2016 Vuelta a Espana
August 18, 2016 7:12 AM - Subscribe

Ready for some fun in the very, very hot sun? Hard to believe it with the Olympics still going, but the Vuelta a Espana starts this weekend!

Founded in 1935, the Vuelta long had the trajectory of the Giro (a regional race with gradually increasing international interest) but in recent years with riders giving up the idea of a Giro/Tour double, the Vuelta has become the Second Try race, with top tier talent going for one last win in the season. At the same time we can expect many of the Giro riders back as well, so it's choc a bloc with serious contenders. Froome, Quintana, Valverde, Contador, Chaves, Van Garderen, Kruijswijk, Talansky will all be in attendance, but Fabio Aru will not return to defend his title. No Nibali either, as he's recovering from a collarbone injury.

With ten(!) summit finishes and only one individual time trial, this is a race likely to favor extremely strong climbers. They'll want to bring a strong team as well, as the race begins with the dreaded team time trial. Who will win?

(note: I will post a link to the INRNG preview when he posts it. Right now the site appears to be down)
posted by selfnoise to Cycling Club (7 comments total)
And here's the INRNG preview.

I like Froome a bit more than he does, but we'll see. Notable from the preview that there's a lack of top tier sprinters due to the course this year.
posted by selfnoise at 4:52 AM on August 19, 2016

Another grand tour, another rough start for Contador. He lost almost a minute in the TTT, and then a handful more today. I really think it's going to be a struggle for him with the dissolving team.

Otherwise, we see Froome, Valverde, Quintana up front with the added excitement of Chaves as well. Kruijswijk lost two minutes today. As he himself said Van Garderen is not contesting the GC this year and is already almost eight minutes back.

Movistar looked strong today with Fernandez kicking away to take the jersey... will a slightly stronger team make the difference for Quintana and Valverde going forward?
posted by selfnoise at 9:55 AM on August 22, 2016

Just a quick follow up: after a series of tough summit finishes this race now looks to be the Quintana/Froome duel people wanted from the TdF, with Froome 54 seconds behind but likely to make that up in the TT. How's everyone else doing? Not so good.
posted by selfnoise at 8:54 AM on August 31, 2016

Quintana and Contador in a break that Froome and sky miss...all of the sudden the race is on its head.
for the record, i think the 93 riders who slow jammed the stage should have been excluded. what's the point of competitive rules if they are ignored.
great tour so far, shame there aren't any good sprinters in attendance.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:58 PM on September 6, 2016

For me it's more a case of "don't make a rule you can't enforce". The Vuelta obviously doesn't benefit if entire teams, like Direct Energie, are forced to drop out, or if one of the major contendors (Froome) has his entire support team eliminated.

I think the way the race organizers see it they created this situation by having such a short, brutal stage. Races like this might benefit from a more flexible or rethought rule on time eliminations. On the other hand, you could argue that this situation is exactly why they have a jury in the first place.

It was funny to see the top-tier riders call for their own teams to be thrown out. I'm not sure if they felt they had to say that, or whether they were trying to call their domestiques out. Certainly Froome has some valid complaints.
posted by selfnoise at 2:28 PM on September 6, 2016

i didn't watch the grupetto closely on that stage, but i'd bet the race organizers were capable of saying, on the radio, "you guys are phoning it in, we're prepared to enforce the cutoff". which they should have done. from what i've read, it was obvious that most of the riders were actively saving energy, not just suffering on a tough stage.
sets a bad precedent is my mind.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:36 PM on September 6, 2016

Well, it was no Giro, but this race ultimately turned out fairly interesting. It's something of a shame that Froome seems to have lost largely due to a terrible error in judgement by either him or his team or both on one particular stage.

If you were locked in a room for a day and had to come up with some weakness Froome supposedly has, it would be that occasionally he seems to be put on the back foot by unexpected changes in pace. Sometimes he really doesn't though, so it's a bit odd. I suppose we'll have to accept that he's a mortal being like everyone else.

Great to see Chaves claw his way onto the podium after his heartbreak at the Giro. We seem to have a lot of men who can match Froome on the toughest climbs, but few who can match him in the TT. I'm not really sure who to point to as a possibility even. Pinot I suppose, but then his year has been a mess.
posted by selfnoise at 7:51 AM on September 11, 2016

« Older Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: On...   |  Podcast: How To Be Amazing wit... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments