- The Latest
- Our Blog
Santiago de Compostela 9.7 km Timetrial And this is how the Vuelta ends: with a short time trial. No changes are expected today. Alberto Contador should win the race, followed by Chris Froome and Alejandro Valverde. Was Contador sandbagging at the beginning of the race or simply not certain of his form? One way or the other, he was clearly the strongest rider in the race.
Ortigueira - A Coruña 190.7 km And they are back from a rest day with a likely to be dull sprint stage. Rest day news? More withdrawals including Uran, who was clearly ill the last few stages. and the rarely spotted Zubeldia. Not too many sprinters left at this point: Matthews, Boonen and Degenkolb the most prominent.
Belorado - Obregón. Parque de Cabárceno 188.7 km The stage:One for a breakaway? Maybe. Inrng and Podium Cafe suggest Philippe Gilbert. Our breakaway of the day: #LaVuelta: Finalmente, EUC deja de tirar y los 11 se marchan a 3’15” de distancia (km 40). OGE lidera el pelotón. pic.twitter.
The stage: Well, that is not an inspiring profile, unless you are a sprinter. Of course, no Cav at the race, so I admit to being less than excited. Today they have eight laps around Logroño before finishing in what is likely to be a bunch sprint.
Pamplona - Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar 153.4 km Two days in a row with a Vuelta post! Actually, there will be wines almost everyday this week. That said, we have no rest for the weary with a mountain top finish, the day after the time trial. Podium Cafe preview here. Inrng preview here. The big question going into today's stage was how would Quintana look after his crash yesterday.
The race: While we were away, watching but not writing, the race has continued. What has been happening? Well, it has been very,very warm and there have been sprints, with a few climbs mixed in. Also, Contador has admitted that he is trying to win the race, after insisting early on that he was not in shape.
As I said, I'm not blogging every stage. But geography made this one impossible to skip. And by geography, I don't mean the designed for the sprinters, flat stage. Instead, I mean the proximity to Morocco and the chance to drink a Moroccan wine. That said, I'm having trouble focusing on the coverage, as pictures from this morning's Napa earthquake are dominating local news.
So here we are, or really, they are, in Spain for the 69th edition of La Vuelta. As I said earlier, I won't be drinking wines for every stage, but for a selected few during the race. But first, the race. La Vuelta is the third of the season's grand tours, following the Giro and the Tour de France.
Each year I make the same Adam Hansen joke and fail to drink the wines of the Vuelta. This year, because of a decision made while suffering from Tour induced sleep deprivation, I am drinking what we could call a "half-Vuelta." I'll not have a wine for every stage. but thanks to the help of Christy at Frankly Wines, I have ten bottles lined up for stages during the race.
Hard to believe that another edition of the Tour is over. I am pretty delighted by Vincenzo Nibali's victory. He rode a wonderful race from start to finish and as some readers may know, I've been a fan of his racing style for years. Other highlights: cobbles, Tony Martin and two Frenchmen on the podium.
Where are we: Évry - Paris Champs-Élysées 137.5km Le Tour link: http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2014/us/stage-21.html LeTour preview: The pictures of the 2013 apotheosis, with the pack riding past the Louvre and around the Arc de Triomphe, are still fresh in everyone's minds.
Where are we: Bergerac / Périgueux Le Tour link: http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2014/us/stage-20.html Starting in Bergerac.
Where are we: Maubourguet Pays du Val d'Adour / Bergerac Le Tour link: http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2014/us/stage-19.html An area of plains and hills, the Pays du Val d'Adour is at the crossroads of the Béarn, Bigorre and Gascogne cultures.I think we should visit a market: Country markets contain treasures and are perpetual invitation to sit at the table.
Where are we: Pau / Hautacam Le Tour link: http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2014/us/stage-18.html In Pau, how about a visit to the birthplace of a king? More info from the local tourist website: The national museum of the Castle of Pau: This superb royal residence is above all the birthplace of Henry IV, King of France and Navarre.
Where are we: Saint-Gaudens / Saint-Lary Pla d'Adet Le Tour link: http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2014/us/stage-17.html Saint-Gaudens: The local tourist website tells me that Saint-Gaudens is an administrative centre (sous-préfecture) for the south of the Haute-Garonne département, at an altitude of 405m on a ledge overlooking the Valley of the Garonne.