Having left for a few days from the country for affairs of "blockchain importance" and staying with very slow internet, I had to understand the practical impossibility of publishing new posts on Scorum. But after returning I start to write about my favorite sport - cycling and the last Grand Tour of the season - the Spanish Vuelta. At the end of last week and the beginning of the current perhaps the fateful stages for the current Vuelta took place: the trilogy of the mountain stages at the end of the second week, the 32 km ITT at the beginning of the third week, after which there was a stage with finish in Balcón de Bizkaia, a 7 km mountain where sometime gradient exceeds 20%.
Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) came out in the red jersey at the start of the thirteenth stage, having won it at the previous stage due to the passivity of the peloton, that allowed the gap to finish with a big advantage. The stage was the first in a series of three heavy mountain stages with a summit finish in the mountain of the first category. As in the previous stage, the victory went to the riders from the break, the first at the finish was Oscar Rodriquez Garaicoechea (Euskadi Basque Country). The group of candidates for the victory in the overall standings came to the finish line in two and a half minutes after the winner, having won 2 minutes the leader of the general classification - Herrada. There were no other significant changes in the overall standings.
Riders had to pass a distance of 171 kilometers with the passage of three first category climbs, one of which was the finish line at the Saturday’s stage. Unlike the previous stage, the peloton did not allow the break to fight for the victory at the stage, decided to do it themselves. As a result, the victory as a red shirt went to Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott). Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took the second place in the general classification, he was only 5 seconds ahead of team-mate Nairo Quintana. Jesus Herrada was expected to fall out of top-10.
The trilogy of the mountain stages was completed by the Sunday stage with the finish on the legendary peak of Lagos de Cavadonga with numerous sections with a gradient more than 10%, and sometimes 20%. As well as at the last stage, the battle for the victory was led by the generals. At the decisive climb, many attacks were committed by almost every rider, but the most successful attack was made by the Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama - FDJ) for 6 kilometers to the finish. Pinot made the 10 seconds gap increasing it to 30 by the time of crossing the finish line. In the group of favorites, only 6 riders managed to finish: Miguel Lopez, Simon Yates, Alejandro Valverde, Steven Krujswijk, Enric Mas and Nairo Quintana. After two weeks, the position of the riders in the overall standings was as follows:
In the race with a separate start, quite predictable victory was won by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing). In addition, the ITT has made adjustments in the overall standings, allowing to reach the third place to Steven Krujswijk, who could to replace at the podium traditionally uncertainly conducting individual races Nairo Quintana. By the way Rohan Dennis considered his tasks on the current Vuelta fulfilled and did not go to the start of the next stage.
The seventeenth stage of the Vuelta held on Tuesday was a 157-kilometer hilly stage with a finish in the mountain of the first category of the Balcón de Bizkaia, gradients on which periodically exceeded 20%. The main group released a large gap, allowing it to play for a stage victory. As a result, at the finish the fight were held between four riders: the Polish Rafal Mjika, the Belgian Dylan Teuns, the Canadian Michael Woods and the Spaniard David De La Cruz. As a result, the most competently from tactical point of view was the Canadian, who also was helped with his teammate on Education First, Simon Clark. In the battle of the general's Alejandro Valverde managed to win back 6 seconds from Simon Yates, and the main losers of the stage were Krujswijk and Quintana, who lost about a minute to the leader. To date, the situation in the general standings looks like below:
Thus, in the fight for a red jersey, only two riders participate. Simon Yates and the 38-year-old (!!!) Alejandro Valverde. In my opinion, the chances are higher for the British, but do not forget about the crisis in which Yeats was in the last week of the Giro. If that situation repeats, then Valverde will not miss the opportunity to win the Vuelta at the end of his career.