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HuwB

La Vuelta, Week 3: Stages 15-21, Sept 7th-14th

Bit of a rush, so I'm using Kathy's fp post and will add the bits and bobs for the various stages as and when they occur:
Stage 15

Finish


Stage 16

Finish


stage 17

Finish

Stage 18

Finish

Stage 19

Finish

Stage 20

Finish

Stage 21

Finish
[/quote]
HuwB

Stage 15.
Map:


Lagos de Cavadonga


The slightly dodgy weather:
Biosphere

Why doe Stage 16 have to be on a work day Mad

Think there is a reasonable chance that Froome will be up to 2nd by the 2nd rest day, and we may then get a close fight for the final couple of days.
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
Why does Stage 16 have to be on a work day Mad

Think there is a reasonable chance that Froome will be up to 2nd by the 2nd rest day, and we may then get a close fight for the final couple of days.


Not only that, but this is undoubtedly the Queen stage and it is being raced on the day most commonly associated with rest.
As such, it is getting the extra hour live treatment.
Odd, on all counts.
Biosphere

I don't so much mind the shifting of of a rest day if it means 3 x MTFs in a row. The Tour tends to avoid that and sometimes the mountain sections are over before they've had much of an impact. Well that's what it feels like anyway.

Just wish it would have been a Friday to Sunday, rather than me having a news blackout tomorrow afternoon and getting the result hours after the event.
HuwB

It's extremely wet, poor visibility, mediocre break with 10 minutes and the bunch showing zero intent.

Bonus seconds at the finish are killing this race.
Nolte

ta tg4 os anois,
looks awful conditions out there.

some retirementi to-la - pelucchi (not surprising), roux and arredondo.
Nolte

degenkolb must have been told that the podium girls wouldn't wait around in this weather for the bus :d

dan martin had a change of bikes there
Bartali

Interesting to see Froome adopt Wiggins tactics presumably on team advice.  I suppose the scientists say that is the best, most efficient, way to climb. Makes for interesting viewing ... will he won't he.
kathy

Just got back from the stage in time to see the end on Eurosport.  We were at the start of the last climb - a couple of heavy showers and some thunder there, but nothing too awful.  Got some photos - will post some if they're any good!
HuwB

At least the final climb was fascinating.
Three Spanish sprinters desperately trying to stay away from Mo Farrar!

Great rides from Barguil and Martin, especially after his mishap and long chase back.
kathy

At the third attempt, two pics from today, front of the peloton and the bus.

Bartali

Nice one Kathy
Nolte

nice photos, thanks kathy Smile

it is an interesting way for froome, not to respond to attacks and i think it is understandable that he was off the bike so may be lacking in race form when it comes to responding to digs from other riders
HuwB

The foot of Cavadonga?
Hope I can get a bit further up the Tumble on Tuesday, but we know what those UK crowds can be like. Razz

Righty ho, onto the Queen stage.
Live tv coverage starts the hour earlier again.

Map:


Climbs:








Climb Stats:
Alto de la Colladona 7,4 km 850 m 500 m 6,7 % 11,67 %
Alto de la Cobertoria 10 km 1.185 m 885 m 8,8 % 16 %
Puerto de San Lorenzo 10,1 km 1.347 m 860 m 8,5 % 13 %
La Farrapona 16,5 km 1.705 m 1.035 m 6,2 % 12,5 %

Weather (foul):
Bartali

Nolte wrote:
nice photos, thanks kathy Smile

it is an interesting way for froome, not to respond to attacks and i think it is understandable that he was off the bike so may be lacking in race form when it comes to responding to digs from other riders
I've been thinking about this .... just how much training did Froome lose viz a viz Bertie?  Presumably he had no trouble pedalling with his injury???
Bartali

Umm ... wet wet wet tomorrow!
kathy

HuwB wrote:
The foot of Cavadonga?
Hope I can get a bit further up the Tumble on Tuesday, but we know what those UK crowds can be like. Razz


Even on normal non-Vuelta weekends, it's not permitted to drive up to the Lagos.  There is a public-service bus which takes people up, and we could have used it today, but goodness knows when we'd have got down.  The only other alternatives are cycling or walking up!  I think I would have managed about 100m cycling, and walking 12km uphill Evil or Very Mad  Evil or Very Mad  Evil or Very Mad   Although lots of people did both!
mazda

Just to add weight to the "Bertie good - every other foreigner bad" The Guardian reports on todays stage -

"The Spaniard Contador, who retained the overall leader’s red jersey, battled against the negative tactics of Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez to finish a few seconds behind his two compatriots."

