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The Vuelta a Espana is a race I can either take or leave depending on how saturated I’ve been with cycling coverage throughout the season. It’s a challenge to stay up late and watch any Grand Tour for us here in Australia, but this year’s Vuelta this year has been absolutely spectacular. A good race is one where you don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day and it keeps you guessing who’ll be in the leader’s jersey. We definitely missed that suspense and excitement this July, but the Vuelta is delivering THE GOODS.
Rodriguez is proving that he can win in his long game as well as his short game. He even held his own in the ITT last week which has always been his undoing. Contador is competitive in his first Grand Tour since his suspension and looking like he’s back to being human. Froome may be still tired from the Tour or he’s facing some competition he can’t control without a team of super-domestics. I’d guess both. Either way he’s still up there in the GC but he’ll have to wait another season or two before he wins his first Grand Tour.
And how about Nocholas Roache? He’s the sleeper who is quietly developing into a sensational Grand Tour rider. Twelfth in this year’s TdF, and currently sitting quietly in seventh overall at the Vuelta. Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) is also putting in a remarkably good ride turning himself inside out for Gensink who are both sitting in 9th and 6th respectively.
GreenEDGE are salvaging a mediocre first year (aside from Gerro’s early season successes) and finishing in front of the finishes with an awesome win by homeboy Simon Clarke (as well as 4th in stage 13 and leading the mountains classification), while Cam Meyer and Allan Davis are inches away from getting a victory in Spain.
Tomorrow is a rest day but there are still six stages left with SBS broadcasting stage 16 (Mon), 19-21 (Fri-Sun) and I believe all stages are being streamed live on their website. The mornings are getting brighter, the air is getting warmer, the magpies are out to kill, and summer is on its way! If you’re up early to ride and you can’t stay up late to watch, check out SBS website every morning for their highlights packages. This is turning out to be a race not to be missed!
2012 Vuelta a España Results