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Old 09-01-2012, 01:26 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

On to today.....




http://www.steephill.tv/2012/vuelta-...ults/stage-14/

The first of three consecutive mountain stages (all ending in summit finishes) which should have a big impact on the race.

Saturday's stage starts from Palas de Rei in Galicia and features five categorized climbs ending in two category 1 climbs including a summit finish. The finish on Puerto de Ancares (profile), 9.5 km, avg 8.1 %, max 12.8%, in the Castilla y León region is another summit finish making its debut at the Vuelta. This proper mountain stage could provide Alberto Contador with his first stage win of the race and may put him in the race leader's jersey.

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Old 09-01-2012, 08:37 AM   #72 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Froome and Contador should be in their element here though it will be interesting to see how Rodriguez and Valverde handle the longer, less steep terrain. I also think Gesink will put in a hell of a performance today, he seems to be in top form.

I wonder if Contador might attack early to try and alienate Rodriguez on the final climb or if he just waits for a steep section in the last 5KM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:42 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Well, can't say I expected that finish. Probably should have, seeing how Purito seems to be in the gc form of his life. That, or this Vuelta is perfectly suited to all his strengths. Or Berti could be suffering from lack of race conditioning after his extended time off this season, making him easier to match. Maybe it's a bit of all three combined. Unless Contador suddenly rediscovers his ability to ride off into the distance on steep climbs over the next days this may be Rodriguez's to lose after all.

Of course, all it takes is a bad day (very bad, looking at the current time gaps) for the two top guys, combined with a good day for Froome or Valverde, and someone else could finish up in red. Ok, realistically not likely to happen but it would make things even more interesting.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:52 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Wow, nothing for a hundred and something KM's and then absolute chaos in the final five. Contador looked good for victory but it's hard to tell whether he died or if Rodriguez just perfectly timed his own attack for the steeper section near the end. Either way, Purito is just God at the moment though I still think Contador will crack him at some point.

Froome also proved today that though he has heart aplenty, there's really not too much going on in the brain department. No idea what he was thinking of today when he tried to ride past Valverde and co.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:37 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

These were my exact thoughts and others too after today, a lot of heart, a lack of brains. It's really showed this week, Froome has never been in this position before and obviously still has a lot to learn. This doesn't account for the fact he is majorly fatigued, which is his overriding problem, although i think that could also be one of the main causes of him not thinking straight. He doesn't seem to know his own style and the misjudged pacing of his own powers seem off, i don't think he feels he is that tired, until he kicks that is. He seems erratic and desperate at times, trying to force every last effort out, but it's not controlled at all. It's not for lack of trying i think he said today, maybe he is trying too hard, he knows he has to pull something special out the hat, but his legs don't have the tricks. Also it has to be said, Sky (from a tactical POV especially) just don't look the same beast as they did only recently. He's got a fight on for the podium at this rate.


Purito, what more can you say, this guy is a beast, everyday he comes through, however much anybody else or even himself writes off his chances. Today was the perfect example of letting him come with you to the last few km's, even with that massive lead and Bertie looking like a dead cert for the win, he still makes up the time somehow. His team are giving him their all and they're crucial in delivering him to the last climbs. Even though Sky/Saxo are doing a lot of work for their guys, they're still there at the end. If they are dropped he has no chance to get anywhere close on his own. I guess like most everyone else with that explosive kick at the end, they are the same, like the trainled flat sprinters unless he get's to a specific place he has a slim chance to win. Yet he also has a good mind for hooking on (without team help) and sucking a wheel to the finish on his own, where he has been helped quite a bit by others, as he has that kick there just isn't much you can do to beat him atm.

I'm sure Bertie would like to attack from further out and completely lose him before that run in, but he has had others to think about as well. The layouts have favoured that punchy style upto now. Also it's clear he is still riding into form, as even his later attacks are not sticking yet, but he's getting closer and stronger. Can Purito keep this up, for another two days at least anyway? I can't see it. Bertie has done a lot of work scouting the parcours, and although his attacks haven't always seemed exactly the right one at the time, he is the man to push the pace. Purito seems content to stick in the wheels and follow you out, waiting for the time to sprint away. I just can't imagine he will always get that chance, the stages have suited him very well and even when they don't seem to, he finds something else, but it won't always happen, someday he has to have a bad-day, right? I would trust Bertie to be delivered over Purito, (even today after his tyre change he was okay) if Purito is dropped before the business end kicks off then he will lose major time. It only has to happen once, although we are running out of stages. Bertie then has the advantage of knowing he can cover all but a Purito race for the sprint win but there is no chance of him dropping Bertie for anything more than minor time gaps, like we've seen so far.

On to today.......