Really, you have to say their tactics were spot on, apart from not winning the stage.
Although if you analyse it they gain more time finishing 2nd and 3rd with Bertie 4th than they would with taking the top 3 spots.
So totally spot on !
Biosphere

Bartali wrote:
Umm ... wet wet wet tomorrow!


Which I'm thinking is going suit Froome least given his previous performances in the rain.
Biosphere

mazda wrote:
Just to add weight to the "Bertie good - every other foreigner bad" The Guardian reports on todays stage -

"The Spaniard Contador, who retained the overall leader’s red jersey, battled against the negative tactics of Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez to finish a few seconds behind his two compatriots."

Really, you have to say their tactics were spot on, apart from not winning the stage.
Although if you analyse it they gain more time finishing 2nd and 3rd with Bertie 4th than they would with taking the top 3 spots.
So totally spot on !


I have trouble seeing why people are complaining about it all. Wheelsucking is not aesthetic, and I don't like it normally, but they're trying to win a race. Contador's complaint that they should have worked with him is well wide of the mark as well I think. It's not going to be a team prize if he's on the to step looking down on them on Sunday.

Today's last 5km looks a fairly uniform 10%, which is possibly Froome's last chance for a significant deficit reduction if he can find his legs and copes with weather.
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
mazda wrote:
Just to add weight to the "Bertie good - every other foreigner bad" The Guardian reports on todays stage -

"The Spaniard Contador, who retained the overall leader’s red jersey, battled against the negative tactics of Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez to finish a few seconds behind his two compatriots."

Really, you have to say their tactics were spot on, apart from not winning the stage.
Although if you analyse it they gain more time finishing 2nd and 3rd with Bertie 4th than they would with taking the top 3 spots.
So totally spot on !


I have trouble seeing why people are complaining about it all. Wheelsucking is not aesthetic, and I don't like it normally, but they're trying to win a race. Contador's complaint that they should have worked with him is well wide of the mark as well I think. It's not going to be a team prize if he's on the to step looking down on them on Sunday.

Today's last 5km looks a fairly uniform 10%, which is possibly Froome's last chance for a significant deficit reduction if he can find his legs and copes with weather.


No liking for the stage 20 finish?



How about the stage 18 finish for an few more seconds either way?


kathy

Weather-wise, we are near Nava, just in the top RH corner of today's map.  It is a beautiful sunny day here, and the temperature is already 27deg in the shade.  But it was a beautiful day when we arrived at Covadonga yesterday, and it can change very quickly, although the temperature doesn't usually fall a lot.
Biosphere

I'm liking Stage 20 very much Smile

I'm just not so sure that Froome will like that uneven type of climb and I think the harshness of today's stage overall and a finish that lends itself to a time trialling approach is a potential chance for him against some of the Amigos.

But then he surprised on Saturday and he does seem to be the one that scares Contador the most. Or possibly he just scrapes a podium at the end of it all. I look forward to finding out!
Mrs John Murphy

It makes sense that Dertie should fear Vroome.

He knows JRod can't TT and so unless JRod takes 5 minutes out of him on a climb then he is no threat and he knows that Piti isn't capable of doing anything more other than wheelsucking and then sprinting for the line.

And then who else - Aru and Uran are too far back.

But then it is Dertie and I would always taking everything he says with a bag of salt.
Biosphere

Not sure the final ITT is going to be very decisive unless time gaps are small going in.  At less than10km it's more of an Epilogue. On paper Rodriguez has the most to lose, but it may not matter that much depending on his position on Sunday morning.
mazda

Contador, Valverde and Froome on their own between the break and the peloton.
Which one of them caused that ?
HuwB

Given the size and quality of the break:
Rohan DENNIS (42), Laurens TEN DAM (33), Gianluca BRAMBILLA (172), Luis León SÁNCHEZ (51), Johan LE BON (94), Romain SICARD (81), Ivan ROVNY (206), Peter KENNAUGH (194), Adriano MALORI (157), Peio BILBAO (54), Alessandro DE MARCHI (66), Wouter POELS (175) y Damiano CUNEGO (3).

