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M Gee

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Vuelta, Stage 14: Cistierna --> Nava (Les Praeres)
« on: September 05, 2018, 03:54 »
This could be a very interesting stage. Lots of room for attacking on the climbs. A total of 5 rated climbs, with 3 being 1st category. Of course, the most likely race will see a one-blow monoclimb on the final summit. BUT, there are opportunities for daring attacks that could make a lot of difference.

There are roads here that Google does not have in their pictures. Like the final climb. There are minor rural byways aplenty. This is a day when somebody from the team should be driving the course in advance. There may be pinch points, surface changes, narrow bridges - whatever! Danger AND opportunity both. The countryside will be green, for a change.

If Contador was riding this stage, I have to think we might have seen another Formigal. Fernando Escartin tips the BOTD for this stage. Ehmmm, MAYBE!  :hitch





The Alto de Colladona, at km 92.6:


The Alto de la Mozqueta, at km 127:



And the finale: short, sharper than a shark's tooth, and vicious, Alto Les Praeres (Nava):
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    t-72

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    ....Yates! This look a lot like stage 15 from the Giro this year? He won that one! (Tolmezzo-Sappada)

    But there wasn’t any Valverde competing then...

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  • L'arri

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    GC shake-up or damp squib? Time for someone to show their intent. Does look like one for the BOTD though.
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    probably. And a 4k at 13% monster in the end is likely to neglect the chance for any kind of action among the gc favorites before the final climb as well.

    In the Giro #15 stage T-72 mentioned it was the other way around, steep climb to attack on early on, then an "easy" finish
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    M Gee

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    GC shake-up or damp squib? Time for someone to show their intent. Does look like one for the BOTD though.
    If everyone is cautious - damp squib. Although maybe Ben King will get in the BOTD - that would raise some eyebrows!

    It was hard to locate the roads - the quality of the route map is not good enough - and the roads were that minor.

    All the cat 1 climbs are short by GT standards, so I would think whomever wants GC and is NOT in the lead at this point would be wanting to attack early and make a run for it. On the other hand, the #red team should be looking to play Sky, and keep it tamped down until the final climb.
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  • Joelsim

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    The main contenders i.e. Quintana and Superman need to put some time into Izaguirre on this. And get rid of Valverde.
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  • M Gee

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    Got the road book. Just a few km into the start, and they route through the towns, rather than using the main road. The roads look decently wide on a Googly flyby sampling. About 25-30 km they go through a couple of tunnels as they circle a large hydro-electric reservoir. This situation might make it easier for the break, or it might make it harder. I would expect it to make it easier to attack, but harder to actually make a large break stick. And there will be time and opportunity enough to reel in small breaks. There might be pinch points not mentioned in the road book, although I anticipate not.

    That takes us back into Asturias as they head north, and pass over the Colladona. Could somebody do a Stage 19 attack, a la Sky, today? I don't think so - the climbs are simply not long enough. We might see a smaller selection of favorites, and if they managed to have a couple of doms up the road - it might work. Not likely in these days with race radios, but you never can tell.

    They circle south, on smaller local roads, for La Mozqueta, but the roads still look good, and I see no pinch points to precipitate an attack. The road book warns of ripples and corners on the descent, but on a fly-through it looks ok.

    The Alto de la Falla de los Lobos looks more like rolling roads than a dangerous, selective climb. It could be dangerous for a breakaway, though, adding fatigue in the legs.

    As they enter Nava, I hope they have repaired the roads. On Google, they are in a severe state of disrepair, with mixed gravel and pavement. I'm sure they'll be fixed - it looked like they were being repaired at the time. At Nava, they turn south, on extremely local roads - narrow, picturesque, you get the idea - and Google runs out of film.

    TBH, when I saw the profile of the stage, I was hoping for a bit more selectivity. Given the short, albeit steep, ramps for the climbs today, I think the most likely scenario is another big breakaway. However, the peloton needs to be ready to keep them in check. It could present an opportunity, a la Formigal, but I don't think it is so likely. Most likely scenario: big BOTD, like today, with another one-blow monoclimb attack on the finale from the GC favs.


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  • t-72

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    The main contenders i.e. Quintana and Superman need to put some time into Izaguirre on this. And get rid of Valverde.

    I think there is a third Colombian captain in here that wants a bit of revenge after being tricked on the descent from the Stelvio a couple of years back, but nevertheless #movistar Quintana is the guy for the super steep finishes. He isn't really that good at it, but he is better than the others in the race. Valverde is better at steep only if it is really short. Quintana can keep pushing uphill attacks longer than anyone else in the business this year (ref Tour de Suisse stage to Arosa).

    I have to admit, there are many of the supposed GC contenders that have fallen out of contention in a bit of a quiet way, looking at the list now it starts to look like what most thought it would be, minus a few disappointments. It feels kind of strange that 2/3 into the Vuelta the crosswinds have been as decisive as the mountains if not more. Is this the new TdF? What happened to the muritos?


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  • M Gee

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    . . .
    I have to admit, there are many of the supposed GC contenders that have fallen out of contention in a bit of a quiet way, . . .


    I was thinking that myself. Porte. Nibali. Aru. Otherwise, everybody is pretty much where you would expect, like you said.
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  • LukasCPH

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    I think there is a third Colombian captain in here that wants a bit of revenge after being tricked on the descent from the Stelvio a couple of years back
    Go :rigo! :cheer
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    t-72

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    ....Yates!

     :angel



    #mitchelton Yates waited for the right moment and then won it like he won so many giro stages, kicking harder to the finish line than anyone else, like a younger Valverde.
    #movistar Quintana showing some minor signs of weakness towards the top after attacking earlier.
    #astana Lopez piggybacked on Quintana's attack and Lopez' unwillingness to take point was one of the reasons why Quintana stopped riding on his attack. However, he was clearly stronger towards the top.
    Big loosers: #sunweb Kelderman, #ef Uran, #uae Aru, #bahrain Izaguirre (his team made the race with Nibali charging hard, but Ion could not really finish it in style).

    It isn't really easy to see how this GC pecking order can be flipped over. All the top riders on the list are good climbers and medium on the time trial bike. #movistar Valverde could actually get some time on this bunch - but no one really believes he lasts until Madrid anyway. #ef Uran and #astana Lopez both have amazing time trials on record, but those days seem long gone for both of them. Then it is back to who can climb better, day-out-day-in, still many days to go starting with the Covadonga tomorrow, but right now #mitchelton Yates undeniably holds the upper hand and looks strongest. (Just as he did in the Giro at this point, where it had absolutely no effect on the final GC...)
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