friends calls these current plastic things “potato chip bikes” 🙂

        • A consequence of the lightest is bestest mindset as much as it is just the material used. I,m sure you can make carbon frames stronger on side impacts. I missed the steel road bike era but i have seen aluminium frames fail after a crash. I don’t mind carbon frames but rim brake carbon wheels are not my favourite. Worse braking performance, brake squeals and if you crack a rim it costs an arm and a leg to replace. I never understand why people ride carbon rims on there daily bike.

          • FASHION, Mr, Sword. There are fortunes to be made by convincing the punters whatever perfectly-good equipment they currently have must be replaced by the newest-latest. Were the automobile makers the first ones to get serious about “planned obsolescence” as a marketing scheme? Of course they took a page out of the clothing biz playbook when it came to fashion with “This fall’s collection” and such causing the rubes to rush down to buy pretty much the same coat they already had but in a different color and maybe with different buttons while the marketing-mavens/”designers” laugh all the way to the bank!

    • I was thinking the same thing. They might be able to sweep the bottom two steps of the podium!

      Though whenever Roglic goes like he is so early I can’t help but think he’ll be pooped by the end of the race. Or covered in blood. But he’s survived the past two Vueltas…

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