My guess is one of them fancied bridging to blow the race apart.
Brought back by the rest, though.
HuwB

Both NOS and Sporza have been live since 13-30 ish.
As Kathy says, the Sun is shining!
HuwB

Uran already seems to be in trouble on the 2nd cat.
Out the back and with Degenkolb and Ferrari.
mazda

LLS trying to seal the KoM.
kathy

Think Uran had a mechanical.
8
mazda

More like a medical.
Quote:
Davide Bramati, DS of OPQS, told TVE why Rigoberto URAN is struggling :
"He didn't sleep well last night. He's been suffering bronchitis in the last days and now he's having a bad day."
HuwB

The situation has remained pretty static for a while, now.
Going to finish pretty late by the looks of it.
kathy

Yes there are bears near the Send a del Oso.
mazda

Brambilla and Rovny ejected for fighting  Shocked
Bartali

Handbags and two lads pulled out!!
mazda

Brambilla and Rovny ejected for fighting  Shocked
Bartali

You've got to love de Marchi.  Now to reignite the Bertie/Nibali thread ... imagine how much they'd be bugging De Marchi up if he were German (and called Voigt) Wink
Mrs John Murphy

Bartali wrote:
Handbags and two lads pulled out!!


Sounds like the makes of a good party.
SAP

mazda wrote:
Brambilla and Rovny ejected for fighting  Shocked


Tie for combative rider(s) of the day!
HuwB

mazda wrote:
Brambilla and Rovny ejected for fighting  Shocked


Quite funny really.
He started, no he started it, argument going on elsewhere.
Both guilty, both out.
Brambilla punishment the more telling.
HuwB

SAP wrote:
mazda wrote:
Brambilla and Rovny ejected for fighting  Shocked


Tie for combative rider(s) of the day!


LOL.
Bartali

Goes to show how slow this Sky train is at the mo ... no in roads into the lone man up front.
Bartali

HuwB wrote:
SAP wrote:
mazda wrote:
Brambilla and Rovny ejected for fighting  Shocked


Tie for combative rider(s) of the day!


LOL.


Brambilla threw the best punch Wink
Mrs John Murphy

About the most exciting thing to happen so far
mazda

I'll have to watch the highlights later just to see what Kelly has to say.
Bartali

Maybe that's how the Bertie v Nibs debate should be settled Wink
Bartali

Mazda ... Kelly seemed pretty impressed with Brambilla's punching power ... Wink
Mrs John Murphy

As Nibs is from Messina that could end up being a bit messy

I was going to say that Dertie could end waking up next to a horse's head, but then he'd probably just think he fell asleep next to a mirror.
Bartali

cap closing now Nieve's hit the front ...
Bartali

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
As Nibs is from Messina that could end up being a bit messy
Smile
mazda

Bartali wrote:
Mazda ... Kelly seemed pretty impressed with Brambilla's punching power ... Wink

They say it's the small ones that you have to watch out for.
Mrs John Murphy

Vroome and Dertie put on the afterburners

So basically Froome was able to chase down De Marchi in a km.

LOL
mazda

De Marchi somehow hung on for 3rd ?
Good lad.
Bartali

Pleased about De Marchi.

Nice last climb again albeit sticking by the form book.  Bertie and Froome at the top of their game (I wonder why Froome lacked a bit yesterday?)  Valverde and J-Rod riding for 3rd ... and desperate to shut out Aru who is doing his usual thing of fighting to stay in touch.
Mrs John Murphy

Would love to see the power numbers for the climb
HuwB

A very enjoyable finish to a very tough stage.
This was always going to be more like a Froome type stage.
However, when he finally goes on an alien attack, the one legged gimp
manages to make him look more Clark Kent than Superman.

Bertie is definitely back to his pre ban climbing levels.

A word on Aru, if I may, Bart. Wink

He continues to die a thousand deaths on these climbs, but he is certainly dogged.
Bartali

HuwB wrote:
A word on Aru, if I may, Bart. Wink

He continues to die a thousand deaths on these climbs, but he is certainly dogged.


He never gives up ... Smile
Mrs John Murphy

HuwB wrote:
A very enjoyable finish to a very tough stage.
This was always going to be more like a Froome type stage.
However, when he finally goes on an alien attack, the one legged gimp
manages to make him look more Clark Kent than Superman.

Bertie is definitely back to his pre ban climbing levels.

A word on Aru, if I may, Bart. Wink

He continues to die a thousand deaths on these climbs, but he is certainly dogged.


stages like today make me glad that neither Vroome nor Dertie were able to stay upright in France.

Today was up there with the 2007 TDF or the 2008 Giro.

However, much like Piti, Dertie is much better on the Spanish side of the border.
Boogerd_Fan

today was always going to be about who could recover/still have something left after 2 previous days in the mountains. It's usually always the third day that can break a rider if they're struggling to survive.

Froome's sudden reappearance. Dodgy.
Bertie not having an off day. Dodgy.
Valverde flying in 1st week, and now hanging on... actually not as dodgy!

Says it all really.

