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Mellow Velo

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La Vuelta 2019, Stage 13: Bilbao > Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega 06/09/2019 - 166.4km

The 13th stage of La Vuelta is a war of attrition. Following six intermediate climbs the race finishes atop Los Machucos.  It is the first of a troika, which routes the Vuelta through the Cantabrian mountains ahead of a summit finish on the viciously steep ascent of Los Machucos. The Sanctuario del Acebo and Alto de la Cubilla being the other two.



 Los Machucos this time comes as the seventh climb of an already demanding afternoon



Before the riders tackle Los Machucos, the riders first have to deal with the Alto de la Escrita (5.9km at 4%), Alto de Ubal (7.9km at 6%).





Collado de Asón (13km at 3.9%). Puerto de Alisas (8.5km at 6%).




Puerto de Vuenta las Varas (6.3km at 4.5%) and Puerto de la Cruz de Usaño (4.2km at 4.7%).

These a basically just the warm up exercise for a brutal finale. The ultimate climb is narrow and painfully steep. Eventual winner Chris Froome found himself on the back foot, while tackling Los Machucos in 2017.



This video captures some of the intensity of that day:-



Los Machucos has its origins as a cattle herding track, and the Vuelta road book denotes the finish line as being near the ‘Monumento al Vaca Pasiega’ meaning the ‘Monument to the Pasiega Cow.’
Los Machucos is ‘only’ 880 metres high and 6.8km long, but its special category status is nonetheless richly deserved.
The average gradient of 9.2% tells only part of the story, as the road pitches up to a dizzying 25% inside the opening two kilometres.
The climb is seesawing between ‘rampas inhumanas’ and 10% descents, although the section between kilometre 3 and 6 is more steady with its average gradient of more than 10%. The climb flattens out near the top, while the ultimate kilometre begins with a drop before a false flat last stretch.



As for who might win this stage, it does look set up to be a probably win from the breakaway, but in terms of the GC, could this be a sign of things to come?







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  • « Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 19:04 by Mellow Velo »
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    Mellow Velo

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     Fabio Aru fails to start today's start, abandoning yet another GT.
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  • AG

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    what is wrong with him these days.  he is no where near the rider he used to be.  was he injured?
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  • Drummer Boy

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    was he injured?

    Yup. The reports are muscular damage from the opening TTT crash that he's just not recovering from.

    He had iliac artery surgery in the spring, supposedly recovered from that and was hoping to reap the benefits of the procedure.

    But now this.
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  • M Gee

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    From the live chat:
    Quote
    Mellow Velo: The fat lady decided to sing a week early. It's just a question of who joins Roglic on a distant podium.
    Today at 16:37

    Yup. I would have to agree that Roglic "put his stamp of authority" on the 2019 Vuelta. Things have been pretty crazy at the GT's these past few years, but the prosaic formula we used to see, where the dominant rider showed his dominance about midway, seems to be working here.

    For Roglic, though, there is some question of if he can maintain this. But I think he will, especially since the rest of the big-name GC boys got left behind today.
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    Drummer Boy

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    For Roglic, though, there is some question of if he can maintain this. But I think he will, especially since the rest of the big-name GC boys got left behind today.

    He's looked plenty fresh at the end of all the previous stages, and he almost seemed casual in his final approach to the line in Pogačar's wheel. On what was a devastating climb for some, he seemed to have plenty left in the tank.


    At a glance, it would be difficult to tell if this were pre or post-race.

    https://twitter.com/JumboVismaRoad/status/1169999540252008451

    It's his race to lose, no doubt
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Drummer Boy

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    I questioned this in the live chat.

    So what was the point of it all? :slow

    https://twitter.com/ProCyclingStats/status/1169938354261151744
    Did they forget to unlock the gates, or something?  :S

    https://twitter.com/BasTietema/status/1169961583407222784


    That's not to say the riders themselves weren't entertained.  :D
    https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1170015990677213184

    https://twitter.com/EdwardTheuns/status/1170019217002913796
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I just watched the final 6 km again.

    WTF were  #movistar up to?  :D

    There was nothing to indicate that Quintana and Valverde were even on the same team. The camera coverage was crazy, between the motos trying to navigate the steep and twisty roads, and riders spread out up and down the route. Even knowing the results from having watched the stage live this morning, it was still chaotic to keep track of who was where, and when (and why, in the case of #movistar).

    I still don't quite understand how Quintana was brought back so easily. One moment he's zooming away, with what appeared to be a massive gap; the next, he's caught by the other stage contenders and promptly left behind.

    I had originally thought that López was going to be Roglič's main rival on this stage, and it wouldn't have surprised if he had gained 30 to 40 seconds on him by the end. But Superboy ended up in 7th @1:01 without ever threatening the podium or the maillot rojo.

    The most impressive (and quite remarkable) move to me was the speed at which both Roglič and Pogačar left Latour in their wake during the final ascent.

    Twenty-seven seconds they put into him by the finish, after what looked, by all accounts, to be a stage-winning effort of his own in the preceding kilometers.   
    :S

    According to Liggett and Roll, both Roglič and Pogačar were running essentially mountain bike gearing, with each of them opting for a 36/32 setup. I've no idea what other riders were using, but I'd be curious.

    Primož looked plenty fresh when he crossed the line, having just decimated his rivals and comfortably cruising in behind his 20-year-old countryman.

    Valverde, while showing good form and strength throughout this race, has done nothing to imply that he'll be able to take back the 02:25 deficit he's now faced with against Roglič. López and Quintana both find themselves over three minutes back, and considering that Roglič has yet to even be pushed near his apparent-limit, they both will likely find themselves trying to knock young Tadej off the podium in what seems to be their only realistic goal at this point.

    How Valverde plays into all of that should be prove to be interesting.

    Either way, this is the ski-jumper's race to lose.

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  • M Gee

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    I either hadn't realized this, or had forgotten it.

    However, the trend continues...

     . . .

    Yesterday, the dynamics were set in motion.
    https://twitter.com/CyclingCentral/status/1169999158066810880

    At what point was that fist bump done?

    Interesting - Slovenia AND Slovakia - big name riders appearing in the peloton. Out of all the Balkan nations to come out of the collapse of the Soviet bloc and Yugoslavia, they are managing to do reasonably well economically and politically.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    At what point was that fist bump done?

    The final km or so, as the peloton eased it's way, casually, towards the finish.
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