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:49 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread





Distance: 186.7km

Highest point: 1,380m

Category: High mountains

The Vuelta’s favourite summit

It may not be as tough as the Angliru or several of the other epic ascents that the Vuelta organisers have located recently but Lagos de Covadonga is arguably the race’s classic climb. Appearing for the 18th time on the route, it has regularly provided the launchpad for a move towards overall victory. The parcours gets severe 50km from the finish, where the riders start up the short cat 1 Puerto del Fito. Covadonga starts off gently but ramps up viciously just before the 10km banner. The 6km up to the infamous La Huesera – "the boneyard" – are brutal. The whole race could very well be won or lost here.

Bingen Fernández: "Lagos! Over the years, this has always been an important climb when it comes to the GC. This stage will trim down those in contention even further. It’s the middle of three brutal stages and they seem to run three in a row quite regularly."
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:57 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Well, yet again Purito follows Bertie. The battle between them is truly hotting up now. We're running out of stages. No!

Froome loses major time again, now at 2.16' to Valverde's 1.41' The expectations have lowered again, i think he's safe in 4th

22' Bertie will fight to the death, but it looks like Purito will do too. The attacks won't stop...

“At the start of the stage, I wasn't feeling very well so I told the guys not to make the race as hard as yeterday but then I saw when we started to push that people seemed a little tired so we decided to give it a go anyway. You can rest assure that I'll try at every chance I get from now on. You never know when people have a bad day. Joaquin is riding stronger than ever while I might not be as strong as I could be because of my long break from racing. But I simply enjoy being here after too long time away from racing. It's amazing to feel the love and support from the crowd every day. Tomorrow, the goal is simple. I have to attack and keep attacking so I hope to recover and be stronger than today,”

Stage 16. The last of these 3 major mountain stages before the rest day tomorrow, and the last before Bola, stage 20.



A snaggle-toothed stage that will go a long way towards consolidating the final top ten in the general classification. After an initial Cat 3 climb, the boys have to go over two punishing Cat 1s – the Puerto de San Lorenzo (10km, 8.5%) and Alto de la Cobertoria (8km, 8.6%) – before tackling the HC summit finish of Cuitu Negru (all 19.4km of it). This is the queen stage of this year’s Vuelta, the hardest stage of the race – in a race full of hard stages – that comes after two consecutive killer stages.

The final 3km may make grown men cry. In what has been a feature of this Vuelta, the stage winner has to take a deep breath and climb to the finish on gradients in the mid to high-teens with pitches of up to 25% in places. But of course! We know who loves gradients like that: Joaquim Rodriguez. If he can counter the inevitable attacks of Alberto Contador the way he has over the past two days then the Vuelta will be almost within his grasp.





Distance: 185km

Highest point: 1,850m

Category: High mountains

Third consecutive summit finish

After one of the Vuelta’s classic climbs comes the race’s latest epic ascent, the Cuitu Negru. It’s been dubbed ‘the Asturian Bola del Mundo’ as, in common with that climb north of Madrid, it’s a short but very steep extension to a road accessing a ski station, in this case Valgrande Pajares. With the tough San Lorenzo and Cobertoria passes to soften up the riders beforehand, this is rightly seen as the race’s queen stage. The final ascent gets harder from Brañillin, 3km from the top. The road, which is being resurfaced, then rises at an average of 13.5 per cent with pitches of 25 per cent. It’s a gruelling test suited to pure climbers.

Igor Anton: "The queen stage. This is the third consecutive mountain stage with a summit finish. It’s the hardest of the race and the last 3km on the Cuitu Negru average 14 per cent, after climbing three cat 1 passes that are as tough as any in Asturias."
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:01 AM   #78 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

General Classification after Stage 16
1 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) 63:38:24
2 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK) + 0:28
3 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 2:04
4 FROOME, Christopher (SKY PROCYCLING) + 4:52

http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/v...ista-a-espana/


Great ride from Cataldo and De Gendt today. 5.05' for the last K.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:02 AM   #79 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

4 September Rest day
17 5 September Santander - Fuente Dé 177 km (110 mi) Medium Mountain Stage
18 6 September Aguilar de Campoo - Valladolid 186.4 km (115.8 mi) Flat Stage
19 7 September Peñafiel - La Lastrilla 169 km (105 mi) Flat Stage
20 8 September Palazuelos de Eresma - Bola del Mundo 169.5 km (105.3 mi) Mountain Stage
21 9 September Cercedilla - Madrid 111.9 km (69.5 mi) Flat Stage
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:18 AM   #80 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Purito's certainly moved into a very favourable position. So much so that i was finally supporting Bertie today to put some time on him, willing him to make at least one move stick, but alas, yet again it wasn't to be. It's looking like his chances are slipping away now. Although, 28' is not a very high number there is only one serious MTF left to properly drop Purito. If he can manage it he will have won the race. Alberto just needs to focus all his efforts to ride Purito off his wheel and hammer away at the climb with his teams help, whatever they can do to not bring him with them, as we all know it will all be over by then. Purito is reaching the last climbs with way too much energy and can easily match any attack and then sprint away at the end, i can't see him being allowed to get to that point. Alberto will surely go all out to win this race, even if he ends up losing through trying too hard. It's just whether or not he's got the legs to lose Purito at some stage.
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