One other comment: Gesink did well today.
HuwB

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
today was always going to be about who could recover/still have something left after 2 previous days in the mountains. It's usually always the third day that can break a rider if they're struggling to survive.

Froome's sudden reappearance. Dodgy.
Bertie not having an off day. Dodgy.
Valverde flying in 1st week, and now hanging on... actually not as dodgy!

Says it all really.

One other comment: Gesink did well today.


Huh?
It didn't look as if he was hanging on yesterday.
Just that today the terrain was for the train.
kathy

Sky's tactics today - get to the front, slow the peloton down, so Froome doesn't get too tired before the final climb.  But it didn't work, Froome attacked, but Berto had also had a rest earlier, so demonstrated his superiority.  Today's stage was never made for Valverde or Purito, but watch out for stages 18 and 20
kathy

kathy wrote:
Sky's tactics today - get to the front, slow the peloton down, so Froome doesn't get too tired before the final climb.  But it didn't work, Froome attacked, but Berto had also had a rest earlier, so demonstrated his superiority.  Today's stage was never made for Valverde or Purito, but watch out for stages 18 and 20


BTW, today was Asturias day, which Mr Duffield would have known about, but Kirby knows nothing - and they were nowhere near the Senda del Oso today - its further West - I know because I've ridden all the old railway line now! (on a Bike, of course)
gerry12ie

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
today was always going to be about who could recover/still have something left after 2 previous days in the mountains. It's usually always the third day that can break a rider if they're struggling to survive.

Froome's sudden reappearance. Dodgy.
Bertie not having an off day. Dodgy.
Valverde flying in 1st week, and now hanging on... actually not as dodgy!

Says it all really.

One other comment: Gesink did well today.


It could also be read as the two riders who had July off having more in the tank than the Tour finishers... except one has a broken wrist and the other a broken leg!  De Marchi is as game as anything though and so is Aru.  

Betancur looks to have the Lantern Rouge wrapped up mind.
HuwB

Well, somebody else is lucky they weren't caught on camera:

http://www.independent.ie/sport/o...th-a-punch-on-climb-30571873.html
Mrs John Murphy

A commentary laced with a healthy dose of 'wogs bad'.
Mrs John Murphy

And welcome to the new clean cycling:

Biosphere

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
A commentary laced with a healthy dose of 'wogs bad'.


Shocking. Next he'll be suggesting that Spaniards cheat their way to victory at home when the authorities have got their backs Wink
Mrs John Murphy

Biosphere wrote:
Mrs John Murphy wrote:
A commentary laced with a healthy dose of 'wogs bad'.


Shocking. Next he'll be suggesting that the British and Spaniards cheat their way to victory at home when the authorities have got their backs Wink


corrected that for you Wink
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
And welcome to the new clean cycling:



6.4w/kg for a sub 20 minute climb isn't definitely suspicious given that 5.9w/kg for a 40 minute climb in the third week of a GT is the working threshold for "definitely dodgy".

You'd expect a something like a 10% reduction in power for 40 minutes vs 20 minutes, so 6.4w/kg for 20 minutes is in "believable" territory. Obviously, given the riders concerned, it's probably not believable, but it's not so clear cut as Pantani's 6.7w/kg ascent of Alpe D'Huez.
Mrs John Murphy

Other than the fact that it was the third MTF in a row into the third week of a GT and they were the only two riders to go over 6.3 w/kg
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
Other than the fact that it was the third MTF in a row into the third week of a GT and they were the only two riders to go over 6.3 w/kg


I think cumulative fatigue is factored into the expectations in the third week of a GT.

I actually think Valverde's effort yesterday is the most suspicious, as he did a full on effort in the Tour. You'd expect Froome and Berto to be putting a significant amount of time into him by this stage given that they didn't do the Tour in any meaningful manner.
mazda

SlowRower wrote:
I actually think Valverde's effort yesterday is the most suspicious, as he did a full on effort in the Tour. You'd expect Froome and Berto to be putting a significant amount of time into him by this stage given that they didn't do the Tour in any meaningful manner.


Brings to mind a comment from Barguil where he said Valverde is always better in the second G.T.
Of course you have to factor in that said second G.T. is going to be the Vuelta.
Boogerd_Fan

I expected Valv to be significantly weaker by now too, but not because of the Tour.. but because of how he was ripping it up off the front in week 1.

he's been able to hold form for 2 weeks.. i saw yesterday as him finally dropping off a bit... which is why for me he was less suspicious than at least Froome-dawg who having dragged himself around the mountains so far, suddenly found his legs..
Bartali

No one watched today?
gerry12ie

Bartali wrote:
No one watched today?


Trying to find the will to watch it now
Fontfroide

Bartali wrote:
No one watched today?


I couldn't watch since I was taking my car for a checkup in the middle of the Luberon where I was also riding around eating and seeing.

Could not resist.  

Did watch the replay, hoping that Gilbert was going to help me out a bit.  Thought he might be nearly fit for the World's but he ain't.
kathy

I saw the last half hour  thought it was quite interesting, with Degenkolb being left without teammates.
HuwB

Today's summit finish:



Razz
Mrs John Murphy

Cancellara and Boonen have withdrawn.

Gesink has withdrawn for family reasons.
HuwB

A very enjoyable battle up that final climb.
The Spaniards manage to royally screw eachother over.
Allowing Aru bitch slaps the best GT riders in the world again.

Meanwhile, Froome overtakes Piti for the podium and takes a fair bite out of Bertie's lead.
Boogerd_Fan

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
Cancellara and Boonen have withdrawn.

Gesink has withdrawn for family reasons.



Gesink's wife is in some serious pregnancy problems.. totally understandable he needed to get back to NL.. FAST.

http://www.teambelkin.com/teamnews/robert-gesink-leaves-la-vuelta-4340

<NOT DRUG AVOIDING EXCUSE> Wink
Biosphere

I did enjoy yesterday. I was surprised to find that Monday was the least entertaining day for me of the MTFs, as it just seemed to be about riding at a steady pace on the final climb, with nothing longer range being attempted despite the day's profile.

OGE and GS have agreed to cooperate today to control the break. Wonder if Valverde or Rodriguez might attempt to put the $@#ts up Froome on the final descent to try to take back some time?
mazda

Adam Hansen steals a stage from the sprinters.
That's how to do it folks.
gerry12ie

He might be able to buy a proper pair of shoes now Wink Just as well ToC or whatever isn't actually the fourth Grand Tour or he would probably feel obliged to ride that every year as well as the others...
Biosphere

I did enjoy that yesterday. And a nice way for Hansen to mark his 10th GT in a row. It might be sacrilege to say it, but this has been the best GT of the year IMO.
HuwB

Quite tranquillo for the key stage.
Maxime MEDEREL (8Cool, Wouter POELS (175), Przemyslaw NIEMIEC (6) y Jerome COPPEL (72)  make up the break who have a sizable gap.
Under 38kph average, all the climbs still to come and tv due in 15 minutes or so.

weather forecast:


Key climbs:
Alto de Folgueiras de Aigas 9,7 km 950 m 650 m 6,7 % 10 %
Puerto de Ancares 12,7 km 1.655 m 1.115 m 8,7 % 18 %


Nolte

50km left to go, 5 minutes lead for breakaway - poels, mederal, coppel and niemic. astana doing most work with a little bit of help from sky
mazda

There is a sprint point on the final climb.
HuwB

Sky doing what Sky do.
Biosphere

mazda wrote:
There is a sprint point on the final climb.


I think it's also known as the finish line Wink

Seriously I'm surprised, but maybe it's not a bad strategy to get the GC men active early and then have big name shootout for the stage?
gerry12ie

I have just cracked open a large bottle of Chimay Blue and settling down to enjoy this.  It is very much in the balance and I don't think Contador looks too comfortable...
Nolte

yes, he was moving to the front for the descent before eurosport went back to their normal programming (the ads)
Nolte

please let this be the last ad break, there has been alot and tg4 seem to have synced with them

but a loan at 12,345,678,910 percent apr is looking reasonable
gerry12ie

Nolte wrote:
please let this be the last ad break, there has been alot and tg4 seem to have synced with them

but a loan at 12,345,678,910 percent apr is looking reasonable


Very Happy  Very Happy  Laughing
Biosphere

gerry12ie wrote:
I have just cracked open a large bottle of Chimay Blue and settling down to enjoy this.  It is very much in the balance and I don't think Contador looks too comfortable...


That's a grand idea. I've stuck a bottle that I bought in Koksijde during the summer in the fridge. In the meanwhile I'm having a single malt. Before I come across as a complete degenerate, I have done about 1200m of climbing this afternoon.
gerry12ie

Thats just plain daft Wink Climbing? Nah, I went into town and got a haircut and bought some lovely stuff.  My Polish barber was convinced that Niemic would win the stage today, mind.

This is tense stuff, will Aru spoil Froome's party by hitting the 'go' button first?
mazda

Is Froome messing about with Bertie or just hasn't got it today ?
gerry12ie

Very early for Rodriguez to go.

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